Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth

Australia ahead after bowlers' day

Daniel Brettig

November 30, 2012

Comments: 127 | Text size: A | A

Australia 2 for 33 trail South Africa 225 (Du Plessis 78*, Lyon 3-41) by 192 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mitchell Starc struck twice just prior to lunch, Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day, November 30, 2012
Mitchell Starc improved greatly in his second spell, finding the perfect length and just enough swing a few minutes before lunch © Getty Images

Though Perth is three hours behind the rest of Australia, the nature of the WACA ground pitch is to encourage a match in fast forward, and so it was again. A dramatically recast Australian team rued Faf du Plessis' composure for the second time in the space of four days as South Africa scrambled to 225 then snipped the top off Australia's batting order on day one of the third Test.

Twelve wickets fell for 257 runs, but with enough evidence between several rushes of wickets to suggest that batsmen will prosper at some point during the match. Du Plessis' exemplary, unbeaten 78 was compiled after he came to the wicket amidst the fall of 5 for 14 either side of lunch. It granted South Africa some sort of total to bowl at, enough for Dale Steyn and the fit-again Vernon Philander to nip out Ed Cowan and Shane Watson before the ball had lost its shine.

The WACA ground rose mistakenly to laud Ricky Ponting at the fall of Watson's wicket, but it was the nightwatchman Nathan Lyon who walked out instead. He did Ponting a major good turn in the 37-year-old's final Test by accompanying a somewhat jumpy David Warner to the close at 2 for 33.

Aside from the aforementioned period of frenzy, Australia found breakthroughs difficult to extract on a bouncy but true surface. The Australia bowlers shared the spoils, Mitchell Starc perhaps the pick with a pair of late inswingers to bowl Alviro Petersen and Jacques Kallis in the closing minutes of the morning session. Lyon vindicated his inclusion with 3 for 41, the debutant John Hastings and vice-captain Shane Watson contributed important wickets, while Mitchell Johnson claimed two of his own and intimidated at times with well-directed short balls.

Lacking James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus due to their Adelaide exertions, Starc and Johnson were recalled while Hastings made his debut as the into-the-wind trundler so often favoured at the WACA ground.

Having been 12th man in Brisbane and Adelaide, Starc found himself taking the new ball at the start of the Test. There was some early swing for him and Petersen was given out lbw by the umpire Richard Kettleborough when one delivery curled back into the opener's pads, but a review had the ball passing high and wide of the stumps.

That ball was not representative of the opening spells for either Starc nor Hastings, who both erred on the short side to give plenty of sighters to Petersen and Smith. Clarke called on Watson at first change and followed up with Johnson at the other end, and their spells signalled a change in the morning. Watson found a little movement either way and bowled a far better length, rewarded when Smith pushed out at ball going across him and edged to Clarke at slip.

Smart stats

  • Faf du Plessis has become the first batsman to score more than 70 in each of his first three Test innings. The batsman who got nearest to achieving it was Australia's Herbie Collins, who scored 70, 104 and 64 in his first three. Andrew Strauss was close too, with scores of 112, 83 and 62.
  • This is the third successive instance of the team batting first scoring less than 300 in a Perth Test, following India's 161 earlier this year and Australia's 268 in the 2010 Ashes.
  • Dean Elgar has become the first South Africa top-order batsman (batting in the top 7) to score a duck on Test debut since Gerhardus Liebenberg in 1998.
  • In nine Tests when AB de Villiers has played as wicketkeeper, he has an average of 29.23 with a strike rate of 39.62 and one half-century in 15 innings. When he doesn't keep wicket, he averages 50.42 at a strike rate of 55.01.
  • Nathan Lyon's 3 for 41 are the third-best figures by an Australia spinner in the first innings of a Perth Test, after Bruce Yardley's 5 for 107 in 1982 and Shane Warne's 4 for 83 in 1997.

Johnson produced some nasty deliveries to Smith and some compelling ones to Amla, beating the No. 3 for pace and length on more than one occasion. Having been given a firm idea of how to bowl by two more experienced WACA ground exponents, Starc improved greatly in his second spell. A few minutes before lunch he found the perfect length and just enough swing to burst through Petersen's drive, and in the next over produced a near identical delivery to do the same to Kallis.

South Africa thus ended the session in far worse shape than they had seemed likely to for most of its duration. Starc had learned quickly, helped by the examples of Watson and Johnson. On resumption Hastings commenced an excellent spell up-wind, finding useful outswing in addition to sharp bounce.

Amla was fortunate when he flicked Hastings straight to midwicket in the first over, Ed Cowan dropping a simple chance, but in the next he was caught somewhat short of the appropriate gear when de Villiers called a quick single - David Warner's direct hit found Amla short and saved Cowan the blushes. Unnerved by the run-out, de Villiers walked into a delectable, swerving ball from Hastings in the next over and edged to Clarke at slip.

Elgar's first appearance at a Test batting crease was not pretty - Johnson worked him around the crease with a hostile spell - and he completed a 12-ball duck by gloving a short ball tamely to Wade when trying to hook. The first ball Peterson faced was full, fast and far too quick for him, but it narrowly missed off stump.

Slowly du Plessis and Peterson regathered somewhat less shaky ground, punching the ball through the field and taking advantage of Perth's typically quick outfield. De Plessis eluded a concerted lbw appeal and referral by Watson when ball-tracking had the ball missing leg stump, and the pair had caught a glimpse of tea when Lyon was introduced.

There was evidence of loop, bounce and turn in Lyon's first over, and in his third a shortish ball bounced enough to draw a fatal error from Peterson. Philander contributed another nuisance lower-order innings to follow up, however, advancing to loft Lyon into the crowd at wide long on before he skied to Michael Hussey when attempting a repeat. Lyon had moved around the wicket, and was rewarded further when he claimed the last man Morne Morkel, who had clumped a trio of boundaries from the bowling of Johnson after Steyn played on.

Left with a little under an hour to bat, Warner flashed absentmindedly at Steyn's first delivery. His third angled teasingly across Cowan, who pushed at the line in expectation of some swing, but finding none succeeded only in edging to Kallis at slip for a golden duck. Watson late cut his first ball to the fence, but his tendency to plonk the front pad down the pitch was exploited by Philander, who had the plumbest of lbw decisions bizarrely refused by Asad Rauf. The inevitable review set that call right, and left Lyon to bravely protect Ponting until stumps.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

Whats happened to all the posts? Or have our friends in Australia just gone quiet?

Posted by JG2704 on (December 1, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

@Fikile Keynes Themba Jonas on (November 30 2012, 11:00 AM GMT) Obviously with a bowling attack of SA's calibre anything could happen but so far Australia have mercilessly pummelled the SA attack in 2 of 3 inns and in the other inns they were more going for quick runs. They are 2 wickets down but their 2 key players come in at 5 and 6 so I'd say Aus were still on top

Posted by Meety on (December 1, 2012, 5:12 GMT)

Not sure if my post got thru - but I think I mentioned the Saffas needed to bowl insanely well in the first hour - umm they did! - Doh!

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 1, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

@dogcatcher... Switch on the ABC radio (no breaks), you get great commentary from the likes of Barry Richards & other Saffa's along with our Oz commentators - always a balanced view from both side... Harsha Bhogle is a regular (20 years) for India series & imho is one of the best speakers across all media formats... & if you've got a sense of humor, Skull (Kerry O'Keefe) adds some hilarous moments at times...

Posted by phermon on (December 1, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

This is one cricket is such a funny game and commentators are the most specious of species. Hilarious at 3.00pm EST to read the comments, and could be even funnier later if Wade keeps going.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 2:45 GMT)

Though I'm a hard core Aussie supporter....we've got into the mentality of playing like losers.....losers, can't believe the pathetic standard of cricket

Posted by disco_bob on (December 1, 2012, 1:55 GMT)

@Marcio, no one is bashing the SA's because their supporters certainly aren't and the England supporters want them to win, and the Australians have more class than that.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 1, 2012, 1:18 GMT)

South Africa probably should have declared at 200

Posted by Meety on (December 1, 2012, 1:12 GMT)

@Unomaas on (November 30 2012, 10:33 AM GMT) - typically good natured comment from you, keep it up. IMO - Oz are ahead, but strangely Steyn & co were more consistantly dangerous. Some of that may of had to do with the 20 odd balls Lyon faced? I think the first hour on Day 2 will ALMOST certainly decide the Test match (setting myself up for an epic fail- LOL!). IF Sth Africa take wickets, I would neaarly back them to go on & win - IF Oz get runs & only lose Lyon, we can get a valuable lead by Tea (or parity), & it would be up to Sth Africa's 2nd new ball to turn things around. A lot will depend on whether Petersen can be as EFFECTIVE as Lyon I think! @whofriggincares on (November 30 2012, 10:56 AM GMT) - champagne!

Posted by Rabbito on (December 1, 2012, 0:48 GMT)

ummmmm...@ontheboundary....a team batting first winning by 4 wickets when the follow on target is already avoided???....expain??? know something i don't?? anyway...carn the aussies!! good were those 2 balls by starc??.....stuff hes going to be a good bowler....another 500 of those in your career thanks mitch!!!...

Posted by markatnotts on (December 1, 2012, 0:16 GMT)

Good to see a Test match being played on a relatively fast pitch by current standards. More cricket should be played at Test level on these kind of surfaces. As an Englishman, I remember us losing at Joburg in early 2010 on a quickish pitch, likewise Perth later that year even though we ended up bossing the series. I long for the day the Oval reverts to its 1990's pace and bounce. It would help our game and provide better entertainment. Anyway, looking forward to watching the last session when I wake up later.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 30, 2012, 23:45 GMT)

33 divided by 2 is 16.5 while 225 divided by 10 is 22.5, which means that 2/33 is worse than 225 all out - so how are Australia ahead? South Africa's score seems low but if Australia keep losing wickets like they did at the top - both wickets were top order batsmen - Cowan and Watson - then South Africa will have a first innings lead. For me, Australia should be aiming to only bat once, and score something around 500 or more. South Africa will surely bat Faf a bit higher than 7 for the 2nd innings and will surely improve on that score.

Posted by SCC08 on (November 30, 2012, 23:28 GMT)

@Ozzy505- equally. Either Steyn or Morkel can get Lyons or Warner out cheap as the wicket is seaming nicely. Ricky will chop on early and Ausi can be bowled out for less than 200.. SA post 350 and bowl Aus out to win the series. Steyn is yet to fire.. Be afraid of the Vern to on this wicket.

Posted by Marcio on (November 30, 2012, 23:15 GMT)

Th truth is this game could go either way. Whomever is batting af the tea break will probably win the game. After the first session today, this will be a good batting wicket. If SA get 3+ wickets in the morning session, they can take a sizable lead and bat on the surface at its best. If they only get, say, one wicket, AUS will be in the box seat. It pays to note that AUS have a long tail for this game. Everyone can bat, except for Lyon. But he can defend OK ;-) Also does a great impersonation of Ponting. I enjoyed watching Lyon bat while Steyn and co ripped into him. SA bowled really well, and could easily have picked up two more wickets. Personally, I hope Lyon didn't lie awake last night thinking of playing glorious cover drives and front foot pull shots through mid wicket! He'll last 3 balls if he tries that!

Posted by disco_bob on (November 30, 2012, 23:04 GMT)

It was the Aussie bowlers, bowling as a single unit with everyone keeping the pressure on, that was most impressive. Starc's two swinging balls through the gate to shiver the timbers of Kallis and Petersen were special.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 22:57 GMT)

Ricky pointing would be missed; he is such a great player. I am sadden that he announced that this is his final test. I will always miss that contest between Pointing and Kemar Roach when ever they meet in a Test. But knowing the irrepressible Pointing, I wouldn't be surprised if he bow out with a hundred.That's the calibre of the man. Welldone! Ricky Pointing

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 22:50 GMT)

@jb633 - personally i detest most of the banter that occurs between Aust/ Eng supporters as they sound like a bunch of catty 12 year old school boys who know nothing about cricket. As far as Indians are concerned i went to India several years ago believing, as i had read in Cricinfo, that they were going to beat me over the head for being an Australian etc.. What i discovered was that while Indians are very opinionated about cricket, no two Indians shared the same opinion. I met some Indians who adored Ponting more then some of their own players. What i am saying is that many of the Indians who talk on this website do not represent the opinion of every Indian - in fact that is impossible!

Posted by hhillbumper on (November 30, 2012, 22:30 GMT)

If they get Clarke early then this could be interesting. You have to wonder at the seeming lack of depth of the Aus batting and it must be somewhat of a concern as to what happens when Clarke fails? It could be a pivotal day 2 and if the Saffers are world class then now is the time to show it

Posted by bonobo on (November 30, 2012, 22:16 GMT)

fast wicket or not, Australia have bowled out the No1 team in the world in less than a day with their 6,7,8th choice pace bowlers...thats something to be considered

Posted by fennocious on (November 30, 2012, 22:05 GMT)

i am australian but i have to say i am highly impressed with faf du plessis. i have watched faf in t20 cricket before and thought he had no chance surviving but he has proven me wrong and gob smacked quite a number of cricket fans.with that said i think south africa have been poor this series - every match they look like they are trying for the draw and faf is the only one pulling through for them. if south africa wish to be number 1 in the world they are going to have to change their mentality.

Posted by pat_one_back on (November 30, 2012, 21:43 GMT)

Aussies have been 3 down cheaply in their past 2 dominant tests, anything can happen from here but after watching Faf, Flanders and even Lyon you'd have to think the Aussie middle order will ensure 225 keeps looking ordinary. The substitute quicks are also a lot handier with the bat this test, MJ with a century in SA @10!!! Aussies will play their shots as they have ALL summer and this will prove the difference, cricket eventually rewards the team that takes the most initiative.

Agree with your observation @Mario but it applies to Eng articles too, harder to stir the Indians as their prolific posting washes out the niggle posts.

Posted by creekeetman on (November 30, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

nothing beats a test match contested by two world class teams.

Posted by Klusener on (November 30, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

To the Author! Australia ahead after bowlers' day?? Yeah, it was bowlers dayz alryt. but does that mean Australia are ahead? as things stand, Australia are 33 for 2 at 11 overs, whereas south africa at that stage were at the loss of only 1 wicket. How does the author make such a claim? In God we trust, The rest? We need data!

Posted by disco_bob on (November 30, 2012, 20:54 GMT)

The position on day to looks made to order for a big Ponting ton.

Posted by dalboy12 on (November 30, 2012, 20:40 GMT)

@Marcion face it mate - the Aussie cricket team is still hated by many due to the Waugh, McGrath and Warne era where not only did they beat everyone but they did so in an arrogant way. McGrath with his "we will win 5-0 pre-series comments" and if they did his "normal way of things restored" comments. It will take a while for people to come around - till then Aussie (and largely due to their success) are the team everyone loves to hate (as a Kiwi and an All Blacks Fan - we suffer the same thing with the All Blacks). But in this test I agree Aussie is still well on top - SA are not in this game until they have Clark, Hussey, Warner and Ponting out. Cowan and Watson were the two must likely batsman to fail for Aussie anyway - SA need to get the four above out cheaply to stay in the game - if any of them gets a hundred then it could all over rover ----- and unfortunately for us Aussie haters, another test and series win for them and back to the top of the table in the rankings --- Owell.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

@ dogcatcher

The only thing I detest about the cricket summer is listening to channel 9 commentary team..It is so hopeless and boring

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 19:51 GMT)

It's all up to the South African bowlers now. If they can get the Australians out cheaply and prevent them from getting a big lead, then the match could go either way. It should be an exciting test match. Good luck to both teams.

Test Cricket is the best.

Posted by Proteatensious on (November 30, 2012, 19:47 GMT)

There should be a new statistic for bowlers , showing how many times they beat the edge and call the ''philander rate"

Posted by JG2704 on (November 30, 2012, 18:49 GMT)

Good day's cricket. Have to say I had Faf down as a shorter format specialist and an overrated one at that but he is certainly showing a fine aptitude for the test format. Australia will be happy that all their bowlers contributed and is this not a whole different pace side of the attack. obviously Pattinson got injured and i'm guessing Siddle's not in the best of shape but is Hilf also injured? Anyway good day's play

Posted by h1789 on (November 30, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

what a day of test cricket, brilliant bowling by Australia. Always a treat watching a Test match at WACA, all around the world we see batsmen scoring 50's and 100's but here its a bowlers paradise. A true test of the batsmen skills are gonna be tested, good bowling by Steyn and Morkel its gonna be a challenging day for Australia tomorrow as both of them will try to give their best.

Posted by Ricciardo2014 on (November 30, 2012, 18:38 GMT)

How about the uncanny similarity of dismissal between the debutant today (Elgar) and in 2008/2009 series (Duminy). In Perth, Johnson bowls a short one, batsman gloves it, goes behind but high in the air, keeper takes it.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 30, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 30 2012, 09:17 AM GMT) Could just be coincidence re AB's poor batting form coming at the same time as he becomes WK. The reason I say that is that the WK duties didn't affect his batting adversely in the shorter formats - before taking the gloves in the tests. I know it's a different format but it could just be he's going through a bad run at the moment

Posted by applethief on (November 30, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

Why are Australia forever wringing their hands, trying to get Pattison and Cummins off the physio's table? Starc is the real deal, and deserves to get selected more consistently than either of the other two.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 17:23 GMT)

Surprised to see Elgar in ahead of Rudolph for such a crunch game - is he injured? No explanation in this report? But even if SA felt that was the best selection, why oh why is Faf batting at 7?! He was by their best bat in the last game, AB is out of form and Elgar on debut, but both bat above du Plessis??!! He effectively batted 6 in Adelaide after Kallis's injury, but apparently scoring all those match-saving runs deserves a demotion?! Still looks set up to be a great Test. As a neutral I hope the Aussies are bowled out for a similar score, but I really hope that Ponting gets runs. Would be great to see the crowd responding to one last great innings by him...

Posted by India_boy on (November 30, 2012, 16:41 GMT)

@Collisking....turning pitches separate brains from brutes, every pitch is a challenge in itself, grow up awesome match, will b getting up at 6 am in the morning in Delhi winters to watch my favourite Ricky to take guard for last time (or penultimate), hope he gets going tomorrow, maybe if im privileged enough, see his trademark swivel pull or front foot drive through midwicket one last time!

Posted by kitten on (November 30, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

As a neutral, I am thoroughly enjoying this series, as opposed to all the other series taking place at the moment. Australia have performed superbly in the tests so far, and considering their top bowlers who nearly won them the second test were missing, the back-up were brilliant. But having said that, SA, have repelled all that the Aussies have thrown at them during this series, and 225 is not such a bad score on that wicket. Furthermore, Australia have lost Watson, one of their best batsmen, and should Australia manage to get Clarke cheaply, who knows what may happen. Having always been a fan of Ricky, I would love to see him perform for the last time, and leave a lasting memory for all his millions of fans around the world (in Toronto as well, where I am). This test looks destined for a terrific finish, and even though it feels like Australia has got a slight upper hand, and look like coming up trumps, I wouldn't be surprised if SA sneak in and pull it off.

Posted by dogcatcher on (November 30, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

@ Marcio - Firstly talking about perspective the chnl 9 com. has to be the worst currently in the world. Mr Nicholas being the only non Austrlian but clearly he knows who pays his salary! I have the telly on mute.WRT the game and bowling there was some absolute superb bowling by both sides. Starc bowled 2 great deliveries firstly tempting Petersen in & secondly accounting for Kallis. De Villiers is out of sort but received a decent ball. The rest of the batsmen are part timers but credit to Lyons as he seems a very underated bowler. That said the ball did seem to beat the Australian bat more in the short period SA bowled. Please remember that SA are without their best attack and IMO have not fired. Kallis is a key part of the attack & gives SA balance just like Watson does, refer to last test for doubts. South African batting has not been up to standard & nor has Australian. Warner for me rides his luck, Ricky has been unlucky with Clarke & Hussey most probably being the edge.Game on.

Posted by tests_the_best on (November 30, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

Very interesting times for test cricket with home sides struggling all over to dominate the opposition. All test-playing nations playing right now except pak and aside from bang losing to wi which was expected, ind dropped one against eng, sl dropped one against nz, oz gonna drop against sa too? in either case, expect a 4-day finish.

Posted by swat1999 on (November 30, 2012, 15:56 GMT)

Faf Du Plessis is the best of the bests. This match will be interesting finish. I love the excitement of test cricket

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 30, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

@RandyOZ, welcome back mate, we missed you for the last few weeks and the last thousand Ashes.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (November 30, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

South Africa probably should have declared when they got to 200

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 15:10 GMT)

So much talk of a hard wicket, a bowler's pitch; and how to bat by leaving a lot except when using a straight bat puch or a full horizontal bat ...

Why then is there no third man? At the WACA the third man can save so many runs; take out cover and put him at third man; save the runs but also tempt the drive and get the edges ...

Posted by Paul-in-Finland on (November 30, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

@RandOz .... yeah drop him : replace him with Hughes ...not 100% convinced : maybe // @ Meety good call.

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 30, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

Looks like a really decent pitch here, hopefully a result, a drawn series would be a real shame after the sides have managed to produce some decent cricket despite a couple of flatties. Looks like seam and spin will come into play here.

@Marcio on (November 30 2012, 13:27 PM GMT) of course the Aussies would never turn up on another teams pages to give some banter. They say winging pommies but quite the opposite is true. When you've had the best team in world cricket for 20 years and most fans have been arrogant about it, you have to expect something back when you're not quite so good from the rest of the world or is it a case of give but can't take?

Posted by Ozzy505 on (November 30, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

If the Aussie can bat out the day tomorrow at a healthy rate, which is highly likely with the calibre of batsmen they have (Warner, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Wade & Mitch) they could be 150 ahead by close of play. That would put them within touching distance of the victory that has so far eluded them in this series. But given that there's still some life in this wicket & the fact that the SA bowling attack is a quality 1 despite their lacklustre efforts so far in this series, anything can still happen tomorrow. I think tomorrow we'll see how good this bowling attack really is & whether Clarkey & co. were lucky in the 1st 2 tests. GO AUSSIES!!!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 30, 2012, 14:52 GMT)

This is a series which should have 4 matches for obvious reasons. De Villiers needs to give up the gloves. SA are feeling the heat as no.1 and probably this reign will last as long as the last one-4 months. Uneasy is the head which wears the crown. They are not the team which toured the UK but again we were right off the money. The Australian side I find hard to think as the best in the world. Two fallible seam attacks , and a lineup which has a few stars, but one is playing his last match and really who is the replacement? Quiney again? Kuwhaja?Hardly good enough for Derby. They may win matches but hardly enough to be superdominant. The present game could go anywhere fast dependant on Steyn and co. though maybe one should say Morkel and co. as this seems to be the undercurrent of change in process.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

A great day so far, but Punter surprised me yesterday as I have followed him from u/14 in Tassie and have paid for my ticket in Bellerive against the Sri Lankans and more importantly against the Poms in Durham August next year. After that he could have retired with the Ashes back where they belong! Having said that I'm 60 and he's the best I've seen .

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 30, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

What disappointing batting from SA, kept losing wickets at crucial times and another run out - unreal. I thought they could've done much better against this substitute bowling attack. The wicket is flattening out nicely and post new ball it will easy to bat. Once again poor play from SA, good bowling from aus but not 'incredible'. Watson the most threatening bowler. Aus will be going for 200 lead here in 1st innings. Can someone tell me why Faff bats at 7 instead of 6 ?? Elgar is not test quality, saw him in England. Looked hopelessly out of depth. Faff is born for test cricket, move him to 5 for 2nd innings. AB needs to quit keeping he looks totally out of touch. SA don't take 3 wickets but lunch it's curtains.

Posted by Spelele on (November 30, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

Is it just me or is this Australian attack better than the one SA has encountered all series? Or was the pitch that much better for bowling? This current 'make-shift' attack certainly looked weigh more threatening to take 20 SA wickets than anything Aus has served up this whole series. Which gives rise to another question: why bench your b best attack?

Posted by Crazy4cricket40 on (November 30, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

HOW COME AUSTRALIA IS AHEAD, Please change the title because at the moment they are behind with two quick wickets lost, couple more tomorrow in the morning and they will bechasing the game

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

It's quite clear that SA and Australia are evenly matched as a team. Australia has played slightly better at times as they had an excellent chance to secure victory in the 2nd test but SA did well to draw that match. Even now it's bit early to make the call because you can never count out the SA bowlers. Anyway, as a test cricket fan I enjoyed the encounter between SA and Australia. Wish both teams all the best, especially Ricky Ponting. A batman who thrived under pressure.

Posted by voice_of_reason on (November 30, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

I have been very surprised to see how much this SA side has struggled in this series to date. From what I had seen of them in the past 12 months I felt sure they would win this series 2-0 but the batting hasn't really got going apart from the first innings of the 1st Test and the best seam bowling attack in the world has no answer for the most in form batsman in world cricket at the moment.

I'm not sure we can definitively call any of the top five teams in the ICC table the best in the world at the moment, even if they have the official No. 1 ranking. I don't think anything will be settled unless there is a prolonged period at No. 1 during which time a team beats pretty much all the others at home and away.

This game is perfectly set up now and a farewell ton from Ponting would be a fitting conclusion to 2012. But will it be in a winning cause?

Posted by Langkers on (November 30, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

A great day's cricket, looks like Perth's going to put on another great test. Aus aren't in front by as much as most people think, South Africa are a couple of quick poles away from being ahead. Philander and Steyn looked like new men this evening, the challenge is to keep it up and for Peterson to back up the quicks the way Lyon did. I hope the aussie batsmen go after him as they did Tahir. If Aus are batting at stumps tomorrow, we'll more be in the box seat.

Posted by landl47 on (November 30, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

I'm not sure Australia are ahead, having lost two top wickets getting to 33, but they'll be pretty pleased to have bowled SA out for 225. If a couple of batsmen can get set tomorrow, there should be runs to be had. SA seem to have picked a side in an attempt not to lose rather than to win this game, with one batsman too many, and in the event the extra man, Elgar, didn't contribute. Another great knock from Du Plessis, whose temperament is amazing for a batsman in his first series. The Australian bowling looked good, lots of hostility and clever use of the conditions. A quick shout-out to Lyon, who bowled well again. This game should produce a result- what a great series!

Posted by redmondlee on (November 30, 2012, 14:07 GMT)

@Marcio, you're quite right. Today at work, I heard the following (between an Englishman and a South African): the Englishman called Ponting a "wimp" for requiring a nightwatchman (I thought the captain decided that), and "hoped he would get out for a duck since it was his last game". The South African was actually very diplomatic and didn't respond. Grace? No thanks. Class? Absolutely not. P.S. Yes I am an Australian! Of course with posts like these, we subject ourselves to accusations of being wimps ourselves, so I do see the ironic side of it....

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (November 30, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

4 or 5 slips, pace at the head from a good length, gotta love test cricket, bravery by Lyon, class from du plessis.

Posted by Marcio on (November 30, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

Thanks for your support, @Spelele. I'm glad someone is listening ;-). Of course there is some truth behind my point, isn't there? Look at the small number of comments here after AUS has a good day. Nobody is bashing SA or saying they are the worst. The Poms and Indians only turn up on AUS articles after the bad days - en masse. I don't mind the ones who are just giving a good humoured ribbing. But there are just too many whose posts add nothing but vitriole to the proceedings. Anyway, looking forward to a good day's cricket tomorrow. SA still definitely in with a big shot, but will need to take early wickets- as we saw with the old ball, batting is not so hard.

Posted by CollisKing on (November 30, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

FINALLY a pitch with some pace and bounce, some assistance for the quick bowlers. Sorts out the men from the boys in both batting lineups. All Test cricket should be played on this type of wicket.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (November 30, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

Too early to pass judgement. The Aussies did well but the SA lower order did well also, could be a new ball wicket. Once your in you could get some runs. Honours fairly even a the moment. The morning will give a better indication of who'll win this test. Lyon getting three wickets on a Perth deck is quite unusual.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (November 30, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

Is it just me of does Cowan who now has an average of 34 doesn't look like he belongs there, the catch he dropped was terrible and he is just not consistent enough. Reminds me alot of North who failed at the top level too. I can think of one opener who would do a better job then him and who is scoring runs right now.

Posted by SuperSharky on (November 30, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

The Aussies are really tough at home and 'm amazed that they can change a brilliant bowling attack for another brilliant bowling attack. This won't be easy. I think Graeme Smith misinterpreted the pitch qualities.

Posted by Ross_Co on (November 30, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

@Hammond - the South African side which has had to fight tooth and nail to stay in this series rolled over your 'big guns of English cricket' like they were a very very small speed bump. I just don't you ever look at yourself in the mirror while you're writing this stuff?

Posted by RoJayao on (November 30, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

Where would SA be without the Faf?? Fancy the no.1 team in test cricket relying on a guy playing only his first and second test to save their bacon repeatedly!! Tell you what he's using every ounce of all the luck too, very fortunate not to have been out a number of times to very close LBWs. Correct calls albeit, but close. Hammond, you are dreaming! This same SA side just flogged your sorry lot of "big guns"! And lucky or not, Du Plessis looks every inch a high quality test batsman. Can't wait to flog the Poms but first lets get the Saffers!

Posted by Poodie on (November 30, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

@Hammond - and now a member of the team that sacked england from the No1 ranking in their own back yard? Seriously, mate there's no logic in what you said. Amla murdered the english but he's barely scored against Australia, so by your definition they are one of the best attacks in the world. No big guns in the english team, well no english ones anyway. Not sure Ravi Bopara is going to slay this aussie attack.

Posted by filizant on (November 30, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

Great to finally see a pitch in Australia that actually TESTS the batsmen as a test match is supposed to do! It's living up to the name TEST match. Too many flat tracks and too many advantages for the batsmen already in the modern game.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (November 30, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

How can you say Australia is ahead even when they have lost two wickets for just 30? hik hik hik... :D

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

Sunil Gavaskar, Tony Greig and Kevin Pietersen have also scored fifty or more in their first three Test innings. So Du Plessis is the seventh to do so. Collins and Gavaskar have done it in their first four innings.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

One thing has been of quite dejection to me: the way Aussie seamers get injured after one or two tests. Apart from that, I would have to agree that the seamers have SA on backfoot.

Posted by big_al_81 on (November 30, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

Dhanvanth, what series are you watching? The Aussies have been on top for virtually the entire series so exactly how are SA like the dominant West Indies or Aussie teams between, say, 1980-2005? Did you say the same about England when they beat Australia 3-1 away two years ago followed by India 4-0 at home? Or did you say it about India when they were rising to the 'top'. Personally, I'd agree that SA are the best side currently ahead of England and Australia, but they're about 10 years away from us being able to make the kind of outlandish claim you make here. They also need to be a lot better at home where they draw and lose tests far too often!

Posted by jb633 on (November 30, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

This is a real game of cricket. I like the variations in cricket but IMO nothing beats watching the bowlers get some fizz out of the wicket. When the ball is whizzing around and the fast bowlers are on top like this, it is the ultimate challenge. Anyone who scores runs deserves credit. This is a better track than Adelaide. When the bowlers are on top cricket is the winner. I can see SA sneaking a few quick ones in tomorrow and they can still win this game. Going to be a classic.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

Australia is right on top here, surely. The ease with which Philander and Petersen were batting made the pitch look full of runs. All of Australias match winning batsmen still have their wickets in hand and they have the very best batting conditions in front of them. One hand on the mace.

Posted by dinosaurus on (November 30, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

For those wondering about the selection of Hastings, there is a need on the WACA ground to have an into-the-wind bowler in the afternoons. Hastings is almost ideal for that role.

Posted by ScottStevo on (November 30, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

@Marcio, I concur! We let SA off the hook there - not for the first time this series :). Didn't help that Du Plessis played all around everything and eeked out a score. It's typical of Aus in the last few years, we've let the tail wag on too many occassions and it's been very costly - first test in Eng 09, first test of the last series in India are a couple that instantly spring to mind, but I'm certain there are more. Nonetheless, before the start of the day I'd have taken SA all out for 225 if you'd offered it! It still gives Aus an opportunutity to win this match. If we can bat well tomorrow and still be there for day 3, we should be in a pretty commanding position. A lead of 100+ will be tough to turn around, and this time SA won't be able to just dead bat everything, they'll have to try and score runs and play shots, which should mean more risk and thus wicket taking opportunities...Be nice to see Ricky have one last big day tomorrow to set us up for a win!

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 30, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

Cowan needs to be replaced by Hughes immediately. He is simply not test class. A career of mediocrity does not simply change because you get a Baggygreen.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 30, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

When SA played England recently, England determined that Graham Smith was an LBW candidate because of his unusual technique. They paid dearly for it and he showed that it's specifically his unusual technique that makes him unlikely to fall LBW. There was talk at the start of this series of Australia approaching him the same way. Interesting to see that he fell LBW in his first innings and has since been caught behind or in the cordon four times. If someone has a Test average of 50 and is string off his pads then it stands to reason, does it not, that outside off is where you bowl to them.

Posted by ontheboundary on (November 30, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

i am putting my heart on my sleeve but after careful consideration of all the variables; SA to win by 4 wickets on day 4.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

What used to be "doing a VVS" for the Indian team is fast becoming "doing a Faf". Most of us Indians are not surprised, since we have seen plenty of admirable work from this young man from SA. Batting, or fielding. Even a bit of decent bowling. In the last version of IPL, to me, he was the MVP for CSK. Good show, in test matches for his own cuntry.!

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 30, 2012, 11:23 GMT)

Once again, Lyon is tearing the world apart. Right up there with Ajmal now. What a find! Who would want to watch the battle of the minnows in India when this is going on!

Posted by ravikb on (November 30, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

Asad Rauf is the worst umpire I have ever seen. He makes atleast 2 errors in every match. Not sure how he has been part of Elite panel. That shows the standard (or lack of) of umpires.

Posted by Simoc on (November 30, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

A great day of test cricket. This is a superior Australian attack to the previous two games and if Oz can get a lead of 60 runs on the first innings I fancy that will be enough. However tomorrow promises plenty of action. Strange that Du Plessis appears to be in a class above all the other batsmen seen to date. Terry Alderman continues to sound foolish in his meek radio rants. Kim Hughes is a lot smarter and more entertaining source of knowledge for ABC listeners.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

As I said at 60/5, What Australia can do with ball and bat so can the Proteas!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

I for one as a guy who as played alongside Hasto many a times, on the golf course as well as the cricket pitch felt in my bias opinion he had a very solid start to his Test Match career. Certainly a better one than anyone on here has had! :)

Hopefully some runs fall his way during the Aussie innings and a spot at Hobart beckons for the 430th Australian Test Cricketer.

Posted by othello22 on (November 30, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

Another dramatic day of test cricket between these two teams. As an Aussie, seeing SA 6/75 only made me nervous. I knew Australia would take their foot off the pedal again and viola - SA scratched out 220-odd when they should have been bowled out for 120. Australia then went through the motions to register their customary top order meltdown (seriously, why don't they just start every innings at 3/30? Would help to claw back some of the time lost to rain, bad light and poor over rates). The only positive for Oz at the end being that Ponting wasn't exposed to the new ball before stumps. Seriously, if Nathan Lyon can go out there and survive against the SA bowling, I'd love to hear the excuses of Watson and Cowan. Does Watto need glasses or something? Just plonked his front foot down on the wrong line and missed a straight one, like an amateur. Warner could easily have been out three times over but got lucky. Man, when will Australia get themselves some top order batsmen?

Posted by Supa_SAFFA on (November 30, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

Please, please can SA open the next innings with the tailenders? Seriously, I think Philander and Peterson are good for a fifty partnership and taking some shine off the ball to protect our fragile top order. And if they fail, we've always got Faf to shepherd the middle order. Vat hom, Faffie!!

Posted by Dale_Pain on (November 30, 2012, 11:01 GMT)

@Hammond - LOL. Have you watched du Plessis bat? He has a more secure technique than Lancashire of 3 years ago. You revered England batting line-up didn't do very well in the summer against South Africa!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

South Africa are definitely winning this one. Morning session to get 4 quick wickets and Aussies add 100 runs. Bowl them all out for for 180 runs by mid afternoon and get a day and a half to get a score of 350 declared. Bowl them all out again. One deadly weapon in the SA arsenal who everyone seems to have forgotten. V. Philander. Got his 1st wicket. His accuracy has been deadly. In the same form, normally gets a 10 wicket haul. Will Stein turns the ball both ways. Morkel took 8 wickets, not to be ignored. Any 2 of the top six batters will make a ton each and as always a wagging tail. See Philander. Odds heavily stacked against OZ. SA has incredible depth and are a complete team. Not been intimidated by pressure and playing away. Mark this space. Will be back to brag on day 4. Viva Proteas! Viva! Long live no1 Team! Long live! Condolences Oz!

Posted by MarcusAurelius on (November 30, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

I'm a Saffer fan and I still believe this match has legs. But let's be absolutely frank - Australia is outplaying us by some margin and they look very likely to win this game and take the No 1 spot. I have massive respect for the way OZ has come at us in every session and their determination in the face of some notable SA resistance has not wavered for one second. If SA can mount a significant counter-attack on day 2 the dynamic could change in the space of 10 overs. But it has to be counter-attack and not defence - the defensive mindset has been all too evident throughout this Australian tour and it is for that reason alone that SA will probably need to eat humble pie and relinquish their 3 month stay at the No 1 position. I hope they will find something special tomorrow but history tells us that we should expect a close but decisive Australian victory.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

I hope Aussie win it for the punter. In any case, it looks like an exciting match.

Posted by Dazako on (November 30, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

@ Dhanvanth how can you compare this SA team to the great Windies or Aussie teams, they may be good and are ranked number 1 but havent won a game yet in this series and have been outplayed every day except for day 1 in Brisbane and day 5 in Adelaide.

Posted by whofriggincares on (November 30, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

@Hammond "Du Plessis an average kolpac county player" Great comment to show how little you know about our great game. Ever heard of a sportsperson honing his skills on a lesser stage and then stepping up and performing at the highest level? Anyone who understands the slightest thing about test cricket rates his efforts in this series very highly. After your "fade into obscurity" comment about Ponting last night this comment about Faf just makes you look dopey. Dont bother to come back to supporting the aussies now punter has retired, just keep following the poms . I will look forward to posting when we smash them in the ashes. The secret to sustained stint at the top is the quality of your attack combined with good captaincy . Pup has been brilliant as skipper and our bowling depth is exciting. And for all the Hastings knockers ,the ball he got AB with looked decidedly world class!

Posted by valleypf on (November 30, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

Dhanvanth on (November 30 2012, 09:27 AM GMT) It's true SA are good at marathons. They've had to play two so far to avoid going 0/2 down. Great teams win games not just manage to avoid defeat!

Posted by valleypf on (November 30, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Dhanvanth on (November 30 2012, 09:42 AM GMT) What an extraordinary statement?! What is there about this SA team that suggests they could possibly dominate Test cricket for the next decade? They have narrowly avoided defeat in two Tests so far against a team that is not remotely of the calibre of Steve Waugh's Australians. And again they are on the back foot at this early stage of the match. By all means support them but try to stay within the bounds of reality.

Posted by Marktc on (November 30, 2012, 10:42 GMT)

From the look of the pitch and the way the bowlers are beating the bat, 225 is a decent score. I have said before that this will be a result pitch and a hard fought match. Faf cemented the of form at the right time for him. Bit torn though want Ponting to do well in his last test, but if he does, SA will suffer..

Posted by Shaggy076 on (November 30, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

I still cant fathom why so many english supporters need to have there 2 cents worth. Probably because they are worried and in answer to your question Hammond as the Aussie batting seems to be doing better than the South African batting then the Aussies will probably do a little better than South Africa did against England. Can you remind me how they went?

Posted by thebarmyarmy on (November 30, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

Im not sure the Aussies are ahead. Runs on the board. South Africa will sleep easier tonight.

Posted by westsider on (November 30, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

Gosh these SA supporters kid themselves.In the first two tests Australia have lost 23 wickets @ 60 runs per wicket to SA 33 wickets @ 39 runs per wicket.In the 1st test Sa were only 71 ahead with 5 wickets in hand and in the second test still 181 runs behind with only 2 wickets to fall.You could easily have been trailing 2-0.You did well to survive the second test but it was a Dunkirk victory.When you have been no1 for 95 months like Australia were instead of 5months then you can start talking about dynasties.Even if you manage to win this test you have still been outplayed

Posted by Unomaas on (November 30, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

***Exasperated Saffa fan commenting!!!!***

Very lacklustre batting display from SA. Very dissapointed :=(.

Well done to Aussie bowlers!!! Bowled well and allowed Saffa batters to strangle themselves.

While other commentators will berate me in saying that we can't judge untill the other team bats, I'm convinced that given SA's batting potential, this is an attrocious display of mediocrity!

Posted by Marcio on (November 30, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

I have reservations about some of the commentary, and I'm not talking about Channel 9's. Is it too much to ask for neutral observations and reporting? This was a very good performance by Australia, but there was barely a positive comment all day. Comments after the fall of SA wickets were dry and devoid of enthusiasm, but gushing for SA's batsmen scoring runs. Then the comment about SA's bowlers being "far more threatening than Australia's!" SA were blitzed in the first half of the day! What does a bowler have to do to be "threatening" other than take wickets, repeatedly beat the bat and find multiple edges? The truth is that both attacks were very threatening once they settled in. SA had only a dozen overs, so were able to let rip. Like I said, a little perspective please.

Posted by mateyman on (November 30, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

@Hammond, Australia have already done better against SA than England did :)

Posted by Amu7 on (November 30, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

@Dhanvanth when Aussies were on top they destroyed SAF 3-0 in their own backyard in 2006.SA havent come close to winning a single game on this tour and have a long way ahead in this game if they are to win.Talk about dominance ,they havent dominated a singlle test match yet

Posted by Greatest_Game on (November 30, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

@ Hammond. Are you talking about those "big guns" that barely fired against South Africa when England suffered the most comprehensive defeat in the history of test cricket? The English "big guns" meekly handed over the mace to SA, the same England that has failed to beat South Africa in the last three home series. The bigs guns that barely went pop against India in their first test. The "big guns" that have lost SEVEN tests this year, drew 3 tests and won only four tests. Some big guns, huh?

The noise will not be from the so-called big guns. As usual it will be from the big-mouther England supporters

Posted by Spelele on (November 30, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

Is it just me or is this Australian attack better than the one that SA has encountered all series? Or is the pitch just that much better for bowling? They've certainly looked weigh more threatening!

Posted by Meety on (November 30, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

Got my fingers crossed that Punter draws from another Ozzy batting great (IMO Oz's true 2nd best batsmen ever) - Greg Chappell. He scored a ton on debut & in his final match. Punter 96 on debut & a 100+??????? He got TWO in his 100th!

Posted by goutamaniad on (November 30, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

Dan Brettig's report compiling, apparently and at times, lack the requisite close revision, as witnessed by the discrepancy in sense of conclusion between the first 3 paragraphs here and the fourth.

He does strive to be unblemished in patriotism though.

Posted by Marcio on (November 30, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

Clearly a new ball wicket. There's runs here against the old ball, as we saw. If batsmen get going there could be plenty of runs. It's just a question of getting to the old ball before half the team is out! @Dhanvanth, which game were you watching, as matter of interest? Simply a bizarre comment, given that SA were bowled out for 225 runs, which is decent here. It's certainly nothing great.

Posted by Meety on (November 30, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

@OzzyHammond on (November 30 2012, 08:19 AM GMT) - hmmm, I think the same thing that happenned to Kallis! @Marcio on (November 30 2012, 09:11 AM GMT) - UNLESS, the Saffas bowl insanely well on Day 2, I think Oz are in a good position as I believe batting will be comparatively easier once the new ball softens up (at least we have passed the follow on - LOL!). Assuming no weather - the great thing is, it is almost impossible NOT to get a result in this Test. A genuine Grand Final!

Posted by pat_one_back on (November 30, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

Some extra bounce, a bit of sideways movement but no real signs of this being a bowlers wicket, runs are on offer for the brave. Aust A attack have whistled through the world No 1 batting line up and for a 3rd time the test is set for Aust taking. There will undoubtedly be a SA fightback with ball and bat but this time Aust will put them to the sword for Punter I'm predicting!

Posted by Brenton1 on (November 30, 2012, 10:22 GMT)

@Marcio: If luck had run SA way Aus would be about 5 down already for 30 odd. Do coaches in Australia teach batsman how to play and miss?

Posted by Spelele on (November 30, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Disappointing day from a Saffa point of view. I thought Australia's make-shift attack bowled really well under the circumstances, and was really surprised when cricinfo commentary seemed to suggest that SA looked more threatening. Really?

At the risk of inciting another one of Marcio's annoying claims that the world is against Aus this series, I thought it was complete rubbish to say the Aus - having bowled SA out for a cheap 220 odd - were less threatening than SA after they themselves failed to remove a tail-ender after plenty of balls bowled.

Day 2 should be weigh easier for batting than Day 1. I hope to see a firing Ponting for the last time :) But as a Saffer, I hope he doesn't do too much damage. I don't see Clarke getting a lot of runs on this pitch, but having said that, it will be a much better pitch to bat on tomorrow.

A lot of work to be done for SA. Can't wait for Day 2!

Posted by KunzMan on (November 30, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

I beg to differ Dhanvanth. Seeing off the first hour tomorrow with no more than 2 wickets down (including Lyon) and Aus will pile on the runs as the track becomes easier to bat on in the sun and the new ball losing its sheen. My prediction for tomorrow is Australia 350/6 tomorrow by stumps

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

Now to bundle out the Aussies before tea on day 2!

Posted by Dhanvanth on (November 30, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

South African team is just like the Ricky's dominant Australians and they r proving to be one! Well, first the West Indian era, next the Australian era and now the south African era!!

Posted by Dhanvanth on (November 30, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

Its not gonna be easy for the Aussies! South Africa are really a great team and it ll require a marathon effort to beat them! Hope they do it!

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 30, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

AB has got to give those blasted gloves up! Doing both, he hasn't performed well with the bat except for blocking out overs to ensure the draw last game. Steyn hasn't slept very well... beware!

Posted by Marcio on (November 30, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

Very well bowled by the Australian bowlers. But I'm afraid we let them get at least 75 too much, which I predict will be very telling in the end. 225 is probably a decent score here, esp. if SA get wickets with the new ball, which is basically inevitable on this pitch. So many balls went past the bat, so many edges to the boundary in those first two sessions. SA really could have been out for 100 or so, if luck had run Australia's way. So 225 is huge from that point on.

Posted by analyseabhishek on (November 30, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

Beats one how a debutant was given a higher billing than the previous test hero Faf Deplessis- who again stood out for his pluckiness!

Posted by Aussasinator on (November 30, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

SA will now probably get to a score Michael Clarke will score all by himself and Hussey will enlarge, with his customary century. the top order is irrelevant, if warner fires well and good. Seems the same old tale.

Posted by Hammond on (November 30, 2012, 8:19 GMT)

Du Plessis- an average Kolpak English county cricket player. What is going to happen next time the big guns of English cricket get hold of this inexperienced Aussie attack?

Posted by Dan_Son on (November 30, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

What a pathetic batting display. AB de Villiers you should be flogged for running out Amla. The entire team needs anti-depressants, as do all South African cricket fans.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 7:29 GMT)

Gotta respect the Aussies. They are giving us a pasting here. And I am getting that all too familiar sinking feeling. Perhaps Faf can pull of another brilliant innings - but who is going to support him?

Posted by Marktc on (November 30, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

A result pitch that looks like it is helping the pace bowlers. I would say SA is doing terribly, but would prefer to see the Oz team bat before making a judgement. Still, SA have not batted well and the Oz bowlers have struck nicely. This may be a low scoring match with a result seeming a sure thing.

Posted by PFEL on (November 30, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

Am I the only who noticed that Hawkeye has been completely off for some deliveries this Series? Just now, Watson reviewed an Lbw against du Plessis, it went to hawkeye and the path of the ball plotted was very different to what actually happened. Hawkeye had the ball striking the pad FOR THE FIRST TIME above the knee roll, when in actuality it hit the pad just above the foot then bounced up onto the knee roll, therefore indicating the ball was going over (which it MAY not have been) Either way it shouldn't have been out (prob going down leg) but it was a very disturbing occurence considering the importance placed on hawkeye in international cricket.

Posted by Sanj747 on (November 30, 2012, 3:55 GMT)

Good move to Rudolph. Think his test career is pretty much over.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 30, 2012, 3:18 GMT)

Not sure what will be the role of Hastings. He should be the workhorse and bowl lots of overs in a spell whereas, the other end will be a attacking relentlessly. I think with Lyon bowling with decent control and not giving away much, he could have performed the control role and they might have benefitted more by including more attacking option in Hazzlewood. I find this very odd to include Hastings ahead of Hazzlewood who looked a far better prospect in what i have seen. Hastings would be a better choice in shorter formats. A step backwards by Australia to include a half all rounder ahead of full bowler. Hastings might perform better and prove others wrong but while starting, i see hazzlewood a better option than Hastings.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 2:29 GMT)

Looking forward to this contest, changes all round it seems. Feel sorry for Kleinveld as he came good with taking valuable wickets & hung in there with Faf for quite a while? Still, what do I know? Let the games begin!

Posted by Sanj747 on (November 30, 2012, 2:18 GMT)

Not sure at all about the Hastings selection. Don't think he is a test player.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 30, 2012, 2:16 GMT)

I think this is an Oz team that can beat SA, who have decided in the end to buy poor old Tahir. This dishonesty regarding the backing of their spinner, coupled with the decidedly unconvincing assurances of their fast men that they really do want to win, leads me to predict a hard fought tussle, but ultimately an Australian victory, with the team wanting to give Ricky the best send off they know he deserves; going out at No.1

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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