Almanac Cricket – India v South Africa: That’s Entertainment

I hope cricket authorities, scribes, analysts and philosophers are watching this magnificent cricket from Delhi.

South Africa have to hang on all day. As I type, they are 2/76 in the 83rd over.

The bowling figures are beautiful.

Live scorecard here.


Feel free to update the score and your fave bowling figures in the comments.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Is that a mozz or what? Amla gone.


    Right handers are going to find Judeja hard to hold out

  2. You’ve got me on to a topic I love, John.
    My favourite all-time Test bowling figures are Bapu Nadkarni’s 32-27-5-0 (0.16 runs per over) for India against England at Chennai in 1964.
    192 balls bowled and just five singles conceded!
    In terms of slow batting, Geoff Allott’s 77-ball duck for New Zealand against South Africa at Eden Park, Auckland, in 1999 is right up there.
    And although before my time, Trevor “the Barnacle” Bailey’s 68 from 427 balls (strike rate of 0.16 runs per ball) in 458 minutes in a 1958-59 Ashes Test at the Gabba was a masterpiece.

  3. Boks should have gone down swinging. Shocking advert for the game trying to bat out 160 odd overs without trying to score.

  4. DBalassone says

    They were given 160 odd overs to make 481. Unlikely I know, but at least have a crack, given that they have already lost the series 2-nil.
    This stonewall stuff is coming from a guy (AB de Villiers) who, only just this year, made 150 off about 40 balls!!!

  5. Peter Flynn says

    A masterclass in defensive batting and mindset.

    Old Mate Bapu bowled 21 straight maiden overs.

    I reckon Barrington was batting.

    It’s now incumbent on Kohli to try all sorts of change ups to buy a wicket.

    Encourage shots disrupt the metronome.

    Fascinating stuff.

    This sort of batting would’ve saved the Cardiff Test.

  6. Peter Warrington says

    That’s why AB is the best. Tempo master

    Reminds me of Invers bowling in the fusarium test.

  7. Peter Flynn says

    PS only one more wicket and it’s really game on

  8. Not sure I can understand the argument that Sth Africa should “have a crack” and go down fighting in what would be an ‘honourable’ loss.
    India prepared these pitches – so let them try to take 20 wickets. Why should Sth Africa present the game to them on a plate? Yes, SA batted poorly in the first dig, but a draw in this situation would be far more meritorious than an honourable loss.

  9. Jadeja will run through them shortly, anyway.

  10. They’re missing the straight one from a leggie.

    LBW S.K. Warne

    I find this cricket so intriguing becasue in my mind cricket is about survival, and carries a significant life/death motif.

  11. Another nail in the coffin of Test cricket. Only the purest of Test cricket purists, of which I usually count myself, could enjoy this stonewalling exercise. Lose the series 2-0 or 3-0 is neither here nor there. But making history chasing 480 odd will always be remembered.

    Playing for a draw when there is nothing on the line surely is the ultimate suppression of true sporting instinct: winning.

  12. Mark Duffett says

    Well, the floodgates certainly opened in the stonewall at the end…

    Ravichandran Ashwin 49.1 26 61 5
    Umesh Yadav 21.0 16 9 3


  13. RJ Inverarity 33 19 26 3 0.78

    he also scored 26 off 87in the first dig.

    One great forgotten stonewall is Murray Bennett and his 3* off 53 to help Digger Hilditch hold off the Windies in Melbourne in 84-5.

  14. Love this.
    The testing of skills, of wits.
    Subtle variations.

    The mindsets.

    The unfolding story of it all.
    Wonderful drama.

  15. What are you blokes smoking?

  16. Loved it.

  17. Peter Flynn says

    I loved it as well.

    The tea break was a killer for AB de Villiers.

    Amla and AB are champion bats of this era.

    The most annoying hackneyed phrase uttered by Lehmann et al i:

    “Thats the we play”.

    More application in Cardiff rather than stubborn arrogance and its level going to Lords.

  18. The reporting on this game has largely been appalling. This was a real test of all the skills.

  19. DBalassone says

    Gents, I think you’re forgetting the fact that this was a dead rubber. SAF had nothing to lose by at least having a crack on day 4 and trying to salvage something from the tour – I could understand if they fell to 4/100 after 30 overs and then decided tp play for the draw, but from the word go they shut up shop. They have two of the top three bats in the world, remember.
    The Indian crowds are already staying away from Test cricket & this is not going to help. If the Aussies tried this in Australia they would be booed off the ground & rightly so.

  20. Three things for me:

    1. I thought the South Africans were making a statement – and I thought Amla was very diplomatic, if not gracious, in his speech about the series at Test’s end
    2. Many, many skills make up a game of cricket. And we have seen a period of cricket – especially by Australian batsmen – where some key defensive skills have been granted less currency.
    3. So cricket becomes a game of chance. Play your shots and some days you get runs, some days you don’t. Oh well. Not to worry. That does not do justice to the game. If anything it is cavalier, showy and ego-driven. For me cricket is about the contest between bat and ball, with a balance between survival and scoring. You win the right to score. You may have to be patient. And sometimes chance does play a part. We even call a dropped catch a ‘chance’. In that way cricket has a lot in common with life.

  21. I’m with Damian. Whilst there is no doubt great skill and enormous patience required to do what SA attempted, it doesn’t do much for a form of cricket on the same road to a slow and painful death.

    As for pitch doctoring, the sooner the ICC does away with the toss and gives the away team the option the better.

  22. The argument that it does not matter whether Sth Africa lose 2-nil or 3-nil ignores the fact that every Test Match matters…and that, in Tests, a draw is much more desirable than a loss.

  23. It seems to me the problem is the pitches being delivered up, not the South Africans (who I must admit can be very stodgy for the sake of it). This is a problem for cricket across the globe.

  24. They talk of little else in nursing homes across the cricketing world today. They are warming up Fonzie in a speedboat on the Derwent for the ceremonial Jumping of the Shark.

  25. Peter Flynn says


    I was across the fact that India were 2-0 up and now 3-0 up when making my remarks.


    Enjoying the range of views and agree with Smoke, Dips and Harms.

    Each Test has its own rhythm and machinations.

    Not every 4th innings is played in that manner. This was extreme on the spectrum.

    How realistic was it for SA to ‘chase’ 480 in those conditions?

    In the recent past, SA have chased a huge total down in Perth (reasonably favourable conditions) to win a Test and have batted sensationally to draw a Test in Adelaide (on that much missed 5th day track).

    How would Australia have approached this ‘chase’?

    My suspicion is that they wouldn’t have lasted 50 overs and we’d be calling them pea-hearts and calling for heads.

  26. And Lehmann would be saying:
    a) “We went down fighting”
    b) “At least we had a crack”
    c) “We try to play entertaining cricket”
    and of course
    c) “That’s the way we play”

  27. DBalassone says

    I hear what you’re saying PF, Smokie et al re the ‘that’s the way we play’ mantra. I especially hate it when Australia are batting in the third innings of a test and are well on top, but are then forced to set a ‘sporting’ declaration in order to give the opponents some hope of winning. This after dominating a test for 3 to 4 days. Sometimes it has backfired and we have lost (England 2001 springs to mind). No other country declares like we do.
    Also the famous Calcutta test of 2001 when Australia had to just bat for 2 sessions on the last day to draw, yet inexplicably we elect to try and chase 370 in 2 sessions, when Ganguly had done us no favours with his declaration.
    But re yesterday’s events, I reckon the degree of difficulty in trying to ‘block out’ 160 overs would have been higher than actually trying to chase down the improbable target.

  28. Steve Fahey says

    Interesting discussion, and I am firmly siding with JTH, Smokie, Dips and Flynny.

    It was fascinating because it was so unusual these days and I agree Amla was trying to make a statement both to his team (about putting value on your wicket) and to the cricketing world.

    Making 480 on that pitch in the fourth innings against that attack was fairyland. It was a wicket that quality bats could survive on but tailenders were lambs to the slaughter against decent spinners as we eventually saw.

    Even those who hated it can’t deny that it has got people talking about Test cricket. In a couple of weeks some nondescript batsman will make 50 off 20 balls in the BBL and everyone will be in raptures until it’s forgotten two days later.

    These sort of games e.g. Atherton batting for 11 hours to save a game against SA, Greatbatch doing similar against the Aussies, Mackay and Kline, this failed attempt by SA, are remembered.

  29. John Butler says

    DB, don’t see much danger of Captain Smith putting us in any peril with a premature declaration.

    I’m of the school that says every test should be a fight to the death. I hate to see a test team roll over. It demeans the game. We have enough things to demean the game at present.

    If the Saffas had been able to block the day out, it would have been one of the monumental efforts of all time. Stuff cheap entertainment.

    I reckon JTH is spot on re them making a statement on the dust bowl pitches India served up for the whole series. South Africa may be the only country currently not tailoring pitch preparation to their specific requirements.

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