A Draw, A Win & A Retirement

A mixed Sunday awaited us as we got see a shocker of a draw in the Jo’burg test between India and South Africa when it looked that it would be a cake walk for the Proteas who were chasing 458 for a win. South Africa were going for it till du Plessis was at the crease who had scored a brilliant 134 before getting run out to a direct hit by Rahane. Still with Philander at the crease and Steyn, who can bat a bit, could have got the remaining 16 runs but it was to everyone’s surprise that skipper Smith instructed to play for a draw. The Jo’burg crowd kept booing the batsmen as they were shocked to see them leaving and defending the last two overs.

It was one of the longest run chases in cricket history that SA were going for which was at striking distance. The Indian bowlers started the day by allowing de Villiers and du Plessis to get their eye in and share a 205 run partnership. It again raises the question whether Indian bowlers can get 20 wickets in a test match abroad. None of the bowlers had the sting after lunch to go for the kill as they kept bowling outside the off stump waiting for the batsman to make a mistake. Zaheer Khan might have made a comeback and crossed the 300 wicket mark but does he have the fire of delivering when needed?
It won’t be surprising if Dhoni goes unchanged in the 2nd test which starts on Boxing Day at Durban but a fourth seamer instead of a batsman can make the difference.

Pakistan was on song at Sharjah when they took on Sri Lanka in the third ODI and beat them by 113 runs. Pakistan batting first set up 326 in their allotted 50 overs with Hafeez coming to the party by scoring his second consecutive ton with ample support by Ahmed Shehzad. A run rate of 6plus was always going to be tough as the Lankans kept loosing wickets in their run chase. Except for Dilshan and skipper Mathews no one could put up a decent score. So, its 2-1 in favor of Pakistan in the 5 match ODI series.

England’s Ashes woes received another jolt as Graeme Swann announced his retirement on Sunday. Knowing his performance in the on-going Ashes hasn’t been up to the mark Swann who made his debut against India announced his retirement with immediate effect and will not be playing in the remaining two Tests to be played the MCG and SCG. He was the spearhead of the spin department as far as England were concerned and was a permanent fixture in the team but off late his form had started depreciating and wasn’t among the wickets for some time now. He was quoted saying that his body found it hard to cope with the stress that tests demanded. He played 60 tests in all and will finish his career with 255 wickets at an average of 29.96.