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Fantasy Cricket For The Boxing Day Tests

December 24, 2009

Graeme Smith’s saved himself some worrying by deciding that it would be a straight between Steyn and Friedel de Wet if the former recovers in time for the second test against England.

Ntini didn’t have a very memorable 100th test in contrast to the debutant Friedel de Wet who was impressive, triggering an English collapse late on the last day. England’s lower order men batted out for a draw under the supervision of Paul Collingwood evoking memories of the Cardiff Test and the Ashes that followed.

England have their worries in the forms of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, the two couldn’t even get going in the first test. For all the romantic pull of an exciting draw I’m sure they want victories too and these two need to chip in for that to happen. I think their bowling is alright at the moment.

The problem the 100% South Africans face in their batting: Captain and Vice Captain. Graeme was grim and Ash wasn’t well at the Centurion, everyone else chipped in. These two guys need to get their game on, they were the ones along with McKenzie who built SA’s win in England, SA needs them.

The bigger, the badder, the more entertaining Boxing Day Test will be between Australia and Pakistan at the MCG. Pakistan stand a chance of winning this series, it’s not a big chance but it’s there and theirs if the batsmen come good.

The Pakistan middle order is still undecided with the competition being between Faisal Iqbal, Fawad Alam, Khurram Manzoor and Misbah Ul Haq for three or even two spots.

Salman Butt did himself a big favour by slamming a century in the practice match against Tasmania. Akmal with a J Ajmal picked up four wickets to remind Mo Yo that he’s a part of the squad and yes he does go beyond taking three wickets at a time.

The two Akmals, Butt, Farhat, Mo Yo, Gul and Asif are the certainties in the Pakistan squad for now. I don’t why the f*$% they brought in Sami, it could be a decision between him and Aamer I favor Aamer to make it ahead of Sami here. The spinners spot is still a toss between Kaneria and Ajmal. Ajmal is hot right now but it was Dan from Pakistan that outperformed Dan from New Zealand in New Zealand with the ball.

Australia is battling injuries. That’s stale news. Siddle and Hilfenhaus have been included in the squads but I’d prefer they rehabilitate a bit longer. Bollinger and McKay deserve a another chance as does Hauritz. Johnson was effective against WI even if he didn’t look anything like it and he was able to lead the younger inexperienced guys well.

Their batsmen were so-so against the West Indies and really need to step up against the Pakistan bowling attack. Ponting, if he is fit by then, along with Katich will be Australia’s hope in this series. Hussey, Haddin, Clarke, North and Phil Hughes, if he gets a game will face a quite lethal attack better get their batting sorted to avoid embarrassment going into 2010.

It’s a pity Shahid Afridi doesn’t play tests anymore, I would have loved to see his reaction to Watson’s celebrations.

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