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Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs South Africa v Pakistan, Cape Town, January 2003 One of the great things about Test cricket is that it is often difficult to tell which side is winning. You cant tell what sort of pitch this is, goes the maxim, until youve seen both sides have a bat on it. There is a valid argument here, and sometimes a first innings does little more than frame the contest. But other elements of the game besides the score - the intangibles such as momentum, confidence, aggression and injustice - are all determined from the first ball of the match.This is to say that opening partnerships are vital. They set the tone. No wicket is more important than the first one, no score more ominous than 100 for 0. When it comes to really big stands, one name reoccurs: Graeme Smith. There have been 13 opening stands of 300 or more, and Smith appears in four. He has a share of the biggest (415 with Neil McKenzie) and has three triple-century partnerships with the unpredictable live wire Gibbs (no other pair has more than one). Of the three, the 368 against Pakistan was comfortably the most entertaining.Pakistan were, admittedly, a shower. They lost the first Test by ten wickets and this by an innings. They lost their entire match fee for bowling so slowly. But how else could they contend with Gibbs when his famously fast hands and scattered brain clicked in sync? He bullied Waqar Younis and Saqlain Mushtaq with a range of shots that caused grown men in the stands to miss their mouths with their sandwiches, according to Wisden. Smiths 151 was more restrained but no less lordly. History records him as an ugly player. But he was also an unyielding one.Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss England v Australia, Edgbaston, August 2005 The Test with the most famous ending of all also had a beginning to remember. Those of a curmudgeonly bent might say that the most important moment came before a ball had been bowled, when Glenn McGrath rolled his right ankle in the warm-up. In a weird attempted double bluff, Ricky Ponting stuck England in, as if to demonstrate that his side could duff them up under any circumstances. He was wrong. Strauss and Trescothick took advantage of some non-McGrathian lines from Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie and launched one of crickets most famous attacks. Shane Warne was brought in after only 13 overs; Trescothick hit him back over his head for six. Warne then got Strauss on the brink of lunch with a big legbreak, but by that point England had made 111in 25 overs and were ahead of the game, and back in the series.Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes England v Bangladesh, Lords, May 2010 Imagine playing in a team that has lost 57 out of its 66 matches. Imagine returning to a ground where, on the only previous occasion you had played, you lost in less than three days, by an innings and 260 runs. Keeping morale up, giving your all - the bare minimum we expect of professional sportsmen - is more difficult than it should be.In this match, Bangladeshs openers had the incentive of playing at the home of cricket, but the signs were ominous after Jonathan Trott took England to a first-innings 505, dashed off at more than four an over. Geoffrey Boycott, watching, said Bangladesh didnt belong in Test cricket. Tamim and Kayes, 21 and 23 respectively, had to fashion a response.Judging by their initially leaden footwork and wild heaves, they were so nervous it was a wonder the rest of Lords couldnt hear their hearts thumping. But after eight overs of very skittish cricket, Tamim settled and crashed Tim Bresnan for three boundaries in six balls. Three overs later, Kayes got stuck into a rusty James Anderson. Tamim reached a quick 50 in the 22nd over before he was run out by a direct hit from Kevin Pietersen. Regardless, the 88-run stand settled the nerves. As if to demonstrate that fact, the pair put on 185 in the second innings, with Tamim making an outrageous, flamboyant century from 94 balls. Bangladesh still succumbed to loss number 58, but they had proved a point.Michael Atherton and Marcus Trescothick Sri Lanka v England, Galle, February 2001 While on the subject of failure, an 83-run opening stand in an innings defeat doesnt seem especially worthy of praise. But Atherton and Trescothicks mini-masterpiece in Galle set the tone for one of Englands finest series wins. Everything was against the tourists: suffocating humidity, a boisterous opposition, and a slump to ninth in the world rankings. By the end, England were convinced the umpires had it in it for them too. It was open conflict disguised as cricket.Marvan Atapattus unbeaten double-hundred meant Sri Lanka kept England in the field for 170 overs - hardly the ideal start to a Test series. England, with the added pressure of a long tail, needed the top order to hang around. On his previous overseas tour, to Pakistan, Atherton had done just that as leading run scorer, with a strike rate of less than 35. Here he showed his junior partner, a green Trescothick, how to negotiate Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Dharmasena and the rest. Trescothick went on to make his first ton, and though he shared another painstaking partnership with Atherton in the second innings, there was little resistance beneath them, and England lost by an innings and 28.The tour was far from over. Lionhearted bowling from Darren Gough and some middle-order accumulation got England a win in Kandy, and then two not-outs from Graham Thorpe sealed the series in Colombo. But England would never have found the necessary application and grit had Cockroach and Banger not shown the way in Galle. Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes West Indies v England, Antigua, April 1990 A fine example of cricket as a game that punches you in the face, and then, for good measure, kicks you in the nuts. For 20 years, touring the Caribbean was like playing football at Old Trafford. Teams arrived already beaten. Graham Goochs England had more reason than most to be cowed. They were on a mind-boggling run of one win in 25 Tests, while their opponents hadnt lost a series in a decade. Yet an attack of Devon Malcolm, Gladstone Small, Angus Fraser and David Capel somehow outbowled Ian Bishop, Courtney Walsh, Malcolm Marshall and Patrick Patterson, for a nine-wicket win in the first Test. An abandoned game, a draw and a loss left the series all square with one to play.Part of Englands success had been subduing West Indies GOAT opening pair of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes. In the first four Tests, they managed only a single substantial score between them: Haynes 109 in the fourth. Yet when England were still hopeful of a truly remarkable series win, the pair pulled out a partnership for the ages. Nearly 300 runs were plundered as England finally succumbed to the psychological torture of playing cricket in the Caribbean: the heat, the cacophony from the stands, the imminent threat to life of facing Marshall and pals, the tired muscles, the aching brains. The bowlers sprayed the ball around and were duly punished. England ended the tour with an innings defeat, and just a modicum of pride. Cheap Athletics Jerseys China .Y. -- Sabres defenceman Tyler Myers had no intention of changing his hard-hitting style before taking part in a disciplinary hearing for his illegal check to New Jersey forward Dainius Zubrus head. Wholesale Athletics Jerseys . The Clippers were angry about blowing a big lead; the Kings didnt like being in that kind of hole and nearly digging themselves out only to lose. http://www.cheapathleticsjerseys.com/ . LOUIS -- Heading into the final stretch of the season, the issues for the Chicago Bears banged-up defence only seem to be getting worse. Marcus Semien Jersey . The winner Saturday will remain in the elite 10-team field next year. "We talked about wanting to be disciplined and stick with our game plan and good things will come," Draisaitl said, who had two goals for the victors. Khris Davis Jersey . The FA rejected Wilsheres appeal that the length of his punishment was "clearly excessive" and said Thursday his suspension begins with immediate effect. He will miss league matches against Chelsea on Monday and West Ham on Dec. Texas needed extra innings to stave off its first three-game skid since late May on Friday night, but it got the job done.The American League-leading Rangers (52-29) look to start a new winning streak as they face the Twins in the second contest of a three-game set Saturday afternoon in Minnesota.Meanwhile, the Twins (25-54) are no strangers to losing streaks. They have strung together skids of three or more games 12 times this season, and earned another after Fridays 3-2 loss in the series opener.Ian Desmond led off the 10th inning with a 418-foot homer, giving the Rangers a win in extras after Texas Martin Perez and Minnesotas Ervin Santana each turned in stellar starts before giving up two runs apiece in the seventh.Jurickson Profars two-run single broke the scoreless tie in the Twins seventh, but Trevor Plouffe socked a two-run blast in the bottom of the frame to pull even again.Brian Dozier singled to set the table for Plouffe, extending his career-best hitting streak to 13 games.Theres nothing wrong with a little adversity, especially at this point in the season, said Desmond, who has 15 homers this season and finished a triple shy of the cycle. We see what were made of. We had some good bounce-back performances today.After a classic pitchers duel in the opener, both teams turn to a pair of youngsters Saturday as Rangers right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (0-0, 9.00 ERA) opposes Twins righty Tyler Duffey (3-6, 5.59 ERA).Duffey carries momentum into his first career start against the Rangers.The 25-year-old enjoyed one of his best outinngs Sunday against the New York Yankees, giving up a solo homer and two hits but nothing more while striking out eight in an eight-inning victory.ddddddddddddThrowing the ball over the plate does wonders, Duffey said after pitching 5 2/3 perfect innings and carrying a shutout into the eighth. I was able to spot my fastball well and everything worked off of that.It was his first win in six starts, snapping a three-decision losing streak, and marked the first time in eight starts since May 15 that Duffey allowed fewer than four runs.Duffey had been touched for six runs in each of his past three starts, going 0-2 while pitching to a 11.37 ERA.Gonzalez makes his second big league start of the year after being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on Monday to face the Yankees. He allowed five runs on 10 hits and two walks in a five-inning no-decision.The 24-year-old was 3-6 with a 5.04 ERA in 14 starts with Round Rock before assuming Colby Lewis spot in the starting rotation.Plouffe took Gonzalez deep for a solo homer in Texas 6-5 win over Minnesota last August 13. Gonzalez lasted 5 2/3 innings, surrendering five runs on five hits and a career-high-tying five walks with four strikeouts.Eduardo Escobar (1-for-2) also recorded a hit against Gonzalez.The Rangers and Twins meet five more times this season after Saturdays showdown, with a July 7-10 four-game series in Arlington taking both teams into the All-Star break. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '