Thursday, 14 January 2010

Onions out, Sidebottom in... and my journey to Soccer City

WAITING for the big start at the Wanderers, just thought I'd show you a picture taken yesterday, yes that's me at Soccer City, where the World Cup will kick off on June 11 with South Africa playing Mexico.
It's also the 94,600 venue for the final on July 11, where England will play Spain. But those teams have yet to be confirmed!
Hell of a place, Soccer City. Shaped like a kalabash, an African cauldron, it's a unique, African design and the inside is coming on apace.
We sneaked in using our cricket accreditation yesterday afternoon and walked about to our heart's content. I even found the highest seat in the house, row BB, seat 1, right up behind the goal.
Outside the news is not so good. A small shanty town has appeared to service the workers, the Stadium Road sign is hanging off, bulldozers abound. The great walkway up to the stadium appears to have fallen into disrepair.
But there's little doubt it will all be ready for next year. It's not easy to find, but presumably there will be better sign-posting by the time the tournament starts - or was it my father's poor navigation?!
Anyway, back to the cricket. Graham Onions, a legend with the bat (the South Africans can't get him out, he's been the last man standing twice in this series) and not a bad bowler, appears to be languishing on the edge of the warm-ups, suggesting Ryan Sidebottom may get his first Test of the tour.
South Africa have called up McLaren for spinner Harris, reinforcing the idea that this is going to be a swinger's paradise at the Wanderers, where the crowd is conspicuously sparse for the biggest Test of the winter.
McLaren makes his debut, as does Wayne Parnell, in for the injured Friedel De Wet.
And here comes the toss... Andrew Strauss wins yet again, he'll bat. And confirms Onions has been dropped for Sidebottom. Shocker. Onions is our legend with the bat, twice standing firm at No11 for the draw. |But he hasn't had a lot of luck with the ball.
Strauss says: "Graham has done well for us but Ryan will ask a few questions of the batsmen here."

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