Now that everyone’s heart rates have
returned to normal after Sunday night’s astonishing one-day match between Australia
and South Africa, the commentary surrounding the game has hit its stride.
Immediately after the game, Ricky Ponting
seemed genuinely thrilled to have been a part of it, but has since become more
reticent. “We bowled obviously very, very poorly,” he now acknowledges, with
pointing out that international cricket has seen the last of Mick Lewis, and
that Brett Lee has not been the force he was during the Australian summer.
concerned with Lewis’s form, Neil Manthorp wrote in The
“Every now and then a match is played in a sport that forever changes the way
people view it.”
What Manthorp seems to be confirming is
that modern cricket is a very different game to that played by previous
generations, who would never have imagined scoring 438 runs in just 50 overs
was possible. Graeme Smith, the victorious captain, was also shocked
afterwards. “Credit should go to both sides but chasing 434 is a bit sick
For those wondering how the match went over
in South Africa, Cricinfo’s Edward Craig wrote:
The fever and cricket mania that the unbelievable
final one-day international generated in South Africa is unsurpassed by any
sporting event … In years to come, everyone will know where they were as
Boucher slammed the winning runs over mid-on’s head … People in the crowd wept,
unable to cope with the frenzied atmosphere and unable to believe they were
there at the greatest one-day game ever.
Perhaps surprisingly, a welcome
counterbalance to the hysteria has come from Barry Richards, an ex-South
African batsman who contends that the balance between bat and ball has been
lost in the contemporary game.
“The small grounds are like saying to Tiger
Woods to play on a 4,000m course; he might keep shooting 49 but what does it
really mean?” he asked. So long as crowds are cheering and the TV ratings remain buoyant, you don’t
imagine it’s a question that will concern the game’s administrators.