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A captains knock

Gary in Aus

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The RSA cricket team , the Proteas , has been in Australia for the past month as part of a three match test series, a one day series and some 20/20 games.


Australia has been ranked No.1 for a while now and has dominated the cricketing world , this dominance ,thankfully ,goes in cycles so it is never too much of a one side dominated sport.


We were due to lose and I feel we actually needed to be beaten to improve the game.


Australia has not lost a series in Australia since the early 1980s and has not lost a series 3 nil in Australia for the more than 100 years.


The Proteas out toughed the Australian team to win the first two tests and therefore the series and Australia could only play to win the last test to avoid a whitewash.


This last test which finished today ,was played in Sydney , with Australia winning the toss and batting first , scored reasonably well in the first innings , managed to bowl out the Proteas for a small score in their first innings and then score enough to give the Proteas a target they would unlikely reach so they had to bat out 4 sessions to draw the game.


In their first innings , the Proteas captain ,Graeme Smith ,was suffering from a damaged right elbow and struggled to bat , he was hit by a rising ball that broke bones in his left hand and retired hurt with his hand placed in a cast.


He is an opening batsman and was too injured to open the Proteas second innings and was listed last on the batting lineup with the intent that he would not bat.


The South African batsmen played with outstanding courage and determination to turn what was a certain victory for Australia into a contest that lasted to the last over of the match with only three balls to go.


With Smith injured ,the two fast bowlers ,Ntini and Steyn just dug in and endured hours of being hit and injured by some aggresive fast bowling from the Australians.


With about 8 overs to go and one of these batsmen needing to be removed to finish the game ,Steyn was dismissed LBW and the Australians began celebrating their victory


and then


all eyes turned to the South African gateway to the field and out strode the South African captain with his cast removed so that he could wear batting gloves and hold his bat , his elbow strapped with a protective shield , to bat out the last couple of overs in an attempt to draw the game for his country.


Every person who was at the ground stood and applauded Smith all the way to crease , this was a very moving moment.


The first thing the Australian captain Ricky Ponting did was bring back on the bowler ,Johnson, who broke Smiths hand in the first innings to see if he could hit Smith on his injured hands again or knock him down with a bouncer.


Smith managed to bat for nearly 8 overs and with only three balls left in test , was unfortunately bowled by Johnson , and the game was won by Australia. After 5 days of play with usually 90 overs per day {90 times 6 = 540 times 5= 2,700 {approximately}balls bowled and if they could have lasted for three more dleiveries they could have drawn the game.


This was an inspirational moment ,not just in sport .


I may not have described this too well for those who don't know cricket but I am sure those who do will appreciate Smiths achievement .


Smith has risen above the cliched " hitting the winning run" or a "try saving tackle" or "one for the team" , I feel he has shown the courage and nobility that is often missing from most sporting contests and has set levels for others to aspire.


I am a very hard person to impress , yet he has impressed me.


Well done RSA and Graeme Smith

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I admit to not knowing much and to having a rosy picture of cricket and sportsmanship. For some reason I didn't think that they went after each other as is so common in other sports.


Good on Smith!

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Gary, you did well mate :thumbsup:

Wonderful stuff....Y'know, it's the man playing and not the game that's played that truly focusses on the "sporting" aspect of that particular game. I thought the Oz skipper's intent to go for the man was a cheap shot....!


Too rarely do we see some real sportsmanship these days with all the money flying about. I remember back in 2001, in the English Premier League, when Paolo Di Canio, West Ham's Italian striker was awarded the Fifa Fair Play award for his actions in a Premiership game in the 2000 season. He opted to catch the ball rather than shoot when Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard was on the ground injured.


Football's ruling body described the gesture as a "special act of good sportsmanship".


The Everton goal was empty as Gerrard lay injured outside his area, but Di Canio opted to catch the ball to stop play so that Gerrard could get treatment, instead of going for goal.





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Graeme Smith's actions were remarkable and inspiring. At a time when English cricket is tearing itself apart it is heartwarming to see this kind of spirit.


I was looking forward to this summer's cricket season with a hope that the Ashes could come home. With the current debacle over the English coach and captaincy, I cannot see that we will have a coherent team to put up against the tourists.



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Andy ,


Quote "I was looking forward to this summer's cricket season with a hope that the Ashes could come home."


To some of us they are home.


After the series loss to RSA in Australia , the return series in South Africa which could be another testing time for Australia ,I am confident England is going to be confronting a very motivated and clinical Australian team.


Debacle is a gentle term , have the issues with Pietersen been around for long, Peter Moores seemed to be doing a reasonable job in dificult times especially after Vaughans departure.


On the last day of the 3rd test I was at home so was able to have a surf , lunch , watch a bit of cricket then have another swim and then settle down on the verandah to watch the last two sessions with some beer and prawns .


Being able to watch this all unfold with some very determined lower order batting partnerships , Ntini and Steyn just wouldn't throw away their wickets , the frustration of the Australians and then Smith lifted it all to a new level.


Smith , in my opinion ,is up there with Cowdrey {possibly the geatest gentleman in cricket and the bravest , I remember him being recalled to the England team and facing up to Lillee and Thomson at their fastest ,when the rest of the England team was not coping with them at all } in the West Indies going out to face the pace attack with a broken arm and McCosker facing up with a broken jaw.


Things like this really put the Bodyline series {for Australians anyway} and the Underarm incident in New Zealand into perspective , Greg Chappell still claims he acted correctly ,I think he acted like an arsehole.



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Leslie ,


it is still probably at the pinnacle of sportsmanship and fair play , it is a very structured and regulated activity that for some is hard to reconcile with some modern "sporting " standards.


Sometimes a batsman can be given out by an umpire , the finger being raised , even though the batsman may be clearly not out they will leave the crease with out dissent , they may be disappointed but they must keep that to themselves.


The game has many facets of it's appeal and the individuals character is often more valuable than their score , they can contribute more than wickets taken , runs scored , runs saved or catches taken.


Our recently retired wicket keeper, Adam Gilchrist , was known as a "walker" . When Gilchrist was batting , if he had knicked a ball and been caught behind , and the umpire had not given Gilchrist out , Gilchrist would tell the umpire that he had been caught and would give himself out and walk off the field.


This type of integrity is also shown in some other dismissals , the speed at which balls are bowled , hit and caught , with some catches being taken as the ball and catchers hand may hit the ground at the same. Often if the umpire has been unable to see if the catch was cleanly taken , the batsman will ask the fielder if he caught it and if the fielder says yes then the batsman will accept the word of the fielder. This style of play has been under pressure lately and in some instances they have recently referred to video replays for answers ,which I think is kind of sad as I have always prefered the honesty of the game.



An aside regarding Adam Gilchrist.

My wife is the Deputy Chancellor of Wollongong University , the university has a substantial number of international students and has campuses in Hong Kong ,Singapore and Dubai. They are expanding into the Indian market and Adam Gilchrist was asked to become part of the Public Relations team to visit India . There were some at the University who were not sure of Gilchrists appointment ,however after the first visit with the Vice Chancellor this attitude has changed.


Indian industrial and mining magnates , politicians ,academics and corporate leaders were queueing up to meet and be photographed with Gilchrist and the Uni VC is claiming a resounding success. While most had an idea of Gilchrists appeal no one expected the "royal" treatment Gilchrist received , apparently something visiting presidents and prime ministers could only dream about.


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