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Ken Borland

SA bowlers willing to buy wickets after AB lashes fastest ODI century 0

Posted on April 02, 2015 by Ken

AB de Villiers produced the sort of extraordinary innings all South Africans hope he can duplicate in the World Cup final in two months’ time as he lashed the fastest century in ODI history to take the Proteas to 439 for two in the second Momentum One-Day International against the West Indies at the Wanderers on Sunday.

It is South Africa’s highest ever ODI total, improving on their famous 438 to beat Australia at the same venue in 2005/06, but they missed a golden opportunity to reclaim the world record, falling just four runs short of Sri Lanka’s 443 for nine against the Netherlands in Amstelveen in 2006.

South Africa’s bowlers were then willing to buy wickets as they reduced the West Indies to 148 for four after 25 overs in the visitors’ run-chase.

Apart from a top-class spell of four overs for six runs by Dale Steyn and a good comeback by Morne Morkel, South Africa’s bowlers were all expensive as the West Indian batsmen briefly prospered on a flat pitch.

Morkel made a messy start to the innings, opening with a leg-side delivery that was helped to the fine leg boundary by Dwayne Smith, followed by a wide way outside the off stump.

The tall fast bowler then induced a catch at third man by Smith, but a television replay showed that Morkel had bowled a no-ball, with Chris Gayle pulling a four off the free hit.

Gayle rushed to 19 off 13 balls, whacking two fours and a six, before sending a pull off Morkel steepling towards the midwicket boundary, Farhaan Behardien running in and taking a great catch.

Leon Johnson has struggled in this ODI series, making a six-ball duck in Durban and battling to one run off 15 deliveries at the Wanderers before being trapped lbw by Vernon Philander.

Dwayne Smith has flattered to deceive on tour, but on Sunday he was really starting to look threatening as he scored 64 off 65 balls, with nine fours and a six, before lofting Behardien straight back over his head, but failing to clear JP Duminy, who ran from long-off to take a good catch.

Philander then claimed his second wicket when a leaping Behardien intercepted Marlon Samuels’ lofted drive at extra cover, the experienced batsman falling for 40 off 48 balls.

Philander has been bowled out but has been expensive, conceding 69 runs in his 10 overs.

Denesh Ramdin, on 12 not out, has been joined at the crease by rookie Jonathan Carter, with the West Indies needing an unlikely 292 runs from 25 overs to win.

South Africa’s massive innings had been set up by a record opening stand of 247 between Hashim Amla and Rilee Rossouw, but that was overshadowed in scarcely believable fashion by De Villiers, who blazed to 50 in 16 balls (also a world record) and to his hundred off just 31 deliveries. That smashed New Zealander Corey Anderson’s previous record of 36 balls, also against the West Indies, in Queenstown a year ago.

De Villiers fell in the final over for 149 off just 44 balls, showcasing his enormous natural ability with nine fours and 16 sixes – equalling the world record of Rohit Sharma for India against Australia in Bangalore in 2013. Having produced the most outrageous innings in ODI history, it would have been most apt if De Villiers had taken South Africa to the world record score, but he drove the fourth ball of Andre Russell’s excellent final over to deep cover to end the carnage, with Amla missing the last two deliveries of the innings.

Through the years since his international debut in 2004, De Villiers has honed his natural talent, become the master of his game and at reading match situations. At the Wanderers on Sunday he just came out and had fun, toying with the West Indian bowlers. Most of his strokes were seemingly premeditated and sent all over the ground, no matter where the ball was delivered. The South African captain had a particular fondness for the scoop back over his shoulder, but also hit the ball sweetly down the ground, finding or going over the boundary off 25 of the 44 deliveries he faced.

After winning the toss and sending the Proteas in to bat in cloudy, breezy, cool conditions, the West Indians had no idea of the furnace that was about to envelop them.

Amla was quickly away but Rossouw, after making his fifth duck in 10 innings in the previous ODI in Durban, started scratchily, often miscuing his attacking strokes.

But he put his lean times and early struggles behind him, grinding his way back into form and then enjoying rich pickings as he notched his first international century off just 102 balls, collecting eight fours and a six along the way.

Amla cruised to his century two deliveries later, off 103 balls, and the West Indies were already in a daze as the opening duo added 247 off 235 balls, the sixth highest first-wicket partnership in ODI history and South Africa’s best.

Rossouw began the 39th over with two brilliant boundaries off Jerome Taylor, over midwicket and straight back over the bowler’s head, but then chipped the third delivery to mid-off to fall for a brilliant 128 off 115 balls that will go a long way to ensuring he feels at home in international cricket.

But Amla batted on through the innings, sensibly feeding De Villiers the strike, as he finished with a splendid 153 not out off 142 balls, with 14 fours.

It became the first time three centuries have been scored in an ODI innings, as De Villiers rained down blows on the West Indian bowlers and hapless fielders. He and Amla added a magnificent 192 for the second wicket off an incredible 68 balls, beating that memorable partnership of 187 between Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs in the 438 game as the ground record.

It became embarrassing and it all seemed just too easy for international sport.

But that is what genius can do and De Villiers can certainly be placed at the top of that list.


Barnes preparing SA A for mental assassination 0

Posted on July 10, 2014 by Ken

While the Proteas are in Sri Lanka, South Africa’s next tier of internationals – the SA A side – will be heading off to Australia soon and coach Vincent Barnes says one of his most important tasks will be to mentally prepare the up-and-coming players for a country in which character assassination seems as much of a goal as taking wickets or scoring runs.

The SA A squad play their first match in a triangular series with the Australian and Indian A sides on July 20 and are busy preparing for a tough tour at the CSA Centre of Excellence in Pretoria. Barnes will be able to take fully-fledged internationals such as captain Justin Ontong, Marchant de Lange, Beuran Hendricks, Rory Kleinveldt, Heino Kuhn, Farhaan Behardien, Aaron Phangiso and Vaughn van Jaarsveld in his party, but there are numerous younger players, several of whom have never been to Australia before.

“The tour is designed to give our fringe players top-quality opposition and it’s a fantastic opportunity to play in Australia even though it’s winter. There are four recent Proteas [Hendricks, Phangiso, Kleinveldt & Behardien], but it’s a nice blend with a lot of senior players and quite a few young debutants.

“I’m doing a lot of mental work with them because I want us to go across there with presence, our body language is important. The biggest challenge in Australia is mentally and quite a few of the guys are on their first tour there. They’re going to have to deal with those mental pressures and learn how to overcome them,” Barnes told The Pretoria News on Wednesday.

Warriors opening batsman David White and Highveld Lions pace bowler Kagiso Rabada are two of the rookies in the squad, but they are both excited by the learning opportunities they will have in Australia.

“It’s a great honour to be chosen for the A side, I feel very privileged and I’m very excited. I want to learn as much as I can so I can build on my game for the Warriors, after I put in some nice performances for them in four-day cricket last season. Obviously the goal is to play Test cricket for the Proteas, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

“I have huge respect for the guys I’m playing with, there are some great cricketers and I’m going to learn as much as possible from them. Especially Justin Ontong, because he’s been around the block and has a lot of information to share,” White said.

Rabada was shining for the SA U19 Junior World Cup-winning side at the start of the year and his selection in both the four-day and limited-overs squads completes a whirlwind six months for the St Stithians product.

“Everything has happened so quickly, I went straight into the franchise team from the U19s and now I’m playing for SA A. I hope to learn from it and become a better cricketer. If I just play my best then the other things will take care of themselves, but my main goal is to play for the Proteas and long-term to be one of the best fast bowlers in the world,” Rabada said.

Five members of last season’s SA A squad – Kyle Abbott, Stiaan van Zyl, Dean Elgar, Hendricks and Phangiso will be involved in the Proteas’ tour of Sri Lanka and Barnes is excited by the possibilities that lie ahead for this year’s intake.

“Having so many young players has been refreshing and they’ve brought a lot of freshness and energy to the squad,” Barnes said.

And let’s not forget that next year’s World Cup will be held in Australia and history suggests a player or two from this A squad could well be involved with the full national team by then. While the wintry conditions in the sub-tropical far north will be different to those experienced at the height of the 2014/15 summer, it will do them the world of good to acclimatise to the abrasive Australian way of playing the game and all the other off-field quirks over there.

SA A squads

Four-day squad: Justin Ontong, Temba Bavuma, Marchant de Lange, Simon Harmer, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Rory Kleinveldt, Heino Kuhn, Eddie Leie, Mangaliso Mosehle, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Hardus Viljoen, David White, Khaya Zondo.

Limited-overs squad: Justin Ontong, Farhaan Behardien, Cody Chetty, Marchant de Lange, Simon Harmer, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Rory Kleinveldt, Heino Kuhn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi, Vaughn van Jaarsveld.

Itinerary: July 20 v Australia National Performance Squad (Northline); July 22 v India A (Gardens Oval); July 24 v Australia A (Northline); July 26 v India A (Gardens Oval); July 29 v Australia A (Marrara); July 31 v Australia National Performance Squad (Gardens Oval); August 2 1v2, 3v4 (Northern Territory); August 7-10 v Australia A (Tony Ireland Stadium); August 14-17 v Australia A (Tony Ireland Stadium).


SA chip away at Sri Lankan batting 0

Posted on January 05, 2012 by Ken

South Africa continued to chip away at the Sri Lankan second innings as the tourists reached 138 for four in their follow-on innings at stumps on the third day of the third and final test at Newlands on Thursday.

Sri Lanka are still 203 runs behind, with South Africa needing just six more wickets in two days to win the test and clinch the series 2-1.

After being asked to follow on 341 runs behind, under cloudless skies on a mostly even batting pitch, Sri Lanka lost regular wickets.

Their only partnership of note was the 67-run second-wicket stand between Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara.

Jacques Kallis, who had scored 224 to provide the foundation of South Africa’s massive first-innings total of 580 for four declared, eventually removed Thirimanne for 30 in an aggressive spell after tea.

The left-handed opener edged a lifter on to his thigh pad, from where the ball ricocheted to short-leg, Hashim Amla clasping a fine reflex catch above his head.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir then piled on the pressure with an impressive spell around the wicket into the rough outside the left-handed Sangakkara’s off-stump, the former captain eventually edging a back-foot defensive stroke to Kallis at slip.

Sangakkara had held up the South Africans for a little over two hours in scoring 34.

Kallis then took a thrilling catch, diving low in front of first slip, to remove Mahela Jayawardene for 12 off the bowling of Morne Morkel.

Angelo Mathews then went confidently to 28 not out by stumps as he struck three fours off 38 balls. He was partnered by Thilan Samaraweera, on 19 not out, at the close.

Seamer Vernon Philander gave Sri Lanka the most headaches after lunch as Sri Lanka struggled to 42 for one in their follow-on innings at tea.

Philander took three for 46 as he wrapped up the Sri Lankan first innings for 239  and he then claimed the one wicket to fall before tea.

Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan fell for just five when he edged a booming drive at Philander through to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Morkel should have claimed the wicket of fellow opener Thirimanne on 10, but Boucher dropped a simple catch behind the stumps.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith enforced the follow on after Sri Lanka lost their last three wickets for 20 runs in the half-hour after lunch, fast bowler Dale Steyn also finishing with three wickets.

Steyn bowled with great intensity and control before lunch to give South Africa a firm grip on the test. Sticking to a wonderful line just outside off stump and moving the ball away at high pace, he took three for 16 in eight overs on the third morning as Sri Lanka’s ill-equipped batsmen slumped to 219 for seven at lunch.

Rookie wicketkeeper/batsman Dinesh Chandimal was their leading light on Thursday as he was the last man out, for 35.

Sri Lanka had resumed on their overnight score of 149 for two and lost eight wickets for 90 runs.

It was Steyn who started the rot when he removed Sangakkara, who drove lazily to Amla at point, for 35 with the third ball of the day.

Philander, who may have taken more wickets with a bit more fortune, then found the edge of Samaraweera’s bat as the veteran prodded at another fine delivery that nipped away from back-of-a-length outside off stump. Kallis took a low catch at second slip and Samaraweera was out for 11.

Steyn, who did not stray from his exemplary line all morning, then returned half-an-hour before lunch and Jayawardene (30) was not able to resist pushing firmly at a delivery outside off stump, edging another catch to Kallis at second slip.

Mathews did not trouble Steyn for long, making just a single before he dabbed at an away-swinger and wicketkeeper Boucher took a good catch diving forward.

Spinner Tahir then rushed a big-turning leg-break through Thisara Perera’s defences to bowl him for five with what became the last ball before lunch.

Fast bowler Steyn finished with three for 56 in 20 overs, while Tahir took two for 54 in 21 overs.

South Africa won the first match of the series at Centurion by an innings and 81 runs and Sri Lanka triumphed by 208 runs in the second test in Durban.


Nothing tranquil for Sri Lanka – Steyn 0

Posted on December 13, 2011 by Ken

The Hennops River bordering SuperSport Park is a meandering, tranquil body of water ideal for bank-side picnics and merely passing the time in scenic surroundings.


But South African fast bowler Dale Steyn has promised life will be anything but peaceful, and certainly no picnic, for the Sri Lankan batsmen come the first test at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday.


“I’ll still be going in as fast as I can, running in and trying to strike. And then we’ve got Morne Morkel bowling thunderbolts from 10 feet high and Jacques Kallis has been revving it up to 140km/h in domestic matches recently.


“Plus there’s Vernon Philander, who’s been a fantastic addition. In fact we’re calling him Vernon McGrath now because he’s always just nibbling the ball around.


“We want to hit areas that are uncomfortable on their bats, generally higher up their bats. We saw against Australia that the pitches have been more bowler-friendly,” Steyn warned on Tuesday.


Sri Lanka’s batsmen have inflicted plenty of pain on South Africa’s bowlers in the past – Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena’s partnership of 624 in 2006 is the highest for any wicket in the annals of the game – but almost exclusively back at home on their sub-continental island.


In seven tests in South Africa, just one Sri Lankan batsman has managed to score a century – Hashan Tillakaratne, who made 104 not out here at SuperSport Park in 2002/3. That took the tourists to a total of 323, their highest in South Africa.


So they have a history of having their backs to the wall on tour here and vice-captain Angelo Mathews acknowledged that it was the pitches that made the difference.


“In the sub-continent, the pitches are quite slow, so the bounce and pace here are the main things that trouble us. But if we can adapt to that, then we can perform well,” Mathews said.


While Steyn did not want to say it was payback time for the miserable tour South Africa endured in Sri Lanka in 2006, he did say he did not want to think about that trip any more.


“We really don’t need to go back down that road! But it’s going to be a lot harder to score world-record partnerships here in South Africa …


“Vinnie Barnes was our bowling coach for so long and he never played against Sri Lanka here in South Africa, so he’s been here at the nets really gunning the boys!” Steyn said of the current national selector.


While the Sangakkara/Jayawardena partnership is a record South Africa are desperately trying to forget, they’re also trying to rip out the page that shows they haven’t won a test series at home in three years.


South Africa’s drawn series against Australia was actually a disappointing result, and it was unheralded bowlers like Peter Siddle, Shane Watson, Nathan Lyon and even Michael Clarke, never mind rookie Pat Cummins, who did the damage. Hashim Amla was at pains on Tuesday to say the batsmen won’t be underestimating any bowlers this time around.


“Our pitches assist the seamers more and, even though the Sri Lankan bowlers are a different pace to Australia’s, if they just put it in the right place, something could happen. And if there’s turn, then the spinners could be dangerous as well,” Amla said.


Sangakkara looks set to play despite splitting the webbing on his right hand over the weekend, Sri Lanka’s second highest all-time run-scorer having throwdowns quite comfortably on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka’s main selection conundrum will be whether to play two spinners or not. Orthodox left-armer Rangana Herath is the incumbent first-choice spinner at the moment and he bowled well in Benoni to take three for 58 in 24 overs against the SA Invitation XI in their warm-up game.


But Sri Lanka have brought unorthodox right-armer Ajantha Mendis on tour to provide some mystery. The 26-year-old missed Sri Lanka’s previous test series against Pakistan due to injury and was unimpressive in Benoni, taking two for 142 in 31 overs.


Mathews asked Sri Lankan supporters to be patient with Mendis.


“Ajantha is getting back there, we know he can turn a game around in one session. Just give him time, he will do the job for us, we just need to be patient,” Mathews said.



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