Cricket: England pair blunt Pollock's cutting edge
South Africa tormented as Hussain and Atherton go on the attack.
Saturday 11 December 1999
It was Hussain who showed the way when Shaun Pollock tried to bounce him. First, there was a splendid hook to the square-leg boundary for four. Another bouncer followed and found the top edge of Hussain's hook, going over fine leg for six.
This was the luck Hussain needed and it goaded Pollock into trying a third bouncer, and this was dispatched out of the middle of the bat for six more handsome runs. These three shots knocked the stuffing out of Pollock who had earlier bowled Butcher. Talk about leading from the front.
To rub it in, immediately after the tea break, Atherton square-cut and drove Allan Donald for four fours in the one over. The maestro who took 11 wickets the week before last in the first Test in Johannesburg, was caught time and again kicking the ground in frustration.
And what an uplifting, unbelievable sight that was. For English eyes. Atherton fresh from his pair of spectacles in the first Test when he had two balls which will not be bettered all series, now stuck out his chin and showed precisely what he is made of.
It was a combination of class and experience from a street-wise performer. There are few frills to Atherton's game. He is not that sort of man. It is a waste of time to sledge Atherton for he absorbs it with that half- mocking smile and his little-boy-lost shuffle that must infuriate his opponents.
Hussain is more mercurial. He dances to a more modern beat than Atherton, whose feet attempt little more than the old-fashioned waltz. The comparison was fascinating and the South Africans began to look like a side which has seen Cinderella suddenly turn nasty.
Of course there was luck involved - there has to be on these occasions. Immediately after Butcher was out, Atherton had to call upon all the resources at his disposal to survive an over Donald will not often better.
When Mornantau Hayward came on, he was fast, exaggeratedly blond and soon displeased. Hussain hooked and edged the ball an inch over the wicketkeeper for four. Hayward mouthed an epithet which would have kept Lord Chamberlain on his toes.
Hussain then reached a long way to drive the next ball, a wide-half volley, for four and Hayward did not enjoy that either. Donald, meantime, had gone off to mooch about and scowl a fair bit at third man and other distant spots.
Hussain's 50 arrived, Donald came back and when Hussain drove his second ball for four, Donald looked like a soul in torment. A short-armed hook by Atherton then took him to his 50. And on it went. It was a real tonic to see such a collective scratching of South African heads.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
Terminally-ill Club Brugge fan Lorenzo Schoonbaert delays euthanasia appointment to see his beloved football club 'win one last time'
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...
£14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Help Desk Support individ...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are going through an excitin...
£37500 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced Quantity Surveyor r...