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Saturday, December 25, 2021

Boxing Day Tests ! - Scott Boland - who ! to make debut !

For the Cricket fans, Boxing day – 26th Dec 2021 offers good action at Centurion and of course at Melbourne ! 

There had been rumours of a modern-day "El Dorado" in the folklore of the native tribes that roamed the plains of the South African highveld and in that of the gold miners who had come from all over the world to seek out their fortunes on the alluvial mines of Barberton and Pilgrim's Rest, in what is now known as the province of Mpumalanga.  .. .. and in that year 1886 that the massive wealth of the Witwatersrand would be uncovered. Scientific studies have pointed to the fact that the "Golden Arc" which stretches from Johannesburg to Welkom was once a massive inland lake, and that silt and gold deposits from alluvial gold settled in the area to form the gold-rich deposits that South Africa is famous for. 

Gauteng  is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. The name in Sotho-Tswana languages means 'place of gold'. Situated on the Highveld, Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa.   Highly urbanised, the province contains the country's largest city, Johannesburg, which is also one of the largest cities in the world. It also contains the administrative capital, Pretoria, and other large areas such as Midrand, Vanderbijlpark and the affluent Sandton.  The name Gauteng is derived from the Sotho-Tswana name, gauta meaning "gold".  There was a thriving gold industry in the province following the 1886 discovery of gold in Johannesburg. 

A few years back on 12.1.2016 at Perth, Rohit Sharma was at his usual best, rampaging Aussie bowlers to all part of the ground.  Rohit's unbeaten 171 -  surpassed Viv Richards' 153* as the highest ODI score against Australia in Australia - added to a growing library of monumental limited-overs innings, confirming his mastery of a format where if he gets through the first few overs he is able to hit through the line of the ball with something like impunity. Kohli provided ideal support after the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan.  There were 3 debutants – Barinder Sran who has not played for the Nation after 2016 and Joel Paris who played just 2 matches.  Then there was Scott Boland, who played handful of One-dayers !  

At Melbourne for the Boxing day test, to punch England out - Australia have juggled their fast-bowling pack again. Pat Cummins' is back after his enforced absence in place of Michael Neser while Scott Boland will make his debut in place of Jhye Richardson who has a leg injury. Josh Hazlewood has not recovered from his side strain. 

The news is Victoria pace bowler Scott Boland who debuted in that Onedayer at Perth in 2016 against India,  has been handed a surprise debut in the Boxing Day Test against England with Australia taking a cautious approach over a minor leg injury to Jhye Richardson.  Boland, 32, becomes the fourth Indigenous Test cricketer after Faith Thomas, Jason Gillespie and Ashleigh Gardner. He is one of two changes with Pat Cummins returning in place of Michael Neser.   Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are related to the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region. 

Boland, who previously played 14 ODIs and three T20Is in 2016, has been selected as something of a home-ground specialist having taken 96 wickets at 25.56 in 27 first-class games at the MCG. This season in the Sheffield Shield he has taken 15 wickets at 10.80 which propelled him into the Australia A squad ahead of the Ashes, before he was hastily flown into Adelaide last week after Cummins' Covid close contact drama. 

Meantime, India is on a high, having played well defeating Australia in Australia and England in England are rearing to go in a year in which they had two legs of the IPL as well as a T20 World Cup to deal with. To speculate that there might be a few burnt out players in that squad wouldn't be a big stretch. They're carrying a middle order that has had no time to sort out issues they've been taking into every series this year, and contain some names who have had their share of off-field scuffles. Virat Kohli has been the centre of a media-driven joust with Sourav Ganguly over the last few weeks following his axing from ODI captaincy, and all eyes will firmly be on him when this Test begins. 

KL Rahul would walk out with Mayank Agarwal – middle order could well be Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli & Ajinkya Rahane .. .. .. but whether they deserve their places above many – more specifically Shreyas Iyer – Hanuma Vihari can be debated.  Rishab Pant seals his place getting closer to century of victims, while Ravichandran Ashwin – the lead spinner in all formats could have a settled place with 4 seamers most probably Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj edging out Ishant Sharma !!   

Tomorrow afternoon, Indian time, the match would be played at Centurion Park, the ground in   Gauteng, South Africa. It is also known as SuperSport Park since television company Supersport bought shares in the stadium. The capacity of the ground is 22,000. 

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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