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While some of us in India dramatise the effect of twenty two yards of turf, cricket has shown this week that when armed with a bit of spirit, home advantage isn't the overwhelming force it is sometimes made out to be.
England and New Zealand, hardly the best travellers traditionally, overpowered what were once fairly strong garrisons. And having defended stubbornly in Adelaide, South Africa vanquished Australia at Perth playing the kind of cricket that must make other nations queasy. It has been another magnificent season of Test cricket.
Not one of the three visiting teams had to huff and puff and sneak a result in; they didn't win by a nose, more by a couple of lengths. New Zealand's very impressive young core of Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell and Tim Southee helped New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 167 runs. England powered by a new captain, two fine spinners and a modern genius won by ten wickets on a home-made pitch and South Africa, well...in spite of some irrelevant slogging at the end, beat the Aussies by 309 runs. It could easily have been 400!
The last of those was perhaps most significant because it signifies to me the coming of age of the best South African team since their readmission in 1992. If everyone is fit, South Africa will play Graeme Smith (8569 runs @49.53), Alviro Peterson (1387 @40.79), Hashim Amla (5323 @50.69), Jacques Kallis (12980 @ 56.92 to go with 282 wickets @ 32.57). AB de Villiers (5894 @49.11), Francois du Plessis (293 in 2 tests), JP Duminy (789 @ 37.57), Robin Peterson (194 @ 24 and 20 wickets @ 33), Vernon Philander (267 @ 21 and 67 wickets @ 17.98), Dale Steyn ( 834 @ 14 and 299 wickets @ 23.79) and Morne Morkel (649 @13.8 and 164 wickets @ 30.20)
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