Last day of the Aus–SA series: 314 runs required, 8 (or so) wickets in hand. Nice!
In one of those rare moments in my life I am hoping for an Australian win. That way I get to enjoy both Australia losing the series and South Africa suffering a turn-around defeat. How cynical of me.
Mostly though, I want Australia to win because Ponting’s declaration was so sporting. It was aggressive, but also risky. It put a big premium on winning the test over drawing it, even at the risk of being whitewashed. It also puts the onus on him to get a winning performance out of his bowlers and fielders. Great stuff. Just the sort of attitude we want to see in Australians.
So how is it that South Africa have achieved what no other team has managed in 16 years, beating Australia at home? The record over the past couple of years shows just how all-conquering they have been.
South Africa last toured Australia in 05/06, when they were beaten 0-2. Starting from the next season however, they have beaten India at home, Pakistan home and away, New Zealand and West Indies at home, Bangladesh a couple of times and England in England. Their one drawn series was against India in India, which was drawn 1-1, though it should be noted that it did feature a match where South Africa bowled India out for 76.
They also had four of the top 10 run scorers of 2008 and three of the top wicket takers.
Considering the momentousness of what has occurred and who was on the receiving end of it, I am surprised Australia’s loss to South Africa hasn’t elicited a bit more gloating around the blogosphere. Suave, bless him, had a spray at the Aussies, but he would have said the same thing regardless of the result. Apart from Suave, everyone else seems to be acting terribly politely; the epoch-breaking implications of this series have barely been touched on. Damith talks about it, but quietly through statistics. His prediction: “Gazillion, number of blogs that will have a field day writing about how Australia lost and how crap they are,” seems pretty far off.
But Crucket is one of those blogs Damith is talking about. Quite frankly and forthrightly, we are delighted that Australia lost. As a kiwi, we obviously can’t get enough of Australia losing. And as a cricket fan, we are overjoyed that the top of the cricket pyramid has been levelled off, even if it has little impact for New Zealand.
Sadly, the Australian blogs are also largely avoiding commenting on the series loss. We’d like to see a bit of bellyaching or blame shifting. Instead we have Cricket with Balls getting philosophical and being gracious, and rather taking the fun out of the gloating.
Yay dammit! South Africa have humbled Australia.
Awesome match. A classic. But I can’t derive too much satisfaction from the result, as I have explained.
However, it was quite amusing to see Ian Chappell have his words turned on him. “Currently, India is energised by the formidable challenge of playing Australia while the prospect still intimidates South Africa,” he claims.
The real measure of where a team stands in relation to Australia is not a computer ranking but how they fare when they play the champions at home. India has displayed the nerve and skill to win matches against Australia on their turf and in the most daunting of venues, the WACA. They are the more worthy heir to Australia’s throne.
Um. Maybe you should have waited for the result of this test before making such a bold claim Ian.
There’s a very nice game of cricket shaping up across the Tasman. South Africa hit Australia hard early yesterday but are now struggling to dispatch the last two, with the score inching towards 400. (Oh. Siddle gone. All out 375.)
It looks like it is going to be a cracker and the cricketing world is going to love it.
Personally though, there is something painful about following this test. I want both teams to lose – not just draw, but lose. So my enjoyment of it is conflicted. It was marvellous to see Ponting edge his first ball, but very disheartening to see de Villiers snaffle it.