Showing posts with label South Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Africa. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

After England's stellar show South Africa replies with a gritty performance

South Africa not only managed to stem the rot, but it matched the England's first innings huge total of 629/6  declared with 627/7 declared.

South Africa after the England onslaught in the first innings on the back of Stokes-Bairstow record 399 run partnership did manage to hold on to the match by a gritty performance by Skipper Amla notching a double hundred and Bavuma's maiden Test hundred.

De Villiers 88 and Du Plessis 86, too had a good outing in the match another positive from the match for the hosts.

The knocks by Amla and Bavuma for South Africa has infused new energy in the team. This will surely help South Africa in the remainder of the series with two more Tests to go.

There was every possibility of an England win in the match. Overcoming the deficit on the back of some lucky dropped chances by England, South Africa clawed it's way back in to the series and does have a hope to match the visitors strong showing in the series.

England 87/5 at Lunch on Day 5, could have secured a win and go 2-0 up. It may rue that possibility, but credit must also be given to South Africa for the temperament it showed in the match.

South Africa down by 1-0 in the series does have a chance to stop England from taking away the series after dominating performances in both the Tests.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

South Africa should pull it's overall game together after the Durban Test

 England won the Durban Test in a convincing manner, it outplayed South Africa in all the departments. 

I still think that there is not much difference between the two sides, but South Africa's overall game is under scrutiny. 

There is not much South Africa can do except stick to the basics and complement each other on and off the field, they are still the no.1 team in the world.

Steyn's injury should be a cause of concern but not to an extent that overall team's performance is affected.  

One or two players performance or failure never should bother a team.

Before the start of the first Test, James Anderson's non availability  due to calf strain was big news as everyone knows his contribution to the England side.

Steven Finn, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes combined well to keep the pressure on South Africa in crucial stages. Moeen Ali already among the wickets repeated the performance at Durban.

It was a mixed bag of luck for South Africa as van Zyl was out 2nd ball of the innings, thus exposing an out of form Amla very soon in the first innings. 

Amla could only defend some but not all from Broad's usual probing line with a hard new ball. The way South Africa lost seven wickets in the first innings on the third day too proved an advantage for the England team, securing a vital 89 runs.

England team looks solid both with the bat and the ball and everything seems to be going there way at the moment, which is a very positive sign for the remainder of the series.

South Africa on the other hand should pull it's overall game together and tighten up the loose ends.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Despite Dean Elgar's ton England on top on the third day at stumps at the Durban Test 2015

 South Africa were bowled out for 214 handing over a handsome lead of 89 runs to England in the first innings at Kingsmead, Durban. Dean Elgar notched a well battled hundred and carried the bat through the innings remaining not out on 118.

South Africa lost it's last six wickets for just 70 odd runs, 
 Moeen Ali  added three wickets to his overnight tally of 1 wicket and Steven Finn finished off the tail.

Questions has been raised about the way South Africa batted. Are they too much dependent on some of the players? Are they not playing spin that well?

I think England bowled really well,  even in the absence of James Anderson due to a calf strain.

 Stuart Broad making early inroads in the South African top order with consistently probing line. Made batting difficult for South Africa batsmen taking the wickets of Van Zyl, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers.

Dale Steyn went for a scan that made South Africa a bowler short and there were a number of dropped chances behind the stumps while Morkel bowled.

Though England is on top of the game, but South Africa didn't play that bad as it looked. England lead by 261 runs with seven wickets in hand.

I think 400 would be a total England would be looking to set for South Africa to chase in the second innings.

If South Africa can bat for long hours it can still salvage a draw, but England has got more balanced bowling unit, only a determined effort can save South Africa now.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

South Africa vs England 2015 first Test at Durban - Overview

According to reports England's James Anderson is confirmed injured due to a calf strain ahead of the first Test between England and South Africa at Durban on Boxing Day.

That is pretty bad news for the visitors as James Anderson is the spearhead of the English attack, in his absence Steven Finn is likely to play for England.

Meanwhile the hosts are confident of a solid performance with the return of Dale Steyn in the attack supported by Morkel, Rabada, Abbot and others.

Pitch is likely to suit pacers, and South Africa are likely to have the home advantage. 

Many of the English players are touring South Africa for the first time. The players include, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and others.

South Africa recently lost the series to India in spinner friendly conditions. 

The team will be looking forward leaving behind the loss to take on the visitors on home ground conditions.

On the paper both the teams look evenly balanced with Proteas having the home advantage.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

India still a formidable opponent at home.

South Africa won the T20 and One day International Series and India are about to clinch the Test series. It has been a mixed bag of luck for both the teams.

When everyone thought that India would put up a strong performance against the South Africans in the shorter formats of the game, the opposite happened, the talent of some of the big hitters of the South Africa team, took the games away from the hosts. 

And when everyone expected a humdinger of a Test series, the visitors were found lacking and went down for some record low scores like 79 all out on typical sub-continental pitches.

I recollect Shaun Pollock mentioning during the course of the match in the ongoing series that South Africans need to play out of their skins now, but the visitors just ran out of strategy.

Through out the series Indian spinners in Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra have probed the South African batsmen to the hilt and it proved that home team exploited the conditions very well. Imran Tahir did had good stints too.

Ajinkya Rahane was the standout batsmen in the final Test of the match, at a position when India were 200 plus runs for 7 wickets he kept the wicket at the other end and built good partnerships to steer the hosts out of trouble in the first innings that gave Team India a huge leverage against the visitors.

Though this South Africa line up looks bleak without the likes of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis both retiring from the game and Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander out due to injury, the new comers have plenty to take home from the Sub Continental tour. Rabada, Harmer, Pleidt have good memories of the series for sure.

On the final day of this memorable tour the visitors would be looking to draw, but it will be a very difficult proposition considering the final day Kotla pitch to achieve that target.

No matter what the result is, India showed that it still remains the formidable opponent at home and Skipper Virat Kohli has one more feather in his cap with this series win.

It will be a series worth remembering for the captains of both the teams who have something to take home for the new year.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Are the batsmen to blame in the IndvsSA Test series? Too much T20 cricket?

India faces regular seaming and bouncing tracks away from home and infact India did a splendid job in away conditions off late.

But is it the same case with the visitors Who always play with the strength of their pace bowlers ? Is it not the case that Imran Tahir did perform well in the series and the fact that South Africa batsmen were found wanting with the bat?  Indian batsmen faltered too, that indicates the mindset. And moreover Indian batsmen were found wanting and look to be more comfortable with T20 type wickets.

South Africa will have to cope up with the spin playing tracks in the sub-continent. How far India can stretch the home advantage is the question? Did India went far and presented pitches as being reported or did the batsmen of both the teams did not perform?

Narendra Hirwani in 1988 once bamboozled West Indies team and set a record on Test debut by taking 16 visitor's wickets, even so Anil Kumble took 10 wickets against Pakistan. 

Hindustan Times reports that the pitch has been referred to the committee by ICC. 

ICC says pitch for the Third Test in Nagpur was poor, Report under review - Hindustan Times

ICC should take a holistic view and strike a balance with the fact that Sub Continental teams teams too face fast and pacy tracks not best for their comfort while playing away from home. 


Friday, November 27, 2015

Are the pitches in the Test series against South Africa upto the International Standards ?

There is lot of suspense over the way the pitches are being prepared in the series against South Africa.

I think it was for the first time that these type of wickets were on display in the Indian subcontinent. Even when the likes of  Anil Kumble, Raju and Bhajji bowled, the pitches were not so muddy.

Wickets used to offer considerable support for the pacers early on in the Test match, say like the morning session of first day of the Test match until the shine goes off the ball. I remember India scoring many more runs against England at the same ground if I am right.

But not so in this series I suppose, the wickets were quite muddy, ball gripped the surface eternally, turning sharply. Doosra's were simply unplayable.

I won't say that it is unfair. Because both the teams have equal opportunity to bat and bowl.

But is it acceptable according to the international standards?

Like when India travels abroad, mostly down under, the pitches at Perth and Brisbane have that pace and bounce that Indian batsmen sometimes falter at.

In the Brisbane Test when Johnson quickly removed the Indian middle order and the whole Indian batting line up came under pressure. But the pitches were up to the international standards I suppose offering nice pace and bounce.

I think it is an ethical question here more so that the matches in this series were totally lopsided, with the hosts completely dominating.

I was particularly aghast to see when some of the deliveries didn't rise even up to the knee of the batsmen


Thursday, November 26, 2015

India outplays South Africa in the spin department

India has clearly outplayed South Africa in the spin department. Both Ravi Ashwin and R Jadeja have provided the impetus the team India needed.

Imran Tahir on the other hand performed extremely well for the Proteas, but there was little support for him from Harmer. Instead it was Morkel who provided crucial breakthroughs for the proteas.

With Dale Steyn on the sidelines South Africa were just missing the edge they needed to give a good fight back .

Batsmen of both the sides were clearly outplayed by the spinners in the match. With the top score being 40 runs by Murali Vijay after three innings in to the match.

Many are arguing that pitches prepared in the series are spinner friendly. But I think both the teams have fair chance of winning the match, those who ever win should take the title.

Bowling friendly or batsmen friendly, a pitch plays true for both the sides and better team wins in the end.


South Africa chasing 310 in the second innings in the Nagpur Test

India is clearly way ahead in the third Test against South Africa in Nagpur. After hosts being bowled out for 215 in the first innings.

Proteas succumbed to a very low score of 79, courtesy guile and spin of R Ashwin (5/33) and Jadeja(4) on the second day of the match.

Murali Vijay top scored in the Indian batting line up with 40 runs. While Duminy top scored for SA with 35 runs.
India in the second innings replied with 173 in 46.3 Overs. Imran Tahir took 5 wickets in 11.3 Overs while Morkel took 3 in 10 Overs. Shikhar Dhawan top scored with 39 runs in the second innings for India.

South Africa are left to chase 310 runs in the second innings to win the match which looks very difficult. 

In reply SA are 21/1 in the second innings.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

IndvsSA Jo'burg Test 2013: Ishant Sharma does damage to South Africa top order, Shami and Zaheer pitch in.

India put up a very good performance with the ball after dismal show with the bat on the second day of the Johannesburg Test at the Wanderers in South Africa.

Resuming to bat with overnight score of 5/255 the Indian batting collapsed for 280 all out.

The bowlers for South Africa were relieved a lot as the last recognized batting pair of MS Dhoni and 
Ajinkya Rahane hardly managed to disturb the scoreboard.

Vernon Philander scalped four wickets in the process and was the most destructive.

South Africa started cautiously with Graeme Smith and Alviro Peterson at the crease as the opening pair. Duo dodged the opening spell and were looking quite comfortable until Alviro Peterson was out.

Hashim Amla came to the crease to join company with his skipper, then Graeme Smith was dropped in the slips by Ashwin off Zaheer Khan. 

It looked to be a costly miss, as the runs started to flow for South Africa.

Until Ishant Sharma with his decisive in-swingers removed Hashim Amla clean bowled offering no shot and trapping Jacques Kallis at the crease, and then Smith was trapped leg before by Zaheer Khan.

South Africa was 2/130 and soon collapsed to 6/146 until Philander and Du Plesis offered some late resistance to Indian onslaught with the ball.

Mohammed Shami took the fifth and the sixth wickets for India in the same over to send back, JP Duminy and AB Devilliers with some good bowling.

Though initially South Africa looked to bat comfortably against Indian bowlers, but soon was exposed to a fine display of rare pace bowling from the Indian trio.

Though Ashwin bowled a few overs but it was the pace battery of India that did most of the job on the second day.

Pitch offered variable bounce through out the day, with many balls keeping low and should have affected the batsmen’s reading of the pitch bounce and pace.

Hashim Amla might have expected the ball to bounce over the wicket but the ball nipped in sharply without the bounce the batsman was expecting.

These are the indications that Indian batsmen should keep in mind and try to play forward instead of staying back at the crease.

The feet movement and the ability to leave the ball out side of off, ability to duck well directed bouncers and ability to resist the temptation to drive the ball through covers should help the batsmen. And shots on the rise when the ball is in the air and seaming should be resisted by the batsmen.

In the conditions like in South Africa the ball does a lot on the pitch as well in the air.

Batsmen should concentrate hard to give India a chance in this crucial Test match of the series.

One thing the South Africa batsmen did good was ducking the well directed bouncers, they played them well and that is one of differences the India batsmen should concentrate on ahead in the second innings.

How long the South African tail will wag will be interesting to see.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

IndvsSA Jo'burg Test 2013:India posts a steady 5/255 after a positive decision by the Indian Captain

Captain positive MS Dhoni won the toss and took a positive decision to bat first, India posted a steady 5/255 taking cue from an inspiring century from Virat Kohli on a fiery Wanderer’s pitch.

It was surprising to many analysts around the world, that why would a captain put in line his batsmen against a fiery spell of fast bowling on a fresh Wanderer’s pitch from one of the world’s best bowling lineups.

Fortune favors the brave to say the least, and after both the opener’s were sent back to the pavilion, slightly disproving the decision of the captain, a watchful Virat Kohli and an equally adept Cheteshwar Pujara saw to it that the pace battery takes rest after their onslaught.

Just when things began to fall in place for India after 2 early wickets, a casual yes and no left Cheteshwar Pujara well short of crease. 

But Virat Kohli knew the importance of his wicket and knew that he need to bat long for India, scored a brilliant century which had all the hallmarks of an established batsman.

Shot selection from some of the Indian top order batsman is poor and that’s where Rohit Sharma can concentrate little bit harder to see that, on seaming wicket like at Jo’burg the ball travels at pace giving little time for the batsmen to drive through the covers on the rise.

Rahane dug out harder and is holding on 43 not out with Dhoni in company, and Ashwin to follow there is still some batting left in tail of the Indian line up.

I think 400 would give India time to stay in the Test match and a total of 450 plus will give it a chance to throw some questions back at the hosts.

One of the important lessons from the first day for the top order India batsmen is to read the situation around well and play accordingly, the shot selection was not desirable to see from some of the batsmen who got out cheaply.

And that’s where the experience in all rounder Jacques Kallis comes in to play, he talks Virat Kohli to play onto a bad ball on the rise to give a simple catch to a mid-on to wake him up from the deep slumber, lost his wicket when he could have gone on for more easily, after scoring the century. Yes, he talks back at himself, every time he gets out to a silly shot.

South Africa bowlers were right on the money, but some home work by the Indian batsmen stood them in good stead with all the batsmen keen to leave the ball outside of off-stump except the one played by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan had no clue to duck on to a well directed bouncer from Dale Steyn.

Vernon Philander was probing and Mornie Morkel was at his best, including a catch drop by Hashim Amla which was a little bit difficult of his bowling.

India should try and carefully hold on to the marginal good first innings total and build upon it to stay in the crucial Test match at Wanderer’s.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pak/SA 2013 UAE Test: South Africa succumbs to Pakistan's bowling attack

Pakistan did well both with the bat and ball in winning the first Test against South Africa at the Abu Dhabi, in UAE.

The hosts used the conditions of the pitch well in restricting South Africa in the first innings. Hashim Amla together with JP Duminy put up a 95 run partnership for the fifth wicket in the first innings total of 249.

Pakistani bowlers completely dominated the South Africa batting line up with some good bowling.

Pakistan in the first innings dominated with the bat with a big century from opening batsman Khurram.

Pakistan won the series in UAE against England in 2012 with similar tactics. 

Abdur Rehman, the spinner, is missing from the Pakistani bowling line up, who along with Saeed Ajmal bowled Pakistan to victory in the series against England.

South Africa going down without giving a fight shows the way in which Pakistan dominated the match.

South Africa should now focus to think slightly different in match tactics and team composition.