Monday, January 5, 2009

Rivalling The Ashes?

Well, this was the match that was thought to be worth the wait for all the cricket crazy fans over the world. For, these two have been the teams that are rated high in the minds of the cricket fans. Courtesy- the world record chase of 434 by South Africa against Australia which happened to be one rare case where Australia lost the ODI series 2-3. This I think need not be cited specially whatsoever. And, how can one ever afford to forget such a great match. From then onwards, the encounters between Australia and South Africa have been on the top of the list for all the cricket fans. Oh yes, it includes me too. Well, all that is past. However, even in the present period, things are no different either.

It is deeply rooted in the minds of the cricket fans that, if at all there is a team that could beat Australia it is South Africa. And, as all of us are aware of, South Africa did exactly that in the first two tests against Australia. Not even India or England for that matter come in for such praise. With the two tests being dominated by South Africa, the third test would have really sparked off some or much curiosity among the fans out there. A win in this test would throw Australia from their number one position in test cricket, which they (Australia) have been enjoying since the past eight years or more. With the first two days of play in hand, it is really a tough job to judge the winner right away.

Neither has Australia shown some reluctance in putting a better performance, nor the Proteas are in any mood to sacrifice the third test to Australia for having won the series already. Pressure is found to be on both the sides. If not for the series, for the top spot in world cricket. A big blow in the form of an injury to Greame Smith has found to loosen the hopes of a South African win. However, the way the tail put up a 184 run partnership in the first innings of the second test shouldn't be forgotten. By putting up a decent total of 445 on board, Australia have indicated their come back into the game once again. The proteas have still 8 wickets in hand and a lot to prove. Of course, all of us would be expecting the same ie a South African win.

In the past five years (since 2003), the Australian team has lost its place temperorily on two occasions. And both of them saw South Africa head the list for the strongest one day squad. Way back in early 2007, where South Africa had beaten world cup chokers India and Pakistan in the five match series played by a margin 5-0 and 4-1 respectively. On the other hand, for a change, Australia had lost the two out of the three finals to England in the Commonwealth Bank series 2007, followed by a 3-0 whitewash against New Zealand. And in the second instance, where Australia once again lost to India in 2008, with the proteas registering wins against Bangladesh and West Indies late 2007. However, a similar fate in test cricket is yet to target the Aussies. Now, it time for that. So, can South Africa do it this time?

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