Africa win – but no one cares

At Edgbaston nine days ago the cricketing world hung on a two-run victory. At Centurion Park today, the same outcome was greeted by total indifference.

A crowd barely scraping four figures – a number more synonymous with county cricket than the International game – saw two sides struggling against the South African winter temperature and painted green outfield – only one batsman passed fifty as twenty wickets fell for less than 400.

The African XI, batting first, slumped to 57-5 as Indian outcast Zaheer Khan swung his way to three wickets before Aswell Prince and Mark Boucher led a revival, adding 82 for the sixth wicket – until Muralitharan trapped Boucher in front as the wicketkeeper missed a sweep and collapse set in again. Thomas Odoyo was jettisoned without participaton in favour of super-sub Justin Kemp, who only made four before being sawn off by Billy Doctrove as Africa slid to 198 all out.

Virender Sehwag and Kumar Sangakkara added fifty for the first wicket of Asia’s reply – but three wickets in an over from Shaun Pollock swiftly redressed the balance of power – Asia’s token Bangladeshi, Mohammad Ashraful, falling first ball as he skied a hook to Steve Tikolo. Only a 56-run stand for the seventh wicket between Abdul Razzaq and Anil Kumble kept the visitors in the game.

Kallis pinned Kumble LBW, and Nicky Boje enticed a thin edge from Razzaq to leave Shoaib Akhtar and Zaheer thirty runs to make – with only Ashish Nehra to come. The two seamers added 24 before Shoaib slapped Kemp to Justin Ontong at point, and Nehra couldn’t stay for long enough as Dale Steyn knocked his middle stump out of the ground, before everyone went home.

Africa XI 198
Ashwell Prince 78*, Mark Boucher 42
Zaheer Khan 3-37, Shoaib Akhtar 2-40

Asia XI 196
Abdul Razzaq 38, Kumar Sangakkara 35
Shaun Pollock 3-32, Jacques Kallis 3-42

Africa XI won by two runs

CricketWeb Player of the Match
Ashwell Prince (Africa XI) – 78* (113b, 5×4)

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