It was always going to be a close struggle between the number 1 ranked South Africans and the 3rd ranked Australians. It looks like it will be even closer after the Aussies spirited fight back silenced critics of their supposedly creaky middle order and the damning assessment of the Australians pace attack was deemed premature considering the hyped South Africans assault failed to fire on the batting friendly Gabba pitch.

It will be a series won in a session, an innings, or even an over with both teams wary that a perfectly timed momentum shift is all that separates the teams. Physically, it’s even-stevens. It will be a physiological war as teams prepare to their sledge on.

The Art Of Sledging
When it’s the best of the best any little edge or point of dominance can be the difference between a big score and a cheap dismissal. It might sound mean-spirited but getting in the batsman ear and creating some doubt, making them question their ability or entire existence in general is a celebrated weapon in elite test cricket. An area of the game in which the Australians have always excelled, the method also proved popular among the dominant West Indian teams of the 70’s and 80’s while the South Africans have never been afraid of a bit of chat either.

The key to a successful sledge is confidence, or lack there of. As the Proteas wicketkeeper A.B de Viliers pointed out, a well formulated sledge will only be as effective as the under fire batsmen allows it. “There is always a bit of chat around, obviously two very good teams
who want to win and do whatever you can to get a few wickets. It is a
matter of playing the big moments better and, whatever you can do to get
an edge, you will go through with it
.” said de Villiers, recalling sledging did not save Australia from a historic 2-1 loss four years ago.
They thought so in 2008 and it didn’t really happen that way, so hopefully we can prove them wrong again.”

The first session of today’s second test in Adelaide could well be the most decisive session in the series. A traditional batsman paradise, the first few hours on the Adelaide pitch are generally the toughest to bat on before the track flattens out and the runs flow. A bit of batsman directed chat in this nervy time for the the top order is inevitable.

As formerly retired South African keeper Mark Boucher illustrates, good sledging can be monotonously relentless. Here he chips and chips, and chips some more, at this unlucky Zimbabwean batsmen.

Where Boucher was absolutely unforgiving on to the point of just being a prick, a good sledge need not be with out it’s humor. Even the victim can have a good laugh (hours after when they’ve cooled down a little bit). Let’s hope the Aussies have been working on their one-liners. We’ll take all the help we can get.  

Top 10 Cricket Sledges Of All Time

Dennis Lilllee (Australia) sledging the world

Dennis Lillee had a sledge that he employed against many batsmen during his much esteemed cricket career. “I can see why you are batting so badly, you’ve got some shit on the end of your bat”
At this point the batsman would usually flip his bat over and examine the end, to which Lillee would respond “Wrong end mate”

Merv Hughes (Australia) to Javed Miandad (Pakistan)

Javed: “You should be a bus driver, you are to fat to be playing cricket.”
A few overs later Merv dismissed Javed. “Tickets please”, Merv called out as he ran past the departing batsman.

Craig McDermott (Australia) to Phil Tufnell(England)
Tufnell had just bowled out McDermott on a wild wicket. “You’ve got to bat on this in a minute, Tuffers. Hospital food suit you?”

Ian Healy (Australia) to Arjuna Ranatunga (Sri Lanka)

Shane Warne, trying to tempt Arjuna Ranatunga out of his crease mused what it took to get the plump character to get out of his crease and drive.
Wicketkeeper Ian Healy had an idea “Put a Mars Bar on a good length. That should do it.”

Merv Hughes (Australia) to Graham Gooch (England)

England opening batsman and captain Graham Gooch had missed a few deliveries from Australia’s Merv Hughes.
Merv Hughes’ words of encouragement were “I’ll get you a piano instead – see if you can play that.”

Ian Healy (Australia) & Arjuna Ranatunga (Sri Lanka)

Ranatunga called for a runner on a hot night during a one day match in Sydney.
Healy’s reply was “You don’t get a runner for being an overweight, unfit, fat c@#t”

Viv Richards (West Indies) and Merv Hughes (Australia)

Sometimes, verbal sledging is simply not enough.
Viv Richards hit Merv Hughes for four consecutive boundaries in one single over.
Merv’s response was to stop halfway down the pitch, fart loudly, and say to Viv: “Let’s see you hit that to the boundary!”

Rod Marsh (Aus) and Ian Botham(Eng)

One of the most famous sledging incidents is by far one of the best.
Rod Marsh : “So how’s your wife and my kids?”
Ian Botham : “The wife is fine but the kids are retarded”

Merv Hughes (Australia) and Robin Smith (England)

Merv Hughes “You can’t fucking bat”.
Next ball, Merv was hit to the fence, Robin Smith replied: “Hey Merv, we make a fine pair. I can’t fucking bat and you can’t fucking bowl.”

Daryll Cullinan (South Africa) and Shane Warne(Australia)

As Cullinan was heading out to the wicket, Warne told him he had been waiting 2 years for another chance to humiliate him.
Cullinan replied.”Looks like you spent it eating.”

via Cricket Sledges

Picture by Getty Images