Cricket

Proteas miss catches, while TV fans miss old greats

13 January 2019 - 00:00 By LIAM DEL CARME


With Pakistan already two wickets down SA were hoping to have a field day at the start of play yesterday, but instead they ended fielding questions about their fielding.
They did manage to establish a 77-run first innings lead but they let slip the opportunity of pummelling their opponents into submission after they failed to grasp the opportunities that came their way in the morning session yesterday at the Wanderers.
Their catching in the slips left a lot to be desired as five attempts were grassed, while wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock missed a sharp stumping chance.
There were more spillages in the slips than in Castle Corner and by the time De Kock put down Imam ul-Haq in the 24th over, SA coach Ottis Gibson appeared to be frothing.
Night watchman Mohammad Abbas often nicked but failed to knock off when he was supposed to. It wasn't for lack of trying.
Abbas almost had as many lives as Abba's Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Benny and Bjorn put together and when he finally succumbed to the brutish Duanne Olivier, the relief in the South African camp was palpable.
There were other moments of sloppiness, like when Pakistan captain Safraz Ahmed was gifted five overthrows. It helped Safraz put together a delightfully fluent knock in which he brought up a half century off just 38 balls. He at times was fed fodder and he feasted until Hashim Amla first fumbled, before completing the catch at first slip.
Earlier, members of the slip cordon seemed to get in each other's way, leading to spills and more frustration for the bowlers.
Some commentators lamented the South African slip cordon's spatial awareness, arguing that there should perhaps be greater distance between the grabbers.
The crowd voiced their displeasure but there was more frustration in the afternoon as a swarm of miggies announced their arrival around the end of the second over of the South African second innings.
Miggies (belonging to the order Ephemeroptera, which also includes gnats and midges) can be a nuisance and they frustratingly hung around almost as long as Abbas did in the morning.
Hasan Ali resorted to wearing sunglasses halfway through his fifth over after earlier appearing to ingest some of the intruders in his delivery stride.
Amid much swatting and covering of eyes and ears the two South African batsmen at the crease were only too thankful that the intruders weren't bees. A swarm of bees caused consternation during the pink ODI here last year and it required the intervention of a beekeeper to subside the buzz.
And on the topic of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, SuperSport mysteriously pulled an insert they were due to air during the lunch break yesterday.
On the opening day it was announced that they would flight an insert on former South African greats Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards and Mike Procter.
The no-show will only feed the suspicion that isolation-era cricketers are as welcome to Cricket SA and SuperSport as bees and, indeed, miggies were to the combatants here.

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