235 to win from 46 overs and 8 wickets in hand as I write this. Roughly translates to around 320 in an ODI I guess, considering that two wickets are down and relaxed restriction on wides, fielding and bowling quotas. Younis Khan batting on a well made 106, along with Yousuf Youhana. Test cricket at its best.
For the sake of cricket, I hope Pakistan don’t go on to win this game. Conservatism has meant that of late, captains are hesitant to take risks, and go for sporting declarations. They usually prefer to bat the opposition out of the game before declaring, sometimes leaving themselves with too few overs to bowl the opposition out, and the team batting fourth has no incentive to score runs. Just hang in there and protect their wickets.
While that in itself can be a fascinating contest to watch, with stout defense trying to counter a strong bowling attack on a fifth day pitch, cricket would be much better off with more results. More occasions when fourth innings chases come off on the last day. More occasions where the team chasing gets bowled out. A draw is not a bad result, but sometimes the way it is arrived at is. More aggression from the captains would mean lesser, and when they do happen, better draws.
From this point of view, it is important that South Africa don’t lose this game. If they do, Graeme Smith will get unfairly accused for “throwing it all away” and the rare aggression that he has displayed will disappear from cricket altogether. The fear of losing has meant test cricket has already become much more conservative than it was a decade or two ago. It is important that the aggression is restored.
That said, Smith’s performance hasn’t been flawless. For example, he should have promoted de Viliers or Boucher when he got out, and gone for some quick runs, rather than getting Prince to waste a few balls before getting out. It was clear at the outset that he would declare at Kallis’s century. His aim should’ve been to maximzie the runs at the other end while Kallis made his ton.
Anyways, we are all set to have a fascinating afternoon of cricket on. I sincerely hope that after lunch, Pakistan go for the target and end up losing by a small margin. That, I think, would be the best result from the point of view of test cricket in general. Meanwhile, Baada predicts that Inzy will score less than 6 in his last innings, and thus will miss out on breaking Miandad’s record.