Slinky Minki the fans’ favourite WAG

Sorry to lower the tone to such levels, but apparently Graeme Smith’s bit-on-the-side, Minki van der Westhuizen – Slinky Minki to some – has topped a poll of fans’ favourite WAGs. She has won the inaugural International Cricket Cutie Trophy organised by our good friends at Stick Cricket.

“Minki is a cricket fan’s dream woman. She’s sleek, sexy and with a successful career to boot,” Chris Berry, Stick Cricket’s director said. “Cricketers attract a finer class of WAG. While football is a game for chaps copping off with Chavs, cricket is a game for gentlemen going out with goddesses.”

Definitely a contender for quote-of-the-week. If you don’t know who Minki is, here she is:

Photo of Slinki Minki

Prince of South Africa

Patrick reminds me of the news Ashwell Prince has been appointed the South Africa captain for their tour of Sri Lanka. Graeme Smith, seemingly like most cricketers these days, has an ankle injury. But Prince’s elevation is noteworthy as he becomes the first non-white captain of his country.

South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Johannesburg, 1st day

So, Graeme Smith is a definate non-starter for the final Test. It’s hard to see a way through Australia for South Africa. On the other hand, Australia’s foot might loosen from the pedal as it often does after a series-securing victory. Chat away.
Scorecard

UPDATE South Africa v Australia, 5th ODI, Johannesburg

About an hour ago, me and my colleage were screaming at the TV while watching South Africa attempt to reach 435. The commentators – Tony Greig and a South African, Barry Richards I think – were getting far too excited and claiming the hosts were going for the win. What tosh.

I’m slowly reaching for my hat which I might have to start eating, as we’re witnessing something rather extraordinary.

Oh bugger, the curse of the blogger. Graeme Smith is out (90 off 55!) and Mike Hussey’s celebration after taking the catch in the deep perhaps said it all: Australia are relieved. I think they felt the game was slipping away from them…

What an incredible day’s cricket it’s been

Update

Gibbs reaches incredible hundred. Nathan Bracken DROPS HIM at mid-off! What the hell is going on? South Africa 247 for 2, needing 188 from 23 overs

14.34 GMT

Gibbs 150 from 100 balls. 164 needed from 21. Rate under 8 for the first time. Pictures I’m upping are here

14.48

Gibbs falls for 175 from 111. De Villiers also out. Kallis and Boucher now in. 136 from 18.1 overs.

15.48

30 from 18 needed, ANOTHER FOUR, Boucher’s doing it for South Africa. And Mick Lewis brings up his hundred too!

15.51

It’s gotta be SA now. 17 from 13

15.52

Four from Roger Telemarketing! (Telemachus) 13 from 12! Mick Lewis has the most expensive bowling stats, ever.

15.53

Telemachus caught, brilliantly, by Hussey, diving forward at mid-off! 12 from 10 with two wickets remaining. Bloody hell. Andrew Hall gets a standing ovation for walking onto the ground.

15.58

7 from 6

16.00

Lee struck on foot, saved four, ouch. 6 from 5

16.02

Hall smashes Lee through midwicket for FOUR! Brilliant shot.

16.04

Hall caught! OUT GONE! 2 from 3 needed, ONE WICKET LEFT

16.05

Ntini screams, gets a single, South Africa cannot lose. 1 from 2. Australia cannot, obviously, win it. This is bloody incredible

16.06

Boucher wins it with a slog over mid-on to record the best one-day victory ever. In the greatest one-day match, probably. Speechless.

South Africa head home

South Africa head home in a day or two, after being beaten by Sri Lanka today, which concludes South Africa’s fourth tour of Australia since they were re-admitted to the international cricket community.

It has to be said that Graeme Smith’s team was the least successful of the four. Like many nations, South Africa has never won a Test Series in Australia, and they never looked likely to do that. It took a remarkable rearguard action in the First Test to prevent it turning into a clean sweep. And this South African party was the first to fail to qualify for the triangular series final.

Smith can point to the fact that injuries decimated his squad, although that excuse really only carries weight for the poor ODI showing. South Africa were close to full strength for the Tests.

Smith himself had a wretched time with the bat; he did not score a single half century against the Australians in the entire tour. For such a patently talented batsman, this must have been very disheartening.

He did finally score 67 in a lost cause today, but it was a distraught man who watched his side crumble in his wake. He is under fire from home and is not the first, nor will he be the last, talented batsman to find Australia is as tough a tour as any going around.

Who ate all the South African pies?

Kep Wessells calls Graeme Smith a porker! In response South African coach Mickey Arthur suggests that Wessells doesn’t have the interests of South African cricket in mind.

Whee! Handbags at 20 paces!

Of course, if Australia follow Darren Lehmann’s advice, we Aussies might not be able to laff at the silly Saffie fatties for too much longer. But I’ll enjoy it while I still can!

Boks on the offensive

Funny what a week away from cricket does. I’m back (hello) from my hiatus (not the hernia – what is a hiatus hernia…?), and was pleasantly surprised to see South Africa perform so strongly against Australia today. This could be a real cracker of a series in which to end the year, although I still fear for South Africa’s brittleness. Always enjoyable to hear G.Smith’s press conferences; no doubt there’ll be some gems in the next few weeks!

I’ll get back to blogging like the cricket-starved fool I am soon as…splendid.

Test Cricket today. Hurray!

Tests are the best!

Australia take on South Africa in the First Test at Perth. South African captain Graeme Smith is ‘braced for bullies‘ and given that his side lost to a weak West Australian state side by an innings, the Australian urge to kick sand in South African faces is strong.

A personal confession, here. I loathe South African cricket, which has done nothing but bombastic boasting, boring and unadventurous captains and hilarious World Cup chokes since they were re-admitted in 1992. The last two times Australia toured the place, we heard a great deal in the South African press about how they were going to stuff us, and Australia responded by crushing them by an innings in the First Test. I suppose I owe it to my readers that I can’t be entirely objective about South Africans, and should bear that in mind when they read my stuff.

South Africans must be pretty anxious about the crowd because Andre Nel says that they aren’t worried about being abused by the crowds. If you weren’t worried about it, why would you talk about it? It is not like South African crowds are prim and proper-Johannesburg is not known as ‘the Bullring’ for nothing.

Australia have included Nathan Bracken in the lineup, instead of Stuart MacGill, and South Africa are likely to be missing Jacques Kallis. He is one of the few South Africans with a proven record against Australia so they will miss him.

Australia have never lost a series to South Africa since readmission, and have not lost a series at home since 1992-93. I do not think South Africa have the bowling attack to change those facts. Also, Smith does not strike me as the sort of cool figure that can lead his side to an upset victory. But it’s Test cricket so hurray!

Captain Graeme Smith

Any doubts of Smith’s leadership qualities, or confusion as to the World XI’s mission tonight have been resolved by the ever-insightful Smith:

To beat Australia. That’s what we’ve come here for.

Thanks for that. Wondered what that group of eleven non-Australian players were doing in Sydney.

Who should captain World XI for the Test?

New poll, to run for 10 days: Who should captain World XI for the Test?

Graeme Smith is in line to do it, but who would you prefer to see lead the World XI against Australia? (squad list here).

Ian Chappell questioned Smith’s imagination as captain last week. Are you happy with the decision? I’d go for Flintoff, m’self, just for laughs (although I do think he’d make an excellent captain of England’s one-day side).

You can vote (and add your own choices) on most pages at the top on the right-hand-side.