Australia A v South Africans, Sydney, 2nd day November 3, 2012

South Africans cruise despite loss of Petersen


South Africans 1 for 128 (Smith 60) trail Australia A 7 for 480 (Doolan 161*, Steyn 3-54) by 352 runs

The top three South African batsmen spent significant time in the middle, with the captain Graeme Smith scoring a confident 60 before retiring, and made as much use as they could of a lifeless SCG pitch. Only one wicket fell in the day, that of Alviro Petersen.

After Australia A piled on 155 runs in a session and a half, they decided they had kept the South African bowlers busy for long enough and declared on 480 for 7, allowing the visiting batsmen some practice. It may all prove futile in preparation for Brisbane, though. Instead of the pace and bounce that is expected at the Gabba, the SCG pitch remained docile and run-scoring was fairly uncomplicated no matter what the make-up of the attack.

Alex Doolan reached three-figures and Tim Paine a half-century as they combined for the highest eighth-wicket stand for Australia A - 162. Early morning rain and cloud overhead added nothing for the bowlers and the South African quicks did not expend much energy in the field, having had a decent workout on the first day.

Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt bowled only one spell each in the first hour and did not take a wicket. Instead, the edges they induced went to third man - five boundaries were scored in that area and with nothing left to gain from the conditions, Graeme Smith lost interest.

Imran Tahir, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis rotated for the rest of the time the South Africans were on the field and much of what they bowled was meat and drink for Doolan and Paine. Full tosses were ushered to the boundary, poor lengths were pounced on, swipes reached the midwicket boundary with ease and Doolan brought up a milestone he will no doubt cherish with a lofted drive over cover.

Tahir did get one ball to turn prodigiously, from offstump to first slip, but the other major bowling highlight came at the start of 129th over. Hashim Amla was handed the ball, a surprise considering Jacques Rudolph and Smith can both turn their arms over. It was not a first for Amla, though.

Amla has bowled seven overs in Test cricket and nearly 54 in first-class cricket but it was still an interesting sight to see him fire in offbreaks off a run-up of two paces. Amla fancied his chances, though, and appealed for lbw off the first ball he bowled to Doolan.

Andrew McDonald seemed determined to deny the South Africans as much batting time as he could and only mid-way through the middle session did he change his mind. Amla had bowled four overs when McDonald decided to end the clowning around and called his batsmen in, leaving the South Africans with four and a half sessions of time in the middle.

Graeme Smith's innings was in danger of being cut short after just one ball. Nathan Coulter-Nile got his first delivery to take the inside edge but the ball missed the stumps and went past the keeper. Smith was untroubled by that early incident and went on to butcher the ball through the on-side with familiarity.

Alviro Petersen, batting for the first time in a first-class match since he broke his hand at the beginning of the summer, was more circumspect. He survived an lbw shout from John Hastings and was content to defend rather than actively look for runs until after Smith retired.

Smith had few problems apart from an lbw shout from Glenn Maxwell in his innings and took himself out of the equation with more than an hour's play left in the day. Amla, like Petersen, took his time to get in but the two formed a steady partnership and runs were available for them in all areas, off all bowlers.

Petersen found his stride and played some good shots including a sweetly-timed cover drive. Against the run of play, he top-edged a sweep off Maxwell with less than five overs to go in the day. Coulter-Nile at midwicket tried to take the catch fingers up and almost fumbled before pouching the ball on the second attempt.

JP Duminy was sent in up the order at No.4, ahead of AB de Villiers, Jacques Rudolph and Faf du Plessis. All of those batsmen will look to spend time at the crease on the final day.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hrishikesh on November 4, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    @GreatestGame you people love to talk about the capetown test , philander's 5 wickets, 47 all out. But you choose to ignore the next test match where an 18 years old ripped through your experienced battinglineup and an out of form ponting, hadding, johnson managed to chase down 310 against the very same attack( steyn, morkel and philander, all were there). All all you got was a draw at home against an oz team going through hard times. you even lost the odi series at home.

  • Bryn on November 4, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    oh dear. SA had to declare to avoid getting bowled out 200 behind even though Aus A only have two bowlers who arent batting allrounders. im changing my seriies prediction. 3-0 to Aus.

  • Patrick on November 4, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    SA really don't fancy Hastings do they, I hope the Test quicks are taking notes.

  • Patrick on November 4, 2012, 2:20 GMT

    With Watson & Ponting now under a cloud the make up of this A side Looks more appropriate. Watson was due to break down and try outs for batting at 6/7 and bowling in Adelaide/Syd/India were required, fast deck team being more or less decided. I think CA are far likely more focused on their own needs than tryin to out scheme SA preparation. They were never going to get a Gabba warm up though obviously.

    Aussie's are surely thinking well beyond just Amla & Steyn. I dare say Smith is the No1 man to take down, he set's the tone for a deep order. His retirement yesterday was a statement of sorts in itself, as was Kallis resting.

  • Jonathan on November 3, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    jonesy2, let's talk about some basics. Firstly, if South Africa were 'languishing' with England, they would be ranked 2nd in the world, above your lot and would have won 3 out of the last 4 ashes series including an innings-victory strewn annihilation in Australia in the last one. Languishing very happily here thank you. Secondly, Australia have only 1 world class batsman in Michael Clarke, South Africa have 4. Ponting and Hussey are only still playing because the cupboard is so bare - Steve Smith?!! Watson never scores hundreds only pretty 50s and Warner is a ODI player who will get found out against world class bowling. Aussies have NO world class bowlers at all - you keep picking Hilfenhaus and Siddle and they are still rubbish (have a look at the Ashes DVDs if you need to), Pattinson is promising and you have a club spinner. South Africa have 4 world class fast bowlers and a proper spinner. Better in all departments, so SA to win 2-0 / 3-0.

  • richard on November 3, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    Aussie B team scores 460 for 7 at 3.5 runs an over then the saffers take 44 overs to score 128, and matty p thinks we are in trouble England would love to had scored that freely, maybe Morkel and Kallis will make a difference but like the greatest game I agree in this game they only have Amla and Steyn

  • Andrew on November 3, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    @Greatest_Game on (November 03 2012, 19:52 PM GMT) - LOL! You're living in past (& brief) glories. Reality is - you know that your team will contrive to somehow stuff this series up & either lose or at best draw the series. Will be hilarious seeing your absence when it does.

  • David on November 3, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    Very very concerning for Aussie cricket. Again & again this shortsighted belief that that the only dangerous players are Steyn & Amla. Trying to wear out Steyn in this so-called warm-up is pointless. He's fitter & more resilient than the entire Aussie attack put together - and miles better too. Forgetting the dangerous Morkel & Kallis is beyond stupidity - 430 test batsmen will attest to that, & underestimating Philander is suicidal. Remember the 5 for 15 vs Aus! A team look good on paper, but absolutely scrap Doolan's score. He was clearly out caught behind, knew it, & started walking. Pity he didn't learn ethics from Gilly rather than this lot. Thinking that Lyon, will trouble the Proteas shows desperation. At the Oval England tried a turner for Swann: SA took 20 wickets, England took 2. Swann - 0 for 151; Tahir - 4 for 124. Rookie mistake that, but desperation clouds the mind. Aus really have no edge over SA, but panicking won't help - just look at KP & the ECB! Laughable really.

  • Mathew on November 3, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    Looks like a hard time for the bowlers on this wicket. Kudos to CA, they will be in dream land if they can get a couple of draws against SA. Next generation of Aussies seem fragile at best. The older could keep playing into their 40's if they were not pushed out by the next generation. Wait a minute...

  • Bryn on November 3, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    very very concerning for south africa and brilliant from the A boys. as i have said all along the only south african bowler who is world class and threatening is dale steyn. without steyn and amla south africa would be languishing with england. absolutely scrap any score graeme smith made because he was out plumb lbw in maxwells first over. i reckon nathan lyon is going to trouble the proteas and have a huge say on this series, australia have a profound edge in that department. philander better hope his honeymoon period is still going and morkel better hope he can put the ball on the pitch...

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