Proteas win opening test in Sri Lanka

Written by kobus. Posted in Cricket

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Published on July 22, 2014 with No Comments

Inspired by local South African branding at the cricket ground, the Proteas have managed to win their 3rd ever test in Sri Lanka this past weekend. With a beautiful display of fast bowling by the best bowler in the world, Dale Steyn, and his partner-in-crime, Morne Morkel, they managed to beat the Sri Lankans by a healthy margin of 135 runs.  When the Proteas previously  beat Sri Lanka in 2000, the margin was only a mere 7 runs.  Steyn and Morkel had a combined total of 16 wickets out of the 20 of the match. This is not what you would expect considering the subcontinental pitch. But with some clever bowler rotating by newbie captain, Amla, and a superior display of reverse swinging by Steyn, the hosts were unable to defend their wickets against this powerful attack. Another point worth mentioning is the declaration of Amlain South Africa’s 2nd innings. With a lead of only 370-odd runs, the Sri Lankans were enticed by an achievable target. It would seem that in the past, the Proteas would have rather opted for a bigger target driving  Sri Lanka to rather bat out the test instead of chasing the target.

The Proteas’ front line spinner, Tahir, had a very disappointing performance with bowling figures of 1/139, whereas part-time spinner ,Duminy, had figures of 3/85, including the wicket of KumarSangakarra. Let’s not knit pick about the details of how he got dismissed :) It is becoming clearer and clearer that Tahir is not cut out for test cricket. I have been a Tahir fan from Day 1, but unfortunately he is not bowling consistently at test level. As a successful test spinner it is vital to bowl in the right areas ball after ball after ball. The great Shane Warne once said that it took him at least 10 deliveries to work up to a wicket. If you bowl 1 bad delivery within those 10 balls you have to start over from scratch. That appears to be the problem with Tahir. He bowls too many short or wide (or both) deliveries which pushes up the run rate and takes away the pressure from the batsmen. With limited-overs cricket on the other hand, he seems to be a handful for the batsmen as his inconsistency seems to play in his favour. To my surprise Tahir seems to be lacking compared to previous front-line spinner Harris. Whereas Harris was considered a slow left arm bowler and not slow left arm spinner, he could at least hit the right areas with consistency. With match figures of 1/139 the selectors can surely afford to replace Tahir with Dane Piedt to see if he can step up to test cricket.

But whether the selectors will drop Tahir seems doubtful. I suppose it would be wreckless to fiddle too much with the current line up ahead of the next match. If the Proteas should draw the next match, they would still win their first test series in Sri Lanka in 21 years. If they should win the match, they also regain their status as the number 1 test team in the world.

You might have noticed that I started this article off with “inspired by local South African branding” and probably wondered what that was about, right? The innovative guys from AcaJoe secured branding on the boundary boards for the entire test series in Sri Lanka. Talk about proudly South African! Aca Joe cleverly showed their support of the national team by stepping over local boundaries to advertise a uniquely South African brand at international venues outside South Africa. I think this is bold move and hopefully a taste of more to come. Have a look at some of the pictures below where you can see the branding in the background.

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