It has been particularly gratifying to see and hear the prevailing attitude of respect in South African cricketing circles for the amazing record of 15 consecutive Test wins recorded by Steve Waugh’s Australians.
Nowhere have I heard any attempt to diminish the achievement, and quite rightly.
In a couple of last summer’s Tests against Pakistan and India, inclement weather stole almost a day from the scheduled time available and yet the victories kept coming.
Of course, it would be easy to point out that the winning sequence began with a less than challenging Test against Zimbabwe and has included 11 Tests on home soil and three in New Zealand where Waugh’s boys weren’t likely to be overcome with home sickness. Or any other kind of sickness, for that matter.
There are other mitigating circumstances that have affected the winning sequence but, really, to win 15 Tests on the trot is so special that it would seem churlish to even mention them.
It is, therefore, with great alarm that I hear the Aussies “enquiring” about South Africa’s current run of 10 consecutive one-day victories and the possibility of them entering the record books with an 11th on Wednesday.
The problem, of course, is the unbeaten run of 14 matches recorded by Waugh’s team during and after the World Cup in 1999 and 2000. They recorded nine consecutive victories before a washout against New Zealand in Wellington last year. They won the next four matches before finally losing the last match of the series to the Kiwis, hence unbeaten for 14 matches.
The “enquiry”, directed to Wisden Almanac editor Graeme Wright from an unspecified source in Australia, concerned the validity of the washed out fixture in Wellington, particularly since 25 overs had not been bowled in the first innings.
Fortunately, his response was unequivocal: The match is “official” and shall remain so. Therefore South Africa do, indeed, have the chance to equal Clive Lloyd’s winning sequence of 11 that began with victory over England at Lord’s on June 4, 1984 and ended with defeat to Australia in the first of the three-match final of the B&H World Series at the MCG on February 2, 1985.
So, to the Aussies. Congratulations, guys. But don’t worry if someone else is playing outstanding cricket as well.
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