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  • May 24, 2019
    Dont expect major changes in the South Africa XI when they play their first day-night Test in Adelaide in a weeks time. Early indications show they are not looking to shake up the batting line-up but there may be a spot for chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi, who was seen practising alone with the pink ball in the indoor nets in Hobart during the second Test.I dont think we are going to change much. Its important that we maintain the stability of the squad and the structure of the starting XI, Linda Zondi, South Africas convener of selectors, said. Weve picked the squad based on what we feel will be the right combination. We are fortunate that weve got so much variation. If we feel Shamsi will play a role, we will definitely choose him but [Keshav] Maharaj has done well. Its a nice problem to have. It boils down to the case of the decision to be made and we will see the conditions on the day.Statistical evidence does not help Shamsis case either. He only bowled three overs in the pink ball warm-up match in Adelaide and was South Africas most expensive bowler in the next practice game, a regular red-ball fixture. Neither was he part of the South Africa A side that played two unofficial Tests against Australia A in winter. However, evidence from Indias Duleep Trophy shows that wristspinners can have success with the pink ball. Kuldeep Yadav, a chinaman bowler like Shamsi, led the wicket-charts and Yuvraj Singh said he saw batsmen struggle against wristspinners.Australias batsmen had a hard time against Shamsi in the ODI series in South Africa, which Zondi will be aware of. Vernon Philander is nursing a sore shoulder from his collision with Steven Smith, and concerns remain over Morne Morkels match-readiness. With those factors and a ball that wears quickly, South Africa may surprise by picking two spinners in the starting XI.The pink ball could also force a different thought about the composition of the line-up, perhaps with a push for more aggressive players upfront to maximise scoring chances. Quinton de Kock, or even Rilee Rossouw, whose form against Australia in the ODIs earned him a spot in the Test squad, would seem likely candidates given Stephen Cook has yet to find his stride on this tour. Zondi, however, indicated such drastic measures wont be used.You need to back players, its very important. A player shouldnt walk into a match knowing This is the last game that Ill be playing, he said. If you look at Stiaan van Zyl, there was a time when he was really struggling and we needed to back him and we did. You need to give players enough opportunity. Thats something we want to maintain. Yes, there will come a time when youve crossed the line but weve got to be fair in terms of saying weve given a guy enough chances and only then look another way.Van Zyl, a regular middle-order player who has since signed a Kolpak deal and taken himself out of the Test equation, was given the job of opening the batting when Alviro Petersen retired in 2014 but was not able to fit in. In eight innings between January and December 2015, van Zyl managed only 156 runs at 22.28, which included South Africas nightmare tour of India late last year. Yet, the selectors stuck with him for the return series against England at home. He was dropped only after he had failed over a full calendar year and was replaced by the in-form Cook, who scored a century on debut against England in Centurion.Cook has spent more than a decade in the franchise structures and was among the top ten run-scorers for seven seasons before being given an opportunity, and it is expected that his future will not be decided on two poor Tests in Australia, especially as South Africa are strong everywhere else. When you look at the different roles and the structure of the side, weve got enough combinations in the middle order with bowling allrounders as well, so even if the challenge remains upfront, its only fair that we give whoever we pick a good run, Zondi said.Another factor in Cooks favour is that South Africa do not plan on experimenting excessively, despite the series being won. Theyre chasing a whitewash and a consistency to carry into the home summer and the series in New Zealand, as they look to climb the rankings again. From a selection point of view, we try by all means to make sure we sustain and maintain the continuation of the side, Zondi said. Its about guys understanding and having awareness of their roles in the side. The more they understand their roles, the better for the team and the better for us as we are moving forward. Hydro Flask Sale . After a replay, the winner will meet Sunderland in the quarterfinals. Sagbo did well to control Sone Alukos right cross and fire past Brighton goalkeeper Peter Brezovan. Aluko was making his first start in four months after recovering from an Achilles injury. Cheap Hydro Flask For Sale . Wilson hit Schenn from behind during Tuesday nights game in Philadelphia, earning a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. He has a phone hearing with the department of player safety, which limits any potential suspension to five or fewer games. . 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The urge to rank things runs deep - in cricket, in sport, in life (though it is perhaps something males delight in more). Inevitably, the impulse to disagree is just as hardwired, a patellar reflex of the socialised human brain. You think that is the best...? In compiling Masterly Batting: 100 Great Test Centuries, Patrick Ferriday and Dave Wilson, assisted by an able band of co-conspirators, have struck up a pub debate liable to exercise pedants, inflame nationalists and, perhaps worst of all, provoke the Twitterati to fresh displays of mandrill pomposity. There could be broken glass.This is no back-of-a-beer-mat musing, however. The authors have come tooled up. The research has been rigorous, their soundings far and wide (former Wisden editor John Woodcock is one of the first to be credited in the acknowledgements). In setting out the projects aims, Ferriday is awake to the difficulty, both rousing and daunting. Ranking the 100 greatest Test hundreds - for that is what they have done, or attempted, despite the enigmatic subtitle - is not a matter of irrefutable fact, but rather falls into the category where no such certainty can bring the debate to a crushing and indelible conclusion. And it is precisely these latter cases that are the most stimulating; opinion is reinforced by fact, fact is questioned, opinion reinforced or, where open minds prevail, altered.The danger of having an open mind, of course, is that your brain falls out. But Masterly Batting should find the thoughtful audience it deserves. The methodology is explained in the introduction, with ten categories - size, conditions, bowling attack, percentage, chances, speed, series impact, match impact, intangibles, compatibility - weighed against each other. The precise formula is not revealed but we can assume it is quite exacting, as there are several tied positions. The prospect of sifting through over 2000 possible candidates would leave many to conclude that pure maths was the only way to go, but Ferriday and Wilson have brought humanity to the numbers by stirring in contemporaneous reportage and the wisdom of numerous cricket judges. The order is, in many ways, subordinate to the higher purpose, which is to collate great cricket writing on great cricket feats. Measuring centuries against each other was settled upon as a valid and achievable goal but the effect is to paint vivid pictures of a different kind of century - more than 100 years of Test batting. This is particularly true with regard to the top 25 innings, which are given extended treatment and take up more than half of the book.Never mind the run-making, the keystrokes are just as impressive. Therre are some fabulous pieces in the book by a variety of writers, including David Frith, Stephen Chalke, Telford Vice and Rob Smyth.dddddddddddd. Chalke provides a superb portrait of Herbert Sutcliffe, Daniel Harris on Gordon Greenidge fizzes and crackles with an apposite energy, while Vices essay on Jacques Kallis - He has fashioned one of the great careers with the passion he might have brought to mowing the lawn - is full of good lines. Ferriday himself worships thrice at the altar of Brian Lara, while the comic-book vitality of Kevin Pietersens 186 in Mumbai is another example of the multitudes contained within.The result is richly satisfying, a kaleidoscope of dogged rearguards, effervescent counter-attacking and dreadnought destruction. Absence is what makes the heart grow harder. Each reader will come to Masterly Batting in search of particular favourites, some of whom are bound to be disappointed. No Atherton in Johannesburg, no Dravid in Adelaide? It is the relative dearth of Asian representatives that will cause most debate: seven Indian entries, five Pakistani and three Sri Lankan, plus Mohammad Ashraful. Virender Sehwags 293 in Mumbai is the highest ranked, at No. 15, while Ashraful comes well ahead of Sachin Tendulkar, whose single worthy effort - 155 not out against Australia in Chennai - is deemed great enough to creep in at No. 100. This may seem doubly controversial in the prevailing climate of Sachinalia, although it is interesting to note that a similar exercise in 2001, the Wisden 100, found no room for Tendulkar at all.Perhaps a greater oversight is the lack of Asian voices - Rahul Bhattacharya is quoted in the opening pages, but that is as close as an Indian writer gets to the book. The subcontinent stretches far across crickets globe, however, and this might have been better reflected. On the matter of which innings did and didnt make the cut, Ferriday is happy to engage and he would doubtless provide a sound argument for the inclusion of both Kallis hundreds in Cape Town in 2011 when Tendulkars in the same match misses out.But they are still serving at the bar and argument will continue long into the night. In a publishing landscape that is dominated by turgid autobiographies and glossy compilations, Masterly Batting stands out like a Laxman cover drive. And where does Kolkata 2001 rank next to Bradman on a sticky MCG pitch or Mark Butchers Headingley heroics? Time for me to get my coat.Masterly Batting: 100 Great Test Centuries Compiled and edited by Patrick Ferriday and Dave Wilson Von Krumm Publishing 290 pages; £15 ' ' '