Cow Corner

Dude, Where’s Makhaya?

Cow Corner

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Not just an excuse to crowbar a nice pun into a headline but the second day of the second Test in Durban was most notable for the rapid acceleration of the end of Makhaya Ntini's international career.

Give him credit with 101 Tests and 173 one-day internationals under his belt, he has got a few miles on the clock.

But with Friedel de Wet breathing down his neck and Wayne Parnell's time surely not too far away, Kingsmead could be a swansong for the man known as George.

You've got a feeling that when Graeme Smith brought back Ntini for the last over at Centurion after De Wet had ripped the heart out of England with a spell of three for 11 in seven overs, that the South Africa captain was hoping for the fairytale that would not only have had seen his side win the first Test but would have been the perfect send-off for a national icon in his 100th Test.

Ntini, who took two for 119 and was largely unimpressive at Centurion, couldn't produce the miracle and today he was the catalyst for Andrew Strauss' fastest Test 50.

Just three overs for 25 before being asked to take a blow, Ntini who has taken just 13 Test wickets at 50 in the calendar year, is in danger of being carried around South Africa as a mascot in this series.

Steyn's 47 and 75 from Nathan Hauritz in the MCG Test against Pakistan show yet again that there are few bunnies in international cricket.

Ntini is one however and a non-firing seamer who offers little with the bat (but plenty in terms of national identity) is certainly not a luxury Smith can afford.

Especially as the Proteas' fifth bowler - a well-lived in Jacques Kallis is now only rivalling Jonathan Trott in the pace department.

Ntini at least did share his fifth half-Test century partnership albeit mainly as an innocent bystander to some lusty Dale Steyn hitting but with another 12 overs lost to bad light, this match continues to canter towards a draw.

Ntini came to the crease after Morne Morkel failed to realise that Hawkeye does not include the size of your ego in their calculations.

Morkel was palpably lbw but asked for a review - although as the hosts were nine down with only Ntini to come it was probably worth a shout.

On the flip side it was a day when England did have their first review success of the series. Mark Boucher the victim of a plan by the tourists' brains trust to keep Matt Prior out of all discussions when opting whether to call in the TV umpire.

SHOT OF THE DAY: A big six by Steyn off Swann, the tailender got to the pitch and dispatched long, long over long-on.

STAT OF THE DAY: Strauss's half-century came off just 49 balls in 55 minutes.

USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: Bobito: "The Kookaburra ball doesn't last long at the best­ of times. Having been spanked around in the wet, this one should be in a pretty sorry state by now. Well done Straussy".

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