Steyn didn't deliver when needed

Source : COLUMNS
By : Sunil Gavaskar
Last Updated: Sun, Nov 27, 2011 05:43 hrs
Dale Steyn

The Australians levelled the two Test series by winning the nail biting second game at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. It was a touch and go game where the fortunes swung this way and then the other way. The South Africans would be cursing at having missed out on the chance to win both the matches, but what it does show is how the game is so unpredictable.

Dale Steyn, who must rank as one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of the sport, should have won the game, but when needed for a final burst he didn't deliver and the Aussies scraped home. Full credit to them and the way they stuck it out and it once again shows how important it is for the tail enders also to contribute with the bat.

The debutant, Pat Cummins, hit the winning shot and that along with his six wicket haul won him the man of the match award on his debut in Test cricket. For South Africa, Vernon Philander once again bowled well and now the Proteas has a very good new ball attack with Steyn and Morkel, with Kallis to come in and bowl when needed.

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The batting once again was dominated by Hashim Amla, who got hundreds in both the Test matches. His method may not appeal to the spectators, but his run scoring in difficult circumstances is appreciated by his team and to think there were many in South Africa, who wanted him dropped after one ordinary season.

In the clash between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the one man holding the fort for the Lankans was the former skipper, Kumar Sangakkara. He has been consistency personified and is the wicket that is wanted most by the bowlers. Dilshan and Jayawardene have run into rough times, which has put enormous pressure on Sangakkara, but he is manfully shouldering the burden.

That has not stopped Pakistan from wrapping up the one-day series 4-1 to add to the win in the Test series. Shahid Afridi, who made one of his innumerable comebacks from retirement, was the man of the limited overs series, making game-changing contributions with both bat and ball.

It is not often that bowlers get five wickets in a one-day match, but Afridi turned the fourth game around when the Lankans were coasting to a win and with that went Lanka's hopes of leveling the series. He got the well set Sangakkara out with a beauty of a delivery that turned a mile and went through the gate and then just scythed through the rest of the Lankan batting.

It is for this effort of his that Afridi is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.

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