South Africa are 37/1 and trailing by 85 runs going into the third day of the final test. The game might be a dead rubber in terms of results but true champions dont back down. (That and there is no South African that wants to see KP start off with a victory!!!) If Jacques Kallis wants to join the rest of the top 6 in getting a century today will be his last shot at it for the test series and if SA ever needed him to perform under pressure today would be the day.
The term “busted flush” has been bandied about by the English supporters whom I am in contact with, an average of 15.83 for the series indicates he hasnt had his finest series.
Cometh the hour cometh the man can Mr Kallis deliver?
Hampshire won the toss and chose to field first, a decision they were going to regret especially after Kyle Coetzer and Shiv Chanderpaul put on a 111 run partnership off 119 balls for the 3rd wicket. At this stage, Durham were 180-3 off 32 overs and looking like a total of 270 would be in the equation. Six overs later, Chanderpaul was run out, for 78 off 79 balls including 8 fours and 2 sixes. The captain, Dale Benkenstein came to the crease and helped to put on a 58 run partnership for the 5th wicket before Collingwood was out for a painful 22 off 35 balls, a really slow innings in comparison to the rest of the side. Durham was placed nicely with 278 on the board and 13 balls to go.
Otis Gibson came to join Benkenstein in the middle as the non-striker and a single off the last ball meant he would wait a little longer to face his first ball. In the 48th over Tremlett managed to get a dot ball in and only allow a single to Benkenstein off the second ball before Gibson faced his first ball, which he carted for a six and then smashed a four off the next ball. Tremlett not being too pleased with this sent down a life flashing before your eyes beamer that had Gibson ducking for cover. Gibson managed 3 runs off Tremlett’s last 2 balls bringing up 16 runs for the over.
Powell was given the honour to bowl the last over and must have thought he was onto something with 3 singles off his first 3 balls. However, Benkenstein had other ideas. He finished the innings off with a six and two fours, bringing the total to 312/5 a record for a FP trophy final. Benkenstein ended up with 61 off 43 balls.
Hampshire knew that a good start would be vital and it was a dream start if you were a Durham supporter as Gibson, probably the oldest opening bowler ever in county cricket snapped up Michael Lumb with the first ball of the match and Ervine with the second ball. Hampshire were going nowhere after a start like this and just to ensure that there would be no revival Gibson picked up his third wicket in the 9th over which happened to be Kevin Pietersen leaving them reeling at 17-3 after 9 overs.
There was some resistance from JP Crawley and the rain which appeared just after Crawley was bowled by Collingwood. The reserve day had to be used, which allowed Hampshire to resume on Sunday where they left off at 153/5 chasing 160 off 18 overs. They managed 34 runs for the last 5 wickets and took a massive 125 run defeat at the hands of Durham. Nicky Pothas again re-enforced why I think he should be the first choice keeper for England with a handy 47 runs off 52 balls, the second highest score for Hampshire.
There are various forms of putting the batsman off, the most common is sledging. England it seems to be fairly competent in that department, however in the Second test against India at Trent Bridge they took the mind games to a new level. Zaheer Khan, who hasn’t even cracked the top 100 for test batting and averages 12 after 65 innings, certainly didn’t need any more odds against him.
Yet the English cricketers decided to raise their mind games to the extent that there is no other way to describe it other than
disgusting against the spirit and tradition of the game . It is quite clear a batsman of his calibre is tested in a game of village cricket and certainly doesn’t need to be put off by jelly beans thrown on the pitch. There is no doubt in my mind that jelly beans were thrown onto the pitch, on the third day. This opinion has been reinforced by Paul Collingwood jokingly telling the papers that “perhaps he prefers the blue ones to the pink ones.”
It will be absolute disgrace to the game if such a tactic remains unpunished. The Inernational Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that England won’t be punished unless one of the batsman complains to the match umpires. The ICC has indicated that the English haven’t broken any rules by this act. This is understandable, in fact quite commendable that the law makers of cricket never envisioned this sort of shenanigans happening. In fact there must be few sane and sober people in the world who could have predicted such an antic to be carried out.
This is some of the worst form of gamesmanship in recent times. There are far worse actions carried out by players in every test played, often with sides deliberately scuffling the pitch. However this was so blatant and deliberate the ICC needs to react to this tomfoolery. If this is let slip now what is there to stop another side from this behaviour?