Cricket: Classy Cullinan

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The Independent Online
DARYLL CULLINAN and Jacques Kallis made good South African captain Hansie Cronje's promise of no compromise to the bowed and beaten West Indies with a commanding, unbeaten third-wicket partnership of 208 on the first day of the fourth Test yesterday.

After Cronje won the toss, the pair made light of the loss of Gary Kirsten to the first ball of the match and the most of pluperfect batting conditions and a threadbare attack to gather untroubled hundreds, the first in the series on either side, leading South Africa to an imposing 282 for 2.

To the delight of their home-town crowd that packed beautiful Newlands to its 22,000 capacity, the free-stroking Cullinan was unbeaten 122 at the close, his sixth Test century, punctuated with 18 resounding boundaries off 190 balls.

The more deliberate Kallis was 102, reaching three figures after six hours in the final over. He gave a headstart of nearly two hours and 28 runs to Cullinan who joined him after Herschelle Gibbs fell to a short- leg catch off Merv Dillon for 42 on the stroke of lunch.

The pitch offered the West Indies bowlers nothing but heartache and, in the absence through injury of Courtney Walsh and Franklyn Rose, the lack of quality and experience among the support fast bowlers for Curtly Ambrose was starkly exposed by South Africa.

Ambrose's first ball earned him his 350th Test wicket from the left-handed Kirsten's gloved leg-side deflection to the wicketkeeper. In spite of the sore knee he has carried through the tour, the tall Antiguan was the only one capable of the control demanded by the conditions.

While his 18 overs cost a mere 35, the other three bowlers - Dillon, Nixon McLean and the emergency replacement, Ottis Gibson - were carted around for more than three an over.

With the series losing its competitive edge, attention has focused on the racial composition of the South African team. The Sports Minister, Steve Tshwete, described it after the first Test as "lily-white" and others in the African National Congress have been strident in their insistence that, nearly a decade since the dismantling of apartheid, it is time for more black and non-white players.

The debate has been heated in the media and is rejoined today with the publication of the United Cricket Board's "Transformation Charter for South African Cricket", to be launched at the tea interval following a "Pledge to the Nation" by Board President Rawy White.

The Board, unified since 1991, has been taken aback at the criticism of its efforts to promote the game among the majority black African population. Its charter, drafted after several regional and national seminars over the past year and a half, lists 10 "main thrusts, covering all aspects of South African cricket, that must be in place within the next three years".

Its basic aim is clearly to assure impatient politicians of the Board's sincerity of purpose.

In its Pledge to the Nation, it reaffirms its "historic and moral duty to ensure that South African cricket grows and flourishes among the truly disadvantaged of our society, with the recognition that the majority of disadvantaged people come from our black African communities."

A group of multi-racial administrators has been named to monitor the execution of the charter.