SOUTH AFRICA HERE WE COME
As I write this article I am watching a great KFC Big Bash Spectacle between the Melbourne Stars and Renegades played in front of 42,000 plus spectators. It seems the hype created by the all conquering test team has rubbed off on all forms of cricket. Well done lads. There was a great crowd at the SCG on Day 2 highlighted by a group of around 50 dressed as the great Richie Benaud. They seem to be interviewing a lot of good looking filles.
Before the start of the Sydney Test at a BBQ myself and a mate were debating with 2 Kiwis how we were going to fare in South Africa. The debate was heated and needless to say the Kiwis were pro Steyn, Morkel and Philander and we were pro Harris, Siddle and Johnson. The result was a friendly wager, a carton of Coronas and a BBQ at the loser’s house.
The banter would start early. The Aussies would surely bowl a much fuller length than the English who were far too short on day 1. Harris trapped Cook in front in his first over shouldering arms to an inswinger. He looks a man mentally shot and already in the departure lounge. Time to give up the captaincy and get back to batting. The very next ball Shania Watson drops a sitter at first slip off Ian Bell. Luckily it would not prove costly. Anderson the sacrificial lamb/night watchman was softened up by Johnson with a few short balls and nicked to Clarke at second slip. 3 for 14.
Pieterson had his mind elsewhere and after a few airy wafts nicked to Shania at first slip of Harris who this time held on. Time to retire KP your heart ain’t in it and your team doesn’t like you. Bell then was caught behind off Siddle for an awful 2 off 32 balls leaving the score at 5 for 23. Is it possible this could be over today? Glen McGrath Pink day on Day 3 may not happen what a tragedy. Is that Cricket Australia executives I see talking to Boof telling him not to enforce the follow on. Surely they wouldn’t anyway after Headingly and Botham.
The banter starts. I text Nick the Kiwi proclaiming that Harris is the best bowler in the world and to put the beers on Ice and stoke up the barbie. He counters that Messrs Steyn, Morkel and Philander think otherwise and we can expect more fight from Amla, De Villers and Smith. Who is right? Time will tell.
It is left to a Zimbabwean Ballance and a New Zealander Stokes to resurrect the innings. This could be the future of English cricket. They show some good ticker to take the score to 62 before Ballance falls to a text book off spinner from Lyon caught behind by Haddin. Lyon has had a great series taking a wicket in at least one innings of each test backing up the pace attack.
Bairstow plays a shocking shot to be caught at short mid on well placed by Clarke as was the leg slip the previous evening to claim Carberry. Stokes then becomes the second player to be out shouldering arms bowled by a straight Siddle delivery. A bad way to end a gutsy innings. Without doubt Stokes has been the find of the tour for England. Unbelievable considering he wasn’t in the initial best 11. He should be in their side for a long time to come. Borthwick’s batting is about as impressive as his leg spin as he falls caught by Smith at 3rd slip of Harris. Rankin and Broad avoid the follow on which would not have been enforced, as discussed earlier, before Johnson cleans up Rankin before he cramps up again leaving Broad not out on 30. Another great bowling effort from the best attack in the world. England all out 155 leaving them 171 behind.
Warner and Shania fall cheaply to Anderson. My bet of Warner for most series runs is now in danger with the red hot Haddin needing 58 to overtake him tomorrow. They are followed by Clarke and Smith to Broad and Stokes. At 4 for 91 it is lucky we already have a 250 plus lead which is more than enough. 282 is the highest winning chase at the SCG. George Bailey strides to the crease under the spotlight and makes a breezy 20 not out off 32 balls playing aggressively like he should. Rankin was bowling half track pies possibly cramping again as was Borthwick. Maybe a 60 or 70 can get George on the plane to South Africa. Whether he can counter Steyn, Morkel and Philander is questionable but I doubt he is sleeping soundly tonight. Either way he has played in a 5 nil drubbing and hit 28 of an over to put him in the record books. Meanwhile Rogers has again batted superbly scoring easily all around the ground to be 73 not out off only 89 Balls. The Aussies go in 311 in front and on the brink of a 5 nil whitewash.
Will it be over tomorrow?
Will Rulebook get to write on Day 4 after handballing Day 2 to me so he could watch the 36ers?
Can George book a ticket to South Africa?
Will Haddin score more than 58 runs?
BRING ON SOUTH AFRICA