Posted by: nestaquin | February 26, 2009

South Africa v Australia: Series Preview

steve-waugh-with-icc-maceIt is almost upon us. The Challenge for the Chalice. The Race for the Mace. The Battle for the Big Burnished Baton. The contest that will decide, in the ICC’s eyes at least, the heavyweight championship of cricket.

The Wanderers, known locally as the Bull Ring, is sold out for all five days and the spectators are salivating at the prospect of a virginal sacrifice of Aztec proportions as Australia field three debutants and several others with only a skerrick of international experience.

Logically, the visitors should not have a chance but cricket is an unpredictable master and Ponting and his men, with public expectations lower than an echidna’s pouch, know that all the pressure will be on South Africa, and I’m sure the major topic in the sledging stakes will be exactly that.

Honestly, many, if not most Australians are more excited by their curiosity than the result of this series. For so long, Australian cricket has been a steamroller crushing all the mystery and hope of the future with cold efficient ruthless authority.

Able to dream of what may be instead of knowing deep down what is, the nation will gaze west across the Indian Ocean tonight with hearts in their throats and bogongs beating in their stomachs and for the first time in a generation or more support a team we all sub-consciously love the most. The Battler. The ANZAC. The Underdog.

It is a position that Australians adore and identify most with and if the hosts slip, the BaggyGreens, with a bit of luck, may just cause the most improbable upset since Steven Bradbury became champion of the world at Utah in 2002.


  1. You can never have too many Bradbury references!

    • I was going to use his name as a verb but I couldn’t work out the correct grammar or how to spell it!

  2. nesta,

    not only oz, dont we all love the position of the underdog!

    and yeah, thanks man, for putting allpaddedup on your blog roll!

    • No worries Ankit, your blog is a worthy addition to the list. Also, I’m well aware that all of humanity have a soft spot for the underdog, however, I’m still to be convinced that the entire cricketing planet outside of Africa will be barracking for my mob.

      • i certainly for one, want the Oz to win, or atleast a drawn series, and have written the same on all padded up’s latest post!

  3. Nesta, the phrasing I’ve heard most often is “do a Bradbury”.

  4. I like this idea of the Aussie as underdog – I trust that’ll still be the case come July?

    • That’d be dependent on England winning a game of cricket between now and July. I could be wrong but wasn’t the last victory in August 2008?

  5. Four away matches ago!

    I’m hopeful of a win in Barbados!

    • Don’t ODIs count?

  6. Not if we’re losing!

  7. Excellent fightback underway from North and Haddin. The sixth and seventh wickets will be vital here I feel.

  8. A fulfilling day’s cricket from both teams. There was enough in the pitch to keep the batsmen on their toes and apart from Smith dropping a sitter the standard of play was exceptional throughout.

    Plenty of moments to keep both sets of supporters happy and interested, however, I still feel that Australia will need to be at their absolute best to achieve an unlikely victory.

    In all three Tests in Australia the home team scored near or over 400 in the first innings and twice it wasn’t enough to secure a win or draw.

    There were periods when the South Africans lost confidence and focus and that is a weakness that needs exploiting over the next four days.

  9. Scoring heavily once the shine and hardness has left the ball would appear to be Aus’ best chance of building big scores.

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