Oh dear…Boucher’s bowling. Oh dear – he’s got a wicket

Oh. Dear. Mark Boucher bowled 3 balls (yes – Mark Boucher, the grumpy ‘keeper). One was waist-high. Second was even higher and no-balled. The 3rd was short and wide (at least it pitched), and Bravo hit it to Mid Off. He has his first, and probably last, Test wicket – and presumabely no bowling average yet, either!

This waste-of-my-time-Test match has also broken the record of having the most hundreds in a Test (8).

Thoughts on Ntini

The commentators – excellent Ian Bishop, and ultra annoying anonymous South African who seems to emphasise the word “five” in every bloody sentence, which is doubly annoying when the score is FIVE for FIVE nine FIVE – are discussing Ntini, and some interesting stats came up. He’s played most Tests against England and West Indies, and those 2 countries share his bulk of wickets (54 and 53 respectively). Interestingly, his bowling average is just 24 against the Windies, but a much higher 30 against England.

And he still can’t bowl a slower ball. They remarked how much of a better bowler he could be if he could add this skill to his repetoire, and I agree. It’s amazing how he runs in and bowls the same deliveries time after time – there really is very little deviation (both in terms of what he decides to bowl, and in lacking much swing). A very good bowler, with the potential to be much better. Will he realise it?

Oh, joy, the seventh hundred has been made (or is that 10? Since Gayle scored 3 on his own) in this match – captain Chanderpaul. Talk about a bowler’s graveyard…

Gayle 20th triple-century maker

Chris Gayle is the 20th triple-centurian in Test cricket history, a wonderful achievement. Antigua also now matches Leeds in having staged the most separate triple centuries (3) – the previous 2 at Antigua being, of course, Sir Gary Sobers and some bloke called Lara…

Chris Gayle approaching 300

Chris Gayle

Gayle must be thanking his lucky stars, praying to W.G.Grace or whatever cricket-God is in fashion – what better way to get back into nick than hitting 300? And – on this dead pitch. He’s not quite there yet, but give it 20 minutes and he ought to be (famous last words). The pitch is flatter than an ironing board, but 300 is still a great achievement for any batsman – and I’m particularly pleased, as he’s a fine player who deserves success.

Fingers crossed for him.

Chris Gayle still going

Chris Gayle

So, Chris Gayle is now on 163 scoring at just under a run a ball. Wonderful innings, and I’ve seen practically none of it annoyingly. Sarwan, who with Gayle has put on over 200, has made just 50 so far. Gayle is such a destructive opening batsman, I imagine his batting partners feel a bit lost when he’s in this kind of form.

It does highlight, though, just how batting-heavy not only West Indies are but South Africa too (and other countries I suppose).

Gayle goes ballistic – that’s how to do it!

Chris Gayle – one of my favourite cricketers to watch – is going a bit ballistic: currently on 70 from just 53 balls, ten 4s and three 6s. That’s how to counter-attack! Thrilling to watch when he’s in this kind of form.

West Indies v South Africa: dullness personified

I don’t know who I’m more annoyed at or upset with, South Africa or the West Indies. Albeit on a flat track, the West Indies have embarassed themselves further in this Test Match. They’ve already conceded 4 hundreds – even allowing Ashwell Prince to make one. That said – and although South Africa’s run-rate is at 3.5/over – there were periods today where South Africa just stopped and did nothing.

All this talk that they’re (South Africa) “on track again,” and “on the rise,” is just bullshit. Most division 1 County sides in England could take the West Indies to a draw these days; most Australian states would beat them without too much bother. And yet South Africa, and Kallis in particular, spent parts of the afternoon session doodling along as though they were 200-5. West Indies posess not a single bowling threat [1]. Yes, South Africa are ahead of the game; Yes, they’ve scored over 500 runs but 3.5 runs/over against THAT bowling attack just says to the world: “We’ve won the series, we don’t want to lose this game.”

I was similarly annoyed throughout England’s tour earlier this year, where South Africa were often behind on points and constantly played the waiting game. They’re a very boring side to watch, these days.

[1] Incidentally, Dwight Washington, who was just about managing to get the ball down to the other end of the wicket at 78mph, is down as RF on Cricinfo. Oh, how they wish…

Tendulkar and Lara captains of the Tsunami match

Wow. Both Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara will play in the Tsunami fundraiser on June 14. Sachin in charge of the MCC (!) and Brian the international XI. Brilliant

West Indies beaten by Saffers

The West Indies have been nailed by South Africa – well and truly nailed. You’ve gotta wonder what sort of state Test Cricket is in when Andre Nel can take 6-32. I admire his spirit, but he’s nothing special – I still wonder how the hell the ball ends up where he wants it to go. He looks like a 5 legged giraffe.

Does this win suggest our friend Ray has done a good job with South African cricket? Henry doesn’t think so.

Fidel Edwards back for West Indies

Any doubts about whether Fidel Edwards would have lost some pace (after injury) have vanished. No wickets yet, but he’s up to and beyond 94mph