Graeme Smith writes

I know I’ve been harsh on Smith, but it’s only through admiration. He is a very tough and confident character, incredibly cocky for someone so young (my age – 22). The responsibility on his shoulders is massive – a bit like Atherton’s in 1994. His cockiness can, and has so far, been his downfall. But it’s nevertheless enjoyable reading his articles, parts of which I’ve summarised below

“Partnerships are even more important than individual innings, and stands ending at 50 and 60 are as frustrating as individual scores in that region. You can just about hang on to a game with partnerships that size but you can’t win it.”

An admission from Smith? It gets better:

“What an incredible start to Andrew Strauss’s international career. He and Marcus Trescothick have obviously clicked as an opening pair and if we can’t separate the two left-handers with the new ball then I see further trouble for us ahead. Perhaps we’ll have more success with Plan C at Newlands in Cape Town.”

2 admissions of failure in one article? What’s going on! Plan C – that’s what. Propaganda and psychobabble from Ray Jennings probably, but it’ll be interesting to see their tactics to Strauss who is/was one of the form men of 2004. I’d love to see a pitch-map of balls bowled to him (wouldn’t that be cool to just bring that up on the internet?) – I bet over 60% were short of a good length. Don’t bounce him – this apparent weakness for the pull is bollocks. Make him drive and have a good pair of slippers waiting. Problem is – only Pollock can bowl 6 balls on the spot. Ntini doesn’t deserve his 9th-place rating in the world at the moment.

“I see that all the England players’ wives and families are here. I hope they enjoy our hospitality and climate and hold nothing back in celebrating the new year. :)

We, on the other hand, had a quiet braai at Jacques Kallis’s house to see in the new year. We want to be as fresh as possible for tomorrow.”

What’s a braai, I wonder…?