Okay, I lied. I couldn’t help myself. I had to watch the cricket. The one days were glorious! I was not expecting that kind of domination, so well done to the one day side.
The test? Even better!
I think that we won the first innings. 280 was not a par score. They had one lone Kohli who got runs with a little support from Rahane, but otherwise the Indians folded like a cheap suit. If we didn’t have an epic collapse we would have had a 100 run lead.
Then they won the second innings. For us, batsmen 1,2,3 and 7,8,9 all did okay, but there was a combined total of 15 runs from Kallis, de Villiers and Duminy. Their combined average is 140, it was terrible! I wouldn’t blame the pitch. Lets just call it bad luck, great bowling and one of the quirks of cricket.
The Indians also won the third innings. Again, there were only really two guys who scored runs, but boy did they score! They won the third innings so convincingly that no sane man would have bet on SA to come back. Not with a man down on a degrading pitch.
Then we won the fourth. Make no mistake. The game was a draw and they left us slightly too little time to win it; so we had to rush at the end and lost too many wickets at the close. BUT, if your team cannot defend 458 on a good bowling wicket on the fifth day of a test, then you have serious problems. They got saved by the bell and they know it.
Ultimately the Indians will take one thought away from this game. They cannot take 20 South African wickets in a test. Even with all the time and all the runs in the world they could not beat the Proteas. For a thought experiment, try to think of a match situation where India would feel more in charge than the one half way through day 4. I can’t! Whatever the match situation, the Indians will suspect deep down that they don’t have what it takes. This was not a good results for them.
For SA the story is different. We are unbeatable. Twice now teams have had us on the ropes launching blow after blow. But this team just shrugs it off and comes back stronger. Yes, we might have won if we risked it. But, what kind of boxer would start swinging wildly in the last round knowing that he has out boxed his opponent? Why would you risk a loss against a team that could not beat you otherwise? There is still one game left, and we are coming into the game with a lot of momentum.
India did play well. Far better than expected. They showed heart.
1) Dale Steyn had a rare, once in a blue moon off game. Normally he comes back stronger and more aggressive than ever after a game like that. Watch out India!
2) Morne got injured and we played a man down. With an extra batsmen and an extra bowler in the next test things will be even harder for them.
3) Kallis is due for some big runs. It’s been a while since he scored, and he looked in great nick in the second session before being given out when he wasn’t.
4) Amla is due for some big runs. Two crazy dismissals? Not a third!
I hope the boxing day test is as entertaining as this one was. Good luck to the boys!
PS. Don’t feel bad Dale, people were just sad. We still love you!