Category Archives: Chanderpaul

West Indies Win 1st Test

The West Indies won the first test by 128 runs, on the 4th day. It was an unexpected display, a fairytale win and their first test victory in 2.5 years. The West Indians dominated the game from the word go, the only time they looked to be in trouble was in their dismal second innings. The damage had been done in the first and the measly 175 left SA with too much to chase with a malfunctioning top order.

The South African selectors are going to have to ask some serious questions about their batsman. Gibbs didn’t get off the mark and has been struggling in the test arena for the past few seasons, whilst Smith hasn’t been much better. Gibbs averaged 45.6 in the 04/05 season, 15.1 in 05/06, 26.9 in 06/07 and 21.9 in the current 07/08 season. Smith made 39.2 in 04/05, 31.4 for 05/06, 32.8 in 06/07 and 33 for the current season. These figures aren’t pleasing especially when you consider “the rock” of the side Jacques Kallis has averaged 67 in 04/05, 38.2 in 05/06 44.1 06/07 and 121.7 for the current season.

The South African commentators have been talking about bringing Neil McKenzie back into the fray, which has some merit as he has been performing in the domestic competitions. Personally Morne van Wyk would be my answer, he is a classy player who can open the batting which is the biggest headache SA are facing. The current combination isn’t working and De Villiers struggled up the as well. He has had a good season in the middle order and it would be costly to meddle with his position.

To illustrate the problem in the top order, South Africa lost their first 4 wickets for a combined total of 108!! There are very few sides that would be happy being 4 down with only 108 on the board, in their first innings, yet SA were 63/4 and 45/4 in each innings. What is more frightening is that the last 4 wickets produced 93 runs just 15 less than the top-order!!!

The South African bowlers struggled in the first innings, especially Dale Steyn who lacked the rhythm he has had all season. Apart from this the West indies played fantastically, starting off with Gayle tearing the attack apart, followed by contribution from everyone and another excellent performance by Chanderpaul who had an incredible season, being denied in the second innings from scoring a 50 or more in every innings of the year. He managed 7 in a row, with one of them being in 2006. it is an incredible feat and without him, the Windies would still be searching for a Test win against decent opposition.

The second innings saw a worrying collapse for the Windies 6 wickets fell for 21 runs, before Taylor had a little cameo knock.

I genuinely believed it would be a question of how much the Windies would lose by not would they lose? It has certainly made the second test more appealing, South Africa will be looking to even the series, whilst the Windies would be feeling something many of the players haven’t felt before, a sense of pride, a knowing they are indeed good enough to compete.

Questions about Smith’s tenure are surely being asked, it was a huge error to allow the West Indies a first taste of the pitch, one which they savoured, taking the game away from SA by lunch on the second day. They followed this with a fine bowling display which was lacking in the series against England. The West Indies might be slightly undercooked on the batting front, however their firepower in the field can and has made up for this.

Boxing Day Tests

Australia vs India

Australia have won the toss and have elected to bat on a pitch that is supposed to be flat, however some rain from the last few days should make it a tricky start. Ponting believes it was a good toss to win, with some cracks already in the pitch. The Indian side have gone with two spinners whilst Australia has only one.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Matthew Hayden, Phil Jaques, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Brad Hogg, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson.

India: Anil Kumble (captain), Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Vangipurappu Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh.

South Africa vs West Indies

South Africa have named an unchanged side from their series victory against New Zealand, it is just a question of who will sit out. There has been rain in Port Elizabeth which indicates Pollock would be the logical choice to exploit the conditions and bolster the batting. Nel has somehow managed to survive the chop thus far and could well be in the starting XI. Smith has indicated that only a very very green pitch would be the undoing of Paul Harris’s spot from the team, which means the selectors will decide between Polly and Nel.

If Pollock is selected he should pick up a few wickets given the conditions, if not Dale Steyn will more than likely get his third 10 wickets in a match running. Dale is the only strike bowler currently in the SA side. Unfortunately Nel, Polly and Ntini just don’t seem to have the edge they once had. That being said, they are still quality bowlers who can exploit the weaknesses of any side, however they don’t inspire confidence in me that a wicket is imminent when they have ball in hand, a treat Dale Steyn brings to the attack.

Personally I think Pollock is the right call for this match, given the bad weather down in the Eastern Cape, with more rain likely during the test. Pollock is still one of the best at utilizing favourable conditions which are likely to prevail.

On the West Indian front, things look dire. Although they thrashed the Proteas in the Twenty20 match, they were embarrassed by the South African “A” side in a 4 day warm up game which lasted only 3 days as SA “A” won by 10 wickets. They have lost 17 of their last 20 tests on the road and the captain remains a doubtful starter.

On the positive side the West Indians seem to be forming an attack which could cause havoc amongst the South African middle order, which can be fragile if Kallis goes cheaply. Kallis has been the star this year with 5 hundreds and 5 fifties in 15 innings. Chanderpaul has gone one notch higher and hasn’t scored less that 50 in any innings this year. This may sound impressive however he has only had 5 test innings this year.

South Africa are the firm favourites for the series and it will take something incredibly special for the West Indians to challenge the number 2 side in the world. It is not going to happen, unfortunately the question is by how much will the Windies lose by?

Friends Provident Trophy Final Durham v Hampshire

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.