Friday, September 10, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Overstepping the mark

OB has a short, but sweet, summation of what we all feel.

What doesn't compute is the sheer banality of what they are alleged to have done.

The 1919 White Sox threw a World Series, other corrupt sportsmen have deliberately lost games, bet against their own team, taken performance enhancing drugs and so on.

But to simply overstep a couple of times? The evidence seems pretty incontrovertible, but it does seem a ridiculously mundane thing to throw your career for.

And as I've alluded to below, how does a bookmaker make a killing with something as trivial as that?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gambling Man?

Just a thought, but if someone comes up to you in a bar and says "I'll bet you a fiver that the first ball of Amir's third over is going to be a no-ball" would you take the bet?

No, me neither.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Every Mother's Son

"Mum always used to say to me, 'You're gonna blow.''

Mother knows best!

Good interview with Andrew Symonds who, for some reason, has thrown his lot in with a Minor County for the T20 domestic tournament...

Opportunity Missed

It's a shame one of the English counties didn't take the opportunity to offer Tamim Iqbal a short term T20 contract - even if only for a couple of games before the next phase of the international summer calendar kicks in.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

East End boys get mugged!

I've played in plenty of club games where the side fielding second have bought on a spinner to open the game up when the batting side seem to have got bogged down chasing their target. We have a left arm googly bowler in our club who is perfect for the purpose, tossing the ball up, happy to concede some runs knowing that wickets will invariably follow. He ends up with figures of 6-0-44-5, and the game will be won and lost in the last over - a perfect result.

Odd though, to see Essex do it last night in a T20 game against Kent.

Chasing 167, Kent had started well but had got well behind the rate against some cagey quick bowling from Napier, Masters, Wright and Ten Doeschate. They were left needing 62 off the last 5 overs.

Cue Mark Pettini who, you can only imagine, thought he'd get in touch with his feminine side and put on Phillips, who delivered an over of slow lobs that Geraint Jones and Darren Stevens hit half way down the A12 to London. 27 runs later, and Kent were on course for an unlikely victory.

The notoriously one-eyed Chelmsford crowd, who make an MCG audience seem paragons of impartiality by comparison, were stunned into a wonderful silence and Nasser Hussain went from smug to gutted in the blink of an eye.

A couple of overs later, after 18 0ff an over from Ravi Bopara - who has gone from 'England's regular number three' to 'has-been' in less than twelve months, and it was all over.

Nasser tried to find solace by bleating on about how such overs were now common-place in the world of T20.

Sorry, that won't wash. It was a good, old fashioned '27 in an over' mugging!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Great Expectations

So Steve Finn takes nine wickets, on his home ground, in - for the most part, favourable bowling conditions, against the worst test team in the world...

And suddenly he's the second coming of Glenn McGrath?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Half as good

At one stage during Australia's run chase against Pakistan, the screen showed 81 required off of 36 balls. And that, in itself, sums up how T20 has completed kicked over the traces of how we view one day cricket.

Back in more sedate times - which is less than a decade ago, the graphic would have been 81 off of 6 overs, and that would have been that. If you'd been in the ground, you'd have probably thought about packing up and leaving to beat the traffic - especially if you factor in the fact that the chasing side were five wickets down.

Now though, T20 has totally rewritten the rules on run chases. Replaces 'balls' with 'overs' is party psychological and a subliminal prompt to the watching millions on TV not to turn over, but partly a recognition that no target is out of reach until the first figure is 'six times plus one' greater than the second figure.

In the early 70's, in the 40 over John Player Sunday League, a first innings score of 150 probably wasn't enough, 170 was considered 'competitive', over 200 was 'challenging' and anything over 220 was pretty much out of reach for the side batting second unless one of two of their batsmen really clicked. Now think that you can transpose those figures almost exactly into the T20 format - that lasts half the time. The only slight caveat being that there were no fielding restrictions in the JPL, though bowlers were limited to 15 yard run ups.

Incidentally, I'm surprised that no one has written a book about the John Player League - or at least the first decade or so of it. Not only have you got the raw statistical data and the revolutionary nature of the tournament at the time it was launched, but there must be a whole wealth of anecdotes surrounding the fact that the games took place mid way through a county game, which might not have even been taking place in the same half of the country. So you'd have a situation where, for example, Kent would be playing a championship game against Somerset at Taunton on the Saturday, have to travel to Headingley for a JPL game on the Sunday, then back to the West Country for the Monday morning resumption of the championship game.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Anglo Saxon Attitudes


'I before E, except after C'.

I wonder if 'Kies' is Afrikaans for 'Bed'....

Missing you already

Every Monday the Guardian Sport section have a backpage feature called 'Stats that aren't true but ought to be'.

Here's one -

17 seconds - the average length of time after Steve Smith comes on to bowl that it takes one of the commentators to mention another bleach blonde Australian leg spinner.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Can See For Miles

Or not, as the case may be...

"Although I'm a good psychic, I never saw this one coming."

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Sorry about the recent lack of posts.

I got a bit pre-occupied with the election, and even fleeing to Spain to avoid the inevitable Tory crowing didn't work. By the time we got back they'd only just sorted out the mess and the Liberal Democrats had sold their soul for a few seats in the cabinet.

More posts soon, so keep checking in.

Friday, April 23, 2010

That was the week that was

Alleged corruption
Influence peddling
Tax evasion
Bomb explosions (two of them)
Missing documents
Two men fighting over a South African model

It makes the 'Stanford Experiment seem positively idyllic.

As a poster on the Guardian website said -
"All this, and Cameron imploding too. It's been a good week for Schadenfreude fans."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's a rich man's world.

KP feels that England bowlers should have made more of an effort to get involved in the IPL. (Link)

He has a point, in terms of making yourself into a better player by competing against the best opposition you can find, but his main contention really is symptomatic of where cricket is heading at the moment -
"The difficulty in England when the IPL came about was that it was all a question of money, money, money. But it has become a 'World Cup' tournament."
In my book 'World Cup tournaments' don't take place every year - or at ten month intervals, which is the gap between the T20 World Cup in England last summer and the next one in the West Indies in a few weeks time.

And it's still very much a question of 'money money money'.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Crossing the Indian Ocean with the Adverts

A friend of mine is currently working out in Mumbai. We spoke on the phone a couple of days ago and his default position had moved to permanent incredulity when discussing the IPL.

'Every game is sold in the same way the FA Cup Final is in the UK - massive build up, pre-match analysis, posters and flags all over the place - and that's just for a simple group game. Lord knows what it's like when the final is on - the whole country is likely to explode.'

'The quantity of ads during play is remarkable. It makes Sky look restrained. They even manage to slot ads in between balls!'

The commentators are like that Hollywood director who said 'start with an earthquake and build up from there'

Thursday, March 18, 2010

'One ball' or 'No ball'...

There's no other word for this but mind-boggling.
He had come to them one day and asked whether he might watch an eleven of cricket at play so as to become initiated into the mysteries of our national game,” writes Locker- Lampson. “They welcomed him, of course, and wrote out the rules for him in the best British sport-loving spirit.”
First reaction was the check the dateline, making sure I hadn't accidentally slept away 14 days and it was now April 1st.

On closer perusal, you start to see the cracks - Rothermere actually owned The Daily Mail, not the Mirror - coining the charming headline 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts' as Mosley's thugs were marching through the East End. Would Hitler have still been 'recovering from his wounds' five years after the war ended? And why were the British officers still in Germany at that time?

Then you realise that Mr Locker-Lampson MP was one of a frightening large group of Nazi sympathisers in the Tory Party at the time, so there's a big potential ulterior motive for trying to 'humanise' Hitler in this way.

So I'm calling 'bluff'.

Thanks to Tone for the heads up though.

A stroll round the boundary edge

A meander round the cricketing blogosphere, going from post to comment to post and so on, stopping to add our two-pennorth...

Starting with The Old Batsman's timely comparison of Graeme Swann and that chap who was going to be England's No. 1 spinner for about a decade... what was his name again?

From there, via the comments box, we have Wes's thoughts on the Australian top order and a possible replacement for Marcus North.

Then Andrew F at the alarmingly named 'Cricket or Death' site is hell bent on bigging up Angelo Matthews.

At Bored Cricket Crazy Indians, they manage to shoehorn Vince McMahon, Volleyball and Sepp Blatter into the same piece...

Remaining on the sub-continent, which after all is where all the action is at the moment, Naked Cricket starts a post by asking what if Sachin Tendulkar played for Pakistan? Brave man!

Finally, for now, Soulberry looks at the whole issue of cricketers with potty mouths.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Happy Idiot

A positive and negative from yesterdays victory over the 'mighty mighty Bangladesh' -

Positive - Eion Morgan's innings, which was the best English ODI effort I've seen since Paul Collingwood in Australia on the 2006/2007 'tour that never gets mentioned'.

Negative - Bob Willis's commentary. I know I've banged on about this before but, seriously, it almost made the broadcast unwatchable. At times it was like watching the game with an eight year old schoolgirl, but one with a whole series of petty vendettas she wants to carry out against most of the England side.

The sound of relish, approaching jubilation, in his voice when Broad spilled the skyer off of Collingwood was astonishing (this from someone who was a veritable carthorse in the field during his career) as was the similar reaction when Wright, Swann and Bresnan got themselves out in quick succession.

It seems that his pre-ordained agenda is that England are pathetic - anything that supports that contention is treated with a strange mixture of barely disguised glee with faux outrage.

It's just a shame that the slight time delay means you can't turn the sound down and listen to the radio broadcast instead, like in the good ol' days.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Clear Blue Water

The Tories have come out against listing the Ashes as a protected 'free to air' sporting event.

To be honest, you'd hardly expect them to do anything else now they've kissed and made up with Rupert Murdoch. Note - the kissing was very much one way, and it wasn't simply a kiss on the lips...

But I'd question some of the figures that are being bandied around - like the ECB could lose up to 75% of their revenue if they don't get Sky's TV money. That seems to assume that no one else bids for any of the TV rights and they are given to a terrestrial channel free-of-charge, which is a ludicrous assumption. It also assumes they can't come up with some sort of deal of the kind I outlined here.

I'd guess that much of the ECB outrage is prompted by the fact that a lot of the Sky money goes to support the cushy lifestyles of their senior honchos, and having to live on reduced rations - flying economy class perhaps, might be rather a shock to the system.

Then there's the issue of what the counties actually do with the money they get given by the ECB. Steve James actually argues in favour of Sky keeping the Ashes here, but does make some excellent points about how the counties waste the money they get from the ECB -

They talk about grassroots cricket when in fact they are thinking just as much of the counties, those 18 bodies full of anachronism, self-interest and conservatism.

Too many decisions made now are downright myopic.

'You just want to be on the side that's winning...'

When The Sun switched from backing Labour to supporting Cameron and the Tories, the Conservative lead in the opinion polls was 17%. Since then it's gone down almost every month, so now it's around 5% and falling

Can we expect them to switch back to Labour just before polling day? :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Question Time

Want to ask Andrew Strauss a question? Here's your chance.

All rather tenuous, but a mate of mine is Advertising Manager for a publication who ran a sponsorship campaign last summer featuring the England skipper. As part of the deal, a journalist for the publication gets to interview Strauss. She knows next to nothing about the great game, and has therefore asked for help.

I've got my own ideas, but am happy to pass on any that get posted here for consideration - within reason!

So ask away.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rebel Rebel

If you see the score 'Chiefs 72 Lions 65' what sport do you think of - College Basketball perhaps? Wrong! It was actually an extraordinary game last night in the Super 14 Rugby tournament - Waikato Chiefs and the Johannesburg Lions.

Super 14 is one of the great under appreciated delights of the rugby season. At least three live games every weekend, and a chance to watch the best players in the Southern Hemisphere week in week out. The club, or regional, aspect actually means it's better value that the Tri-Nations in my opinion.

It's quite sobering to watch a Super 14 game back-to-back with a Premiership one. Not quite two different sports, but certain one seemingly more further along the evolutionary spectrum than the other.

One illustration - on at least ten occasions in the two Six Nations games England have played, Danny Care has paused before delivering the ball back from the base of the ruck - sometimes for up to ten seconds whilst Jonny Wilkinson readies himself, ties his bootlace and checks his hair or whatever it is he does. In the four Super 14 games I've watched so far, that's happened twice - in total. Oddly, Care does it much less for Harlequins, but then his fly half is an All Black international...

Without going into any deep technical analysis, and acknowledging that I'm by no means a rugby expert, all I can say is that Super 14 is just quicker, but quicker in such a way that defensive aggression is not diluted - apart from maybe in last night's lunatic point-fest.

Danny Cipriani's decision to try his luck in the Super 14 next season, therefore, is inspired - at least from an England point of view. It deserves a better reaction from Martin Johnson than a rather sullen 'he won't get picked for England then' type of response. Then again, apart from a fleeting five minutes in Sydney in November 2003, Johnson's default setting has always been rather humourless.

Consider that Cipriani will be earning less in Melbourne than he could by staying in the Premiership - he's also deliberately removing himself from England contention in the short term, with the view to coming back in two years time as very much the finished article - tested against the best players in the world.

For someone supposedly self-centred and immature, that's an incredibly sensible and forward thinking decision.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sky Unlimited

Here's a humble suggestion -

The ECB are having kittens at the possibility of Ashes Tests being broadcast on free-to-air channels and the consequent loss of Sky's multi million pound payout.

Why don't they come to an agreement with Sky whereby they give them the test match contract for the next five years for whatever Sky are prepared to bid for it on the understanding that Sky agree to show the home Ashes Tests in 2013 via a 'free' channel - it can't be that much of a technical stretch to arrange on Freeview can it?

They can keep the highlights on the normal Sky Sports channels, and can continue to carry advertising during the live coverage. Better still, they could probably charge a premium for the advertising slots, knowing that the coverage will be seen by a larger audience than the usual million or so who currently watch Sky's test coverage.

I have to confess that I haven't totally thought this through, so there may well be an obvious glitch to the idea, but there doesn't appear to be a downside. Everyone wins -
  • Sky keep their test coverage
  • ECB still get Sky's money
  • Viewers get to watch Ashes cricket
  • Advertisers reach a bigger audience
Feel free to point out the hole in the idea if you can think of it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Intimidation Factor

A timely juxtaposition of stories this morning: -

Amjal Shahzad tells the Grauniad that he asked Allan Donald about how to intimidate batsmen.

Brett Lee announces that his test career is most likely over.

Shazad certainly doesn't lack for self-confidence - 'I am bubbly, aggressive and I'm in your face, and I want to be able to intimidate people. I know it's hard against the world's best but how do I do that?' but you'd like to think that a young, uncapped quick bowler, given some valuable coaching time with one of the best quick bowlers ever to play the game, would have the nous to ask about something slightly more worthwhile than 'intimidation'.

All you need to do, and hopefully all that Donald told him, is bowl fast, straight, move it a bit and drop the odd one in short aimed at the batsman's throat.

That's all Brett Lee did.

Personality wise, and in terms of how he acted on the field, there was nothing particularly intimidating about Brett Lee - he seems to be generally regarded as one of the nicest men ever to play the game. If anything, you could argue that his on-field demeanour wasn't intimidating enough for some Aussie tastes.

Yet in 75 tests, he took 310 wickets. That puts him in the top 30 of all time, fourth in the list of Australian wicket takers, and above all but two Englishmen.

(Headline to follow)

Sometimes the hardest part of a blog writing is coming up with a headline.

You can have the idea in a flash, quickly type out the hundred words or so of nonsense that passes for the post - then spend inordinate amounts of time trying to come up with some witty pun or song title that, as a headline, encapsulates the article you've just written.

Maybe I should just take a leaf out of The Sun's book, and get a chimpanzee to do it for me: -

'Rootiful - Two goal Roo polishes 'em off'

'San Siroo'

'You know that you've Rooined my big night, Wayne'

'Roo two - nearly through'

All of those in today's issue.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A shyness that is criminally vulgar

The problem with Alistair Cook as captain, is that it's very difficult to perceive of him as captain.

Tortured logic, I know, but let me try and explain.

Think back at recent English skippers. After a few tests you could almost see the ones who would make a decent captain - through their attitude and demeanour on the pitch, their record with their county and the general way they went about things.

Vaughan - very clever, excellent tactical brain and quietly dominant.
Nasser - Sparky and feisty - exactly what England needed at the time.
Athers - Similar to Vaughan, slightly more cerebral.

All three of them were talked about as 'future England captains' (Atherton from about the age of 15 if you take the 'FEC' story seriously) and when they were it made perfect sense and you could actually picture them as England skipper.

The two recent standout exceptions are/were Botham and Flintoff - but that's a whole different story. With both, you doubtedly their tactical ability but accepted that they lead from the front and seek to lead by example.

But Cook? Sorry, but it just doesn't compute. 'Shy' might be a stretch (though any excuse for a Smiths related headline) but you never get the impression that he's doing anything more than what he has to out on the field - keeping his own counsel and generally staying below the radar. Andy Flower has spoken of him being 'impressive in the dressing room', which sounds both risque, and very much like the 'looking good in the nets' bullshit that Duncan Fletcher was oddly addicted to.

When he first appeared on the scene, I celebrated on this very blog (and other peoples) that here was a batsman who could become the true heir to Sir Geoffrey. Not the rentaquote quality that often descends to simplistic boorishness and, sadly, xenophobia, but the single minded determination to occupy the crease for as long as possible and accumulate runs.

After a few years of plenty, he got found out by bowlers as being iffy outside the off stump - and has only really recently recovered, by totally remodelling his technique. Do England really want to jeopardise all of that by making him skipper?

What's the rush? Cook hasn't even skippered his own county side for heavens sake, so why not let him give that a try at the start of next season and build up some experience.

After all, he might not actually like being captain. I can speak from experience here and say that some people don't, and actually prefer to spend their time down in the ranks - happy to give their point of view when asked, contribute to the team ethic and atmosphere, but otherwise concentrate on their own game. You need a certain mindset and attitude to be a decent captain, and it's no particular shame if you haven't got it.

Why not let Colly do it in a caretaker role for a couple of tests?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eastern Promise

Having watched a fair amount of the India/Bangladesh test match that's just finished, I can safely say that the series against Bangladesh next month isn't going to be the cakewalk for England that many seem to be expecting.

Bangladesh have a handy side - very entertaining to watch, who seem to be a top-class batsman away from a decent line up, particularly at home.

The ingredients are there for a potential upset - a short series, an untested captain (at ANY level of the game above school cricket for heaven's sake) a side that is probably rather deflated after their shoeing at the Wanderers, who probably won't want to be there and will be comparing the conditions to the five-star luxury they enjoyed in South Africa.

It could be ever so slightly too interesting.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Harry's Game

Athers made the good point today that one side-effect of the review process could be a general reduction in the level of respect given to umpires further down in the game - club and school cricket specifically.

Sadly, I think we're already far too close to that position already. I present as evidence the fourteen year old opening bowler (public school educated, no less) playing against us for an old boys side we've had some fantastic games against for about forty years, calling our umpire a f***** cheating c**** when he had an LBW call turned down.

Before you ask what his parents are thinking, note that his Dad was the captain, and after we'd reported the incident, he was allowed to carry on bowling.

We didn't even get an apology, merely an explanation that 'he's very competitive'...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Give me hope, Joanna!

Got to bless those rains down in Africa

If the answer is 'pant-wettingly funny', the question surely has to be 'describe the post-match expression on Graeme Smith's face if England escape with a draw.'

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cut Across, Shorty!

However much we rail against the incompetancies of cricket's governing bodies, we can surely be thankful that none of them will ever stoop (literally) to the levels of Bernie Ecclestone -


Ecclestone also said he is looking at ways to make Grand Prix racing more of a spectacle including adding shortcuts to the circuits in the future.

The 79-year-old Briton is looking at the idea of allowing each Formula One driver the option of using a shortcut on each Grand Prix track a maximum of five times to help make the races more appealing to television audiences.

The cricketing equivalent of this would be, oh, allowing a bowler to bowl one ball an over from fifteen yards perhaps.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You're my obsession

Ponting wants to win test and impress England.

Have to say, I doubt whether Australia's performance is particularly high on Mssrs Strauss and Flower's list of priorities.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Nine Men Out

There are few better cricketing feelings than, as a number eleven batsman, saving a game.

These days, club cricket – even Sunday afternoon friendly cricket, is all about the 40 over game. Everything revolves around the world of win or lose. There’s no grey area and no room for compromise, so the much beloved timed game is becoming a very rare animal indeed. Yet as we’ve seen in Cape Town over the past five days, the draw can be the most fulfilling and nerve jangling of results.

I’ve lost count of the number of games I’ve ‘saved’ batting a ten or eleven – by keeping out an opening bowler with a circle of fielders playing ring-a-ring-a-roses around you.

As a youngster, 13 or 14 years old, it was a great way to contribute to the team you played for. Yes, you could hare around in the field, and you might get to bowl a few overs or have a short bat if your side was batting first and setting a target – but actually saving the game – that was real mans stuff, and meant you could puff your chest out a bit – heck, even raise your bat to acknowledge the applause as you came off the field.

On several occasions we had been totally outplayed all day – the opposition had run up a 220 plus score and our proper batsmen had perished in quick order leaving us something like 100-9 with ten overs left. The choices then were ‘have a swing’ and ultimately perish, or decide to dig in and make the bowlers work for their victory.

My first experience was a typical example. With the scenic grandeur of the Ferrier Estate in Kidbrooke providing a compelling backdrop, chasing (chasing?) 200, we were 78-9 with twelve overs remaining. We’d been utterly outplayed from start to finish and, in all honesty, a loss would have probably been the fairest result based on what had happened in the preceding six hours.

But the rules state that a team has to take ten wickets to win the game so we blocked, and blocked, played and missed – left the ones we didn’t need to touch, edged a few short of the slips, survived a couple of LBW decisions – and gradually twelve overs become eight, then six and then four – and then finally it was the last over. The opening bowlers, who’d earlier ripped out the top of our order, were back on by now, and the light was fading – gone 7.30. We went right back in the crease jabbing down on balls we had to, dodging out of the way when it was short.

When you survived to the end and shook hands with the opposition – you felt a million dollars, and felt you actually belonged in this crazy, wonderful world of club cricket.

As an aside, no one would be sledging, or appealing every time the ball so much as brushed your pads. Nor would they be claiming catches when the ball patently hadn’t come within a yard of your bat.

And even as you get older – saving the game, or even scratching the last few runs to win it with 9 wickets down – there are very few better cricketing feelings.

The point of all this nostalgia? – Well, imagine how smug Graham Onions is right now. He must be insufferable!!

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Madness of King Graeme

The difference between failure and success is narrow – or to (mis)quote Spinal Tap, it's such a fine line between stupid and clever.

Not wishing to derail the existing train of thought that's suddenly taken root amonst England fans that we're now odds on to win the Ashes next winter, but the Durban test illustrated perfectly what Mssrs St Hubbins and Tufnel (Nigel, not Phil) were on about.

The single turning point of the Durban Test was the run out of Graeme Smith - so in this case the fine line was probably about three inches. Up to that point, you could tell - through the way he was batting and his general body languge, that Smith had set himself to score a big ton. Such a ton would have taken the Saffies to the safety of 450 - especially against a four man attack that wasn't exactly looking threatening during the Kallis/Smith partnership.

Instead, he self immolated and the rest is history.

Four days later and we’re in a world turned upside down scenario. Interviewed at the end of Day 4, Dale Steyn resembled the soldier in the famous Don McCullin shot from Vietnam - utterly shell shocked, after seeing the South African batting line up turn a benign wicket into - excuse the continued millitary metaphors, a minefield.

Before that the hyped up bowling attack that Mickey Arthur allegedly and ludicrously compared to the West Indies attack circa 1985 had been laid threadbare - suddenly finding the idea of defending a 350 first innings score beyond them. Morne Morkel excepted, who still looks as wayward as he did over here eighteen months ago, but the accurate balls are deadly. Steyn himself looks dreadfully under cooked, whilst, on the other hand, Ntini looks finished. whilst Then there's Paul Harris – who looks like a borderline headcase you'd have a quick pint with in a bar before making your excuses as he starts looking round for someone to pick a fight with.

Mix in Kallis, no more than a hopeful trundler, and it suggests a certain arrogance that they thought they could muddle through with that as their attack.

Then the bowling collapse begat a batting one of equal proportions - a top six that looked pretty fearsome folded crumpled like a sheet of wet tissue paper

But had Smith not run himself out it would have probably been totally different, and the confidence trick could have probably worked.