Posted by: nestaquin | March 10, 2009

The Day that Decides the Fate of the Mace

peter_siddleFor the third Test match in succession South Africa need to bat out the final day or score about 300 to avoid defeat. On the last two occasions, in Sydney and Johannesburg, they failed and in doing so reinvigorated the BaggyGreen dream of retaining the ICC Mace.

South Africa’s hopes of holding the ostentatious trophy are not entirely exhausted but to stay in the hunt they’ll need to chase down Australia’s total and break the world record chase by an astonishing 128 runs when play resumes at Kingsmead in a few hours.

Although it appears fantastic, it would be prudent to not discount the possibility of a remarkable South African victory with Kallis, Duminy, de Villiers and Boucher still to be dismissed. They have the skill and bravado to achieve history and if they truly desire the number one ranking they will need to win. A draw will not suffice.

Australia, on the other hand, has the knowledge and confidence of defeating South Africa in almost identical circumstances twice in a month but the going will be tough without a recognised spinner.

Obviously, with the new ball due as soon as play begins the first hour will be crucial and even if South Africa manage to survive late into the third session Australia will not concede as another new ball will be taken with a minimum of ten overs till stumps, so stock up on your stimulant of choice and strap yourself in for what promises to be a thrilling, nailbiting and gutbusting final day’s Test cricket from Durban.


  1. I am prepared, Nesta. Barley water, Bundy rum , just in case, Mango shampood, a packet of Salada’s and a jar of vegemite. All set up. This morning I went to work in an unironed shirt, but no one noticed, this is a hard gig, keeping SA hours and Sydney hours, but one must PRESENT. I am looking forward to a bit of a bludge doing India/Sydney hours for the IPL, just as long as no one trips my triggers, I can get thru to Eng/Sydney.

    But I was dribbling a little bit this afternoon. I had trouble forming whole sentences.

  2. I know pepp, it’s hard yakka being jet-lagged without leaving home. Hopefully, the Rollers can finish them off early but I reckon we’ll be bleary-eyed and on the edge of our seats watching Smith blocking out the last over with one hand.

  3. If SA can survive till late third session, a draw will be out of question – either SA does the unthinkable or Oz win comfortably.For some strange reason, I want Hilfy to get wickets, and De Villiers to stay almost till the end.

  4. I expect the normal grit and guts from the Saffers, with a bit of venom thrown in.

    Kumar and I are on the same wavelength, re Hilf, which is awfully nice, Kumar.. I believe Dooms will be there at the end, but I think Steyn will be, as well. Not taking a thing away from DeVilliers, or Boucher, either.

  5. I have a gut feeling that SA will win this and Ponting will be sacked as captain

  6. even Albie might get up to bat.. * happy sigh*..

  7. sack Ricky??? !!!!….

    in a pig’s arse.

  8. Ignoring S.L.D. nonsense punter comment l thnk Aus should do this pretty well with a few breakthroughs this morning with the new ball. To me there is just too much time/too many overs.

    If Aus can;t bowl them out in 5 and a half sessions chasing 550. Well….

  9. Its not 550 anymore japaljarri, it about 300. That’s not too much for a full days play. There’re 3 good batsmen and Boucher left, plus a tail. If two of them score a ton today, they’ll win.
    Of course if we get two wickets in the first hour, its curtains.

  10. The bowlers are going to tire in the afternoon when there will be easy runs available – if, big if, the game gets there. At tea, all four results may be possible.

    The bookies have Aus as favourites, but the draw as low as 2/1 and an SA win at 8/1. I’d have the draw at 6/1 and an SA win at 33/1.

  11. For those without a telly try this link

    Forget about dropping Punter it’s Pup that needs rogering!

  12. Leave it Ricky to clean up the mess. Here we go!

  13. Clarke no! Yes Johnson!

  14. gorgeous.. simply gorgeous..

    Fatherhood has given Ricky an extra edge, I do believe..

  15. Thanks for the link, thats great.
    About time they held onto Kallis.

    • No worries fred. As good as the ABC are you can’t beat the pictures.

  16. I don’t really know why the draw is coming in that low. I don’t see this bowling attack keeping the runs down and not taking wickets.

    Nesta, do you think a loss today will break the Aussies so much that the mace is gone? Even apart from a win in the Third Test, even a drawn series retains the mace, with the Ashes there as a chance to tighten the grip before summer comes to the south.

    And now Kallis is out… looking better and better.

    • I’d rather not consider losing at this stage Jonathan. Fair dinkum, 546 is a huge total with Smith injured. If South Africa win they deserve the bauble, the title and the prestige.

  17. Shame for Kallis. Deserved to get his 100 and then get out.

  18. WHOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    good god almighty

  19. Surely thats it. They can’t be stopped now.

  20. Top nut! It makes a big difference having bowlers that can move it even on flat surfaces. They might be broken now. Hope so. I need a good sleep!

  21. Perfect start. Its just too much 5 and a half sessions on days 4 and 5.

  22. Siddle’s a tonic. I love his open, aggressive and straight forward personality. He joins Johnson as an automatic selection in the Oz bowling lineup.

    • Good to see a Vic back in the bowling stocks. Lets ALL hope they go on and win the shield this year?!

      • Indeed, go the Vics – the only team I hate more than Victoria is Queensland. Symonds owes his team a big score. I just hope it’s a competitive game though that’s probably expecting too much.

        • I’m not sure about the Junction Oval pitch but if it was at the MCG the Vics would score a 1000 and kill the match and take the Shield. They still should win because Queensland aren’t exactly frightening with James Hopes opening the bowling!

  23. I hope that Siddle will raise sledging to a new high, really. He isnt the slightest bit bothered by all the hoo haa about it. He just screams stuff at the batsman, and I like it.

    I’d like to see Mitch sling a bit, too.

  24. oh good god.. oh no.

  25. * nailbiting* … Duminy can do it. If it can be done, Duminy can do it.

  26. Great bowling by Siddle but I am getting weary of the dropped chances. Ricky might have to field at first, second and third slip.

  27. Relentless quality fast bowling by the young trio. Onya Hilfy!!

  28. oh hilfy.. .hilfy.. and a lovely catch by Haddin at last..

    Duminy out!!!… well.. Mango has dragged a few shoes in to nag at.. very pleased. Ricky’s face… simply fabulous.

  29. I feel slightly more confident now. haha.. one can never be too confident with South Africa..

  30. it was good stuff, nesta.. mesmerising.

  31. Mitch looking cunning and concentrated.. I reckon Steyn will be there at the end…

  32. But I know buggerall, because I was convinced that Duminy would be there till stumps.. oh well

  33. Harris looks completely bamboozled already.. Mitch and Hilfy are setting him up for a bit of a clatter. Maybe a toe, or a shin.

    • AH Pepp, the Kat got him! Great catch by Siddle. He covered plenty of ground after bowling a long spell. I think we can put the notion of Australia being unable to take 20 wickets to bed now. After today that is three matches straight against a very good team.

      • We do have a spinner after all!

  34. Great moments so far: Siddle’s delivery to get AB and Hilfy’s craft and heart to get JP…

    The remaning wickets can be hustled out in another 20-25 overs max..

    SA have only themselves to blame..completely outplayed in this series so far..not so much in skill but in heart.

  35. Harris gone..match should be over by Tea.

    • Yep Kumar. And very satisfying result too for a team of quicks who just never stop running in and trying their hardest.

  36. Even WI have showed better fight than SA in this series. Admittedly the English bowling has not been as threatening, and a flat pitch, but still, it has to be done. Two dropped catches and they still lost 4 wickets.

    • The bowling has been of a very high standard and what is most promising is that these three have plenty of room left for improvement.

  37. well. I was glad Harris was caught, as Mitch looked in a bone breaking mood, to me. So he’s a lucky guy, really, Harris.. walking off the ground undamaged, physically. . .

    I was a bit worried about the ambo’s , the teeth, the red shirt, etc.. oh dear.. tee hee.

    • Steyn is still to bat and I think they might try and land a few blows on him. Will be worth watching and I expect that Siddle will want first crack!

  38. nice stuff from Katich which will make Roebuck blither on for weeks, now. .. * sigh*


    • I’m very excited too pepp!! These young blokes led by Punter really know how to play. South Africa are a damn good team and they’ve made them look ordinary. Next assignment the T20 World Champs in a few months.

  40. l’ve enjoyed this series so much. The hunger from the young fellas has completely reinvigorated the team. So much respect to our bowlers discipline on this tour and to the skipper.

    • Yeah Jap. How could ya not love ’em. Hughes’ swashbuckling, the three tenors breaking wicket, heart and bones and the most hated man in cricket, Our Ricky, sticking it up the lot of them. I’m not being deliberately hubristic (must come naturally) but our next Test match opponent, who I’ve had an eye on for months, are in for an awful hiding.

      Should clean up the tail pretty quickly after lunch I reckon and then they can give us our mace back!.

      • It is great to feel a strong affection for the team as well as admiration. Primarily because they are young but perhaps also a ‘lighter’ team without Symonds, Hayden etc.

  41. I bet someone has quietly booked an Ambo already, Nesta.. no point in wasting time.

    Siddle is egging Mitch on and Mitch is egging both Hilf and Siddle on. Very naughty. Ricky is encouraging it, too. Haddin is howling everyone up..

  42. I am passing the hat around at the convent, nesta, for a Kevlar vest for Kev.. I reckon Siddle has those ribs measured. Mitch, too. Not to mention a bit of a rough up for Bell and Cook, and of course Squadron Leader Wingnut, as the NZers call Strauss. Toes for Strauss, I ‘m guessing.

    God help poor Monty.

    • I was thinking the other day that Siddle will leave England as the most hated (and feared) man alive after he garottes Monty with his around the wicket bouncer spliflication. It won’t be pretty and I think Broad will be targeted for the same stuff early on.

      It’s very hard ducking bouncers at that pace when you are as tall as he. Broad won’t shirk it but I fear he will wear plenty.

      So much to look forward to and I’m told that the Cardiff pitch is a quick’s paradise. Expect to hear the old fuphy, “there’s only one team playing cricket…” rubbish at some time during the tour of the UK. Remember what Punter said when asked if he was satisfied winning the last 5-0, ” It’s been alright mate but the job’s only half done”.

      • l am interested to know how you and Toots will be dividing up the preview/review come Ashes time?!

        • Not sure Jap but after being invited on Pakistani telly last week and having to get our technologies aligned to do so I’m thinking we might have a video diary where I’ll be smiling and crowing and Toots will be at his optimistic and diplomatic best with the only prop a box of Kleenex within arm’s reach of the great man.

  43. I am getting a few bites on the Platform of Heartbreak in the Guardian, nesta.

  44. I expect a lot , a very great lot of umpire stuff, nesta. They are winding themselves up for this already. And yes, Ricky knows a job is only half done, there is the next part of the task to finish. Good old Ricky. He is looking spiffier and spiffier, nesta, or is it my imagination? Buff, tanned, smooth, nifty…

    • and shifty too. In a handsome Machivellian way!

  45. Boucher is a brave cricketer, he is out there, carrying the broken toe from AU.. ( who bowled that one? I forget) … it can’t be easy for him.

    • I think it was Mitch, who does have a knack for breaking bones which is so out of character as off the field he is as sweet and gentle as a summer’s sea breeze.

  46. oh dear. Mitch is laughing away while dibbling the ball. Ominous.

  47. oh Mitch.. a horrid bouncer to Morne. truly horrid. . .

  48. Ricky cant watch. He’s turned his head away. Morne is totally buffaloed already.

  49. Katich has Morne discombobulated in spades.

  50. Enough spin, lets get on with it. He’s not Warne.

    • I think Ponting was hoping Katich would clean them up and then he’d be able to convince Merv that there was no need for McGain in the next Test.

  51. Good to see all you aussies so happy !

    Can you suggest any good SAF cricket blogs to me, please? Would love to read their analysis of what went wrong..thanks.

    Actually, Nesta, would have been great if you’d invited any SAF cricket blogger in here to get the SAF perspective.Always helpful (and adds to the colour !)

    • l’d be really interested to see how SA is interpreting all of this. Anyone know of the leading newspapers?

    • I did try Kumar but I couldn’t find one that regularly writes about cricket. If the dwindling crowds are any indication I think they’ve all lost interest now that their team has reverted to type.

      I’m impatient for another wicket! Bring on Hilfy!

  52. this is the south african cricket blog on the BBC 606 site…

  53. Smith has the plaster off! Half a day to go and the Saffers won’t be rolling over. Still plenty to do. Bring on Hilfy!

  54. North looks more like breaking the deadlock than Ronnie McRanger – I agree take him off and bring on the brickie’s labourer!

    • Good to see you round these parts emsea. Prescient stuff!!

  55. * whirl* … the DIVINE NORTH!!!

  56. About bloody time! Now give the ball to Hilfy and he’ll finish them off.

  57. *shiver* Steyn… where is my voodoo doll. .Steyn can do it. Steyn can do anything.

  58. Mind you it would be good theatre to watch Siddle do the job on Steyn again………

  59. Siddle is certainly up for it. I bet he is nagging Ricky for a go.

  60. I think Katich has promised Ricky a beer for every over he bowls!

  61. Roebuck has had to be carried out the back and given oxygen. His adoration of Katich has come to fruition..

  62. Maybe Ponting has decided to have a look at Katich while the pressure’s off.
    Relax pepp, the pressure’s off! Ponting is playing around.
    Steyn is swinging, this will be fun while it lasts.

  63. yep, nesta… Ricky has never been one to waste a good crisis.. ahahahahahaa what’s this with Haddin?

    Morne is doing quite well. Good on him.

  64. Bucknor is checking the vid.. we can all go out and mow our lawns …

  65. hahaha…. Haddin.. nutso stuff.

  66. Haddins not even bothering to use his gloves now.

  67. Morne looked very foolish referring that decision. Funny moment nonetheless.

  68. Now for Ntini’s maiden double century……

    • He’s started with a spanking square drive!

  69. Steyn just has to field the strike Ntini’s way

  70. Ntini’s toying with the Aussies

  71. *… onfloor*.. you bloody ripper, Ricky..

  72. Merv’d be due a larger

  73. Wow. Terrific effort fellas. Mitchell Johnson…

  74. bit of Toi-toi ing up in the AU Pavilion.

    oh.. I LOVED IT. Mitch. North. Hilf. McDonald. Siddle. Katich. Haddin. Ponting. Hussey. Clarke. Hughes. The TEAM.

  75. Nesta!!… Super Super Super SUPER!!!!!

  76. That last one from Steyn would have landed in the Indian Ocean. If he’d connected. The only way to go!

  77. Great stuff. The slump is definitely a memory. Even Billy and Asad want a hug. Destroyed this Saffa side and they’ll never play together again. There will be droppings. McKenzie and Morkel most likely. Splendid work by Ricky and the Rollers.

  78. Nesta, yes, the run for the top spot has collapsed. Both because they won’t have the games in the near future, and because they were beaten so badly, in a series they should have won, their strategy is in tatters.

  79. Congrats Aus – 0-2 in SA is a huge win.

  80. Harris might be gone, too.. he is a walking wicket, poor bugger..

    Well played, South Africa. Well played in deed. Can’t take a thing away from the Saffers, they had every reason to believe they could do it. But there it is.

  81. Boonie can get out that dusty old pillbox and give it a bit of a polish, Nesta. …

    I , in my madness here, am draping my signed Warne shirt over myself.. ( there is a tinge of Warne’s sweat in it ) …

    • The Shroud of Ferntree Gully hey Pepp. Mystical powers in that shirt. If you wear it bed it would probably extend your life!

  82. must be killing Graeme Smith. I reckon the Saffers played hard… *sniff sniff* .. I got to love the Saffers this summer in AU.. they gave me tremendous cricket EVERY match…


  83. Clarke was the only one who didnt contribute.

  84. he did not, fred. I get the feeling his attention is somewhat diluted..

  85. oh yes. .Hughes.. man of the match.. completely rational decision.

  86. everyones allowed an off match or two.

  87. Ponting interview, quiet authority. He’s certainly growing.

  88. This could not have happened without The Punter.

    He will scoop them all up and roll them into a very big cigar and light up.

    Ricky you gorgeous thing you.


    The Saffa commentator (Jackman?) is depressed. He cannot hide his disappointment. Smith deflects a question about keeping the same team. It’s come to an end he reckons. He used the word future six times.

    Ricky’s up. Very proud. Loves his team. Reckons the pundits didn’t recognise how close the two losses were in Perth and Melbourne. Hates losing and is very pleased to have bounced back and prove all the critics wrong. (They weren’t here at 99.94 Punter!)

    Hughes. Man of the match. Lots of laughter among the his team-mates. Obviously a very popular little bloke.

    I’m going to have a snack and write up a triumphant report. Thanks for sharing the love folks. It’s been great. The mace is coming home to where it belongs. Ciao.

  90. Thanks nesta.
    Staying up to watch England get rolled for under 200, and WI to make it 2-0?

    • Yes fred. For a while. I’m going to write a few thoughts and see if England will have a go. If you have any thoughts put them on Toots’ latest Strauss Tapes and you’ll be sure to find me until lunch at least.

  91. Huge result that very very few predicted. l know l didn’t!.

    On the SA side l am shocked that they bowled so poorly/so often throughout these first two tests. Geez it would have been nice to have snagged Perth or the MCG…

    But winning away like this (and after) is way sweeter than winning at home so this will do just fine! The mace is ours!

    p.s. Katich handy.

  92. laters, Nesta..

    I intend to stay up and watch England, I loved watching Nash bash away.. very amusing.

    well. thats my immediate plan, but I realise Ive got a few hours to go till it starts>?? How long exactly, in minutes, Fred?

    • ‘Bout half hour pepp. Fidel is on a mission to kill KP. Should be an interesting first session. Put any thoughts on Toots’ thread. Love your work as always pepp. Couple of weeks rest now. I know I need it!

  93. Ricky looking forward to checking out the golf courses..

    Mitch would haunt the tennis courts. He is a national grade Tennis player, as well.

  94. starts in another hour pepp. it will probably just meander out, but with Eng there’s always a chance…
    Especially if they decide to go for a win, anything could happen.

  95. * reels back* … blinks*.. england decide to go for a win!!!.. bugger me!!.. ( an expression of surprise and not an invitation) .. well. I ‘ll stay up for that, that would be history.

  96. Yeah, good point.
    Let’s just say if KP screws up, and they panic a bit, anything could happen.
    Or if they decide to dig in, anything could…

  97. wonderful win for Australia!!!! GO Punter!!!

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