November 23, 2011

Australia in South Africa 2011-12

'189 more of those, Huss, 188 more of those'

George Binoy

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Greg Baum recounts Australia's dramatic chase at the Wanderers.

Tahir screamed for lbw. Cummins said he felt it was going to leg. Johnson said to him it had pitched outside off. ''That's just what I thought!'' Cummins said. The appeal failed, and so did the referral, by a splinter. In the dressing room, lounge room and bedroom, there was relief and there wasn't.

Cummins thought to himself: ''There's four to win. If he throws it up there, try and go over the top somewhere.'' As he related this later, Clarke rolled his eyes. Here was youth's blithe innocence. Two balls later, Cummins pulled Tahir for four and the win.

Also in the Sydney Morning Herald, Richard Hinds praises Pat Cummins for how he handled himself in situations that might have broken more experienced men.

Enter Cummins, so callow that the birth date on his player profile would have prompted cynical smirks had he been picked for Pakistan. At 18, some of us lacked the wit to find our way to the lecture room, let alone produce an over of such speed and variation that 40-time Test centurion Jacques Kallis was befuddled, then defeated.

At 18, some of us could barely pluck up the courage to extend an exploratory arm at the drive-in cinema, let alone put our body in the path of a Steyn thunderbolt in the Johannesburg gloaming.

"Where to now for the Proteas?" asks Kepler Wessels on Supercricket. "They have an easy summer ahead. First they take on Sri Lanka and then New Zealand. They should beat both teams at a canter. The question is how will the South African selectors and coach Gary Kirsten view the upcoming two series?"

There is no doubt that the Proteas will be disappointed with the outcome of the Test series. They were without question the stronger outfit. They would have expected to beat an average Australian team on home soil. The South African team were brilliant in Cape Town during the first Test match where they came back from the brink to win in incredible fashion.

On Sport 24, Rob Houwing has tough questions for South Africa: "Why do they struggle to string together even two good performances on the trot? Do they really have the mental and physical hunger to get to the pinnacle and stay there? Do they just not actually appreciate how good they should be as a unit, given the various stellar individual resources at their disposal?"

RELATED LINKS

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: George Binoy

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.