Brian Lara wonders if the coin will spin his way at Johannesburg
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Brian Lara was quick to point out the ills of day-night matches after West Indies convincingly beat South Africa in a day game at Centurion to register their first win of the five-match one-day series. Lara, who scored an unbeaten 59 from just 37 balls to guide West Indies home, felt that the toss played too much of a factor in day-night matches, with the team bowling under lights almost assured of a win.
"Finally, we got a game where the toss didn't matter," Lara said. "It's a bit disappointing that we will play four of the five games under lights. It's unfair to both teams. Conditions are so much in favour of the side bowling second, it's ridiculous. Today cricket was the winner, and the spectators loved it." West Indies batted under lights in the first two ODIs and managed just 54 and 162.
With the last match, at Johannesburg, scheduled to be another day-night encounter, Lara predicted that the toss would be a huge factor again. "We're going to the Wanderers on Wednesday, and you wonder what's going to happen come 6.30 or 7pm."
Speaking about the match itself, Lara was all praise for his batsmen and scoffed at Graeme Smith's suggestion that South Africa lost because the team was exhausted. "Graeme Smith loses one game against us and his team is tired? West Indies are fighting on, we've had so many injuries and haven't complained." Keeping the win in perspective, Lara added: "We're not going to go overboard with this win. We need to win the next game, and we'll go home a lot happier." A win at Johannesburg will level the series 2-2, with rain having washed out the third match at Durban.
For Smith, it wasn't the ideal present on his 23rd birthday, and he identified indisciplined bowling as the primary reason for the defeat. "We weren't good today. On a very good batting pitch you need to be precise, and we weren't. It's back to the drawing board now, learn from this and come back stronger at the Wanderers."