Who says draws are bores?

The homework is done, calculations made, strategies and plans fixed. All that’s needed now is the mental application to see it through – and that’s probably the most difficult part!

NSW bat on for 30 minutes before declaring at 3/247 – a lead of 385. Hackney 98no overnight reaches his ton before a slack shot sends him back. It’s quite clear that they wanted him to get his century and just add a few to the target.

So…386 needed off 87 overs at 4.4 per over or 10 wickets for NSWs first win of the season. All results possible – let’s see!

Just a bit too far…

The loss of both openers early on have put SA on the defensive to a degree. The NSW bowling attack looks sharper than the SA who, until last week, were in contention for the final next week. So things look awry – or as we used to say ‘words and figures differ’!

Spin is introduced just before lunch and Sangha seems to have more bite and loop than Green did in the first innings. Life is not comfortable for Drew and McSweeney who seem grateful that lunch has arrived at 2/55 off 20 overs.

The rate is edging towards 5po and I suspect that mentally SA are longing for a draw. NSW need just 8 more to win. It’s going to be an interesting afternoon!

And it was – the match swaying one way then the other. I suppose NSW have the upper hand – 4/189 means another 200 or so needed off just under 40 overs. If Lehmann can stay the course, SA are in with a shout; if not…?

Different appealing styles

But before we get to the conclusion I must say I am bowled over by the KR Oval; it’s a fine ground, staff are welcoming and friendly, the pitch excellent (all told), catering good and a joy to attend. The only drawback is BYOS (seat) but it does need more spectators. A great shame, a good match – and all for free!

Bird life was also intrigued!

How tense was that? After Wellington just a few weeks ago, I don’t think my nerves can take any more! Scott went for 40 fairly early on. Lehmann followed reasonably soon afterwards to an lbw decision which looked odd from side on but then I’m not the umpire!

Manenti didn’t hang around so it was left to Nielsen and MacAndrew to steer SA to safety as it became clear fairly early on that the run chase was beyond them.

Almost all the NSW XI in one shot!

NSW took three wickets in the session but found the SA defence too much and finally succumbed to the fact that a draw was all they could achieve at 5.58pm and with two balls left to play.

NSW bowlers did themselves no favours in the occasional display of bad temper. Just underlined to SA that they’re on top!

Leaving NSW with a winless season for the first time in their history. Where did things go awry here? SA let Edwards run free for the 8th wicket on day one; NSW were offered a generous declaration to set the game up but used up time today in adding to the overnight total. If they’d had an extra 30 minutes…?

Anyway, all ifs and ands; what is sure is that this was as tense as any match I’ve seen and will see. So draws aren’t necessarily boring…this was intense; the shame being that only a few spectators witnessed the end…and the match overall.

So, dear reader, this is my last cricket blog of this trip – I’ll be back watching cricket at the start of April but there’s some tourist stuff to follow soon! 😜


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