Australia in SA

Will Oz show daredevil side?

2011-11-21 11:20
Ricky Ponting (File)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Australia, desperate to level the series on day five of the final Test at the Wanderers, will have to significantly adjust their battle-plan if the weather clears and at least some play is possible on Monday.

Morning rain and general gloom quite obviously posed a threat – most unfortunately considering the delicate balance of the contest -- to the prospect of any play at all as both teams sat around nervously in their dressing rooms for any signs of a delayed start.

Some weather forecasts suggested a better chance of some brightening on the Highveld from roughly lunchtime meaning that, if so, a curtailed day five would suddenly turn the Aussie chase for a remaining 168 runs with seven wickets in hand into a “limited-overs” affair, with all the heightened drama that would bring.

Under those circumstances, we would see an interesting test of captain Michael Clarke’s willingness to show a gambler’s streak: would he be prepared to spiritedly throw willow at leather at the risk of a 0-1 series deficit turning into a 0-2 clean sweep for the Proteas?

There are traditionally always two schools of thought in Test cricket in situations like this one: the conservative one that says “you don’t just throw away a Test match” and another which protests: “What does it matter if you lose 1-0 or 2-0? Just go for it.”

The latter philosophy is one that was always embraced in the game by someone like Eddie Barlow, the legendary South African all-rounder who firmly believed in fortune favouring the brave, and it is hard to see Clarke not taking that approach as well if he gets the opportunity.

A full day’s play at the Bullring, now definitely not possible, would have allowed the Aussies to go about their business pretty methodically, with risk-taking in stroke-play not too much of an issue.

Instead it is clear that, always keeping an eye on the weather even if there are some windows of playing opportunity, they will have to show greater urgency in the run-scoring task in conditions likely to be even more bowler-friendly now than Sunday’s.

South African captain Graeme Smith, meanwhile, under less pressure to force a victory as no play at all would give the Proteas their first post-isolation home series win over these foes, was likely to have the luxury of getting his bowlers to slow down their over-rates and post ultra-defensive fields if the Australians showed signs of chipping away swiftly at their requirement.

Another thing to consider, however, is that the Proteas would stay on track to regain No 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings if they can knock over the remaining Aussie batsmen for a 2-0 outcome – to achieve this by the end of the home Test-match summer, they need that result against the Australians and then a 3-0 outcome against next tourists Sri Lanka.

In local conditions, the latter score-line is hardly an unrealistic possibility as the Lankans have a poor record on bouncier South African tracks than their own. 
So there are some fascinating sub-plots if a few hours’ play are possible at the Wanderers.

But for the moment everything is firmly in the hands of the weather gods anyway ...
 

Read more on:    australia in sa  |  graeme smith
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose

A device that converts nose breaths into speech will open new doors for people with Parkinson’s or motor neuron disease.

 
 

For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!
Fixtures
21 October 2014
New Zealand v South Africa, Mount Maunganui 00:01
24 October 2014
New Zealand v South Africa, Mount Maunganui 00:01
27 October 2014
New Zealand v South Africa, Hamilton 00:01
Previous Results

Date Match Result
Vote

Graeme Smith's shock decision to retire is...

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.