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February 3, 2001
The end of a long and trying week - what with having to play four games in different parts of Australia, which is not exactly the smallest country in the world.
It started very well with a bizarre but exciting win against the West Indies at Sydney. The pitch is a re-laid surface, which proved quite difficult for batting with some variable bounce. However we did not believe that it was as difficult as our 139 all out indicated. We decided to give it a full go and try to get some early wickets - and if we did well then who knows what might happen. Reducing them to 31 for 8 was not quite scripted and our ultimate win by 47 runs was unbelievable and emotional.
We have not fared so well, results wise, for the rest of the week, with two sound lessons from the Aussies and a disappointing loss to the West Indies at Adelaide. However as I have alluded to in my previous reports, you always learn while playing cricket in Australia, as this is the hardest stage in the world to play on. We have definitely been given the opportunity not only on the playing front, but also from past Australian greats like Greg Chappell, Terry Jenner and Ian Healy to mention a few, who have come along and imparted their vast knowledge to the team.
There has not been much to report on the social front as it has been a very hectic schedule and we seem to spend our lives in aeroplanes buses and hotels - or playing and practicing. Former fast bowler Eddo Brandes has brought out a tour party to watch as part of his benefit year, and it was very nice to catch up with him. Gavin Rose, a renowned cricket supporter, is over too, and his mascot is a kangaroo dressed in a Zimbabwe shirt going by the name of Tafadzwa. From where I field on the boundary this causes great consternation among the Aussie die-hards.
On a more serious note Friday is D-day at the WACA ground in Perth against the West Indies. It is a must win game for us to reach the finals which, as I said before, is something that we intend to do. I seem to have this writers curse that whenever I mention that we need to win a game we duly lose and lose badly. However I am persevering in the hope that we will reverse this trend. The big occasion is something to be embraced not feared, and we know that we have worked hard enough to make this our day. It is in our hands to play in front of a full house at the MCG!
Plays of the Day from second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Port Elizabeth