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Ken Borland



Elgar goes from pumping up the tyres of his team-mates to telling them it’s time to make amends 0

Posted on October 11, 2023 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar has spent much of the series pumping up the tyres of his team-mates, telling them how good they are, but now that Australia have won the rubber, he said on Tuesday, on the eve of the third and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, that it was time for the team to make amends.

Well-beaten in both Brisbane and Melbourne, Elgar has made it clear that there is still much to play for and he expects his team to do everything in their power to restore some pride.

“There’s nowhere to hide in Test cricket and the top five need to find a way to execute their batting disciplines,” Elgar said. “Whatever we do in terms of selection, hopefully we provide a better spectacle than in the first two games.

“There’s also a lot for us still to play for – the World Test Championship final is a massive incentive – and we should be playing every Test like it is our last.

“But talk is cheap, we need to go out and perform and really make amends. It’s very frustrating because these are really talented players, but it just hasn’t gone our way.

“We want to go home with a lot of pride restored and so there’s still a lot to play for, as well as our position in the World Test Championship. It’s about how we rise up to the challenge and grasp the opportunity,” Elgar said.

Cynics would say whatever changes South Africa make to their XI will be like putting mag wheels on a skedonk. But the Proteas have to make at least one change due to Theunis de Bruyn returning home for the birth of his daughter.

“The only options in our squad in terms of batsmen are Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klaasen,” Elgar confirmed. “Rassie has played for an extended period at Test level so he’s more experienced, while Heinrich is immensely talented and maybe deserves an extended chance.”

South Africa could well make a second change, bringing in a second spinner – Simon Harmer – but Elgar intimated that the off-spinner would have to replace another bowler.

“We need to have another look at the pitch, but Simon is definitely in the mix because Sydney has been low and slow, with a bit or turn, recently, so that might force our hand,” the captain said.

“But Keshav Maharaj is still our number one spinner and I’m still a 6/5 fan, that’s what I’m thinking. But all options are on the table, although playing seven batsmen makes it a massive ask for the bowlers.

“They’ve had a big workload, especially in the last Test when they racked up big numbers of overs. So it’s a big ask to have just four bowlers, especially only three seamers,” Elgar said.

Proteas have been accessories to their own demise 0

Posted on September 26, 2023 by Ken

The Proteas cricket team have already surrendered the series to Australia, soundly beaten in the first two Tests, and they have certainly been accessories to their own demise, so hopefully they can reverse that trend and spare their blushes in the third and final Test that starts in Sydney in the early hours of Wednesday morning (SA time).

While South Africa’s recent batting performances have been a crime against the decorated legacies of great batsmen that have represented the country before in Australia, like Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla, the line-up for the third Test simply have to dig deep within themselves and supplement whatever technical skill they can muster with tremendous determination and a bloodyminded refusal to give their wickets away.

As impressive as the Australian attack have been, there have been too many soft dismissals; avoiding run outs will help for a start.

The South African batsmen have the talent to be performing much better, they just need to show more mental steel. Which is tough to do when the team has taken a battering and confidence is low.

But there comes a time when a line in the sand has to be drawn and an attitude of “over my dead body” adopted; a New Year’s Test seems a most apt time for this to happen.

SA batsmen yet again fail to do the business 0

Posted on August 31, 2023 by Ken

South Africa’s batsmen yet again failed to do the business as they were bowled out for just 204 to lose the second Test against Australia by a massive innings and 182 runs and with it the series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

The Proteas barely survived to the final session as a depleted Australian attack wrapped up their second innings in 68.5 overs, one ball longer than their dismal first innings, left-arm quick Mitchell Starc setting the tone as he bowled through the pain of a dislocated finger. It was only some lusty blows at the end of the innings by Lungi Ngidi (19) and a last-wicket stand of 27 with Anrich Nortje (8*) that ended the desperate run of seven successive totals of less than 200.

Temba Bavuma was the one South African batsman to build an innings, scoring 65 in 201 minutes off 144 balls, but he was also complicit in two disastrous run outs which epitomised the slapdash nature of their performances in Australia.

Having lost overnight batsmen Sarel Erwee, trapped lbw for 21 by a searing Starc yorker, and Theunis de Bruyn (28), who was well-taken by Steve Smith at first slip after Scott Boland found the shoulder of his bat with some steepling bounce, South Africa plunged to 65 for four before lunch with the run out of Khaya Zondo for just a single.

Bavuma pushed Pat Cummins straight to cover and ran, with Zondo ball-watching at the non-striker’s end and well-beaten by Travis Head’s direct hit.

The second run out was just as farcical as Bavuma left Keshav Maharaj (13) stranded halfway down the pitch on a third run, Starc collecting the boundary throw from Marnus Labuschagne and throwing down the stumps at the wicketkeeper’s end.

Bavuma and Kyle Verreynne were the brokers of some respite for the Proteas as they added 63 for the fifth wicket. But Boland broke the stand in the third over after lunch as Verreynne (33) erred in playing across the line of an in-ducker and was trapped lbw.

Bavuma eventually lost concentration and was caught off a wild slog-sweep against off-spinner Nathan Lyon, so his wait for a second Test century continues, but he had batted with great determination and played some fine strokes mixed with solid defence.

Verreynne does not hide away from fact Proteas suffered soft dismissals 0

Posted on July 27, 2023 by Ken

Kyle Verreynne, South Africa’s leading run-scorer in the series so far, did not hide away from the fact that the Proteas suffered soft dismissals on the opening day of the second Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but he said the tourists’ batsmen were still in a positive frame of mind.

South Africa were bundled out for just 189 on Monday, with Verreynne (52) and Marco Jansen (59) scoring the bulk of those runs in a sixth-wicket stand of 112. Although both of them were caught behind the wicket in successive overs from Cameron Green, edging deliveries outside off-stump, their dismissals were far from soft in comparison to some of their colleagues.

After being sent in to bat, South Africa’s initial collapse from 56 for one to 67 for five had been triggered by Theunis de Bruyn’s wild pull shot and captain Dean Elgar’s crazy run out. Sarel Erwee and Khaya Zondo were both caught off drives that were over-ambitious and poorly executed, while Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada, who have scored valuable runs for the Proteas in the past, were both out to poor strokes.

“In our last few innings, we’ve been getting out to a lot of good balls and the bowlers have really stuck to their plans, but today there were more soft dismissals, which was the disappointing thing,” Verreynne said after passing fifty for the third time in his 13 Tests.

“But behind closed doors, our batsmen are in a good space and we’ve been having really positive conversations. We know we have to make sure the top six puts the runs on the board and we can’t rely on our lower-order to do it.

“We put pressure on Australia with the ball in the last innings in Brisbane, so we have a lot of confidence that our bowlers can do the job. But it’s a pity that we rely so much on them.

“It would be nice for the batsmen to put a good target on the board for them for a change. But you have to give credit to the Australian bowlers, we had a big partnership and put pressure on them, but they stuck at it,” Verreynne said.

With far less conventional movement on offer than in Brisbane, cross-seam deliveries were one of the vehicles the home attack used to great effect on Monday. None more so than Green, who claimed a career-best five for 27 in 10.4 overs.

“A couple of overs before myself and Marco were dismissed, they started to go cross-seam in order to rough up one side of the ball and it felt like it was just tailing in a bit,” Verreynne said. “Not too much was happening for them, so credit to them for trying something.

“Green is a bit different to the other bowlers because he is so tall, so he gets bounce and he has the ability to shape the ball, as does Mitchell Starc.

“But Green has that bit extra and they use him in short bursts so he brings a lot of energy. It’s a luxury Australia have, so the batsmen have to make sure they’re switched on against him,” Verreynne said.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.

     



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