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South Africa lose on return to Test cricket

Editorial Comment
THE NUMBER one ranked Test side in the world was beaten by Pakistan in their first match in more than six months.

THE NUMBER one ranked Test side in the world was beaten by Pakistan in their first match in more than six months.

Vumi Moyo

Australia took an unlikely lead in India and I take on the challenge of the A-Z of cricket.

South Africa returned to the Test arena for the first time in more than half a year and was given a wake-up call by Pakistan, who beat them by seven wickets inside four days.

The last time Pakistan played a Test match, they lost to Zimbabwe.

South Africa are ranked number one by the International Cricket Council.

Not many had given Pakistan a chance, but in their adopted home in the United Arab Emirates, on conditions not suiting the quickies from SA, Pakistan turned on the power.

Twenty20 captain Mohammed Hafeez the major casuality of the loss in Harare was left out of the side.

This meant they could only pick two frontline seamers as they had to go with two spinners on that wicket.

The risk paid off and all the bowlers fired as a couple of commentators and I waited to see their back-up plan had one of their bowlers broken down.

South Africa never seems comfortable against spin and this has been their undoing.

The fact that they are ranked number one in the world without a quality spinner speaks volumes of the work done by their seam attack.

Maybe this needs to change for South African cricket to maintain their ranking especially as they tour the sub-continent.

They have had adequate spinners without ever setting the world alight.

The likes of Pat Symcox, Nicki Boje and Paul Adams have been given a run in the side.

When Imran Tahir got his citizenship, it was hoped he would solve their spin problems.

However, for some reason they have never seemed comfortable picking an out and out spinner, opting for the spinning all rounders.

The second Test started yesterday morning and the South African camp will be sweating on the arrival of Hashim Amla who returned home for the birth of his second child.

Amla has been the major contributor to the SA scoreboard in recent times and if they are to level the series they need all the help they can get.

 Different day, slightly more grass in the wicket and suddenly the 348-1 three days ago becomes a distant memory.

This time the Aussies won the toss and after a fiery first over from Mitchell Johnson, it was clear that the bowlers had more of a chance.

India was limping this time round and their perceived weakness against short bowling came to the fore.

Only Virat Kholi came to terms with the bowling.

Another special knock from Mahendra Singh Dhoni got them past 300, including taking 21-off the final over bowled by James Faulkner.

Faulkner was very significant in this match as he guided Australia to an unlikely victory.

With the required rate up around 15 in the final five overs Faulkner played a special innings and smashed the Indians to all parts of the ground.

The 21-run final over seemed a long time ago.

Faulkner was unbeaten on 64 off just 29 including a huge six to win the game off a gentle Vinay Kumar full toss.

At one stage Australia needed 44 off 18 balls.

Maybe the Indians need to revisit their depth bowling?

Match four was on yesterday and India cannot let Australia take a 3-1 lead it will be very difficult to recover from.

 Zimbabwe Cricket confirmed earlier this week that the Partridges tournament will take place in Harare from December 8-12 this year.

The tournament is contested by the five franchises at Under- 13 level. In the past it has been a stepping stone to international cricket for the likes of Dave Houghton and Andy Blignaut.

Most franchises are busy with readying their teams for the tournament. I got an e-mail from last week.

The writer said they did not understand the game and terminology used. After discussing this with a couple of colleagues I was challenged to come up with a term for every letter of the alphabet and see how far I could go. I have never been one to shy away from a challenge, so here we go.

A shout from the fielding side to get the umpire to give a batsman out: Initially the shout was “how is that”, but over the years it has changed to just about anything.