Getting a pair is a dreaded prospect

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 15, 2012 04:42 hrs

The one thing that I dreaded most in my career was the prospect of getting a 'pair'. That is why immediately after getting my first run in the first innings I would say half seriously to the umpire that 'at least I won't get a pair in this game'. That of course does not suggest great self belief, but that was how it was. I did get plenty of zeros, but got through my career without the dreaded 'pair'.

With the amount of cricket that modern batsmen play, not only are there chances to get more runs, but also the prospect of getting a 'pair'. Not too many batsmen get by without the 'pair' and Jacques Kallis is the latest to succumb to it with a 'pair' in the second Test against Sri Lanka, which the Lankans went on to win.

Being the great player that he is, it was expected that Kallis would exact revenge and make the Lankans suffer and that is what he did in the third Test where he got a double century and also took wickets and 6 catches to ensure that the Proteas won the Test, and also the series.

Kallis did similar great stuff last year when India like Lanka had come back in the series by winning the second Test, having lost the first Test of the series. India had a wonderful chance to win the third and final Test and thus win a series in South Africa for the first time, but Kallis batted with a broken rib to get his second century of the game and deprive India of a first series win in South Africa.

India messed it up then with some pretty ordinary bowling and they have continued to do so in Tests abroad since then. Yes, they beat the West Indies comfortably, but have hardly looked like the number one team they were after that tour.

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Kallis had great support from AB de Villiers, who also got a superb century and then in his first effort as the skipper of the South African one day team he got the Lankans dismissed for one of their lowest totals of 43 to win his first game as skipper, by a massive margin.

Thilan Samaraweera has strangely been in and out of the Lankan side, but when it comes to batting overseas he is turning out to be one of the most reliable of the Lankan batsmen and it was he who helped save embarrassment for the Lankans with his fine century efforts.

Looking at the way the Proteas have been piling up the runs, the Lankans could do with Malinga in their Test team, but with the injuries he has had he has opted out of the longer version of the game and prefers to play in limited overs cricket where he was the lone performer with a five wicket haul in that forgettable first one day match.

The much underrated Hashim Amla got yet another century once again proving that at the highest level it is not so much technique, but temperament that matters.

The CEAT International Cricketer of the Week is Jacques Kallis, for his double century, wickets and catches in the last Test and also for his crisp innings in the first one dayer.

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