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Monday, March 02, 2009

Tales of two Tests #4: one close finish?

2 x First Test(s), Day 4

At Johannesburg: Australia 466 and 207 (53.4 ov, P Hughes 75, J Kallis 3/22, M Ntini 3/52) v South Africa 220 and 2/178 (55ov, G Smith 69. H Amla 43*)

In yet another second-half-of-match resurgence South Africa have bowled Australia out cheaply, despite Phil Hughes' assertive 75/121b, and begun to chase 454 in a manner which must have given them reason to believe that they can win. The Australians are still notionally in the better position, but so much of their D4 batting was inept and their bowling non-threatening that they, and the viewers at home who have been bombarded by Fox Sports' continual reminders of the Proteas' fourth innings 4/414 to win the Perth Test last December, probably have the collywobbles.

Give due credit though to South Africa though for bowling so well, especially Jacques Kallis's game changing 3 (Ponting. Hussey, Clarke)/22 from 5 overs, and to the batters for setting out on their long journey without appearing to be overawed by the size of their task.

The first session of D5 will possibly decide the outcome: you won't be surprised to learn that I'll be glued to the box.


At Bridgetown: England 6/600 dec and 0/6 (2 ov) v West Indies 9/749 dec (194.4 ov, R Sarwan 291, D Ramdin 166, S Chanderpaul 70, D Smith 55, J Taylor 53, G Swann 5/165, J Anderson 3/125 )

A draw is by far the likeliest outcome here after Ramnaresh Sarwan's massive 291/452b (30x4, 2x6), Dinesh Ramdin's impressive (and a tad surprising after his recent form) 166/268b (20x4) and some solid contributions from others gave the home side a 149 run first innings lead.

For the record, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are also playing a Test match at the moment. It's receiving little coverage here (why can't Foxtel show at least some highlights?) so the easiest way to keep abreast of developments is to follow the scorecard and related matter on Cricinfo.

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