Columnists 11.11.2015 02:00 pm

Spinning Scot unplayable on this dustbowl

Jon Swift

Jon Swift

“I think we batted very poorly, while the Indians made the best of conditions they are more familiar with.”

It was something of an anticlimactic afternoon that had been tentatively pencilled in as a quiet time to watch the Proteas play Test cricket against the Indians.

The dustbowl in Mohali and a South African batting line-up seemingly almost completely bewildered by the subtleties of spin bowling on the sub-continent had put paid to that plan.

“What a disaster,” said the Broken-nosed Bridge Builder, in much the same tone of voice you would expect when the kid who owned the football in a kick-about backyard game grabbed the essential ingredient and made a beeline for home.

“I think we batted very poorly, while the Indians made the best of conditions they are more familiar with.”

There was an almost metronomic nodding of heads in agreement with one exception. “You can’t expect AB de Villiers to do everything,” said the Arithmetically-challenged Golfer.

“And you can’t depend on a part-time bowler like Dean Elgar to repeat his four-wicket haul in the first innings.

“It’s a simple formula really,” he continued as if imparting some arcane secret, while the rest of the gathering rolled their eyeballs. This, they knew from long experience heralded a lecture from the self-styled expert on all sporting matters. “It’s up to the recognised batsmen to get the runs and the designated bowlers to take the wickets.”

Not unsurprisingly, it was the Incomprehensible Scot, a man who espouses little or no knowledge of either rugby or cricket, who illustrated how hollow the self-styled expert’s analysis had been.

“Ee’n I knoo thaa,” he said. But the salient fact remained that the gathering, having fixed on an afternoon of Test cricket, were somewhat reluctant to change tack. There had been mutterings about watching the MotoGP where Valentino Rossi would at tempt to out-ride arch-rival Jorge Lorenzo from the impossible position of starting at the back of the grid.

This was roundly vetoed on the grounds that is was too noisy and Rossi’s sanction from the officials had ruined the title chase. There had also been some desultory votes cast for favouring airing Novak Djokovic’s final against Andy Murray in the Paris Masters.

As it transpired, this turned into a rout almost as wounding as the 108-run victory the Indian cricketers completed in less than three days, as the Serb hammered the elongated Scot 6-2, 6-4 in France.

There was some strong support for the London English Premier League derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, but as this was already in full swing and full colour in the corner opposite and not unanimously accepted, a compromise was called for.

“Hoo abaht tha goff fra China?” suggested the Incomprehensible One, his hand encompassing the soccer in the opposite corner and the blank screen in the area generally favoured by the gathering.

This gained general approval and with a somewhat hectic amount of neck turning which would have been the case in the Djokovic-Murray encounter anyway – following both events was accomplished and, as a footnote, the Incomprehensible One went home happy as fellow-Scot Russell Knox became the first player to win a tournament on WGC debut, claiming a two-shot victory in Shanghai and the “fitbah” ended in a 1-1 deadlock.

 

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