WICKET-KEEPERS IN THE WARS
On Saturday evening, Quinton de Kock was stung on the arm as he moved to try and complete a stumping. And a short while later, his counterpart Tim Paine was hit on the thumb by a nasty lifter from Morné Morkel.
Both were on duty on Sunday, De Kock behind the stumps, and Paine, having sustained a hairline fracture of his right thumb, with the bat.
The Australian captain completed a gutsy innings of 62, and later added a catch to his name too. They’re a tough bunch, are the keepers.
KEEP ’EM CUMMINS
Patrick James Cummins loves a Wanderers Test match. He made his debut at the ‘Bullring’ as an 18-year-old in 2011, bowled one of the spells of the year to Jacques Kallis in that game, picked up a ‘six-fer’ and hit the winning runs in a two-wicket victory that saw Australia tie the series.
He’s returned here six-a-and-half years later, a career hampered by injury, and picked up another first innings ‘five-fer’.
He scored a maiden Test half-century too, and then added another two wickets to his tally in the final session, including AB de Villiers with a gem of a ball that bounced and seamed back into the right-hander.
Good on the SABC for showing some love to veteran Australian broadcaster Jim Maxwell – who’s commentating on radio and television – during the tea break on Sunday in honour of his 45 years behind the microphone.
Maxwell is known as the voice of the game Down Under and is one of its most colourful, intelligent and sensitive chroniclers.
There was one heck of a cake delivered too, which even caught the eye of those doyens of culinary confectionary, the BBC’s Test Match Special team, for whom Maxwell has contributed over the years.
Dean Elgar may be dodgy in the slips – the odd diving grab in the gully aside. On Sunday he was placed at mid-off and took one of the catches of the season, running back and diving to end Paine and the Australian innings.
He’s copped a bit of criticism for his work in the slips, but Elgar’s a good enough fielder elsewhere, and he reminded everyone of that with the wonderful effort after lunch.
Because of the all the drama cooked up in the Australian camp in the build-up to this match, very little attention was directed the way of the groundstaff and head groundsman Bethuel Buthelezi regarding the pitch.
The Wanderers is living with a three demerit-point sanction, after the pitch for the third Test against India was rated “poor” by the ICC.
This one has played very well. Perhaps there’s more turn than is normally the case for the Wanderers, but it is April, and this is the final cricket match of the season in SA.
There are signs of inconsistent bounce, which is to be expected at this stage of the match. Buthelezi and Co deserve credit for this pitch.