Tour match: New South Wales v South Africans at Sydney, 20-23 Dec 2001|
New South Wales 2nd innings:
South Africans 2nd innings:
MIXED MESSAGES FOR TOURISTS AS MATCH ENDS IN DRAWConcerns over the form of Allan Donald and Lance Klusener were balanced by further encouragement from the batting of Boeta Dippenaar and Jacques Rudolph as South Africa's tour match against New South Wales ended in a tame draw here in Sydney today.
Three days ahead of the vital Second Test against Australia in Melbourne, the Proteas were left with major headaches after Donald and Klusener again failed to impress on the fourth and final day of the match.
Veteran pace bowler Donald (0/27) was given a reduced workout, bowling just four overs after a late South African declaration left the match heading for only one possible outcome. But he was distinctly unthreatening, conceding 15 runs in an opening two-over spell before giving up another 12 runs in a later two-over stint as New South Wales ended at 2/135 in pursuit of an unrealistic victory target of 383 from just 39 overs.
Captain Shaun Pollock later attributed the 35-year-old's wicketless match to an ongoing battle with an injury sustained in Perth in an earlier game on tour, but conceded that there were doubts surrounding his readiness for a Second Test appearance.
"I don't know (about his chances); he is still battling with his foot so we will have to monitor that," said Pollock.
"It would have been nice had he have come through pain free."
Donald has claimed just one wicket to this point of the tour.
All-rounder Klusener is another player without a guaranteed Test berth, after he completed a pair with the bat and claimed just one wicket in the match with the ball.
More worryingly, he fell to a mistimed drive at a spinner for the third time in four innings today - this time playing all around a ball from left armer Mark Higgs (1/35) as the Proteas suffered a collapse that saw four wickets tumble for the addition of 11 runs shortly before lunch.
"We haven't selected the Test team as of yet but obviously it will be a discussion point," said Pollock of Klusener's hold on a berth for Melbourne.
"We are aware of the fact that Lance is in the side as a batter and that's how the number six position is decided," he added.
Pollock was understandably more upbeat about the readiness of batting tyros Dippenaar (31*) and Rudolph (28) after each had again looked composed in the midst of South Africa's progress to a second innings score of 5/269 before a mid-afternoon declaration.
"They've got a chance (of playing in the Test), though we discuss team selection only the night before," he said.
Both youngsters shone where others in the middle order failed, joining with opener Gary Kirsten (88) and Pollock (36*) to help the Proteas to their huge lead.
They also looked comfortable for periods against Stuart MacGill (4/89), though the leg spinner was again the standout member of a New South Wales attack and reinforced his claims on a Sydney Test berth in just over a week's time.
MacGill had Kirsten sweeping off a top edge; Rudolph beaten down the leg side; and again mesmerised youngster Justin Ontong (0) into attaining a thin outside edge as he weaved his way to four wickets in the innings and nine for the match.
"The wicket [for the Sydney Test] will not be massively different, it's going to turn and the South Africans don't play the spinners too well," said New South Wales coach, Steve Rixon, of MacGill's performance.
"Unfortunately for us we had no one bowling down the other end … the other bowlers were not doing their job. He's out-bowled everyone in this game."
Pollock also endowed MacGill's effort with praise, and viewed the chance to practise against a top-class leg spinner as having been one of the great benefits of the match.
There was less about which he could enthuse in the bowling as local openers Brett van Deinsen (61) and Greg Mail (54) batted through most of the lead-up to the game's termination half an hour before its scheduled end.
Shaun Pollock closed on the stroke of the drinks break, setting New South Wales the unrealistic target of 383 runs from a minimum of 39 overs.
South Africa had reached 5/269 by the time of the declaration, with Pollock (36*) and Boeta Dippenaar (31*) at the crease. Both had looked to be in fine touch against the bowling of Stuart MacGill (4/89) and Don Nash (0/48). But that small fact seemed to be of little consolation to the majority of a sizeable crowd which had presumably come here in the hope of seeing an exciting run chase to finish the match.
MacGill was again the stand out among the New South Wales bowlers, snaring four wickets in the innings - and nine for the match - with a fine bowling display.
Deservedly, he secured the wickets of youngster Jacques Rudolph (28) and of all rounder Justin Ontong (0) just before lunch after claiming those of openers Gary Kirsten (88) and Herschelle Gibbs (75) earlier in the innings.
Mark Higgs (1/35) was the other successful member of the attack, his wicket coming as he bowled the out-of-form Lance Klusener (0).
Pollock and Dippenaar steadied the innings after the stunning loss of 4/11 but, in doing so, ensured that the match would finish in a draw.
New South Wales nonetheless began its innings in enterprising style, with Brett van Deinsen (42*) and Greg Mail (17*) unafraid to play attacking shots against the bowling of Pollock (0/8) and Steve Elworthy (0/32).
The Blues were at 0/62 from 13 overs by tea. Just for the record, that leaves them requiring another 321 runs from 26 overs for victory.
South Africa's Allan Donald (0/15), in his return game after missing the First Test in Adelaide, bowled two overs into the wind, yet was unimpressive and was promptly replaced by Elworthy.
Already under fire from a number of former South African greats including Peter Pollock and Ray Jennings, it wasn't a happy start to the second innings for him. Conjecture continues to surround his chances of attaining a position in the bowling attack in the Second Test against Australia, starting in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Another problem that continues to raise its head in this tour match has been the standard of the Proteas' fielding. A number of vital catches have already been dropped, and another was spilt this afternoon with van Deinsen on 11.
van Deinsen has subsequently acquired his highest first-class score, and will hope to build even further on his new watermark when play resumes.
The Proteas had begun the day at 1/112 - and holding a 225-run advantage - and made slow early progress. Ultimately, it took a missed stumping by wicketkeeper, Brad Haddin, to kick-start the tourists' scoring on their way to a mark of 5/201 at lunch.
The class of Gary Kirsten (88) was particularly evident as a lead of 314 runs overall was acquired - the left hander securing his half-century with ease and leading youngster Jacques Rudolph (28) successfully through the first hour.
Kirsten looked sharp and alert out in the middle, mixing patience with elegance in a well-timed innings.
There was a lapse in concentration just 12 runs short of a potential century, though, as he swept off a top edge at leg spinner Stuart MacGill (4/65) and found Michael Clarke's waiting hands at backward square leg.
Don Nash (0/33) and his fellow fast bowlers toiled manfully at the other end to MacGill but lacked penetration and the Proteas looked comfortable in handling anything with genuine pace.
MacGill extracted noticeable turn at times on a pitch that is finally beginning to wear, joining with left arm slow bowler Mark Higgs (1/8) to create a mini-collapse just before lunch.
After 20 minutes in the middle, Lance Klusener (0) collected a pair; Rudolph was beaten down the leg side; and Justin Ontong (0) was another to gain the dreaded double of ducks when he edged at MacGill.
The surface remains well in favour of the batsmen nonetheless, so much so that South African paceman Steve Elworthy claimed the pitch is one of the most placid on which he has ever had to bowl.
"Its one of flattest pitches I have ever played on; in some ways, close to those in India," Elworthy said.
Whether he receives another chance to bowl on it straight after lunch rests in the hands of captain Shaun Pollock, though the lack of any sign of real urgency in the batting in the lead-up to the break suggests a closure is not imminent. It's more likely, instead, that Boeta Dippenaar (13*) and Pollock (0*) will be given the chance to enjoy some more batting practice when play resumes.
Date-stamped : 23 Dec2001 - 10:39