News this week
Australia v South Africa
Before the start of the one-day series involving South Africa and Australia there were those who were a little worried about how the one-day game would stand up to the competition from Twenty20 cricket. Well, based on what we have seen in Australia so far, there is no need to worry. The series has been close so far, with most games ending in close finishes. It has also attracted big crowds and superb TV ratings
South Africa edged out Australia in the first match in Melbourne with three balls to spare. Opener Shaun Marsh led the way for the Aussies with 79 as they made 271for 8. South Africa lost early wickets before JP Duminy and Neil McKenzie put together 123 for the fourth wicket. But although Australia hit back, Albie Morkel's brilliant 40 not out from 18 balls saw South Africa home.
Shaun Marsh continued his good form as Australia beat South Africa in Hobart to level the series at 1-1. Australia made 249 for 9 from their 50 overs, with Makhaya Ntini taking 3 for 39 for South Africa. Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers then allowed their bats to do the talking and put the tourists in charge. But a mini collapse from 145for 2 to 172 for 5 led to a slump in the run-rate and, needing 17 from the last over, South Africa finished five runs adrift.
South Africa then sealed a three-wicket win in Sydney for a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. David Warner gave Australia a superb start, with six fours and two sixes in 69 from 60 balls, sharing a good opening partnership with Marsh. But Herschelle Gibbs also got South Africa off to a flier in reply to Australia's 269. The tourists stuttered but Morkel hit 40 off 22 balls and South Africa won with 21 balls left.
David Warner is the young Aussie who is grabbing all the headlines at the moment for his incredible power hitting. Warner is built like Romesh Kaluwitharana and, like little Kalu, has very strong forearms. He also blasts off like there is no tomorrow. While it is great to watch, it is hard to maintain. If Warner is to become a permanent member of the Aussie one-day team, he will have to become more consistent.
Australia need to win in Adelaide to stay in the contest. But there is nothing between these two sides, so anything could happen.
Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Pakistan will be relieved to have played their first home match in six months, and it showed because they reduced Sri Lanka to 219 with Iftikhar Anjum taking 4 for 42 and Umar Gul 3 for 30 - they did the damage. An unbeaten 100 from Salman Butt helped Pakistan secure an easy eight-wicket victory. The tourists began well but fell apart after Jehan Mubarak's removal. A stand of 168 between Khurram Manzoor and Butt paved the way for a win. It was interesting to note that Lankan spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis didn't make much of an impact in the first match.
In game two Pakistan lost their last seven wickets for just 36 runs as Sri Lanka levelled the one-day series at 1-1 in Karachi. Tillakaratne Dilshan hit 76 as Sri Lanka amassed 290 for 8 before Nuwan Kulasekera's double strike left Pakistan struggling at 17 for 3. Salman Butt and captain Malik then put on 108 before the hosts were bowled out for just 161. Murali took 3 for 19 and got things going before Mendis sneaked in with 3 for 29. After the game a disgruntled Pakistan captain claimed there was a big question mark over Shoaib Akhtar's international career following yet another sub-standard effort. Malik accused Akhtar of lacking in fitness and commitment.
Sri Lanka then completed a 2-1 series win after bowling out Pakistan for 75 in the deciding match to win by 234 runs. Dilshan's unbeaten 137 and cameos from Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya helped Sri Lanka to 309 for 5 after they opted to bat. Pakistan was immediately in tatters and by the ninth over were 22 for 6 with Kulasekara and Thilan Thushara taking three wickets each. Murali needed five wickets for the one-day world record, and by the time he came on it was 72 for 8, but his 2 for 2 saw him reach 500 one-day scalps. Pakistan's meagre total of 75 was their lowest at the Gadaffi Stadium in 58 one-day internationals dating back to January 1978. For Sri Lanka it was a fine recovery, having lost the first match so comprehensively.
|"There are ICC members who are quite happy to turn a blind eye to the atrocities being committed in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe because they want Zimbabwe's vote at the ICC meetings. This attitude does not reflect well on cricket"|
There has been a bit of an outcry in Australia over New South Wales securing the services of Brendon McCullum for Twenty20 domestic cricket. The reason for this is that Australia don't like overseas players taking the spot of a local player. This attitude was best summed up by the incredible outburst made by Andrew Symonds, who went so far as to say that recruiting McCullum was "un-Australian". While there have been plenty of examples of the likes of Garfield Sobers, Ian Botham, Barry Richards and Viv Richards and others playing Sheffield Shield cricket, things have changed, with the advent of the IPL in particular. All cricketers are now looking for the opportunity to make some big bucks fast. Add to this the fact that many of the states' better players are on international duty and this creates a problem because the state players want to go to India for the Champions League, so it is they who want the stars replaced, even if it's only for one match. It is a bit of a mess but cricket is still in the process of sorting out the tidal wave that is Twenty20 cricket.
What's eating Tony Greig?The ICC is charged with the responsibility of bringing all its members together to handle cricket's business. While it's nice to have everyone present, there are going to be occasions when people like Peter Chingoka from Zimbabwe are not going to be welcome in places like Australia and the United Kingdom. Why then would the ICC schedule important meetings in these places? Well, it's easy to answer: there are ICC members who are quite happy to turn a blind eye to the atrocities being committed in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe because they want Zimbabwe's vote at the ICC meetings. This attitude does not reflect well on cricket.
Talk to TonyThis week Tony Greig discusses captaincy with two regular listeners of his show.
Don't forget to send your questions to email@example.com. Please mention your name and the place where you're from. I will pick the best question and answer it in the show next week. And you could also be part of the discussion that I have with some of the listeners of this show at the end of every month. Thanks for your company. This is Tony Greig for Cricinfo Talk, signing off.