ODI – Australia v South Africa: Worth the drive from Mildura

What “ist” am I?

 

I drove the 500 kilometres from Mildura this morning to witness personally what I had been reading about, hearing about, viewing about and talking about. What?

 

Yes, the Australia cricket team who are playing South Africa in Adelaide in a one-dayer.

 

I am not sure whether I am a masochist, optimist or pessimist? Whatever it is I have taken the unusual step of going to a Pyjama Game.

 

I think the locals are pretty ordinary but I want to see it for myself and in person. How they measure up against a world class attack, what about their body language and can they play cricket?

 

The Proteas won the toss and sent Oz into bat.  Keep the pressure on them. Cricket Australia has been like a pressure cooker in recent weeks and the thermostat is still not set right.

 

There has been as much interest as to who is still working in Jolimont as there is with who is in the Test team.  Not one person I spoke to this afternoon could give me six batsmen for the first Test such is the running sheet for the Titanic.

 

As usual a player flashes and this case it is the local Head.  Two slashing fours and the crowd erupted but then he was gone for 8.

 

Marsh, who is apparently on the boil also played some superb shots but flashed once too often and is gone for 22. He looked set but does not know when to leave well enough alone.

 

Skipper Finch, no not a bird is having an unusual innings but at least he is still there. He is now in the 40ties and that is the time he normally would loft one to mid-on. We will see.

 

Nostradamus strikes again (verified by Andrew Faulkner)! Not to mid-on but unluckily plays on but again playing to far away from his body.

 

Have just noticed that the Australian players are wearing poppies. Now there is no one more patriotic than me but wearing the symbol of Armistice Day three days before the event. Get it right CA you are becoming like the AFL who celebrate Anzac Day on at least three or four days. There is only ONE day for each of these sombre occasions. Do we run the Melbourne Cup on any other day than the first Tuesday in November?

 

Lynn plays some fine shots but he also smashes a few as well.  Certainly, they are not from the Centre of Excellence but he does get to 44 from 44 balls before he gloves Rabata to De Kock.

 

Rabada is an angry young man.

 

The real barometer of how cricket is fairing is shown by the crowd. After 28 overs the hill is sparse and the members are dominating.  About seven thousand in total on a beautiful Friday afternoon. CA will be watching very closely.

 

Ah! The Aussie Flasher is at it again!  Carey and Maxwell have been looking very comfortable but then Maxwell flashes at Pretorius and De Kock takes de ball.

 

Being in Adelaide one must try and appreciate the locals and Carey has certainly been comfortable. Know doubt tomorrow’s local paper will be agitating to have him in the Test team if he has a good innings. Mind you Paine is hands above him as a keeper and I think we are now getting back to traditional roles.

 

I have always liked Stoinis as a player and it will be interesting to see his performance with both bat and ball today. There is a spot in the Test team for such a player and he must be very close to the top of the pack   Its s not to be and he is beautifully taken by Hendricks close in.

 

At my age one cannot forget the magnificent fieldsmen that I have seen from South Africa in my time – Colin Bland, Roy McLean, Jonty Rhodes and Tiger Lance to name just a few. Their fielding has always been superb and in pre-apartheid days it was their main strength.

 

Wickets continue to fall for the Australians but the cynic in me says at least they will probably play out the fifty overs which will please the caterers at least. Carey continues to be comfortable and is at least hanging around.

 

Love the casual air of the Proteas they are in full bloom and know exactly what they are doing without too much fuss. They have been well fertilised over the years.

 

Carey (47) is caught behind by De Kock of Rabada who has warmed to his task. A gritty innings by the South Australian keeper which will keep his name high on the list of “probables’’”.  Remember when the media used to talk about “possibles” versus “probables”.  Obviously, PH (Pre Howard-not John Winston, but Pat).

 

There is light at the end of the tunnel as Zampa and Hazlewood hit out at the death. At least there is fight in the tail.

 

The crowd has increased immeasurably since 5 p.m. and we will see what sort of a fight the Aussies show in the field of play after tea.

 

Wow! Australia last for nearly 50 overs. Well played by a few should be a good test for the bowlers now.

 

The tea interval certainly has attracted more fans to the ground and the crowd looks around 17,000. Still think that both SACA and CA would be slightly disappointed with the attendance.  Is this a sign of what we feared? A decline in what was always a cricket loving public.  (Official crowd 17,680).

 

Australia start well getting De Kock early and then a magnificent throw from Stoinis saw the end of Markram. At 2/46 the Aussies are well in the game. Make that 3/48 as Hendricks tickles a beauty from Hazlewood to Carey.  The body language of the locals is white hot.

 

It looks like Australia’s night as Klaasen (14) plays a shocking shot of a lose ball by Stoinis and Lynn takes a brilliant catch.  At 4/68 the Proteas are wilting but Du Plessis is still there and we remember last time he hung around in Adelaide.

 

It is a beautiful night here in Adelaide and the roof climbers are having a wonderful view of all they can survey. At $235 a rope and 14 on each trip that equals $3290.

 

Good work by the Australian bowlers. They are giving nothing away and the Afrikaners will have to work hard to win this one.

 

Du Plessis and Miller have steadied the ship and their fifty partnership comes from 82 balls. Nothing flash about their work just honest toil. Justin Langer would be happy if it was his boys.

 

This is good cricket as the quicks are throwing themselves into their work and the batsmen are having to be red alert all the time – good to watch.

 

Cummins bowls wide, Faf pulls, ball hits wicket – a great break through and Australia now hold the upper hand and SA 5/142.

 

For a one-dayer the last half hour has been brilliant. The crowd are buzzing and a rare Aussie win looking likely.  Glad I came.

 

Finch is doing a great job as captain but the fifth bowler is now a bit of a worry as Zampa went for eight an over in his first stint. Maybe Head or Maxwell?

 

Its Zampa!

 

Great spells by Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood.  How they are needed for the series against India. They went flat out tonight, no signs of fatigue.

 

It is anybody’s game as Hazlewood entices Pretorius in to a false stroke and the Proteas are now 6/174 with 10 overs to play.

 

The only 50 of the game comes from David Miller who unflustered keeps his team in the game. Steyn is bowled by Stoinis and the visitors are 47 behind with 3 wickets to fall. He is good value young Stoinis.

 

Zampa is now equal to the task and is keeping runs to a minimum.

 

This is a much improved performance by Australia and skipper Finch will be pleased that any “outside noise” was assisting his team tonight and not hindering them.

 

DRS – you ripper!  About time you came into the game.  Don’t the crowd love it. Stoinis gets the dangerous Miller (51) leg before wicket after appeal.

 

The Westralian finishes with 3/35 in a very, very handy performance for his team.

 

Brave captaincy by Finch in leaving Zampa to the death and he is only going for four an over. Starc comes back and is far to quick for Ngidi.

 

Only one team can win now and it is not South Africa.  This has been a much improved performance by the Australian team and they will go to Hobart with a strong sense of victory emanating from their nostrils.  Far different from the last time they played on the little island against the Proteas.

 

I come away from the match well satisfied that your team, my team have shown a marked improvement. They attacked when needed. They defended when needed.

 

As their report card will say “continual improvement will meet with rewards”.

 

Now to drive home.

 

 

About Bob Utber

At 75 years of age, 'Citrus Bob' Utber is doing what he wanted to do as a 14-year old: writing, talking and watching sport. How good is that!?! He lives in Mildura with his wife and 'furry kids'; a labradoodle "Freddy Flintoff" and a groodle named "Chloe on Flinders".

Comments

  1. A great report, Citrus. Thank you.

    I drove that Sturt Highway a couple of times when I was a younger man.
    So picturesque through the Riverland, so gunbarrel straight through to Mildura.

  2. I really like Travis Head, and want him to succeed, but he is testing my patience.
    His dismissal in this game was a very poor shot, playing across the line to a ball on the stumps. It was a T20 shot in a ODI.

  3. John Butler says:

    Timed that well, CB.

    It must be hard for the Aussie players to focus on the game at hand, what with all the chaos ensuing around them.

    We’ll see if they can hold it together.

    Cheers

  4. Dave Brown says:

    Wouldn’t be too worried about the crowd, CB. One dayers on working/school days in early November have never attracted large crowds.

  5. Luke Reynolds says:

    CB- I really enjoyed this win by Australia. Wonderful effort to drive from Mildura to Adelaide.
    Stoinis is an interesting player. Ideal ODI player. His Sheffield Shield record would suggest Test cricket is a long way off at the moment.

  6. Citrus Bob I reckon there are many reasons re crowd lack of publicity thru there own greed re foxtel so a lot of folk not even aware game is on loss of interest in 1 day cricket and disulionsment after our cheating besides having a average side lots of worry where aust and world cricket is at although yes it was a slightly better effort on friday night ( programming wise greed again playing bloody one day cricket when it should be full bore shield cricket )

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