You’d have to go all the way back to the 40’s to find the last time the Aussies were beaten by the Proteas here in South Africa in a test series. 50 years is a long time to wait and we will just have wait longer to see that fete. Greats such as Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock were the protagonists to that famous series win. Before the man from down under got here they were touted as the underdogs, no one gave them a chance because of their back to back losses of The Ashes,a change of captaincy and a less than exemplary World Cup run.
The notion of them being nothing more than a confidence booster was given a warning in the first T20 game which was probably decided by a Graeme Smith drop catch of Shane Watson. As down as it seemed for the Aussies initially it is always amazing how many players are in their reservoir cause when someone is injured or under performing the player who usually replaces that player is always something special i.e Adam Dale, Andrew Bichel, Michael Kasprowicz etc. The newbie who impressed this time around was no other than 18 year old Pat Cummings. With Brett Lee injured it seemed that the pace attack would be compromised but the Aussies stepped up to the plate more than anyone expected and managed to win the one day series and draw the test series. True to form when Sean Marsh got injured in the first test, his replacement Usman Khawaja managed to play a gem of an innings to help them win the test and save the series.
Now that the Aussies are gone Gary Kirsten’s men are left to ponder about a few problems such as why they struggle to wrap up the tail and why the middle order seems to collapse so often. The Aussies wont be too happy about how they lost the first test when they had a good lead in the first innings.While the Three Kings didn’t have a good series and they managed to salvage something in the tour this will also be encouraging for the Aussies. The Aussies have more good to take out of the tour than South Africa though. Many people have had excuses about South Africa’s preparedness because of the break but better preparations could have been made.
In Football, Barcelona seem to be getting better and better except for their loss against Getafe, they have looked peerless as usual being the same powerful side we’ve known for the last five years . As good as they look is it possible for them to retain the trophy ? Standing in their way could be the likes of Man City who are dominating their domestic league and trouncing city rivals too along the way with a 6-1 score line. They seem to be over their Champions League woes and if they put their foot on the gas a little more they could be a force to be reckoned with in Europe as well. Chelsea on the other hand have Spanish unpredictable side Valencia to contend with for their last 16 spot. Valencia recently trounced FC Genk 7-1 to incite fear into the Stamford Bridge faithful. The once feared Stamford Bridge should be as terror-inducing when these two sides meet if the blues are to go through. Man United will fancy their chances though but they have left it too late in a group where they were favourties. Arsenal have already done their bit of last 16 qualification for the umpteenth consecutive time as they haven’t failed to qualify in the last decade.
Locally it maybe too early to make any predictions or for Supersport United to be comfortable but after a year of ups and downs they have shown vestiges of the form we all know and expect from the boys formerly known as Pretoria United. Sitting not so far behind them is none other that city rivals Downs who must be ravenous for some silverware. Pirates to impress despite hullabaloo that they cant maintain last season’s antics but they have been to five finals on the trot, pink shirts or not that is quite impressive but Wits will be cautious of them too.