After 4 years of keeping a relatively low profile, I met Brydon Coverdale whose writing I have shown plenty of interest in over the last few years at Cricinfo.
Meeting him at the Baggy Greens net session, with Dan “Stapo”, we got chatting about cricket, obviously.
In the Cricinfo Tour Diary feature you can read a good short piece he wrote about me as a supporter.
So, it’s a game that will determine a drawn series before the Chappell-Hadlee series and gain some needed momentum, or a series loss which would be the first the Baggy Greens have suffered since the post-apartheid era in South Africa, some well deserved history for the Proteas.
Quite a bit for both sides to play for and I guess this is where the two match series also has a downer because there’s quite a bit on the line for both teams.
Partially exciting, but at the same time you have to admit that it’s a bit bleak. I never like even number series.
With Shaun Marsh out injured (see previous post) and David Warner in as his replacement, the gut feeling would be David will sit out and just get some further exposure on the outfield looking on.
However it does seem that Usman Khawaja is a certain starter in place of Shaun.
It’s an excellent opportunity for Usman nonetheless as he is the right bloke to fill the void for Shaun, despite having occupied less crease time than Shaun has been able to in his fresh career.
You can’t shy away from the fact that as a traditionalist batsman he will be eyeing a spot in the top order (with versatility on offer within the line-up) for the long-run with some of our seniors unlikely to still be at it in two or three season’s time.
The excitement rests with the potential debut of Patrick Cummins and the big question as to who will be selected to comprise the bowling unit.
Young, tall and consistently very fast, it does present a golden opportunity for Patty to make an impact on a track that definitely assists a pace bowler.
The challenge will be that a batsman in form will thrive on the pace on offer on the Wanderers deck. A good challenge may be a few hours away, especially against the epic class of Hashim Amla and the daunting experience of Jacques Kallis.
A debut would make Patty the second youngest Baggy Greener after Ian Craig, who was just 17 when he debuted. Craig went onto lead the Baggy Greens until his early retirement due to illness (and a stable profession in those days) which opened the door for other players who took their opportunities.
The one aspect you could note is that Patty is a product of the policies executed by Hilditch and Co. who will be overseeing their final match before the new selection panel comes into action.
Patrick is another guy with the “young exciting talent” tag, which is seen as a contradiction of the recent Argus Review which rather places emphasis on proven performances in the State circuit before being placed into the “pinnacle of the game” being test cricket.
Despite this massive step forward for him (only 3 First-class matches before the possible entrance into the Elite level), I hope Patrick does make the most of his opportunity, as Nathan Lyon did in his 1st test against Sri Lanka.
The fact is he’s on the Tour and he is with the side for the simple obvious reason being he may well receive a Baggy Green cap and debut as a bowler deemed capable.
Being blooded for the team so young can do more damage than good, but by the same regard it could be a career defining ordeal with a bold step into the arena as cap #423.
Best of luck Patrick!
Peter Siddle will be in contest with Patrick Cummins. Although Sids bowled alright at Newland’s, we can all expect Mitchell Johnson to play due the known scenario by now that you never know when he could just show up as the X factor player he is. For this reason he is being kept as a regular man for the starting XI.
There is one catch and that is with Ryan Harris. Really like the bloke, thoroughly enjoy his bowling and seeing him creating havoc, but his body has pulled up.
Michael Clarke said Ryano is "stiff" and the fitness concerns continue with the way his body keeps getting put on the line. Being a fast bowler means your body is always under immense strain but that considering the game was over in three days is a concern as to how he will manage for the 2nd Test. Really frustrating for everyone!
Nathan Lyon seems likely to play it be good if he actually gets a bowl.
There could be a possible chance of Trent Copeland getting a re-call having missed out at Newlands where I thought he’d have done quite well in the conditions. The question is at whose expense will it be?
What do you think?
Last Test match played at the Wanderers saw three debutants; Ben Hilfenhaus (#407), Phillip Hughes (#408) and Marcus North (#409) (who scored a century on debut).
It was quite a significant moment in recent Baggy Green history given the stability that had been present up until that point since the peak of the Border-era.
An idea of the swift changes since that game two years ago is that only one of them (Hughes) remains and right now finds him in the firing line.
Yes, it was at the Wanderers in 2009 that he was dismissed for a fourth ball duck, which was followed by a gutsy half-century.
Mitchell Johnson also had a terrific game where it will be fondly remembered as a batting achievement for him. He was left stranded after an attacking 96*. He did pick up 8 wickets for the game which was another highlight during his most prolific season.
Since the 1993/4 season the results stand as follows, a very strong record for Baggy Greens:
Played 5 - Won 4 - Lost 1.
1 – 1st Test in March 1994 – Lost bowling first (scorecard)
*Fondly remembered by Hansie Cronje supporters.
2 – 1st Test in March 1997 – Won bowling first (scorecard)
*Remember the monstrous Blewett/Waugh partnership?
3 -1st Test in February 2002 – Won batting first (scorecard)
*Gilly’s double century. It was also another Warne/McGrath innings bowling extravaganza that ended the match.
4 – 3rd Test in April 2006 – Won bowling first (scorecard)
*Justin Langer's 100th Test where he was hammered by a screamer of an Ntini short ball. It was a nail-biting finale in the end coming down to the tail!
If you read JL's latest book you will know he was padded up and ready to bat, despite his team ensuring security kept him in the changing rooms.
5 – 1st Test in February 2009 – Won batting first(scorecard)
What will the 6th Test between the sides present?
I’m expecting a massive fight between the top order batsmen and the express pace offered by both teams. In any case, big performances will be needed from the batsmen so our bowlers won’t be the “go to guys” again, especially against the wrath of Dale Steyn who dusted off any cobwebs he may have had.
Maybe Michael Clarke will finally call the toss correctly. Call “heads” Michael!
Phillip Hughes' first outing in Test Cricket. He will know all to well that he'll need something substantial such as this innings before the summer. Such dominance on the off-side! Dale Steyn has definitely limited his freedom and tightened his own game plan.
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