Ratings - March 2008
Bangladesh v South Africa
Opening Ratings: Ban: 594.51 SAf: 1116.53
1st Test: South Africa by 5 wickets
2nd Test: South Africa by an innings and 205 runs
Closing Ratings: Ban: 586.64 SAf: 1121.98
In what was apparently a great opportunity for the South Africans to improve their averages, though not their ratings, only two batsmen really bothered to cash in. But after an opening partnership of 415 who can be bothered? Smith and McKenzie apart, this was a low scoring series marked by a shoot-out between the young quicks: Steyn and Shahadat Hossain. Nine wickets in the first match by the latter made it a close run thing, and surely, eventually, Bangladesh will convert one of these first innings leads into a win. But, Steyn is a class above the Bangladeshi batsmen and they repeatedly crumbled under the sustained pressure of him and his support.
West Indies (858.29) v Sri Lanka (1105.82) - 2 Tests
What the ratings say should be a complete walk-over, the analysis questions. The West Indies hinted at an improvement in their series against South Africa, while Sri Lanka are woeful travellers very dependent on a few key players. A pity then to, as usual, confine this series to a measly two tests, subject to good favour and a good start. Given Sri Lanka's limited leadup they might struggle to achieve the latter, but then, the West Indies have had more new dawns than last year. An intriguing, but ultimately frustrating and pointless, match-up that could go either way, and will be forgotten by next month. Just another week on the road for the Sri Lankans in other words.
India (1196.37) v South Africa (1121.98) - 3 Tests
By most standards, India had an outstanding tour of Australia, and have firmly ensconsed themselves in second place on the ratings. India's strength of late has been the consistency of performance across their batting and the variety of bowling options. Rarely were they out of the game against Australia, even if they failed to press the advantage. South Africa can arguably match India in the pace stakes, but their batting will need to score bigger than normal to give them a chance. Most likely it will be a slow starting and, Bangladeshi tour aside, under-prepared South African side facing a confident Indian side. Expect the home team to win easily. Either way it will be quick, the whole tour completed in just three weeks to make way for the money spinning IPL to follow.
Australia (1st) 1393.31
England (3rd) 1129.98
Pakistan (6th) 1083.60
New Zealand (7th) 1038.23
Zimbabwe (9th) 672.64
24th March, 2008 01:12:26