South Africa 339-4 Middlesex: Smith fails to show his credentials while Amla shines again
Saturday 05 July 2008
The good news for South Africa is their captain, Graeme Smith, appears to have recovered from the hamstring injury that threatened his participation in Thursday's first Test against England. The bad news is he is horribly out of form.
It is five weeks since Smith played in a competitive match, for the Rajasthan Royals in a semi-final at the Indian Premier League, and it seems that his right leg has responded to time off better than his bat. Smith batted for 129 minutes here yesterday, scoring 35 rather unconvincing runs before edging an ugly cut at an Alan Richardson loosener through to the keeper. It was a fitting end to his innings.
At this stage of the tour Smith would have been happy with the trade off. He has enough experience not to let the innings worry him, but will be hoping that the forecast bad weather stays away and he gets another opportunity to spend further time at the crease.
At the other end of the form scale is Hashim Amla, who scored his second hundred of the tour. Amla clocked up an impressive 161 here. The 25-year-old made full use of a true pitch and fast outfield, driving and cutting the ball beautifully. Amla, a highly rated player of spin bowling, ruined Mark Lawson's Middlesex debut, pulling half-trackers from the leg spinner for three sixes.
Ashwell Prince enjoyed the batter friendly conditions and second string bowling, too, scoring a gritty hundred. Prince was given his opportunity when Jacques Kallis suffered a rare failure, edging Richardson through to Ben Scott. The departure of Kallis raised Middlesex hopes of helping England's cause by dismissing the South Africans cheaply but Amla and Prince ended those aspirations with a 190 run partnership.
Andrew Strauss, playing for Middlesex in order to get needed middle practice before Lord's, can only have been impressed. During Duncan Fletcher's time as coach it is hard to believe Strauss would have played in this match, yet it was a surprise not to see Owais Shah on the Middlesex team sheet. Shah speaks often about his desire to break into the Test side and a hundred against a full strength South African team would have only helped his chances of achieving the goal. Shah has always been a more gifted batsman than Strauss but their contrasting attitudes to this match probably highlights why one has made it as a Test cricketer and the other is yet to.
Didier Drogba went absolutely mental in the Chelsea dressing room after Blues were given the Premier League trophy
Jurgen Klopp favourite to replace Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool if he's sacked
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
Sam Allardyce sacked: West Ham wait just a few minutes after final game to axe manager
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger sets deadline for Theo Walcott contract talks with Liverpool keeping a close eye on his future
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland