Kallis scores a ton; Watson scores a 40 – nothing’s changed in 2011

Admitted, it has only been two days of test cricket in two matches; but one can sense, that for some, things will never change.

In South Africa, a fascinating contest between the top two teams is taking place, where after two days, the game seems fairly even. For that, the credit should go to Kallis. The bulwark of South Africa batting for more than a decade, has once again risen to the big occasion, and given his team the best possible position to win the game. As much as I am a big fan of Tendulkar, I find it a bit condescending that some people label Kallis as the ‘Tendulkar of South Africa’. Kallis is a legend in his own right, and if there is anyone who can catch up with Sachin in terms of Test centuries, only he stands a realistic chance. He has been ridiculously consistent all across the globe, and unlike other contemporary batting superstars, I don’t recall him being in any kind of poor form over the course of his career. The only thing which can stop him right now is his age and the toll on his body every time he comes out to play.  Now, that he is unlikely to bat in the 2nd innings unless it is necessary, India will have gained some more confidence in their search for that elusive series victory in South Africa.

Across the seas, in Australia, you would be forgiven for having a sense of deja vu. Australia bat first, lose wickets at regular intervals, and concede the first day’s honors to England. The story of the series, really. There were some changes in the storyline of course; Australia had a new skipper and a new number 3 batsman, one of whom had a creditable outing. Hughes waited till he got to the 30s before giving his wicket to Tremlett; and thanks to rain, Australia were not bowled out in the first day itself. All these aside, what amuses me, is Watson’s inability to post a big score. Here is one of Australia’s in-form batsmen, who looks rarely troubled when he is at the crease, has the ability to both attack and defend capably, and has the important responsibility of setting the agenda for the game, given his batting position, form and situation of the series; but there he is, once again, looking set for a big one, before losing concentration to throw away his wicket. If North was infuriating for his wild inconsistencies, Watson is infuriating (to the Aussies!) for his  ridiculous consistency in throwing away good starts. Given that Hughes is still fighting his own personal battles with technique, it is imperative for Watson to get big scores at the top of the order, and relieve some of the pressure faced by the brittle middle order. You can have all the technique and talent in the world, but if you can’t make use of it, what is the point? He would do well to look at a fellow allrounder in South Africa for inspiration.

Finally, here is the wisest quote of this infant year, so far:

You can make something out of anything. You can say Michael Beer is the first person to stick his tongue out 24/7 to play for Australia.

Usman Khawaja on his ‘history-making heritage’

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