Six of the top ten men’s international teams have been in action over the past week, with India and Australia struggling through a soggy mid-section of their marathon ODI series; South Africa winning, albeit not without some controversy, against Pakistan in Dubai; and Bangladesh and New Zealand playing out another draw.
All of which means that there are plenty of contenders for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award. However, it is hard to look past the run machine that is Graeme Smith. The South African captain hit 234 off 388 balls to help set up South Africa’s series-levelling win in the second Test in the UAE. The innings was all the more remarkable given that he has only just regained fitness following a long lay-off owing to an ankle injury.
"It was a lot of hard work to get to this point, a lot of emotions came out of me. It was a grind," Smith told SuperSport. "The outfield was not quick and I seemed to get my runs to the long boundaries, which meant I had to keep running threes. After five months off, I had one and a half innings before the start of this Test series and to stand here having scored a double-hundred against a quality attack is a good feeling."
There were several other notable contributions from South Africans during the match, most obviously from AB de Villiers, who hit 164 and added 338 with Smith for the fourth-wicket. Imran Tahir led the bowling attack with aplomb, making up for being left out of the first Test to take five for 32 to help skittle Pakistan for only 99 in their first innings. Pakistan’s best performers were Saeed Ajmal (6-151) and Asad Shafiq (130).
In Dhaka, Mominul Haque made it two hundreds in as many matches to help Bangladesh earn a series draw against New Zealand. There were also knocks of 95 and 70 from Tamim Iqbal. For the Black Caps, Corey Anderson hit his maiden Test ton, while Neil Wagner was the pick of the bowlers, returning match figures of seven for 116 on a flat pitch.
In India, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell fell narrowly short of three figures in the abandoned fourth ODI in Ranchi.
Four teams were in action in women’s cricket. South Africa cruised to a series win over Sri Lanka thanks, in part, to Marizanne Kapp. She was named as player of the series for her innings off 44 not out and 72, plus useful contributions with the ball.
West Indies, meanwhile, won the tri-series against England and New Zealand by beating the former in the final. Deandra Dottin was at her belligerent best throughout and hit 46 off just 35 balls to hurry her side to victory in the final. Stafanie Taylor hit 51 not out off 47 balls. England’s Natalie Sciver took a hat-trick against the White Ferns at the beginning of the week.
© Cricket World 2013