Second Test – Day 5: STEYN AVOIDS DEFECT in the CITY OF DENTED VASES

ABC Grandstand’s PETER WALSH is an anagram of WHEEL PARTS. I don’t really know what that has to do with anything, other than the fact that he SPOKE to Ricky Ponting prior to the start of play on day 4. When pressed for a prediction by Walsh, Ricky Ponting tipped an Australian win in this Test by 162 runs. That would mean South Africa will be dismissed for 267 today. With the Proteas starting the day at 4/77, that might not be a bad guess in the end. Ponting’s judgement at the crease might faltering but his reading of the game could well be spot on. We shall see.

Perhaps Australia’s selectors should TRY NOT PICKING Ponting in the next Test, given that that’s an anagram of RICKY T. PONTING. But that’s a decision for later. The Australians have already knocked over South Africa’s top four, including ALVIRO PETERSEN, who is an anagram of EVIL STAR OPENER. Captain GRAEME SMITH was claimed by Hilfenhaus for a duck. Smith always looks like he’s a bit overweight to me, which is somewhat ironic given that he’s an anagram of HE’S MEGA-TRIM.

But arguably the most important wicket to fall on Day 4 was that of HASHIM AMLA, a man who can get on with scoring runs at a quick rate, as exemplified by his anagram, AHA! SLAM HIM! Nathan Lyon also took out THE PROTEAS’ RUDOLPH, who I predict will at some future point be involved in a decision review controversy, based purely on the fact that he’s an anagram of UH, HOTSPOT ERRED PAL.

So to start Day 5, South Africa have AB DE VILLIERS – whose strength is obvious (I.E. DRIVES BALL) – at the crease, along with FRANCOIS DU PLESSIS who gives an indication of where he might lose his wicket in his anagram – INDUCES SLIPS SO FAR.

First up to bowl for Australia is PETER SIDDLE, who is an anagram of the Australian attack without the injured Pattinson – DEPLETED, SIR! His first over is not inspiring, with Du Plessis and De Villiers picking off a comfortable eight runs.

From the other end comes NATHAN MICHAEL LYON, who I think would fit in at Almanac HQ, the North Fitzroy Arms, given that he’s an anagram of THE HOLY ALMANAC INN. He starts off more tidily than Siddle, giving away just three runs in his first over, and following up with a maiden.

Although Australia are in the driver’s seat, requiring only six more wickets, the loss of Pattinson with some kind of mystery rib injury is a blow. The rib injury means that PATTINSON will miss the rest of the summer. One can only hope, where the rib is concerned, that he did NOT SNAP IT.

At 4/96 MICHAEL J CLARKE, who is an anagram of CALL ME HIJACKER, and who once hijacked the last day of a Sydney Test Match with his bowling, looks to have made a breakthrough as one of his straight-breaks looks to have Du Plessis, who did not play a shot, plumb. BILLY BOWDEN, who is an anagram of WIELD NOBBLY, does indeed wield his nobbly index finger and says “out” but But Du Plessis calls for a review and the ball is shown to have pitched fractionally outside leg. Du Plessis survives.

Minutes later “Pup” Clarke does it again and Billy gives it out again and Du Plessis calls for a review again. And again, it’s not out, due to rather compelling evidence that the ball hit the middle of the bat and went nowhere near the pad or boot.

An hour and half into the morning session and DE VILLIERS AND DU PLESSIS, who together are an anagram of LADS PULVERISE SIDDLE SIN, are not pulverising anybody, but importantly for South Africa are both still in.

PUP AND LYON who together summarize the last overturned decision (ONLY PAD? NUP!) are tying the batsmen down but cannot get the vital breakthrough.

Lyon tries going AROUND THE WICKET, which is an anagram of NEITHER TWO A DUCK, and it’s true that neither du Plessis nor de Villiers have made ducks.

As soon as the 80th over is completed, Clarke opts to take the new ball. He gives it straight to HILFENHAUS, who is an anagram of FINALE – HUSH! But a finale to this match looks a long way off as the Proteas bat obdurately on and repel the Hilf and Siddle.

When Siddle fails to break through after a couple of overs, Clarke brings Lyon back on to see what he can do with the new ball. There’s a big LBW appeal, which Billy this time turns down. Clarke reviews. It’s close but Hawkeye says it’s bouncing over the stumps. The extra bounce of the new ball has thwarted Lyon.

Siddle comes back on at the other end to bowl the final over before lunch. It’s a good over but there is no breakthrough. THE FIRST SESSION, which is an anagram of HE TOSSES IN FIRST has yielded only 49 runs but South Africa have taken a giant step towards saving this Test, and so far neither du Plessis nor de Villiers have been the first to toss it in.

Fifteen minutes after lunch, just as we were wondering how this session of the TEST COULD DIFFER from the last, an anagram of that phrase, a SIDDLE OFF CUTTER, gets between de Villiers’ bat and pad and bowls him. It’s 5/134 and it’s time for JACQUES KALLIS to face the music with his injury. He’s an anagram of I QUELL JACKASS. I’m not sure who in the Australian team is a jackass but Kallis will be looking to quell all the Australian bowlers for as long as possible.

The Australians would feel that if they can get through Kallis, the Second Test will be in their grasp. Incidentally, THE SECOND TEST is an anagram of DETECT HOTNESS, rather appropriate given that four of the five days of the Test have seen the temperature climb above 32 degrees.

Lyon drops a difficult caught-and-bowled chance offered by Kallis when he is just 6. Then Siddle leaves the field. Is he too injured?

Clarke is typically attacking and he tries various different bowlers. First comes DAVE WARNER, who makes his intentions clear in his own anagram: A DRAW? NEVER!

Warner’s two overs were insipid so Clarke then turned to ROBERT QUINEY who is an anagram of “REQUIRE TON BY…”. Well, Bobby, you actually required a ton two days ago. I think your current tenure in the Australian team might be over after today.

Hilfenhaus and Lyon grind away but Kallis and du Plessis grind back at least as effectively. Withe tea approaching, the game is at a stalemate, which suits South Africa just fine. Those who fail to appreciate the nuances of Test cricket might see the HILFENHAUS/LYON combination at work as utter madness. Which is maybe not so surprising when you consider that’s an anagram of INSANE FOLLY, HUH?

And speaking of insanity, Matthew Wade has decided to keep up at the stumps to Hilfenhaus. Faf du Plessis dually gets a nick, which Wade fails to grasp with so little time to react.

With just one more session to survive, FAF AND KALLIS, who are an anagram of SAD FLANK FAIL, are on the edge of an unlikely success: surviving day five to force a draw. For Ponting’s prognostication to prove prophetic, the Australians will need to take 5/55 in the final session of the Test.

I don’t know what Ed Cowan did to his food at the tea break but CLARKE AND SIDDLE, who are an anagram of ED DRILLED A SNACK, open the attack when play resumed.

Clarke fails to break through, so Hilfenhaus takes his place. But the combination of HILFIE AND SIDS – an anagram of “FINISH, LADDIES!” – does not appear as though it can finish the Proteas off.

Siddle does not break through and LYON AND HILFIE become the new team. They are an anagram of IF ONLY HAD LINE and indeed must maintain a good line for Australia to make a breakthrough.

At 4:46, just after du Plessis racks up a century on debut, the breakthrough comes. Kallis bat-pads a ball from Lyon and Cowan cups it. South Africa is six-down and Australia have 11 overs to get four more wickets.

Another two overs pass. It’s 6/233. 4/34 is required if Punter is to be right. Steyn defends grimly. He sees off 28 balls before he flicks one to Quiney at midwicket. 7/234. Steyn’s 36-minute innings might just have been enough.

Six runs later and, while du Plessis watches on at the non-strikers end, Siddle knocks over the stumps of the PROTEAS’ RORY KLEINVELDT, who is an anagram of KO DELIVERY – PARTNER LOST.

Morkel comes out. He and du Plessis need to survive for 13 more minutes. MORKEL AND FAF are an anagram of FAN FOLK DREAM. And if they last, they will live out the South African FAN-FOLK DREAM of saving the Second Test.

Peter Siddle, dead on his feet, throws everything at them both batsmen. But they survive. SOUTH AFRICA, an anagram of SAFARI TOUCH, escapes from the jungle alive. The Second Test ends in a draw.

After nine full days over two Tests between South Africa and Australia, no result has been achieved. But it’s been compelling and absorbing stuff all the way through. NINE DAYS, NO RESULT is an anagram of AND TENSION SURELY. And tension surely is what we love about Test cricket.

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?

Comments

  1. I have just read it Gigs, but I can’t believe it.

    You have set the bar to a very high level.

  2. Go sign niece…

  3. Thanks Phantom and Litza! (Not anagramming that lest I confuse people even more.)

  4. I have been waiting for it, Gigs, and you have delivered in spades!

    Yesterday, Aus & SA were effectively playing for the mantle of Number #1 Test playing nation, in effect A GAMING RANK. Which is, of course, an anagram of Andrew Gigacz ANAGRAM KING !

  5. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Great stuff Gigs. I think your fine batting effort on Sunday has inspired you to go beyond the call.

  6. Thanks Smokie and Phil. Actually, Phil, it was you backing up to play again after your “near-death” experience which inspired me!

  7. Peter Schumacher says:

    How do you do this!?

  8. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Gigs, the only thing that was ‘near-death’ that day was my dignity!

  9. No loss of dignity there, Phil. It was a brave effort and we were all just glad you were okay!

  10. Mind bending Gigs. Bravo.

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