Roebuck v Swanton

The SMH’s two best cricket columnists go head to head today with accounts from the first test in South Africa. I’ve always been a fan of Roebuck – but I think Swanton is gaining the ascendancy as the Herald’s best cricket scribe. 

Sportswriting remains the one place in the English language where a penchant for wordplay, particularly for cliche, simile, metaphor and analogy delivered without apology – is not a curse but a blessing. 

Here are some examples from today:
Swanton:

“The overnight total was sneakily strong on a ground where you could bowl an apple and get swing and seam.”

“Michael Clarke came in, full of pep. Then again, Clarke could be stabbed in a dark Johannesburg alley and remain full of pep.”

Roebuck

“Despite encountering the daunting combination of Dale Steyn in full flight, a shaky score on the board and the sort of light featured in the more disreputable discos, North looked confident as he took guard. “

“From the outset the new man’s work on the leg-side was efficient. Anything heading towards his pads was neatly tucked with a bat as straight as a Roman road.”

“Given the chance to drive through the covers, he does so with an unexpected flash. Bending, he pushes his hands at the ball and dispatches with a bat as loose as a drunkard’s tie. It’s the only shot he does not control and the ball hurries away, sometimes off the meat, sometimes off the grizzle.”

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