Shafiek Abrahams

A day to remember

2006-03-17 11:30

Shafiek Abrahams

Where were you the day the Proteas broke the world record for runs scored in a one-day international? That is a question that will be asked for years to come.

I had the privilege of commentating during the last ten overs of Sunday's record-breaking game between South Africa and Australia, and the excitement and emotion felt can hardly be described.

When South Africa went two-nil ahead in the one-day series against the Australians we got excited, and rightfully so.

Then, two games in a row when they could easily have clinched the series, the Proteas faltered and I thought: Here we go again - the Australians are going to use their mental edge over the South Africans, as they do in all sporting codes.

In all our major sporting codes, whether it be rugby or cricket, the teams from Down Under always manage to have the better of their South African counterparts.

Mentally tougher?

Some people believe the Australians are mentally tougher, and project more confidence when they walk onto the playing fields.

But although South Africa has played second fiddle to these players for far too long, the Proteas proved in Sunday's one-day game that the Australian strangle hold is no more.

March 12 2006 will be long remembered for its drama, and the records that tumbled when the world record in a one-day international, was broken twice.

Lewis became the most expensive bowler in a one-day international, beating the previous record held by Muralitharan, not to mention the various partnership records that tumbled during the game.

The effect of this great achievement was felt throughout the country and the euphoria even felt in Melbourne, Australia where Team South Africa are busy competing in the Commonwealth Games.

The news of the incredible Proteas victory seems also to have motivated the Team Down Under and hopefully it will inspire some of the athletes to go and achieve more than what they and everyone else expected.

The last time South Africa was in such a buzz was back when the Springboks won the 1995 Rugby World Cup. In every bar, club and even in formal meetings, the result of the record-breaking one-day international was the topic of discussion.

The series win in the one-day form of the game will thus give the Proteas some confidence going into the Test series, but a lot of hard work will also be needed if they want to compete with the Australians in the Tests.

The Test series will be a different kettle of fish now, and the Proteas will have to improve their disciplines, especially their catching.

Whatever happens in the Test series, Graeme Smith and his team have given the rest of the cricketing world something to talk about.

The day the records tumbled will be remembered for a long long time.

  • Shafiek Abrahams is a former Proteas spinner

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