The eyes have it

They sure do things different in Queensland.

The Bulls have experimented with glasses that have had their bottom half blacked out and others that have been blurred in a bid to sharpen batsmen’s focus and concentration skills.

“I felt they were quite useful,” experienced batsman Martin Love said. “With the blacked-out glasses you lose sight of the ball three or four metres before it gets to you, so you start reaching for the ball and hitting it in the air. Eventually you adjust and start waiting for the ball to come to you and hit it later.

“When you give the glasses away you tend to hit the ball later. That is what we are trying to achieve (on seaming wickets) at the Gabba where you can get into a lot of trouble by playing too early.”

Bulls coach Terry Oliver sanctioned the experiment with partially blacked out glasses after it was suggested by optometrist Pat Gerry while Love, a physiotherapist, suggested the blurred glasses after seeing them at a sports medicine conference.

“Research showed because vision was so poor with the blurred glasses on, batsmen tended to concentrate better and ended up timing the ball better,” Love said.

The Bulls have also experimented batting in the blacked-out glasses with a bat half the width of a normal sized blade in an extreme test of their batting skills.

The experiment took old-timers back to the days when South African great Barry Richards used to turn his bat sideways and point its edge to the bowler to challenge himself against bowlers he considered mediocre.

I’d never thought about batting practice in this way. I wonder if any readers have been involved in similar schemes in their net sessions?

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.