Final Overs also appear at Spin Cricket.
Ball One – I always wondered how any man could divorce Catherine Deneuve – how could you tire of seeing that face every morning? Having sat in the seat I occupy now for the duration of Hashim Amla’s triple hundred in the Oval Test and having seen him gorge on England’s bowling on television since, I’m beginning to understand how such decisions are possible. Yes, he’s lovely to watch, but I’ve had enough for now.
Ball Two – When was the last time (in England) that the tiniest indiscretions of England’s bowlers were punished as mercilessly as they have been by this South African batting line-up. Five overs gone and already England look like they’re in for a lot of hard yakka. This South African summer has reminded me of 1989, with Hashim Amla in the Steve Waugh role. Whether this SA team can go on to emulate that Australian side and spark a dynasty seems unlikely, but no more unlikely than it looked for Border’s gum-chewers of ’89.
Ball Three – Graeme Smith’s technique is individual, but it’s noticeable how often he plays the ball below his eyes, no matter where his feet may be placed, no matter the angle of his bat, no matter how really, really ugly the stroke. Which is why it was a surprise to see him coming down the wicket, swiping unsuccessfully at Jimmy Anderson. Smith’s extraordinary success in England has been built on his willingness to play to his strengths and his aberration in the ninth over was a rare lapse.
Ball Four – I’m all for bowling options in an ODI side, but perhaps the ten available to AB de Villiers (including himself) is a little over the top. Alastair Cook, in contrast, has “only” seven – which may be one reason why Ravi retains his place as six is just about the lower limit these days.
Ball Five – Maybe it’s this dank summer, maybe it’s the memory of Pakistan’s bowling in the UAE Tests, or maybe it’s just the right thing to do, but I’ve never felt more certain that bowling at the stumps is the right line. Bowlers do risk being clipped through the legside and, covering those options, captains have the likes of me complaining about having only one slip, but on slow, low pitches, with DRS available, it’s the attacking line.
Ball Six – With Robin Peterson on 6 and Jimmy Anderson bowling, Alastair Cook has no attacking fielders at all – no slip, no short midwicket, just a standard field for the 38th over of an ODI innings. It’s the way of modern captaincy, but I’m not sure why. Come the next over, Steven Finn has a slip for both batsmen – if it’s right for Finny, is it not right for Jimmy?
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