th African sport, in all its colours and guises, has always

#1 von riluowanying123 , 24.10.2018 13:19

A dominant opening day for Australia at Pallekele ran more or less to the script the tourists were hoping to stick with. Features included an even bowling performance, alert fielding and the foundations of a batting platform set, before rain ended the day ahead of schedule.In rounding Sri Lanka up for a mere 117, they also avoided falling behind in the match as they did against Pakistan in the UAE in 2014. This means Steven Smiths side are in the position they are most comfortable with - driving the game forward from a position of strength, rather than scrapping and fighting to stay in it. From that vantage point, Australias aggression looks dashing and purposeful rather than reckless, and opponents under the cosh tend to stay there.Nevertheless, no day is ever quite perfect, and there was one area in which the Australians will be wanting to tighten up at later stages. This is in the tightness of their opening batsmen, David Warner and Joe Burns, both of whom lost their wickets early on to moments of looseness and/or imprecision. The subsequent partnership between captain Steven Smith and Usman Khawaja represented the most measured batting of the day, and showed what players on both sides should be looking to do on a pitch that has offered just enough help to the bowlers, both pace and spin. The surface made the toss more intriguing than most in this part of the world, and it was here that Australia pulled the first of numerous correct reins.Team selection: It had always seemed likely that Australia would plump for twin spin in this series, but given how rarely such a team has been selected in the recent past - just three times have they used a full-time spin tandem since the last visit to Sri Lanka in 2011 - there may have been temptation to divert from that path. Certainly, Pallekele was always going to be the strip offering most assistance to the faster men, as it momentarily did five years ago for Ryan Harris and Trent Copeland.Sri Lankas players were known to be unhappy about starting here rather than Galles more obviously spinning track, and the ground staff here had clearly tried to dry out their pitch. But the balance provided by Steve OKeefe was useful to Smith, while Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc operated in shorter spells. All the while, Mitchell Marshs lively fast-medium remained in reserve, the days lopsided measure best illustrated by the fact that he was not even required to bowl.Intimidation: Before this match, Smith had spoken of the fact that while Australia were playing in conditions they had often found difficult, they were also playing an opponent short of experience and confidence. This meant it was important to get on the front foot early, demonstrating through performance and body language who was in charge. Sri Lankas players had been spared the supposedly demoralising sight of the Test Championship mace being presented to Smith in public on match eve, but they could not so readily avoid the Australians in the middle.By way of verbals, Kusal Mendis was nearly goaded into reviewing his lbw, which replays showed to be smashing into middle stump. By way of tactics, the focus upon Angelo Mathews was backed up by a none-too-subtle field setting, leg gully and short leg posted when Mitchell Starc ran in at him. It works too: Mathews very nearly offered an edge first ball, then was tentative enough to prod OKeefe to slip soon after. At no stage were Sri Lanka made to feel like they belonged in this company.Hazlewood: Perhaps it is his SCG upbringing, perhaps his commendable straightness when in good rhythm, or perhaps his height, but Hazlewood was, by a distance, the most impressive Australian bowler on the day. Where Starc was fast but slightly off-peak, Hazlewood worked away steadily, finding his range and then a probing line and length to challenge all batsmen.Initially, it was seam movement on a slightly tacky surface that worked in his favour, seaming one back to pin Mendis, then shading one away from Kaushal Silva. There was a little more swing for Hazlewood in his second spell, and he saved his best delivery for Dinesh Chandimal, a gateway server that had Sri Lankas most accomplished batsman playing with a slightly closed bat face to snick behind to Peter Nevill. A couple of tail-end wickets to complete a five-for would have been well-deserved, but competition among an eager bowling attack meant Hazlewood had to be content with three.Use of the spinners: Nathan Lyon and OKeefe had both trained with near-new balls in the lead-up to the Test, and Smith elected to hand the ball to the latter as early as the ninth over. Immediately, he found the sort of beguiling variation that has helped him build, by a distance, the most handsome Sheffield Shield record of any contemporary Australian spinner.Some balls skidded on, while others gripped. OKeefes slight build and somewhat round-arm action gives him a similar trajectory to Rangana Herath, and he used this well to defeat a tentative Mathews with a hint of extra turn and bounce. Lyon was held back until the last over before lunch, but he too would use the conditions nicely. Three wickets in seven balls spanning the first and third overs after the interval effectively ended Sri Lankas innings, with bounce, turn and natural variation all coming into play. Lyon made his debut in this country five years ago; it is fitting he now sits two wickets away from 200 on visit No. 2.Out-of-kilter openers: For a brief moment, Australias march towards control of the Test was held up by the rapid exits of Warner and Burns, in circumstances that both batsmen will not be best pleased about. Bowled by full deliveries, neither paid due care and attention, and the opportunity to bat under relatively little scoreboard pressure was wasted.Warner, of course, is very much short of match practice. Having suffered a broken finger to the same hand that already nurses a problematic, previously injured thumb, he delayed his return to the batting crease as long as possible, eschewing the earlier tour match. He is also reluctant to bat in the fast bowlers No. 1 net these days, and it is just possible that Nuwan Pradeep hurried onto him with a near yorker touching 141kph. Warners feet were slow to move, and the drag onto the stumps maintained a drought of overseas centuries, dating back to March, 2014.Burns has made no secret that these conditions will stretch him, but he remonstrated visibly with himself after miscalculating Heraths skid with the new ball. Stretching forward to defend, he played for fractional turn, duly leaving a gap through which the ball hurried through. That dismissal mirrored many suffered by the Australians in the UAE against Pakistan, when Yasir Shah and Zulfiqur Babar created similar doubts, to which the only remedy is supremely close attention to the ball through the air and off the pitch. Khawaja and Smith both had similar moments of inexact judgement, but escaped to bat on tomorrow. Many more runs beckon. Jordan Wilkins Jersey . After Mondays hard-fought loss, the wait seemed longer than usual. 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Two very tall blokes, one very short one, someone with slicked back hair, another with none on his head but a fair amount on his face; ten more men of different shapes and sizes. No, this is not one of those jokes about what happens when they all walk into an eatery. This is a story about what happens when they play for the same sports team - South Africas cricket team.Ask them what they believe was the most important factor for their third successive series win in Australia and they do not talk about runs, wickets, catches or even specific personnel. They put it down to culture. If you believe Bo Hansen, a three-time Olympic medalist from Australia and author of the book Team Culture - Is it making or breaking your team?, that makes complete sense.Culture is a critical factor in the success of any organised group, whether that be a corporate organisation or a sports team. It is one of the most important factors to get right to enjoy sustained success, Hansen writes.Hansen defines culture simply as the way we do things around here. For a long time, that way in South Africa was brash and bold. Allan Donald bursting through; Graeme Smith batting with a broken hand. Then, after the 2015 World Cup semi-final, which sucked the soul out of the system, South Africa forgot what their way was.It was a low point for everyone. Not only the players but I think the whole country. At the time, we didnt quite know what to do, Kyle Abbott, who found himself at the centre of controversy after being left out of the team, said.South Africa meandered through a series in Bangladesh, met their match in India and against England, and melted under the heat of off-field issues. Lets not deny it: transformation was seen as a game-changer. Some said it would prompt a player exodus. Others said it would promote mediocrity over meritocracy. Almost everyone agreed it would be divisive before they considered that it would also provide a window to a much deeper talent pool than South African cricket has ever had access to before.Maybe that was one of the things discussed at the culture camp the team held before the New Zealand series in August. The exact content of the conversations will not, and should not, become public, but whatever it was, it united South Africas cricketers.Abbott is the embodiment of it. Hotly sought after in county cricket, he stuck it out at home and hoped for a chance, knowing that when he got one, he would bowl his heart out. He did so in the fourth ODI against Australia in Port Elizabeth last month, and he did it again in Hobart today. He said his fire came from the new culture the team has created.I was lucky to be in that first team, led by Graeme. That culture was great but times move on and players move on, Abbott said. What we have come to now as a team and our values are totally different to what it was 18 months ago. It was tough for us. We set down our goals and what we stand for and we walk it and we talk it every day. Thats how you turn things around.Faf du Plessis has also referred to living the new culture. It cant be something you pay lip service to, he said. You might start to understand some of what they are talking about if you look at how they live.dddddddddddd Many of the players are deeply religious, many are also tied to charity work and are doing everything they can to be just as normal as the common people in their country. The new culture is perhaps about representing their people more than themselves and that shows, not just in the fact that they are more diverse now, more than ever, but in the way they chase excellence.South African sport, in all its colours and guises, has always aimed to be among the best, because sporting prowess is seen as a measure of the countrys worth. The setting of that standard is among Hansens nine characteristics of high-performance culture.His other criteria include personal accountability, clearly defined goals and genuine care, words you will hear coming out of the South African camp. But the qualification that stands out most, because it goes against the grain of the machismo usually associated with sport, is relationship-building and communication. This South Africa team has taken that to a different level.From du Plessis jokes about sharing a bed with his champion bowlers to Abbotts confirmation that all squad members know where they stand, the team is in a good space, which also means some of the drivers of the cultural change are the backroom staff. Incidentally, Hansen places responsibility on the coaches to deliberate on, determine and drive a teams culture.Russell Domingo has flown under the radar so far, speaking only once after the Perth Test, when he confirmed the players had recommitted to the countrys cause. He does not have the profile of his predecessor Gary Kirsten, or make the headlines as much as his counterpart Darren Lehmann does, but he has an astute cricket brain and is well stocked with support staff. Adrian Birrell is as down to earth as they come, Charl Langeveldt has moulded the attack into a skilful and scary pack, and Neil McKenzies reputation as one of the nicest men in cricket with one of the best work ethics speaks for itself.Crucially, the selection panel has also made the right calls, like including Keshav Maharaj on this tour, picking Abbott in Hobart, rewarding Rilee Rossouws form with inclusion. Naturally they will make decisions that will be debated and calls that will go wrong, but they have earned confidence and trust with what theyve done so far, from the public and from the players.We are happy off the field, du Plessis said. And it shows.You only need to compare those words against Steven Smiths angst to see how a team can get stuck in an unhappy rut. Smith said he was embarrassed, and said he needed players who took pride in wearing the baggy green, and that he was tired of saying the same things. That was South Africa a year ago. It took immense introspection to get to where they are now but theyve shown it can be done. And they want to keep doing it.Its important to stay with it and stay nice and humble, and dont think the world has changed now that we have won a few series, du Plessis said. We want to keep working hard and making sure we can get better. We want to go special places. 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