Sport 2015 is upon us in a rush like a Bulls rolling maul.Already the Aussie Tennis Open is done and dusted as has the Dubai Desert Classic.
Starting today,Super Rugby clashes begin with the Crusaders taking on the Rebels opening the season in what all will be leading up to the World Cup later this year in England.Most are predicting the team to beat will be the All Blacks after a dominating year in 2014,but they did have a couple of blots on their season last year,one of them from a passionate rugby crazy country called South Africa who’s Springbok side won a close encounter at Ellis Park.
Already the first games of the Six Nations have been played in the North,with Ireland and England stamping their authority in this competition.
Tomorrow,or should I say in the wee hours of the night for us,New Zealand Will play host to Sri Lanka in the first game of the ODI ICC World Cup and Australia will face England.The tournament is being co- hosted by Australia and New Zealand and will run through to the end of March with some 48 games to be played.
Raise your glasses and clink your mates as we look forward to some adrenalin pumping games,the highs and lows and the games that will keep us talking around the Braais (barbecures) with the Boerie sizzling and the Pap and Sous te lekker.
South Africa pummel Windies in the first cricket test at Super Sport Park,Centurion in Pretoria.
Amla lost the toss and was asked to bat by the Windies on what looked to be a bowlers paradise wicket,accompanied by overcast conditions which would increase swing.Elgar and Peterson took the score to 57 before the loss of the first wicket.We were still on 57 a further two wickets later.308 runs later the fourth wicket fell,as AB De Villiers 152 and Hashim Amla 208 took the West Indian bowling attack apart.AB was the first to go in the partnership,scooping a ball to backward point off Benn. Stiaan van Zyl joined an elite group of south African cricketers when he scored his maiden test century on debut making 101 not.SA declared at 552-5.
The Windies first innings closed on 201.Disappointment for them as the top four batsmen got into the thirties but were unable to push through to the three figure mark.Philander 4-29 and Morkel 3-55 the chief wicket takers.Steyn for once was wicketless.
Amla asked the Windies to follow on.Morkel and Philander made the intial breakthrough and then Steyn cleaned up taking 6-34,his 25th five wicket haul,and the Windies were all back in the hut 131 runs later giving South Africa the win by an innings and 220 runs.
Australia gore India in the second test at the Gabba and take an unbeatable 2-0 win in the series with one test to play.
Some great batting by both teams on occasion,intersperced with some dramatic collapses and tremendous bowling,starting with a five wicket haul in the first innings by debutant Josh Hazelwood,a fighting 144 by Murali Vijay.Australias first innings was held together by incumbent skipper Steve Smith who contributed with a fine 133,and backed up by a tremendous 88 by Mitch Johnson.
Indias second innings of 224 was largely thanks to an 81 by Dhawan and 43 from Pujara.The riveting part of the India second innings was the demolition derby caused by Mitch Johnson to the Indian middle order.Fast,fiery wicket taking deliveries had India up a gumpole in short order,allowing them only 224 runs in their second innings.
Set to make a paltry 127 to win the game,Australia reached 130-6 to win but not without some heart palpitating moments caused by Ishant Sharma and Yadav.The two quicks snapped up 5 wickets between them causing some shakey moments for the Aussie side.I’m sure there were those who cast their minds back to the Hansie Cronje led Proteas side that bowled Australia out for 107 on the last day.Fanie De Villiers was our hero that day with a seven wicket haul.
Australia India cricket,second test at the Gabba day two,saw India collapse once more losing their last six wickets for 90 odd runs.This must be so frustrating to the top order who got them to 321-5 and then seeing the collapse to 408 all out.I know it’s expected for the top order to make runs but they do need some support from the lower order to see them through to a more dominating position.What has happened now is the back door has been left open and with Australia 221-4 and new captain Steve Smith in prolific form,Australia will get close if not pass the Indian total,and then once again India will be under severe pressure to gain any momemtum to carry them through for the rest of the test.
Highlights so far have been Murali Vijays 144,Rahanes’81 for India.Australia will be delighted in finding a new quick in Josh Hazelwood who took 5-68 on his debut.Great bowling by an enthusiastic young cricketer,who I hope will go onto greater things in his career.
A good agressive 55 by Chris Rogers and 65 not,by Steve Smith.Mitch Marsh looks reasonably comfortable against the India attack,but has yet to face an extended attack from Yadev who has three Aussie scalps under his belt already.
Tomorrow should be the key day to swing this test either way.
Proteas Windies cricket gets underway tomorrow as the first test starts at Centurion Park in Pretoria.There has been a lot of discussion going on about the slow start the South Africans seem to take at the beginning of any tour.Earlier this year we were humbled by Australia when we got blitzed by the Aussies,mainly due to some excellent bowling from Mitch Johnson.Admittedly the Windies don’t have the same fire power in their bowling,but don’t for one second believe they are a mediocre team.They have a packed team of proven all rounders Sulieman Benn,Marlon Samuels and Kemar Roach,plus the one man who has been a thorn in the SA teams side,Shiv Chanderpaul.
South Africa are still top of the ICC test rankings and they are going to have to put their heads down and graft from day one to maintain that position.Australia are looking strong against India,so we have to win this three test series 3-0 to ensure we stay on top by a good margin.
The South African selectors have also selected some rookies for our squad to blood them.The likes of Kagiso Rabada,Kyle Abbott,Stiaan van Zyl and Temba Bavuma.
By all accounts,according to the pundits we should be too strong for the Windies,especially with them not having Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo.
Sevens Rugby in Port Elizabeth this weekend past saw the Blitz Bokke go top of the log in the competition as they once again took the trophy for this leg.
In Dubai they took on Australia in the final,this round it was the All Blacks in a tough final which they won 26-19.At one stage the Blitz Bokke were playing with six men as Cecil Afrika was sent to the sin bin after continual infringements at the ruck.It was at this time that the New Zealanders were able to score their second try and put them within two points of the Bokke.Once they were back to full strength they shut down any attack by the New Zealanders and were able to snatch up a loose ball and score the deciding try.
The next venue for this competition is Las Vegas,USA, and let’s hope the Blitz Bokke can keep up their superb and winning ways with another top performance.
Australia India first test day five saw Australia pull off an unbelievable win.After scoring a fast paced 517 in the first innings and losing some time due to inclement weather,they managed to put pressure on India,ending the first innings with a 73 run advantage.Nathan Lyon the pick of the bowlers with 5 for 134.
Australias second innings was propped up by another David Warner century to add to his first innings one and they were able to declare on 279 -5.
India started their second innings a bit shakily losing two wickets with only 57 on the board,but then Kohli and Vijay took the total to 242 before Vijay was trapped leg before by Lyon.Kohli produced some of the best batting I have seen for a while,but even his 141 could not stave off defeat as the last seven Indian batsmen added a pathetic 30 runs.The destroyer of the Indian innings,once again Nathan Lyon with a fantastic 7-152,giving him match figures of 12-286.
Michael Clarke,the Australian captain pulled his hamstring again and will be out of the remaing tests and the capataincy has been given to Steve Smith,the second youngest man to captain Australia.Fears are that this injury may be the end of Clarkes’cricketing career.
Australia India first test,end of play on day four has Australia in the ascendency with a lead of 363 runs,but five wickets down.Steve Smith is at the wicket with an unbeaten 52 and Brad Haddin on 14.
There are 98 overs scheduled to be bowled tomorrow,so my guess is Clarke is going to bat for an hour or so tomorrow before declaring.An hour should be 12 to 14 overs plus 4-5 for change of innings,that will leave him about 80 overs to bowl India out,as I don’t see India scoring at 5+ runs an over to win this test.Result,a draw.
What comes out of this,David Warner with back to back centuries is in prolific form,closely followed by Steve Smith,Michael Clarke with his first innings hundred was striking the ball well.Nathan Lyon with a fifer in the first dig is looking dangerous.The pace attack shared the other 5 wickets.Australia will feel reasonably pleased with their overall effort and will be confident going into the next test.
For India,Virat Kohli made a tough,gutsy hundred wth good support innings by 3 of the other top order batsmen.For India,none of the bowlers put up their hands as wickets were shared accross the spectrum.
India should be well pleased that they dented the Aussie juggernaught of pace and the top batsmen can make runs,they have a good selection of bowlers and with Dhoni coming in for the second test they will be bolstered by his return.
Looking forward to the second test in Brisbane on the 17th.
Sevens Rugby round three takes place at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Port Elizabeth this weekend.South Africa will once again be hosting this prestigious tournament with a little bit of local flavour. What the rest of the world calls a barbecue,we call a ‘braai vleis’.In the US they do hamburger patties,in England,sausages and in SA we have Boere wors.A literal translation would be farmers sausage,but boerie can be three feet long.It holds the juice and is made in different flavours,exquisite tasting,but I digress and I’m no chef.
In the first leg in Australia,Fiji came out on top playing some excellent rugby.The second leg played in Dubai saw the Blitz Bokke sweep all before them,trouncing the All Blacks 28-0 in the semi final and then taking Australia to task in the final winning 35-7.We hope they can maintain this high standard of rugby in their own back yard.
The added incentive is of course the top teams of this competition will automatically get a free pass to the Rio Olympics in 2016,the first time that sevens will compete as an Olympic sport.
So here’s to some exciting,fast paced sport for the weekend,and a braai with some juicy wors to go with it.