Cricket: Rise of South Africa
Pakistan seems to have won a Test series against Australia indirectly without in fact playing with it as South Africa, defeated by Pakistan recently in Pakistan, thrashed the Aussies hosts to clinch the series. India has yet another reason to envy this Pakistan's undeclared feat in cricket and might feel even feel defeated by Pakistan indirectly. For, Australia it is a terrible defeat worse than the Mumbai Nov26 and it has to revise the policies and revert back to its earlier cricketing spree without adjustments and appeasements. By playing tricks Australia fell in India. Both India and Australia have declined to play in Pakistan by citing "terrorism" and after Mumbai Nov26 India confirmed its "Terrorism" stand.
South Africa ended nearly a century-old drought to register their first ever series win in Australia when they crushed the hosts by nine wickets in the historic second Test at the MCG in Melbourne on 30 December. Since touring Australia for the first time in 1910-11, this was the Proteas' maiden series win Down Under -- their previous best performance being a 1-1 draw back in 1963-64. Having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, South Africa will topple Australia from their top ranking if they can win the third and final Test in Sydney.
South African skipper Graeme Smith has hailed a shift in the power-balance in world cricket after what he described as the greatest year in the South African team's history. Smith entered the tour calm and composed and aiming to be the first man to lead South Africa to a series victory in Australia. Over the past two years South Africa has built such a strong outfit that they have not lost a series since they visited Sri Lanka in 2006. This year they have beaten England in England and kept India to a drawn series in India, but lost to Pakistan. They are the sort of a fightbacks teams could only dream of against Australia in past seasons. When Hashim Amla clipped the ball through midwicket for two to bring up the MCG victory, it completed a remarkable couple of weeks for the South Africans.
Victorious, irrespective of the final Test, The SA team headed to Sydney for their New Year's Eve celebrations before regrouping for the third Test, which starts on 03 January.
If cricket means collective efforts, then, this series clearly demonstrated. Graeme Smith's team notched up an historic win in Melbourne. Thanks mainly to the inspirational skipper Smith (75), who became South Africa's youngest captain at the age of 22 in 2003, South Africa became the first team to win a Test series in Australia for 16 years as they wrapped up a nine-wicket victory in the second Test at the MCG. The baggy greens had not lost at home since 1992-93, when they were defeated by the West Indies.
Assuming the current cricket Test series in Australia between South Africa and Australia being played quite seriously, South Africa has indeed has outsmarted Australia which is already on the decline. Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, JH Kallis, PL Harris and DW Steyn collectively contributed to SA victory. Since coming back into the international arena in the early 1990s, South
Africa has had the most trouble with Australia and they finally conquered them, with de Villiers fighting to 106 and Jacques Kallis and the debutant JP Duminy producing nerveless half-centuries.
A ninth-wicket partnership of 180 between Duminy and Steyn helped turn the game around, and Steyn's five-wicket haul in the second innings reduced Australia to 247, leaving the tourists a modest victory target. When the SA played its second innings, it was certain they were going to clinch the series. Neil McKenzie made an unbeaten 59 and Hashim Amla (30) hit the winning runs. After recording his 24th Test fifty Smith succumbed to a quicker ball from spinner Nathan Hauritz. Smith's side came from behind equally strongly at the MCG, where they ended the second day at 198-7 - nearly 200 runs behind their hosts. They had seemed in a commanding position during the opening match of the current series, in Perth, before a remarkable fight-back by South Africa saw the visitors chase down an unlikely second-inning target of 414.
South Africa has pulled off the second-highest run chase in Test history. Duminy and de Villiers are hugged by their team mates as they leave the ground. It's been a stupendous effort, beating Australia in Perth, chasing 413. They did it with six wickets in hand, Smith finally shows emotion and celebrates in the dressing room. 119.2. Johnson to Duminy, 3 runs, the debutant does it! And reaches 50! He drives the full ball through cover and sprints one, returns for the second, and then races back for the third, he leaps in the air in celebration, what a terrific effort, that's the end of the match, now Australia looks a little shell-shocked.
In a thrilling and stomach-turning adventure in the top-of-the-table contest, South Africa registered the second-biggest successful chase in history and did it so comfortably that they could have got 500. Australia's answer was Mitchell Johnson, who took a career-best 11 wickets, but the rest of the performance was as worrying as South Africa's was outstanding. AB de Villiers erased a lingering hoodoo for South Africa as they sealed their most satisfying win with a record-breaking chase of 4 for 414 that buried Australia.
In the previous Test, Smith smashed 108 from 147 balls while Hashim Amla made 53 as the pair shared 153 for the second wicket before Smith was trapped in front by Johnson, who with that wicket completed 10 in the match. Just on the eve of this historic win, Johnson to de
Villiers, FOUR, century no 7! Take a bow AB de Villiers! He reaches his century with a superb pull to the long leg boundary, he hit that all along the ground, the players in the dressing room rise to applaud a match-winning innings.
Earlier, skipper Graeme Smith, who set up the chase with 108, watched his team drop the hosts to 3 for 15 on the opening day, but it was not ahead again until after lunch on the final day. It has been like a handicap sprint race, with the runners not coming together until the final ten meters. South Africa was 227 for three at stumps on day four of the first Test against Australia in Perth, chasing 413 to win. Australia was bowled out for 319 in their second innings before Neil McKenzie was dismissed for 10. McKenzie's miserable game with the bat continued when he was caught by Brad Haddin of
Mitchell Johnson but a Graeme Smith century gave South Africa hopes of pulling off an unlikely win. South Africa finished with more than their chests in front to capture an invaluable 1-0 lead in the three-match series, which resumes in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
Smith made his 18th Test hundred to give his side an outside chance of victory against Australia in Perth. Smith knew there would be pain in his elbow throughout his 108, but he will have to wait to learn whether
the courageous display was enough to avoid the hurt of another defeat to Australia. Smith's hundred gave South Africa, who started their innings with the target of 414 as close as their country is to Perth, a chance to dream of the second-biggest successful chase in history. Mitchell Johnson's tenth wicket of the match and a quick follow-up by Brett Lee, who removed the impressive Hashim Amla for 53, eased the growing stress of the Australians late in the
day as the visitors finished at 3 for 227. With at least 91 overs remaining, the number on the horizon is a significantly more manageable 187 for South Africa, but the main problem is key wickets have already fallen.
The throbbing in Smith's elbow gradually
transferred into pain in Australia's side as he refused to be broken by rain breaks, the size of the task, regular bowling chances or Jason Krejza's exaggerated appeals with balls pitching outside leg. During the interruptions Smith received massages and while they were not for relaxation, he operated calmly throughout the afternoon. He knew the contest could be lost quickly, but that it would have to be won over a 10-hour wrestle. There was incredibly useful support from Amla, a player who seems to lift the mood of his captain. Nineteen runs came in the 14.3 overs Smith shared with Neil McKenzie, who edged Johnson on 10, but as soon as Amla stepped into his back-foot pushes the rate lifted. The result was a 153-run stand that rattled the Australians until both batsmen departed in
South Africa faced the daunting prospect of having to make what would be the second highest fourth innings total in Test history to win the game. Their best so far was making 340-5 to beat Australia in Durban in March 2002. Should they lose, - they did not- they would have regretted their inability to knock over Australia's lower order quickly, with Krejza helping Haddin add 79 for the eighth wicket before he was caught by a diving AB de Villiers at point off Jacques Kallis for 32.
Haddin's fifth half century arrived off 85 balls and he found another useful ally in Johnson, who made 21 but was then caught at first slip by Kallis off Morne
It was then a question of whether Haddin could reach a second Test century, having made 169 against New Zealand last month, with only last man Peter Siddle for company. He struck spinner Harris for two sixes and a four off successive deliveries,
but went down the pitch to attempt another big hit off the final ball of the same over and was easily stumped by keeper Mark Boucher.
Australia started the day on top but by lunch they were in a commanding position, adding 91 before being dismissed for 319.. Haddin blasted their advantage past 400 with a six to long-on from Paul Harris and next ball repeated the result with a smooth strike over long-off. He immediately followed it with a four straight down the ground, but later in the over was stumped aiming for his hundred. South Africa began their reply, knowing that in Johnson they would be facing a bowler brimming with confidence following his 8-61 in their first innings.. Smith met the situation with some aggressive strokeplay and brought up a magnificent hundred with two successive square cuts for four off Johnson. But the tourists suffered a double blow when Smith and Hashim Amla were dismissed in the space of four overs after a second-wicket partnership of 163. Smith allowed only a few moments of extravagance before tea, including a straight drive and a pull off Peter Siddle for boundaries, but he extended his range after the break and blew to his century in 138 balls. This was Smith's 18th hundred - his first against Australia - and when he reached it with consecutive cuts for four off Johnson he
looked to the sky.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith earned 6000 Test runs in his 73rd match and was averaging a neat 50.00. Smith is chief provider on a surface that shows no signs of deteriorating, a factor which provides another boost for the tourists. If South Africa make it in Final Test on Saturday, it will be because of the example of Smith, a captain who is desperate to beat Australia and talented enough to achieve it. Australia would like shield Sydney from invaders, but how far they would be successful, remains to be seen. South African batsman Jacques Kallis said that his side will have to work hard to save the Test against Australia in Perth, but that the team would draw on past experiences to help.
Australia have now been defeated in two of their past three Test series, failing against India and South Africa. They are the second and third-ranked teams. Australians are unable to bear this unexpected turn of cricket events at home. Australian cricket's iconic MCG was awash with empty seats, but there was a sprinkling of South Africans in attendance to see their team take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series 15 overs into the afternoon session. If South Africa wins the final Test in Sydney on 3 January they would seal Australia's first whitewash since 1984 and replace them as world number one.
However, more than Australia, which suffered humiliating historic defeat at the hands of the visiting South
Africa, it is India that managed to thrash the world champions in India recently, is upset over South African victory in Australia. For, India, which defeated
Australia, considers the Australian thumping victory a self-defeat at the hands of Pakistan that defeated South Africa in Pakistan recently.
Conspicuous by the absence of its broad reports even in sport pages, the Indian media therefore downplayed the Australian defeat that amounts to Indian great defeat. It is then certain Indian media would have made the news a top one had South Africa lost to Australia.
South Africa will overtake Australia to become the No.1 Test team if they complete a clean sweep in Sydney, having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead with their nine-wicket triumph at the MCG. Whether or not SA wins the forthcoming Sydney match as well, which looks certain, or whether or not Australia revamps its resources and skills in future by avoiding "fun" or
"joint-cricket" matches or games for mere experimentations, South African has indeed has surged ahead with its refreshing appeal and abilities to take over Australia to assume the mettle of world champions of future.
DR.ABDUL RUFF Colachal
Columnist & Independent Researcher in World Affairs, The only Indian to have gone through entire India
****This is from:Dr. Abdul Ruff*** Mob: 9349942532
A nation that has enslaved free people is no democracy. "Democracies" like USA and India have zero tolerance to any criticism of their anti-Muslim and other aggressive practices. Anti-Muslimism and anti-Islamism are as dangerous as "terrorism".
From Dr. Abdul Ruff * with Best wishes. December 2008
*Kindly don't sed me false mails for awards and prizes, I dont buy them. *Indian government owes me, a former university level faculty for central government, possibly billions of rupees as dues as well as VRS but the present regime refuses to settle the money.* Indian government unleashed remote as well as direct terror on me for years, to surrender job for VRS including terror dreams, denying me continuous sleep and making me to wake up to the remote terror strikes. * India has several times unleashed politico-lumpen elements to attack me.*The shameless GOI people(PM,President,HRD minister) don't even bother to respond to my appeals in this "largest democracy". * I shall be grateful to you if U pursue that for meThanks for kind cooperation.IndianPM is reluctant to release my money. -Dr.Abdul Ruff, 2008