March 1, 2013South Africa have confirmed their supremacy in test cricket with a crushing 3 – 0 home series win against Pakistan. In each test, South Africa exhibited their class in the seam-bowling department. Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander at times seemed unplayable and there was even opportunity for the uncovering of a new talent, Kyle Abbott, who swept all before him on debut with nine wickets in the final test. With the bat, world Nos. 1 and 3, Hashim Amla and AB De Villiers were as dominant as ever, but there needed to be few contributions from any of the other front line batsmen. At the end of the series, Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s captain was left ruing the lack of opportunity to play home series on the sort of spinning wickets that would suit his team. One looks forward to the day when Pakistan re-emerges as a force in world cricket at the conclusion of their exile from their homeland.
It was early advantage to India as skipper MS Dhoni guided them to victory against Australia in the first test in Chennai. Cool as you like, Dhoni picked off each member of the opposition attack in compiling a magnificent double century and, on a turning track, took a particular liking to Nathan Lyon, who conceded a double hundred of his own. By contrast, spinner R Ashwin was all over the Australian batsmen finishing with 12 wickets in the match. Australia may respond by picking a second spinner for the remaining tests, but don’t put it past India to counter with a four-pronged spin attack.
Following series wins in both the T20 and ODI formats, England are approaching the forthcoming test series in New Zealand with confidence. Some of England’s newly arrived test players look a little ring rusty but expect England to dominate the Kiwis, whose already thin resources are stretched by injuries to key players Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan and, of course, Daniel Vettori.
In case anyone hadn’t noticed, West Indies are in ODI action against a pitifully weak Zimbabwe played out in largely empty stadia in the Caribbean. For the record, West Indies, without Chris Gayle, are currently 2-0 up and are totally dominating with bat and ball. The likes of Ireland, Afghanistan and the Netherlands can only look on in envy as they prepare for the forthcoming second tier Intercontinental Cup and WCL Championship matches in the UAE.
The Scoop, 01/03/13