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|March 4, 2000||
Tale of the nightwatchmenHansie Cronje
It has been a tale of the nightwatchmen during the past eight Test matches for South Africa. First it was Mark Boucher who knocked up two hundreds as nightwatchman against Zimbabwe and England. Both of those came at key periods in the game and the second against England in a way secured the series for South Africa.
We will have to wait and see exactly just how valuable the 85 of Nicky Boje was during only his second knock in Test cricket. It sounds strange that he has been involved for six years now, but has only played two Test matches. The previous time that his batting came in handy was at the Commonwealth Games where he put on 35 valuable runs for SA against Sri Lanka to advance to the finals.
There is no doubting his big match temperament as he is the third of three brothers who all represented their province at both rugby and cricket at school level, and I'm sure they were all glad to see Nico batting in Bangalore yesterday.
Quite a few of the South African players come out of sporting families, with the Pollocks, Kirstens and Cullinans probably the best examples. It must be something to do with little brother having to fight against big brother to stay alive in the backyard "Test matches". These are some fine players and their brothers probably would have made it to this level too, had they had the opportunities.
The bullring has certainly been full of action and there is still a lot of cricket to be played, but I cannot deny that as captain I was very pleased with the way our bowlers performed in India's first innings. It has given us an opportunity to go all the way and it was up to the batsmen to give us a considerable lead.
On day three the good work done by Kallis and Cullinan was carried on by Kallis and Klusener for much of the day. The dedication and application they showed right through the day was just what was asked of them. Klusener in particular played a gem of a knock, quite dissimilar to the swashbuckling ones we have come to expect of him. Both richly deserved their centuries, and it was a pity neither reached there.
It is now upto the bowlers to wrap up the match, and if Srinath’s late burst on day III is any indication, there is something in the pitch for the quickies as well.
The game seems firmly in our grip and we have every intention to record a historic 2-0 series victory against India. Let's hope the crowds get their money's worth in the days to come.
Mail Prem Panicker
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