Jon Swift
2 minute read
25 Jan 2017
3:31 pm

Something of a problem as Proteas skittled

Jon Swift

It is no secret that the Arithmetically-challenged Golfer has an overblown estimate of himself as a sage in any sporting code you care to mention and takes every opportunity to tell all and sundry exactly what it is he is under the mistaken perception that they should know.

Jon Swift

And so it was that he was emulating one of those commentators given to delivering wall-to-wall commentary on goings-on out on the field patently obvious to anyone who has not mislaid his glasses.

“The Proteas must surely field,” he said with some certainty as stand-in skipper Farhaan Behardien won the toss before the second T20 international against the touring Sri Lankans. “It is always a good idea to chase a total at the Wanderers.” The South Africans duly decided to bat. “No problem,” he said bouncing back from the flat champagne of one failed prediction as the South African opening pair strode to the crease to open the innings.

“I like the look of Jon-Jon Smuts and Heino Kuhn at the top of the order. They should give us a healthy start against a Sri Lankan attack that has shown very few teeth throughout their tour.”

And in truth, Smuts looked good before holing out to debutant Lakshan Sandakan at a deepish square leg off the fairly innocuous-looking bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara with a single boundary to his name and the total on just five. “No problem,” said the Arithmetically-challenged One, “Kuhn is still there and Theunis de Bruyn can bat a bit. They should get things moving.”

De Bruyn instantly stepped uncertainly into the breach before proving the self-professed sage way off the mark, scratching self-consciously and even landing an unlikely boundary from a nick which went across the stumps before disappearing to the ropes, before falling to a smartly taken catch by wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal off the first ball of lefarm wrist-spinner Sandakan’s spell.

“No problem,” said the Arithmetically-challenged One. “We’ve still got plenty of batting to come.” This proved to be more boastful bombast than a clear picture as the Proteas rapidly collapsed from 13/2 to 74/4 as Moshele, Kuhn, Miller, Parnell and Phehluwayo all came and went with only Behardien and Aaron Phangiso showing any real resistance as the Proteas were rattled out for a paltry 113 as Sandakan picked up four wickets with some liquorish allsorts spin and medium-pacer Isuru Udana ending with three scalps.

The Arithmetically-challenged One was reduced to silence as the wreckage of the Proteas innings settled about him. But the South African bowling stuck to the near-impossible task set them and with paceman Lungi Ngidi leading the way with a splendid four-wicket haul, it looked as if South Africa might incredibly be able to salvage something from the match until a fighting 54 not out by limping skipper Angelo Mathews, supported by 22 valuable runs from Chandimal, saw the Sri Lankans home by three wickets with two balls remaining.

There was one of those stunned hushes as the gathering assessed just what had been concocted by the underrated tourists. It was in this lull that the gentleman in the corner who had said nothing through the match, turned to the the Arithmetically-challenged One and politely asked: “Do you see where the problem is now?”