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So much action, yet still all square


And so it has come to this -- the final game to decide a series between South Africa and Australia, just how all the neutrals who just enjoy cricket would want it.

Those with an affinity for either side really would have loved the final test match to just be a formality with the series victory already achieved.

Well, that would be rather straightforward and perhaps even boring but these two old foes, I'm delighted to say, do not do dull and tedious affairs.

What we have seen in the first two games is just what was expected and even more.

A huge win by one side filled with marvellous performances and then a twist in an all but done series after the Aussies' assault.

The unanticipated, yet hoped for (by SA fans and neutrals alike) turn of events was just as thrilling if not even more so than the first match.

It was a sensational comeback and many players, from both sides, exhibited fabulous skills that were enjoyed by all who watched.

Before looking ahead to the deciding game in Cape Town, perhaps it is a good idea to cast one's mind back to the two-and-half day test match these two teams played out the last time they met at Newlands.

One team got bowled out for 96 and looked set to lose the game before responding by bowling the other out for 47 and winning the match. Surely we cannot have one of those again, can we?

In the lead up to this series decider there has been much chat regarding the comments David Warner made about the South African team and ball tampering.

He has since been punished for these thoughts, which he decided to say out loud, but I'm sure he will feel like he has said what he needed to and also got the desired response.

While I, like many, think he is rather misguided and even insulting at times when he speaks about his peers in the media, I cannot help but wonder whether the suggestion by Warner will not open old wounds as it is not too long ago that the zipper scandal in the UAE occurred.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the jibes are meant to rile the South Africans and, up to this point, there has been no retaliation from the Proteas camp. The skipper, Graeme Smith, even said, "it's important to sift through the bull....".

Bull or no bull though, it is time to separate the sides. Amazingly, victory for either side is important for a couple of reasons.

First all it's just to settle the whole "best bowling attack" score and then the slight difference; The Proteas want to establish their dominance by beating a resurgent Aussie side and also achieve a first home victory over the old foes since the 1970 tour or since return from isolation.

The Aussies, meanwhile, need to confirm their rise from the Ashes and announce that they are truly back.

There is just no way that one could say with certainty which way things will go, it is just too close to call.

There are too many match winners in either side and that means a couple of them could have a good few days and win the match for their side. Who will turn up though, that is the question.

The chat has been off the field so far and it has been one side making all the noise.

When this final test match begins, watch and listen for the sledging and slanging matches on the park. I reckon with just the one game to go the two sets of players will have a full go at each other both with their skills and also their tongues.

David Warner does walk out first to lead the Australian charge so expect the tongue lashings straight away. It's on!


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