Archive for March, 2014

We pick up the commentary just before lunch on day three…
Zuma is approaching his century and the controversy continues to mount here at Sahara stadium. The fielding side is furious. Zuma has clearly been out on three occasions, but thanks to some strange decisions by the umpires, he remains at the crease. He’s not a walker, never has been.
On the first occasion, he was caught nudging one to leg. It looked to me like he had forced the shot when it wasn’t on and I was not surprised when he was brilliantly caught by De Beer. Amazingly, umpire Van der Merwe, after a despairing shake of the head, called it a no-ball and the review camera was faulty, so the decision stood. All of this while a large section of the crowd, which had clearly been enjoying too much iced-tea, chanted songs and made threatening gestures at the fielding side. My goodness me.
On the second occasion, it was a big deal. He played at an inviting delivery tossed up by Shaik which, like most of his balls, deviated substantially. Zuma got a big piece of it and it was clearly caught out, but to everyone’s amazement, the umpire did not raise his finger. Well blow me down – things were about to get worse. The umpire called Shaik for his irregular action and he was made to leave the field for the dressing room. Well done to our eagle-eyed cameraman for catching him teeing off at the adjacent golf course ten minutes later.
On the third occasion, he was deceived by a beautiful extravagant ball, an off-spinner which moved a long way through the air before landing exactly where it shouldn’t have. It was clear to all that the flight had deceived Zuma before trapping him squarely in front of the stumps. Extraordinary. He was given not out and the fourth umpire upheld the decision, saying that the groundsman who had prepared the strip was to blame! Well, I don’t think that’s in the rules.
Even the section of the crowd that had been singing his praises earlier had had enough and he was loudly booed. Oh, and let’s not forget how Zille and Mamphele dropped him in the slips when they almost comically clashed heads diving for the same ball.
And now Zuma is slowly, almost painfully making his way back to the crease after tea with fellow batsmen Mantashe, who has tried to keep the strike against the fast bowlers to protect Zuma who always seems vulnerable. Well, they shouldn’t have taken that single before tea because Zuma is finally on strike against the best of the bowlers.
But he’s very slow to take his stance as Madonsela prepares to come in off a very long run-up. She has been outstanding today, dismissing Cele for a hard-fought 24 with a brilliant Yorker and Pule for a duck. She has been able to consistently come up with the sort of movement that other bowlers have struggled with on South Africa’s unpredictable surfaces. Those who have a flaw in their technique are exposed by the speed of her straight delivery. If Zuma can see her off, he will surely make his century.
Madonsela waits, hands on hips. This is extraordinary. For the fourth time, the umpire has asked Zuma to take his stance and for the fourth time, Zuma has walked off towards square leg, claiming that there is something in the stands distracting his attention. He is clearly trying to put the bowler off. Earlier he had asked the umpires to examine her action, but they found it was well within the rules. Finally Zuma takes his stance and Madonsela comes charging in. It’s a bouncer, which hits Zuma on the helmet. He staggers for a moment and then …


Read Full Post »