An Ode to South Africa

Riza KamalieContributor IJanuary 11, 2009

South Africa’s captivating 2-1 series victory against Australia warrants them a page in the cricket almanac.  The recent series win in Australia was the crowning jewel of a highly contested year for the team, which saw them victorious against England and drawing against India abroad.

This can largely be attributed to the young side's composure over the last year whereby cricket supporters marveled in the squad ability to consistently challenge their opposition and orchestrate opportunities for victory, showcasing team work in its purist form.

By cracking the cricketing fortress, Australia- South Africa has given birth to the idea of world cricket domination by showcasing bravery, skill and consistency through their performances. If they are to become the next top ranked test playing nation their senior players are steered from the front by a solid captain, in the capable form of Graeme Smith.

With the team's additional compliments of young talent such as Dale Steyn, JP Duminy and Hasim Amla that not only represent the many faces of our rainbow nation but showcase the new skills that is required to set the test stage alight. The services of the off-spinner Paul Harris adds balance and depth in the bowling department that was lacking in past who finished with 10 wickets in the series.

Dale Steyn ended a magnificent 2008 with 18 wickets in this series, 70 wickets in total for the year at an incredible average of 21.88. Smith walked away with the man of the series title displaying great leadership and contributing 328 runs in the series.

The eagerly anticipated home series will go a long way in answering many skeptics’ answers about the side’s recent successes and longevity. The secret for South Africa lies with the bowling attack- headed by the experienced Ntini, the pace and swing of Steyn, the length and bounce of Morkel and with Harris blocking an end.

They have been able to deliver 20 wickets a match, which was the main difference between the two sides in Australia. South African would to have to improve on their first innings batting performances but on home soil they undoubtedly show promise to put it to the Aussies, putting the pressure on Ponting’s men who have lost their first home series in 16 years.

They are beginning to realise that their fingers might slowly be losing grip of their solid cricket armor they once owned in the form of competitive gems such as Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist. Anything other than a successful series for Australia will signal the end of an era and open the game for a new champion to take the lead in Test cricket.