Australia v South Africa, 1st Test, Brisbane, 4th day

Clarke, Cowan and Hussey dominate SA

The Report by Daniel Brettig

November 12, 2012

Comments: 236 | Text size: A | A

Australia 4 for 487 (Clarke 218*, Cowan 136, Hussey 86*, Morkel 2-109) lead South Africa 450 by 37 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Ed Cowan drives, Australia v South Africa, first Test, day four, Brisbane, November 12, 2012
Ed Cowan kept his head over the ball on the way to 136 © Getty Images
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On the same afternoon Australia rejoiced the confirmation of Ed Cowan as a genuine Test opening batsman, their prolific captain Michael Clarke squeezed South Africa with a merciless unbeaten 218 to give his side the psychological and tactical high ground after four days of the first Test.

Graeme Smith's side began the day in search of quick wickets to press for victory in Brisbane, but a first Test century of high accomplishment by Cowan smoothed the path for Clarke and Michael Hussey to run the tourists ragged in the final session. Australia piled up 181 runs after tea to close on 4 for 487, a lead of 37 with another extended day's play to follow.

Clarke's innings grew in command with every hour, and maintained his outstanding record of performance since assuming the national captaincy. His third Test score beyond 200 in 2012 made Clarke one of only three batsman to achieve the feat, joining Sir Donald Bradman and Ricky Ponting. Rare company indeed.

Cowan was considered by some to be under some pressure for his place entering this match, though the national selector John Inverarity had been highly supportive. That faith proved well founded, for Cowan produced exactly the sort of innings the team required. Scoring within his favoured zones and showing sound judgement of when to defend, this was a major step in Cowan's career, and also a poignant achievement a year to the day since the death of his mentor, Peter Roebuck.

Hussey's innings demonstrated how destructive his batting can be when runs are behind him, and in his busy running and pure driving he pushed tiring opponents to their limits. Before the series Inverarity had hoped Hussey was "due" for a strong series against South Africa after several poor ones, and he has made the ideal start.

The defusing of the touring bowlers was a tonic for the rest of Australia's batsmen, and the contempt with which they were treated at the finish by Clarke and Hussey will be sobering for Smith. Rory Kleinveldt and Vernon Philander gave up 19 no-balls between them, the latter's bowling notably nobbled on perhaps the flattest Test surface he has seen on so far. Steyn threatened intermittently, and Morkel's bounce did not diminish, but the employment of Smith and Hashim Amla as modest spinners conveyed a lack of variety in South Africa's attack.

In responding aggressively to a perilous position the night before, Cowan and Clarke had tilted momentum their way even before they emerged on the fourth morning. But they had to fight to build on that advantage early on. After a brief early flurry, runs came steadily rather than swiftly, Cowan pushing singles while Clarke punched a pair of delectable straight drives back past Steyn in between leaving plenty of deliveries wide of off stump.

Cowan had an uncomfortable moment when he cuffed past the stumps and down to the fine leg boundary while trying to leave Steyn, and Clarke was twice the beneficiary of good fortune when his unconvincing attempts at a sort of half-pull shot lobbed into the air but out of the reach of fielders.

Clarke looked ungainly against the short ball on more than one occasion, once taking his eye off a Steyn bouncer and gloving into the space between the stumps and the slips cordon. But he prospered in other areas, playing with a restraint that showed self-awareness of how important his wicket has become for Australia.

As the adjournment ticked closer Cowan reached the outskirts of a century, gaining four runs when the umpire Asad Rauf failed to detect Morkel's bouncer had skimmed straight off the batsman's helmet. He would go to the interval two runs short of a hundred, but happy to wait.

On resumption Cowan did not take long to gather those runs, pulling Philander powerfully to midwicket to pass three figures. His celebration was ebullient, but he also collected himself pointedly at the end of the over, regathering his focus to resume the task. At the other end Clarke had further troubles with the short ball, but unfurled a pair of crisp drives to close on his own century.

He reached the mark with a hurried single to backward point, and raised his bat for the sixth time since becoming Test captain and the second time in as many Gabba Tests. Clarke and Cowan's stand had by this time become the highest for the fourth wicket in all Tests between Australia and South Africa, blunting a visiting attack that had looked so daunting at the start of the innings.

Having seen off the second new ball, Cowan was dropped at fine leg when Steyn's path to the catch was distracted somewhat by Alviro Petersen's convergence. Ultimately Cowan would would not perish at the hand of any bowler. Instead he was run-out at the non-striker's end when Steyn deflected a Clarke drive onto the stumps - Cowan's penchant for backing up a long way reducing his chances of getting back in time. That dismissal brought Hussey to the crease, and he had a couple of nervy moments against Morkel before tea arrived.

There would be a few more plays and misses in the final session, but they were rare moments of consolation for South Africa as Hussey and Clarke streaked away. Hussey's cover driving was a particular highlight, while Clarke reached his double century with another pristine straight drive. By the close a draw was the most likely result, but Clarke, Cowan and Hussey had ensured that it will be the South Africans more likely to be sweating.

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

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Posted by ifrakurshid on (November 13, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

YES THE AUSITRILIAN CAPT. CLARKE COWN AND THE TRUSTED HUSSY OLD GUARD GAVE QUICK RUNS TO MAKE A IMPOSSIBLE VICTORY MATCH BY THEIR BATTING SKILLS BUT THIS IS ONCE IN A BLOOM CANNOT BE REPEATED TIME AN AGAIN AMLA AND COMPANY ARE IN GREAT TOUCH WITH LITTLE SUPPORT FROM THEIR PACERS MAY FIND AUSSIES IN HOT WATERS NEXT TIME. SOUTH AFRICA ON PAPER IS A BETTER OUT FIT CURRENTLY ONLY HOME ADVANTAGE IS WITH THE HOST AN OUT SIDE CHANCE FOR OTHER NON PLAYING INFLUNCEABLE FORCES MAY COME INTO PLAY IF SA IS DECLARED FAVOURITES FOR THE NEXT GAME.

Posted by Meety on (November 13, 2012, 4:16 GMT)

@Spelele on (November 12 2012, 15:10 PM GMT) - mate, you've lost the plot! Clarke's "nick" was clearly proven a couple of overs later by Snicko as not being an edge. The sound occurred BEFORE the ball reached the bat! As for the standard of umpiring, it has been spot on - all game. The interpretation of UDRS is a bit questionable, but there have been + & - for both sides. Barry Richards, (as in great Saffa lagend), reckoned that Amla should of been given out, IF common sense prevailed AND he felt the Siddle no-ball should of been out too! From that POV, you'd have to say Cowan was out on 49. There was no proof that Clarke hit any of the appeals against him. So I have no idea (neither do others) of what "nick" you are talking about!

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 2:03 GMT)

Lets not forget SA played the whole game with 10 men... without one of their important batsmen and bowlers and still posted 450 not like Aus exactly rolled them over is it?? this match was going to be a draw ever since end of day 1.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 13, 2012, 1:09 GMT)

Looks like Smith can't even play on a 'road', what does that say about their captain.

Posted by mahjut on (November 13, 2012, 0:58 GMT)

discobob ... now is the time to bash the attack (that crowds the top rankings and keeps the team at number 1) becasue they won't always have to bowl on the 4th day of a pitch realising that a win is pretty much ouit the question and therefore incentive goes out the window. I've seen this from SA before (vs PK in UAE) and was bored silly. this test tells us that Clarke has very good durability and almost nothing else... a bit of a shame (and SA will probably lose a few wickets as is form when one teasm is fired up but OZ win!??? i just can't see that)

Posted by mahjut on (November 13, 2012, 0:54 GMT)

ChristianG - yes everyone noticed the RR ... did you notice that the outfield was much slower during the SA innings and there was cloud cover throughout...the sun came up on cue when SA lost their last wicket. Apart from maybe 7-12 overs it's not been a challenge batting for OZ (and Sa gave up pretty quick ... or in any case did not bowl with vigour thereafter). that was more telling for me i think

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

Are these guys playing on subcontinent pitches?

Posted by hycIass on (November 13, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

Aus batting stocks looking good with Cowan, Clarke and with the likes of Khawaja, Burns and Doolan pushing for spots.

Posted by one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on (November 12, 2012, 23:26 GMT)

Fifteen out of the nineteen matches that Michael Clarke has scored centuries in, prior to the current, have been decided. Australia have won thirteen and lost two (including the match where the next two completed innings did not surpass his first innings total). How many of the true flat track bullies can say that 79% of their centuries were in a decided test match? Should drop to a paltry 75% today, but.............?

Posted by MinusZero on (November 12, 2012, 23:11 GMT)

Cowan is a traditional opener. A run compiler, not an ODI turned test player like Watson and Warner. Its what the top order needs.

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 12, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

We havent seen this good a batting performance since Punter in his prime.

Posted by Ross_Co on (November 12, 2012, 23:00 GMT)

@yorkshirematt - No, sorry. I did live with a Scotsman though.

Posted by Spelele on (November 12, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

@Bonehead_maz: yes, that one exactly! Now you probably saw the angle which the third umpire saw when SA reviewed the decision (the one that had no conclusive evidence). I don't blame the third umpire for reaching the decision that he did based on that evidence alone.

However, I do blame Bowden for yet another school-boy error! Everybody clearly heard the nick except him! SKY later showed a zoomed-in angle of the Clarke decision and it clearly revealed a nick on hotspot. As to why that angle was not shown to the third umpire, I will never know!

Anyways, the umpiring is beside the point. Australia did well to cash in on their chances, and SA did not have their best day ever in the field. Hoping for a close and gripping finish :)

Posted by CustomKid on (November 12, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

Moppa That is so good I'm going to copy and past and repost mahahahaha gold!

Posted by GrindAR on (November 12, 2012, 22:47 GMT)

AU Bowling: 151.4 overs: Extras (b 1, lb 1, w 3, nb 6) 11 SA Bowling: 121 overs: Extras (lb 11, w 1, nb 22) 34

See nb numbers. SA did not take wickets on the difference. There were 3 wickets gone on such balls, SA bowlers scale your running to this ground :-)

Posted by ChristianG on (November 12, 2012, 22:37 GMT)

Has anyone else noticed that Australia's run rate is well over one-third better than that of SA? 4.02 v 2.96 is fairly telling I would have thought.

Posted by GrindAR on (November 12, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

If Smith use Rudolph and Morkel in combination with Morkel starting the day, we can see Aussies loose wickets. Lets make it a draw, this pitch does not deserve a result.With weather interruptions, Aussies cant fold SA under 400 means the pitch does not have life. But one can contain the run rate, at which these two folks (only these two) scoring. But Smith has to get out of the choke. If SA does not get 3 wickets in first 15 overs tomorrow, it will be a big struggle to avoid defeat.

Posted by No_1_again on (November 12, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

@hhillbumper: Wonder will you be still commenting here next week when walloped by flat track bullies

Posted by Hammond on (November 12, 2012, 21:58 GMT)

Front-Foot_lunge- mate I think you are onto something there, I am adopted after all.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 12, 2012, 21:39 GMT)

@ Sai Prasad Ramnarayanan on (November 12 2012, 20:31 PM GMT)

You should call Clarke a flat track bully ! Every good batsman should become a bully on flat tracks ! If you saw his 150 in Cape town last year you'd know he's a tad more than JUST a flat track bully :)

Posted by disco_bob on (November 12, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

Whilst the wicket was flatter than usual and also more docile than what we were led to believe, it is still not a 'score 347 for the loss of no wickets in a day against the WBBA*' wicket.

*Worlds Best Bowling Attack™

Posted by malomay on (November 12, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

@Sai Prasad Ramnarayanan.....which flat tracks were they again ? Oh you mean that flat tracks that India were bowled out for 191, 272 & 201 on ? Those flat tracks ?

Posted by Meety on (November 12, 2012, 20:58 GMT)

@ Bollo on (November 12 2012, 08:35 AM GMT) - well said. That said, I think in fairness - the Saffas negativity has probably originated from losing Duminy prior to Day 2. I think by stumps on Day 1, they had done their job very well & were positioning themselves for a swift charge on Day 2. Their innings really floundered on Day 3 & iniative was only seen at the end with some lusty 6s. Although Oz did bowl better.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 12, 2012, 20:52 GMT)

@Spelele on (November 12 2012, 15:10 PM GMT)

I can't remember the Clarke one you speak of - I do remember one going outside the outside edge as the bat handle clicked - no hotpot and snicko showing the sound after that ball had passed the bat......... was this one 87.4 Philander to Clarke, no run, a huge appeal for a caught behind and I thought there was a sound. The umpire says not out and Smith reviews it, Philander is confident. Clarke doesn't look worried. Hot spot shows no edge. Clarke had pushed at a good length ball that held its line outside off and was beaten. Doesn't look like a nick but there was a noise. Must have been something else? The third umpire is taking a while with this, and Bowden eventually says not out. South Africa lose a review, they have one left.

That's umpire's call because no evidence found to overturn it. If Bowden had given out would probably have been overturned as no evidence of an edge.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 12, 2012, 20:47 GMT)

@Spelele on (November 12 2012, 11:59 AM GMT) Re the clear edge - I've not seen any of the game but is DRS not in force and if so why did SA not challenge it? Also re the state of the pitches , I don't recall you complaining when SA were 250-2 at end of day 1. Apologies if you did

Posted by JG2704 on (November 12, 2012, 20:47 GMT)

@satish619chandar and SA fans on (November 12 2012, 07:15 AM GMT) Has De Lange's form not been so good or is he injured or is this guy better than he showed

Posted by hhillbumper on (November 12, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

it is amazing how certain Aussie fans who had disappeared for the first few days are miraculously back. Its like a light switch.One lucky day and all the fans come our for the light.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 12, 2012, 20:36 GMT)

When was the last time SA had 8 players bowling?

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 20:31 GMT)

Everyone is quick to slam India for flat pitches. Clarke has three doubles on absolute flat tracks! Can we label him a flat track bully?

Posted by Chris_P on (November 12, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa. I guess you forgot your mob lost 7/195 the 2nd day. Some flat track was it?

Posted by Ozzy505 on (November 12, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

Clarky must go for his 300 tomorrow since the match is heading for a draw, but given his track record & the small chance for victory, i think he's gonna push for a 150 lead & try to force SA's batsmen into errors.

Posted by philander50 on (November 12, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

first off congrats to the aussies well played. I still cant believe s.a hadn't picked a spinner shocking !! however i do feel that all the aussies who already think they've won the series need to chill as the FIRST test hasn't even finished yet not to mention the fact they haven't even won it

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

australia should declare once they get 150 lead and have a crack at south africa. i hope they get 150 lead before lunch.

Posted by warnerbasher on (November 12, 2012, 18:56 GMT)

Disappointing wicket. Its unlike the Gabba and the empty stands yesterday showed exactly what the public thought of it. I think the bowling of both sides will improve markedly for the next 2 tests and lets hope the pitches have more spice in them. I don't want our pitches to become like Indian wickets where flat track bullies reign supreme. I thought Morkel bowled really well yesterday and will be a real handful in Perth.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 18:45 GMT)

I would also add that you can't hold the groundsman responsible for SA fronting up with a three man bowling attack.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

I can't believe the amount of criticism over the pitch. People seem to forget that there was an entire day lost. Did the first test between SA and England not play out in an entirely similar manner? What did SA score again, 2-1000? Everyone barked like mad about it but there was still a result. I think if SA had of played a spinner here and day 2 were not lost we'd be looking at an almost certain result. As it is there has been 75 odd overs lost and importantly a days wear on the pitch too. A spinner, if one had been bowling, may be a real handful by now. But we won't know that until later today, I suppose.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 17:33 GMT)

anticipating a gryt end to the test 2moro

Posted by jb633 on (November 12, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

@Dubious, I know I like most Aussie pitches, just think this one has been an absolute shocker. And I am not saying this like yeah England pitches are better because it is all dependant. I just hate cricket played on pitches where batting is easy. Taking nothing away from Australia, but this has been a dull test match with next to nobody watching. It worries me a lot that even with a huge series that people are not attending test cricket. I mean in reality and from an economics viewpoint how is it going to survive. People are not wtaching test cricket because the shift has gone hugely in favour of the batting sides in most games. When a pitch spins or seams we hear belly aching and it is very frustrating. I love test cricket and don't want to see it die as T2O is trash. I just worry that CA have produced this pitch out of fear of the SA seamers. In the short term this is clever, but for the longevity of test cricket we need to see sporting pitches, not just from CA but also ECB/ BCCI.

Posted by samincolumbia on (November 12, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

With FLAT pitches like this, little wonder TEST cricket is dying a slow death! What is telling is though, even on such a road pitch, the over hyped Ponting came a cropper.

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 12, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

joneys2 that reminds me of how it was in the school yard he did this to me so i will do it to you. we hammered you yet you still have to beat them get a grip. mind i agree with you about philander he struggled in the uk till last innings of last test. he will not get the grass or the colour that the saffars pace bowlers get in saffar land, thats the reason they have never got a spinner that spins the ball

Posted by a1s2 on (November 12, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

@sai valluru. south africa just beat england in england recently where india couldn't and also south africa won the last time they toured australia and england beat australia in australia last time.so what is it that your saying about no one losing at home?now do you understand why people say that about india poor performance in australia and in england

Posted by the_blue_android on (November 12, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Can the aussies send over the pitch curator to India? Our freeways have this problem of wearing out too soon..

Posted by the_blue_android on (November 12, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

I guess creating a flat wicket to negate the best bowling attack in the world may be a good idea to get a few draws, which otherwise would be impossible for australia. England still lost to SA after creating some dead pitches. Australia will go the same way. They after all lost to England 3-0.

Posted by mikey76 on (November 12, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

It just shows if you get on top of SA they crumble just like any other team. KP and Bairstow showed last summer if you go after them they are just as fallible. England made them look good by dropping about 20 catches. I still think SA will go on to win the series. Australia just rely on Clarke and Hussey who were both outstanding. Clarke and Amla are the 2 best batsmen in the world at the moment.

Posted by InsideHedge on (November 12, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

It's a draw, it'll take a Mother of all Chokes for SA to lose this one. Australia should have declared 100 behind as Ian Healy was suggesting, and put the onus on SA to set up the match. Instead, SA may rack up a nice little 2nd inns total and find themselves with the kind of advantage that England had after the opening game in the last Ashes.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 12, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

Excellent batting by Clarke. What can one say when a batsmen is in this mood, flat wicket or otherwise? Simply breath-taking! But with SA having the best pace attack a little flatter wickets are to be expected in this series. That's how the quality of bowlers gets tested. Remember how Marshall and Wasim bhai bowled well in all the countries. Tough luck SA.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

Well played aussies..Clarke at his best and Hussey in his usual self as Mr.Cricketer..Special praise to Cowan. Hope aussies will declare once Hussey reaches 100

Posted by Unomaas on (November 12, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

@Bonehead_maz on (November 12 2012, 12:23 PM GMT) - Yes agreed that we most probably won't get through the overs. Mostly due to Saffa all pace attack. Another disadvantage of not playing a spinner in your team. Right royal balls up from Smith + Kirsten. 1 more day to go and then I can say good riddance to this test. Bring on Adelaide!

Posted by Spelele on (November 12, 2012, 15:10 GMT)

@meursault on (November 12 2012, 13:38 PM GMT): Did you watch the match? I am talking about a delivery which was bowled by Philander and nicked (on the outside edge!) by Clarke. I am not talking about the inside edge off Morkel! Nobody has mentioned it for some reason. Otherwise, I think we agree on the poor level of umpiring so far.

@Bonehead_maz on (November 12 2012, 12:32 PM GMT): the difference between the two sets of decisions that you are referring to is that no basis existed for the denial of the SA decisions (Clarke clearly nicked it, and the Cowan no-ball was a shocker!). However, with both Amla and Peterson, the decisions fell within the so-called 'umpires call'. Whether 'umpire's call' is in fact a suitable aspect of DRS is of course another topic altogether.

And when was Kallis given a reprieve on the basis of an incorrectly called no-ball? Siddle had clearly bowled a no-ball! On the other hand, the Cowan 'no ball' was non-existent! The two are NOT the same!

Posted by yorkshirematt on (November 12, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

@Ross_Co I can't help thinking of the scottish football club Ross County FC when I see your moniker. Are you their one and only Australian supporter?

Posted by SnowSnake on (November 12, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

I think one thing that needs to be investigate is quality of umpiring when DRS is put in place. It seems that umpires are not taking their jobs seriously when DRS is present as a fall back. Umpires are more lax and are shifting the risk of decision quality on to the playing teams. Umpiring is one thing cricket as a sport could not get right for over a century.

Posted by Ross_Co on (November 12, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

@reality_check27 - You know, there are quite a few things that Aus & SA have in common that certain other cricketing nations don't have - we both supply the 'England' team with players; we usually fight like hell to the last ball; we don't ever prepare pitches according to instructions from on high; & lately, whenever the opposition scores runs, it's apparently due to their skill/our incompetence but whenever we score runs its due to the pitch. The Saffas copped this nonsense in the first test in England & now its Aus's turn to cop it here. The great 'England' batting line up you allude to has, in it's last 4 series, been whitewashed by Pakistan; scrambled a draw against SL; barely got across the line against WI and were saved by the weather from another whitewash against SA. What will it take for you to engage in your own Reality Check - 'England' defeated by the Bangladesh Under Sixteens?

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 12, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

Just a big story of luck here from the Aussies, Got away with drops, no-ball wickets, got a day's rain break to re-group and got a decent batsman/south africa's 'spinner' for the test sidelined, putting them down to 10 men!

Fair play though they performed well and took their chances, in the form Clarke has been in this year, he's one to not miss his wicket! Seems like SA are determined to lose this one.

Posted by henchart on (November 12, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

Clarke can declare overnight and go for the kill but not with Pattinson,Siddle and Ben but with Warne ,Lee and McGrath.Unfortunately the Warne,Lee and McGrath have retired.Draw on a dodo is what is going to happen.

Posted by Agila on (November 12, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

Looks like a good batting track, where the batsmen who applied themselves scored! Have to say its a good bowling display by Ozs followed by some great batting. The draw seems imminent at this point.

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 12, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

also i love how i was 100% correct about philander. hasnt taken a wicket since hes been here haha. hes had an amazing start to his test career in the first couple of matches but you judge a player on observation not on the stats. qualitative measures not quantitative.

Posted by iluvtest on (November 12, 2012, 14:38 GMT)

What sort of pitch one would expect Australia prepare for the series when they know they will be facing the strongest pace bowling attack?I am not surprised. If it happened elsewhere people will be crying from rooftops. Double standards. They preach everybody about sporting pitches etc. and when they have to face the music they resort to such tricks. I won't be surprised if the rest of the matches also get similar tracks.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (November 12, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

OOPs Its already day 4. then a draw is likely

Posted by first_slip on (November 12, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

@only_sachin, look who is Complaining about Flt Tracks, Indian Supporter, lol

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 12, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

so SA did this to england, australia do this to SA. can you imagine what Aus are going to do to england next year? holy moly. brilliant from cowan, one of the most fluent, faultless and dominating innings you will ever see and clarke well what can you say about him, he is a true great and has been the best cricketer in the world for the last year easily and its exciting that he has a chance to lead one of the great teams in the coming years. ps, mike hussey aint a bad player also haha

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (November 12, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

6 wickets in hand and add 150 more on board, Stage set for perfect choking. Sorry SA. I admire you a lot but you some how end up as a mediocre side in the final stages on big occasions.This has been the case for long time . Has there been any case in the last decade where SA bounced back with a deficit of around 200 but went on to win.I think NOT. If Aus gets 200 lead then SA will definitely try for a draw and in the process choke again.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

notice we cant comment on the greg ritchie BS. what is this world coming too when we react to this. i was listening to his speach and heard him say the same speach about 7 years ago. My my my how this world has changed. full of do gooders trying to suck up to who knows. i would rather pay $500 to listen to ritchie then pay $50 to get kicked out of a gabba test match because i participated in hitting a beach ball in the air. Cricket SUCKS

Posted by SnowSnake on (November 12, 2012, 14:20 GMT)

SA ain't winning a single test from here on out. It can say good bye to its #1 test rank. Weakest #1 ever. Most likely it will be 500 for four and that too batting on 4/5th day. Australia is on its way to #1 and it deserves it. SA can't score over 3.3 rpo strike rate, so it is hardly a superior test team. Just look at strike rates of Australia, losing India and England. They are all superior to SA's less than 3 rpo. Amala and Kallis do score a lot of run but score very slowly. Overall SA's batting is not aggressive enough. Philander is useless--he looks good because he has not yet played all over the world. Steyn is on decline. Morkel is the only good bowler SA has.

Posted by Basil777 on (November 12, 2012, 14:18 GMT)

There were two crucial decisions the umpires got wrong in this match the Amla dismissal and the Cowen dismissal when Aus was on 40/3. It realy becomes frustrating for me as an avid test cricket supporter. The umpiring spoils the game we will have no results because of them.

Posted by Ross_Co on (November 12, 2012, 14:13 GMT)

No-one seems to have caught that SA was short on the over rate & Smith is on his last warning. Not that I am recommending but if Oz were to declare overnight Smith couldn't play in Adelaide. Even if Oz don't declare, Smith may not get the over rate up enough to avoid suspension.

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (November 12, 2012, 13:56 GMT)

@Hammond. I just need to clear up the proper definition of a 'Dead Rubber". People tend to think it specifically defines a match in a set of matches that has no consequence to the final results. However, there is a more general definition than that, usually a dead rubber would refer to a poorly functioning or failed contraceptive, the inconsequential result being yourself of RedNWhiteArmy.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

Well again, I only got to see a limited amount of play today, in the afternoon session. It seemed to me that big Morne could have taken just as many wickets as he'd have likied to, had he been able to find the correct length. But he was either too full and getting hit for four or too short and missing the bat by six inches..... The question is, can the Aussies finish it off? I'd certainly give them a chance if they can bowl to their very best.....@Hammond, i thought you were "waiting for Australia to plumb the depths of mediocrity and the retirement of Ricky Ponting", or thereabouts before you'd make any positive comments towards them? Have you decided that they've already been to the bottom and that Ricky is about to exit?

Posted by Gordo85 on (November 12, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

I think the worst thing a cricket team can get is complacent and this may happen with the Aussies on the final day. I am not saying it is all over and South Africa are going to fold out cheaply in the second dig. South Africa even though they are one man down still can bat all the way down to Morne who is basicly a bunny.

Posted by reality_check27 on (November 12, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

what nonsense all the aussie fans are saying this not a flat track it is a flat track even this article says that and there is nothing in this track thats what commentators say as well well if some aussie fans think they know better than formal players then they should be in the playing 11 right now dont waste time commenting here. And to say that the world best attck cant even get a wicket in the entire day apart from those no balls is so strange england batsmen are better than australia even they couldnt bat well against south africa this australian batting line is not even close to english batting line this track is flat and the reson why australia is preparing these kind of tracks is so that they can atleast draw the series its better than losing at home twice to the same team

Posted by meursault on (November 12, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

@Spelele: The Clarke inside-edge you were talking about was correctly called a no-ball on the spot (that's why de Villiers stifled his appeal and looked frustrated). Surely you're not asking a batsman to go walking on a no-ball and let the opposition run him out!

But yes, the umpiring has been terrible all match and deserves more attention. There have been hardly any appeals, yet the umpires seem to have got most wrong. Some looked plumb live (like Peterson's toe) and weren't given then saved by technicalities and strange recent rule changes, others looked doubtful and were given (like Amla). The worst umpiring was Cowan late on the third day when the umpire missed the glove down leg side that all the South Africans saw AND the no-ball that ultimately saved him. What would have happened if he'd been given by the ump (as he should have been) and not referred it (as he wouldn't have because he hit it). Very dodge. Time to give the umpires smartphone sized displays with replays.

Posted by Jester01 on (November 12, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

Well played Australia… They reacted well to the pressure. JP's injury & Tahir's exclusion is costing us dearly. Kleinveldt's inclusion was brave but it was the wrong decision. His test career is probably over. We missed Tahir/Robin Peterson. This test is heading for a draw. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series though.

Posted by nilesh91 on (November 12, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

Well played Clarke. Its clear now that "Ponting was good captain of Great team" n "Clarke is Great captain of good team".

Posted by ScottStevo on (November 12, 2012, 13:24 GMT)

What a fantastic innings by Cowan. Clarke had his fair share of chances, but as Mark Nicholas pointed out, SA had their fair share on Day1 too.

@TommyTuckerSaffa, what was it you were saying about pop-gun attacks again? Oh, now the curator is at fault? Typical SA, loads of big talk backed with mediocre performances. It's the reason why SA have been number 2 & 3 for so, so long...

Posted by Sobhan_Sachinfan on (November 12, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

This is a 3 test series. the first test is almost going to be a draw unless a last day miracle happens. You know what, I really love to watch test matches played in Australia and England countries. There is some unknown "charm" when matches are played there. I wish the forthcoming matches are more hardly fought and yield result.

Posted by Sobhan_Sachinfan on (November 12, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

@ Hammond!! Agreed with you mate about 'Dead rubber'. I missed typing' equivalent to' dead rubber...I mean this test may be draw out of 90% chance.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

the worst decision sa made to go without tahir. hw many overs would he have bowled and that googly would have nipped at least 3 wickets,this kleinveld guy youngstars like him should given games in sa were they are accustomed to their favourable wickets stil agree that if sa are require to shut the shop will do with ease,but ab devilliers need a big inninings in this series tired of him just scoring 40 s and going out

Posted by Coolgye on (November 12, 2012, 13:00 GMT)

Awesome fight from the Aussies but it's more likely to be a draw match. Aussies should get a lead of about 150+ and declare letting the SA to do something in order to win the match. I can't say anything in particular but its more likely to be a draw.

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 12, 2012, 12:56 GMT)

never knew there was so many aussies fans thought i had pressed a story on india, but there you go. even hammond seems to be going a bit soft hes not a pom now. and neither randyoz/joneys2 doing their impresion of the 12th man. maybe as they are in the uk so maybe not caught up yet

Posted by 64blip on (November 12, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

Well played Clarke and Cowan, sounds like a good days cricket. Shame some of the Aussie posters were dismissing the pitch as a road when SA were batting, kind of takes the shine off their own boy's performance.

Posted by nayonika on (November 12, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

Watching Cowan walking down even as the bowler was starting to land on the crease brought memories of India's K.Srikanth walking down and away from the crease and getting run out in a test match against England. It was quite funny and humourous to see Srikanth walk away with a sheepish smile on his face.

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 12, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

great knock by cowan shows what an opener should do, warner take note.

Posted by Loki1973 on (November 12, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

Dennis Lillee once wrote that the perfect test pitch would give the seamers some assistance on day 1, be good for batting days 2 and 3 and then deteriorate offering the spinners some assistance on day5. This sounds like a good pitch. I don't think Amla, Kallis, Cowan and Clarke are getting the credit they deserve. Clarke has batted for over 8 hours for christs sake. The fact that wickets have fallen in batches says that it is a pitch you need to really concentrate on and make the most of your chances. It is definitely not flat, as Morne Morkel proved today with a couple of brilliant spells, however the SA team did not take their chances today and Aus were not patient enough day 1. The only negative from this game is the attitude of both captains in the field. They should forget about conserving runs so much and stick with attacking fields. Cant wait to see how this pans out tomorrow!

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

SA would have been deadly in Hobart because Philander & Steyn really swing the ball well. Ah, well. Perth will suit Morkel.

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

@ Spelele on (November 12 2012, 11:59 AM GMT) I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the relatively poor umpiring in this game. Clarke was clearly OUT to Philander just after tea! I wonder how Bowden, who has already made a few blunders, didn't hear such a clear edge."

It'been absolutely appalling! However seeing Amla was out on zero and if called correctly any DRS would have still said out, and Petersen likewise in the 40's, is probably just evening up (as usually does) ? Glad to also see that the two uncalled no balls when Kallis and Cowan out allowed BOTH to score an extra hundred (again evening up)....... :)

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

Seeing Hussey in full flight, without having to worry about saving the innings, is a beautiful thing to see! That being said, let's not do what we accused the SA supporters of and get too full of ourselves about one innings!! We'll probably only have SA a couple down tomorrow afternoon before Kallis steadies the ship for a draw. Wish there was a full 5 days to get a result!

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 12, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

@ Marcio.... disagree with you about declaration (although was saying yesterday to declare 100 behind at tea). With these two in and Wade to come should go for it after say 4 overs settling in when wickets fall and runs dry up pull plug then ? Picking Warner and Quiney in top three may be a master stroke if there becomes a dash at the end :)

@ Unomaas + @ disco_bob - we are only getting half hour at start each day extra..... the half hour at end is an attempt to get G Smith not banned for slow over rates and has been used both days in that attempt @ Gizza - a third bad reason above..... @Shaggy076 "The over-rate from South Africa has been attrocious and who is going to replace Graham Smith in the team for the second test." Very good question - been wondering myself !

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (November 12, 2012, 12:22 GMT)

@RAJESH GORILLA 420,philander resembles so much to indian players in terms of ability i.e way too much over.ratd lolz

Posted by SLAZV600 on (November 12, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

Superb display from Clarke, Cowan and Hussey. Although i'm a Pom and neutral i must admit i had a big smile on my face when confronted with the scorecard after reading all the naff comments predicting the result so early. All 3 results still possible, Aussies in box seat.

Posted by Spelele on (November 12, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

With Adelaide also certain to be dead flat (albeit with a bit of spin later on), I have to say that I am very disappointed at the state of test match pitches in Australia; especially for this kind of a series which comes so rarely! All the hype before the series seems very misplaced now.

I know that some have pointed out that a day was lost, but I reckon that even without the rain, this would have been a draw. I doubt that SA would have been bowled out for 450 in the first dig (see the attacking shots played by most of our batsmen to get themselves out while trying to move the game forward). The best we can do is to leave the ifs and buts out of the analysis. The FACT is that the pitch looks benign, and a result seems too remote.

The most disappointing part is that we all know for a fact that more lively pitches are being prepared for Shield cricket. Why not for tests?

Having said that, I think today's events puts the Australian bowling performance into perspective.

Posted by Spelele on (November 12, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

With Adelaide also certain to be dead flat (albeit with a bit of spin later on), I have to say that I am very disappointed at the state of test match pitches in Australia; especially for this kind of a series which comes so rarely! All the hype before the series seems very misplaced now.

I know that some have pointed out that a day was lost, but I reckon that even without the rain, this would have been a draw. I doubt that SA would have been bowled out for 450 in the first dig (see the attacking shots played by most of our batsmen to get themselves out while trying to move the game forward). The best we can do is to leave the ifs and buts out of the analysis. The FACT is that the pitch looks benign, and a result seems too remote.

The most disappointing part is that we all know for a fact that more lively pitches are being prepared for Shield cricket. Why not for tests?

Having said that, I think today's events puts the Australian bowling performance into perspective.

Posted by Dubious on (November 12, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

But jb633, Australian pitches produce the highest proportion of results anywhere in the world.

Posted by pat_one_back on (November 12, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

@Haleos, India were indeed schooled, it was less than a year ago I'm surprised to have to remind. 4-0 comprehensively out batted, bowled, fielded, once great batsmen reduced to retirement or close enough on the very hunting grounds they once feasted on. Sure Aust struggle on that sub-continental track. You know we had the better of Sri Lanka at home recently and they're tipped to play better than India last summer, all tho IPL we're getting better on them perhaps. Doubt we'd ever force a follow on over there again though!

Posted by heathrf1974 on (November 12, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

@Hammond Miracles can happen.

Posted by Hammond on (November 12, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

@Ross_Co- you can guarantee that Clarke won't be as confident as that when he tours over there next June, just as Ponting so emphatically found out, not respecting a strong England line up loses ashes series :)

Posted by Hammond on (November 12, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

@Sobhan_Sachinfan- "dead rubber" actually means a test where the series has already been decided. Just so you know. If you mean " most likely to be a draw" then I disagree, I think if Australia get 150 ahead then the saffers may choke..

Posted by Backyard Barnstormers on (November 12, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

You can tell all the people that havent watched the match at all. Their the ones talking about flat track pitches as the reason why so many runs are scored. Those that watched have seen the wickets that were their for the taking but for the no-balls bowled or the dropped catches which would of dropped the score down alot. Before some of you guys open your mouth have a look at your own country and when your pitches get to the standard that Aust, SA, pitches are that vary as you move round the country not all the same as some countries then you can comment on their pitches....

Posted by Spelele on (November 12, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the relatively poor umpiring in this game. Clarke was clearly OUT to Philander just after tea! I wonder how Bowden, who has already made a few blunders, didn't hear such a clear edge.

Clarke is a beautiful batsman, and I've always loved him! However, he should have walked today. To stand there pretending that he didn't edge it was awful! And why was the third umpire not provided with a 'zoomed' angle on hotspot in order to make a decision? That angle clearly revealed a nick! You have to admit that some calls went against SA today.

All in all though, I have to congratulate the Aussies for taking their chances (especially Cowan and Clarke). SA got it plainly wrong with their selection. I actually think this was a good experience for our bowlers. It's allowed a lot of them to get overs under their belt. I hope for a sporting declaration from Clarke as always so that our batsmen get tested a bit.

It will be an uncomfortable few sessions :)

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

Aus can win, i was still predicting it whrn AUS were 3 down :)

Posted by jb633 on (November 12, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

I thought immediatley that SA would regret not playing a spinner and I have been proved absolutley spot on. I must say considering all the negative press that Clarke and the Aussie boys have done brilliantly to carve out the position they are in. I must say however that this pitch has been dreadful. There has been nothing in it for anyone, no pace, seam spin and the game has provided zero entertainment. I think if the ICC are keen to investigate pitches in Sri Lanka and New Zeland that are too bowler friendly, they should also investigate pitches that are made completley lifeless. It is not just in Australia but in England and India too. There was a long period that Lords was producing drawn match afer drawn match but the ICC were to scared to say anything about it. Test cricket certainly does not need pitches like this if it is to survive in the current climate. We need result wickets the world over, at the end of the day that is what is entertaining.

Posted by cricketcarl on (November 12, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

amazing game, morkel to hussey, 4 balls of the over beat the batsman all ends up, had no answer for them, other two balls of the over, put away crisply to the boundry, i love this game!!!

Posted by Ross_Co on (November 12, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

@Hammond - you're dreaming. 'England' aren't fighting over the number 1 spot - they're battling to to stay in the top 5. This has been obvious to any neutral observer from the moment Pakistan went 1 test up. The comedy capers which ensued thereafter were enlivened by the excuses and denial which followed but really, when are you people going to get it - you just aren't in the same league.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 12, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

Trivia question for Lewis_of_Macksville......... Other than Hughes what other opener for Australia came from Macksville, who did he replace and where and when did he debut ? Just wondering if you know :)

Posted by Sobhan_Sachinfan on (November 12, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

Well played Australia batters. Now this test is a Dead Rubber; Someone suggested earlier Subcontinental Pitches are not good for tests coz they are batting paradises. Now what happened to Australian pitches????

Posted by dms1972 on (November 12, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

@Stephen Axtell, I bet you were one of the people predicting an innings defeat for Australia after Day 3

Posted by Mary_786 on (November 12, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

@Lewis_of_Macksville you are kidding me right mate, give credit where its due, there was good batting today, you can't deny that. And after that innings I wouldn't sing Hughes praises as Cowan looked better then him today

Posted by KhanMitch on (November 12, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

Fantastic work by Clarke and Cowan, go the Aussies

Posted by Jedi029 on (November 12, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

All the haters out there complaining about the pitch, whatever happened to bowling a good line and length? Even on a 'road' if you bowl a good line and length you can still take wickets, create pressure or at the least improve your bowling economy. SA had a bad day with the ball and the pitch is bad for bowling but batsmen get themselves out too. The way I see you can look at today's play from three ways: 1. The pitch did a little bit (emphasis on little) for the bowlers but was still a batsmen's paradise 2. SA had an off day bowling and fielding but didn't get much luck (Hussey's plays&misses vs Morkel, Cowan dropped in the 120's) 3. Australia's batsmen showed supreme concentration not to throw their wickets away and to punish deliveries that were fractionally too full or too short

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

Funny, exactly 100 years ago the 3 members of the Imperial Cricket Conference (Eng, Aus, SA) were meeting to discuss the results and future games to be played of the Triangular Tournament which was to work out the best test team in the world (the original test championship if you will). Unfortunately WWI intervened. Now you have the modern ICC, but the same 3 original members of the original ICC are fighting over the number one test spot. It truly is a strange coincidence that we have come full circle only to arrive at the very same spot.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

C'mon Clarkey, make a game of it and declare before lunch. Pity we don't have a Shane Warne to run amok on a last day turner.

Posted by Wasim_Wasamadroota on (November 12, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

Australia owe a debt of gratitude to Alistair Cook and Co. who 2 years ago showed mental strength and application by grinding the Australian bowlers into the ground.. It was the wake up call Australia needed and reminded them of the commitment required to be the best. Australia may not have the natural talent it had through the 90's and early 2000's but they play test cricket in a positive manner where other teams may meander along hoping not to lose. At 3 for 370 odd SA were travelling at only 3 an over with no sign of acceleration - they desperately need to shed their conservative nature and begin to attack games.

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (November 12, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

From 40/3 to 487/4, and that too against the undisputed best attack in the world (SA were however silly to have left out spin on a docile pitch),.....wow! Australia may be down but never out! PAKISTAN TAKE NOTE!

Posted by Dangertroy on (November 12, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

Congratulations to Ed Cowan, hopefully some pundits will get off your back now. I hope you back it up with some more runs this series to really seal your spot and help settle our top order. Here hoping for an exciting finish, although part of me is hoping for a close draw, it would feel a little hollow to record a win with South Africa a man down.

Posted by dunger.bob on (November 12, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

@ RednWhiteArmy: Actually most people in Australia have got jobs to go to. That's probably where they were. @ only-sachin: you think this is flat. Wait till you get a load of Adelaide. I'd even back India to get 200 or so there. The Saffers should get about 600 in their first dig though. Also, didn't 10 wickets fall yesterday ? Can't be a total road. @ Meety.: yeah, its a 3rd day pitch. It's supposed to be good for batting. Besides, SA had their chances. Clarke was lucky, twice. I think they created enough chances to have made some in-roads, but they managed to fluff them all. ... with 6 wickets in the shed and a lead of 30 or so, Australia definitely has the upper hand. Hell, they could even win the game from here if the cricket gods are smiling on them. What chance a 6 for from Lyon ? .. a lot has been said about the slow run rate from SA. Has anyone considered that the Aussie bowling was the main cause, not because the Saffers are a bit stodgy.

Posted by hmmmmm... on (November 12, 2012, 10:41 GMT)

There is a big difference in the way that south africa batted and australia batted in this test - intent and purpose. Amla and Kallis are great bats and batted well in the first innings, but SA batted slowly throughout and then wasted countless overs on the third day for not much...For Australia, Clarke and Cowan built quickly to close the gap after the quick wickets, then cruised to establish the platform and see off the follow on and finally clarke, with the ever reliable mr cricke,t turned on the gas and pounded the bowling in the last session. This is now set up for an aggresive declaration just before/after lunch and then see if SA can handle the pressure. They may not succeed but what it does show is that they are willing to win at risk of losing, I doubt Smith would declare without being totally safe. Imagine what we could do if our lineup was as strong as the Saffas'!

Posted by Chark_attack on (November 12, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

@Andy Duchenne have you ever acctually done any reserch its quiet commen thing to do http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284248.html

Posted by Marcio on (November 12, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

Actually, Australia's best chance of a win is to declare overnight, and go at the SA batsmen first thing in the morning. He might well do it. On the other hand grinding the SA attack further into the ground might well be a psychological advantage for the rest of the series. I do agree the wicket has been flat, esp on day one, when you expect plenty of movement at the Gabba (but it has a history of flattening out by day 3). However it has to be said batsmen from both teams had a lot of luck in this game, not just Clarke/Cowan - how many of the numerous SA snicks went to slips fielders/keeper in the 1st 4 sessions - none! But the luck has evened out, as it tends to do. Agree SA will be tough to beat though - here or in tests 2/3.

Posted by mondotv on (November 12, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

Congratulations to Clarke and Cowan. Hussey also for adding real impetus to the push to set a target. Like others I do see a marked difference between the 2 Captains approach. My only real criticisms of Clarke was how quickly he pulled out his 3rd slip for the 2nd new ball and not selecting Starc. Somehow the tall rangy left hander has to play - probably Hilfenhaus has to miss in Adelaide though on his day he's the best swinging seamer in Aus.

Why SA failed to select Imran Tahir in Brisbane where Shane Warne always went so well is a complete puzzle - instead they elected to go with 4 quicks purely to get a longer batting lineup.And then 3 runs an over when they were so on top on Day1and 3 is just strange. Contrast that to the Aussies going at nearly 4.

SA can still win this series - they're a very talented team who match up very well against the Aussies, beating them for experience and firepower. But first SA will have to save this match..

Posted by No_1_again on (November 12, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

@Haleos not against England though! Remember 300 and 197

Posted by Moppa on (November 12, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

@Hammond, the nationality change may be virtual, but I really can't reconcile your past comments and your comments today, particularly the first one... On the cricket and particularly the pitch, it was a bit slow on day 1 and needed some sunshine to dry out and quicken up. As it was, it was still a touch slow today, which favoured Oz - but with the Kallis no-ball dismissal on day 1 and Clarke's lucky top edges early today, the match could easily have turned out quite different. So I wouldn't blame the pitch (I could score 100 on it blah blah yeah right). As @Meety says, with an extra day of cricket to go, the match would be perfectly poised. I think Australia will declare 120 in front and try to make SAf sweat, but it will be a draw. As we saw in England, teams can bounce back from bad bowling efforts (and that is the only way to describe SAf today) to be very competitive in subsequent Tests. Blank slate and 0-0 in Adelaide with all to play for!

Posted by Proteas-13thman on (November 12, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

Well done Clarke~! South African team selection has been poor. THIS KLIENVELD SUCKS~!!! He can't even bowl~!! the proteas have had the problem of giving away extra's since the tour to England so no surprise there. Steyn is still the best. Obviously the next match will be a pitch that turns to once again negate steyns ability. Sorry lads but steyn is still the best considering he has been bowling on FLAT pitches everywhere he goes. I truelly believe if it had been day three Sa would have posted a lot more since Kallis and Amla lost their wickets trying to score quickly. As a proteas supporter i am dissapointed but as a cricket lover I am glad to see Australia back and fighting

Posted by Shaggy076 on (November 12, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

On day one when South Africa were 2/250 the media and many people on here were saying that the Aussie bowling attack was ordinary. Day 2 when the Aussies took 7/200 and the Aussies were 3/40 then everyone said it was proof that there was something in this track and that the aussies bowled poorly on day one. No mention of how well they bowled on day 2. Now day 3 and aussies score 1/370 and the only talk is this is a flat wicket. There is so much inconsistency in the reporting of this game and the comments here. Great effort Australia. If South Africa werent 20 overs shy of what they were expected to bowl in the last two days the Aussies would be 150 ahead and about to set the South Africans a tough last day. As it stands should push for 200 ahead by lunch and get around 70 overs at the South Africans. The over-rate from South Africa has been attrocious and who is going to replace Graham Smith in the team for the second test.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (November 12, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Kevin Mitchell Jnr, terrible pitch, test cricket will die with pitches like these, Cowan got a century only because the pitch was lifeless, Hughes for me gets runs in tough conditions, not Cowan.

Posted by Mary_786 on (November 12, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

Fantastic batting by Clarke and Cowan, i loved the sight of Clarke's grand dad in the stands as shown on tv, it was a great moment to see his happiness when his grandson got the double century, brilliant.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

It is the good and bad of test cricket, Australia batted well and we bowled rather poorly, these happen for and against you from time to time, the real character is bouncing back, which we have tomorrow and/or the rest of the series.

I refuse to get into an "if it didn't rain" "if the pitch didn't dry up", "if Duminy didn't get injured", "if this and that happened", fact is it didn't so one cannot change that. I think this is the poorest we have bowled since the Kolkata test a year or so back, the pitch then was also very placid and the Indians carted our bowling to all parts. I do say though the nature of this deck has changed, days 1 (sort of 2) and 3 were very greeny and quite zippy and sharp, today for the first time the pitch does look rather dry now so its about discipline sadly we were lacking that.

Posted by Slysta on (November 12, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Great day for the Aussies. Might be a flat pitch, but you still have to bat well, and we did. And how good was it to see some positive cricket, after that rubbish South Africa put up the afternoon of Day 3?

Yeah, flat pitch, but couldn't conceal how awful the Protea pacemen were - much worse than the Australians were on Day 1. Obviously they'll have better days, but hopefully some confidence for the Australian batsmen to take forward from this game. Morkel has hung tough and been both impressive and unlucky. But Steyn is human after all (he has been no quicker or better than Pattinson on this wicket), and it might be a long tour for Philander, who can expect more of the same in Adelaide. Kleinveldt was always a dodgy selection - the South Africans are blessed to have a Test-quality legspinner, and to omit him on Warne's best ground still staggers me 3.5 days later, Duminy or no Duminy.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (November 12, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Cowan got lucky, he was out on 47, got dropped after his 100 and his technique of backing up is terrible which eventually lead to his dismissal. Lastly this pitch is a joke, the bowlers can't get anything out of it, and makes for a boring game. Cowan would not get a century if the pitch had some life. Hughes for me still a better opening option.

Posted by Mervo on (November 12, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

How much better a player is Kallis than Tendulkar? He is simple amazing even at this stage of his career, when Tendulkar is playing on memory with so few high scores. And then there is the little matter of Kalli's 280 wickets as a pace bowler. He is so far out in front it does not matter.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 12, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

@Nuristani how can you say SA are 'still on top' when the only team that can win from here is Australia? How is 450 all out, better than 487/4 ? I'll be looking forward to your explanation.

Posted by CutHis_ArminHalf on (November 12, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

Well done Australia. I don't think too much can be read into this test if it ends in a draw as expected. Very disappointing we lost a day it could have been a great day 4 and 5.

so what have we learnt? Nothing new I would say.

Smith is inclined to assume a draw is imminent too early perhaps and this rubs off on his team. I expect a much better performance when they are going for a result next test.

Clarke never assumes a draw and is always going for the win but unfortunately, disaster is just around the corner if the middle order have a bad day as Australia are still starting every test at 50/3 (or lesss!). fix that and australia could be dominant. Just imagine a team where you combined the top 3 from either SA, ENG or India with australias middle order. One can dream!

Posted by Wozza-CY on (November 12, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

For all those knocking the pitch, many of the commentators were very excited by the look of this pitch day one & none other than Barry Richards said it was a 'result pitch'. The SA attack miss some variety & it's hard to imagine Tahir not taking wickets here. In fairness to Smith, he had Duminy in the team & I'm sure he had him pencilled in to bowl quite a few overs of his handy offies. When you have a seamer like Kallis, it was a strange decision to leave Tahir out. Delighted for Cowan & hope he kicks on from here. Clarke has been enormous.

Posted by milesy100 on (November 12, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

Well done Clarke & Cowan & Hussey. They kept out the worlds best bowling attack very easily. Mind you, i'm sure Tendulkar could have done even better!!(satire)

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

if aust can get 150 in front aust should put s.a under psychological pressure they are a batatsmen short .still should be a draw though.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 12, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

Having (uselessly) commented on what happened today (and past 3), I'd Like to congratulate Ed Cowan and perhaps even more John John Inverarity.

No-one ever made Aus U 19's who had no cricketing talent, but Cowan went "missing"for several years getting a law degree and a masters too.

The current Aust selection panel, unlike any of us get to meet and discuss cricket with thes people and it's clear they have been impressed with Cowan the man. Hardly surprising that someone smarter and more dedicated than most will eventually succeed ?

The sad part about being in a position as we are is we don't either play with against or know the people concerned...... to have opinions an anything in cricket based on only the twaddle written and the few chances we get to see them play is literally moronic.

Well done ED and about time ;) Congrats ! Ohh and Clarkey ... 3 x 200 in a calendar year..... reminds me of what I thought your second first grade game :)

Posted by vj_gooner on (November 12, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

Pup is showing real class!

Posted by disco_bob on (November 12, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy on (November 12 2012, 09:19 AM GMT) Isn't it amazing how you didn't think it was a cakewalk when the last 7 SA wickets fell for 200 but when the Saffers can't take a single wicket on the same pitch in a day, it magically turns into a 'road'.

One minute the Aussie bowlers are pathetic because they allow SA to make a massive 450 all out, (not a road then, of course just bad bowling). But again when the World's Greatest Attack™ are spanked for 487/4 suddenly it's a 'road' again. Are you able to see a pattern here?

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (November 12, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

It's true that the Aussies plundered runs on the flat deck, but 'twas only slightly better to bat on than what was on offer to SA.

Lots of no balls and no wickets for the "worlds best attack". Maybe they were tired from plundering "Fortress England"? Or is it just that Philander and Kleinveldt are truly average bowlers.

Smith's captaincy was surprisingly negative today - I remember him being quite aggressive in the past. I think when the Aussies passed the follow on with 7 wickets in hand, he appeared to set a field for a draw. SA could have had Clarke back in the shed now with some more assertive captaincy.

Knowing Clarke's style, I'm sure he will declare around lunch. I think if the Aussies can get Smith, Amla and Kallis cheaply there'll surely be some jitters in the SA camp. Regrettably, a draw is by far the most likely result.

Posted by Hammond on (November 12, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

Still a bit dumfounded. I never thought the pitch was a road, despite what Aussie supporters said after day 1 & 2. Anyone from all cricket countries would have to congratulate such an effort against such a good attack, firstly the extra aggressive Cowan and then sublime technique from Clarke. They did what England patently could not do. Don't know if they (Australia) are ready for number 1 just yet, but that "aura" that everyone used to talk about is firmly back with the baggy green.

Posted by moase on (November 12, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

Great job again by Clarkey today - 1000 runs this year at 111, not too shabby.

Whilst I'm not disputing Steyn is the best bowler in the world, a look at his stats this year show he's not in the greatest form: 28 wickets at an ave. of 32 with a SR of 64 is decidely average. Hilfy has 4 more wickets than Steyn this year from one less match, at an ave. less than 20 and a SR less than 50. Morne Morkel: 26 wickets at an ave. of 33 with a SR of 64. Again average. Philander is the only bowler who has had a standout year (39 at ave. of 20, SR of 44), and he looked to be struggling in Aus - should do better in Perth but doubtful in Adelaide.

It could be argued that the SA bowling attack is not as great as it's being made out to be on current form, and certainly not one of the best of all time as Allan Donald would have us believe.

Posted by camcove on (November 12, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

Congratulations, Daniel, on a beautifully crafted article. It is fitting on the day when this much criticised opener, Edward Cowan (as we heard him called by his proud father on ABC radio), scored his maiden Test century that the description on this site of the events of the day should be so eloquent. It is indeed poignant that it is a year to the day since the death of PR. (I find it amazing that the year has gone so quickly)! Cowan and Clarke were mighty impressive, as was Hussey. Amid the misery for bowlers on both sides, Morkel remained dangerous. He and Steyn are wonderful bowlers.

Posted by CustomKid on (November 12, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

Ive been a critic of clarke of some time. More so by his inability to dig his team out of hole rather than his social life. Wow a transformation since taking on the role of skipper. He really need to move up to 3. All his tons in the last 12 months the team has been 3 for not many so I guess that is essentially coming in at 3 lol. I tip my hat to him, he has been a great leader for this team and is in sublime form.

Congratulations to Ed Cowen, brilliant knock and Mr Cricket well he's Mr Cricket. A flat pitch sure but a shame we've lost a day due to rain. It could well have been a result if day 2 wasn't lost.

Adelaide will be interesting but I think a draw the most likely result. Then if all boils down to the WACA where the fast men will be licking their lips. Should be a very interesting result. Looking forward to getting on down to adelaide oval next week! Keep grinding them down Aussies.

Posted by Marktc on (November 12, 2012, 9:43 GMT)

Let's face it, the pitch was not as fiery as it was made out to be before the pitch. Oz came back well. We can speculate all we want about the washed out day, but anything could have happened. It could have been SA's day and they could have bowled Oz out cheaply, or conversely, Oz could have batted ell and posted a massive lead...we really cannot say. This test will head for a draw and will set up the stage for round two...Well done to Clarke though and badly done to the SA bowling attack for the 19 no balls. There really is no excuse. Think test two is going to be a steamer..

Posted by Haleos on (November 12, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

@ sawifan - agree completely. When the likes of Amla and Kallis score hundreds, draw would be a given in most circumstances.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

3 double centuries , and only the 3rd player in history to reach a 1000 runs in a calender year. Well done Pup!

Posted by Rock_cricket on (November 12, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

Treat to the test cricket fans. I support both the teams whenever they are not playing against india. really tough guys- both sides. all the best to both for the result and thanks for entertaining us all.

Posted by Hammond on (November 12, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

@Moppa, no nationality change mate, when did I ever say in the last 3 years of posting on this site that I was a pom?

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 12, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

Well well well... there's going to be a lot of sour grapes around now! I said yesterday you can't make any silly predictions when Clarke, Hussey (and maybe Cowan) are still there. Masterclass there from Clarke! Hats off sir. I don't think there's any justified excuses there for SA at all... simply just dominated on day 4. Well batted Aus.

Posted by Rajesh_india_1990 on (November 12, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

@mickymouseroy.paklover Pakistan bowlers are the best,pakistan batters are the best,pakistan team is the best team in the world,pakistan means spirit of cricket,spirit of cricket means pakistan..ALL HAIL PAKISTAN..Are you happy now?LOL

Posted by Unomaas on (November 12, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

@Meety on (November 12 2012, 09:00 AM GMT) - Techincally, not so correct. We are starting 30 minutes late and ending 30 minutes later meaning that we would have made up 3 hours which means that technically we would only have lost 3 hours of play for the whole test match. Thats 1.5 sessions. We can discuss the permutations until we both blue in the face but given the evidence so far, the likelihood of a result would be improbable.

Given the history that these 2 teams have, both Saffa's and Aussies have come to expect blood, sweat and carnage on the field with no quarter given or asked. Much was promised and implied before this match started. I'm thinking that most of us are thoroughly dissapointed.

Posted by Haleos on (November 12, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

@ Unomaas - without rain we would get a result. An aussie victory.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 12, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

Well played the Aus batsmen. I did say yesterday that Australia with Clarke still out there and Hussey still to arrive at the crease that it was highly unlikely SA would win in 2 days but I must admit I never thought they'd only have lost 1 wicket and ended the day in the lead. Clarke is a superb captain and leads by example. I don't know the stats but his batting form seems to have got better and better since he became captain. We are now in the situation where SA are probably more relieved that there is not enough time to produce a result. Quite funny how many fans were jumping on the bandwagon saying how woeful Australia are yesterday and quite telling the drop in comments when Australia are on top. Mind , I'm surprised not to see a couple of Oz cheerleaders on here lording it

Posted by Haleos on (November 12, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

@ pat_one_back - schooled India? Excuse me. Are you talking about India where ur team consistently finds it difficult to win even after making India follow on? Aussies are doing great at the moment but dont go over the moon. Let them play in the subcontinent and win consistently to have such high ego. Your team was not even able to beat pakistan with ordinary batting talent.

Posted by CricIndia208 on (November 12, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

Typical Asutralian road. These flat pitches are killing test cricket.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 12, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

Everyone seems to be forgetting that we have only lost 1/2 day this test as we have made up 1/2 day on the final three.

What does this result mean for Adelaide, now that the SA'ers have been shown to not have a heart when real work is required.

Also if the Aussie bowlers were a bit deflated after their first innings performance, they will now see it in context. This will make them much more dangerous, as they did a lot better than any of the SA'ers. I expect Pattinson to cause some real damage.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 12, 2012, 9:32 GMT)

To the Proteas' supporters here - true you had a bad day ....... in fact it's 3 bad days (imagine if Amla out for 0 ) and I agree you'll bounce back. You have never lost 2 games in a row - or won either since Duminy did it single handed for you.

Point is you never tried to win 2 in a row and are happy not to - therefore you'll always be second rate !!!! If there were any other decent teams around it'd be 3rd rate.

Cricket never changed - attitudes to it and expectations always do. This Australian side is pretty poor, the pitch is a good pitch. A result pitch in 5 days.

Trying not to win will usually mean you don't - you've been "winning" for 3 and a bit years by not winning. It's pathetic given talent in the squad !!! I am still waiting for a response to my saying it's pathetic that world's best team play for stats and are negative. I was chipped saying so yesterday and also day before.... no answer , but still pathetic.......

Posted by Hammond on (November 12, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy- one thing is for certain mate, there will be heaps more people there tomorrow to watch Australia on top! ;)

Posted by seniorgators on (November 12, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy There is no doubt about you Red. Australia scores 370 odd runs in a day for the loss of one and so you have to go looking for a negative OFF the field. Perhaps on a workday the average Aussie in Brisbane has a job to go to! Methinks you need to quit whilst you are only well behind.

Posted by Lara4life501 on (November 12, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

@Front-foot_Lunge-Great comment,the same can be said for some Australian fans being disparaging about England at every opportunity.Well said Mr Lunge!

Posted by stormy16 on (November 12, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

What a show by the Aussies and this is not against a pop-gun attack like the Indians last summer, this is the best in the world and the Aussies totally demolished it. Sure the surface was flat - I thought they only serve up flat wickets in Asia and thus runs made in Asia are somehow 'cheaper'? Regardless it was another master class from Clark and what form this guy has shown and great knock by Cowan to cement the opening spot for a while. SA will be stunned by that I reckon but thanks to the lost day it will be a honors even draw with 2 to play.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (November 12, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

@only_sachin-God help the miserable Ind team .Well 'god' himself is about to be finished -seems 70 kph 'medium pacers' are enough to knock back his pegs nowadays. Well...even God can't save Team India.....sad.

Posted by pat_one_back on (November 12, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

Don't be blaming the wicket, you loved it 3/40! SA then bowled poorly BY AUST STANDARDS and Aust batted marvellously!! Aussies bowled poorly Day 1 and recovered it and more yesterday &today, what great spirit! This match is set up for Aust now and if SA lose even just a few sticks for a save we'll all know (though too few will admit here) that Only rain could stop Aust from beating the Worlds No 1, the team that schooled India can outplay the team that schooled England and has now proven so more than once!

Posted by JG2704 on (November 12, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa on (November 12 2012, 07:52 AM GMT) You were happy enough when the SA batsmen were in command but now the Aus batsmen are on top it's different right?

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (November 12, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

What can one say about Pup....you beauty! Been an absolute pleasure to watch- absolute class personified and the runs just keep flowing.Won over fans all over the world with classic test batting-treat to watch. Waiting for the triple tommorow -make it large!! Best wishes from all.Also been doing a great job captaining the young Aussies and has a fantastic victory record to show for.Keep them coming...Def true greatness in the making -as batsman and captain.As for the tons ...Keep piling em on mate!!

Posted by Nuristani on (November 12, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

oops!! some people are just start talking. only looking at a day performance. let me clearify that , SA are still on top. I am sure this game is going to be draw. but be sure, SA is going to win this test seriese by 2-0 . They are on top. Come on SA. proteas rules

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (November 12, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

Shame that the groundsman was instructed to prepare a road. But then i guess a 0 - 0 series scoreline would be a massive result for the ausies

Posted by Akshita29 on (November 12, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

Plz don't blame the pitch . Its just a 4 day game now after 2nd day washout . You don't expect to beat a top team in 4 days. Whats wrong with SA and no balls . So many no balls . And well done to Australia and Cowan and clark and hussey .

Posted by Moppa on (November 12, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

Just thought I'd post some comments from yesterday's report so people can have a laugh. A prize for @Hammond for most dramatic nationality change in 24 hours: "Enjoyed watching the carnage today, shame I have to work tomorrow, still I can always listen to the wickets falling on the radio". @TommytuckerSaffa at least is still a Saffa today: "SA to beat Oz with 10 men in 4 days". @200ondebut: "Aussie fans need to accept that they will have to look at series against WI and Bangladesh for their wins". @maddy20: "The question is whether Aus can make SA bat again". @Milhouse79: "An innings defeat to a 10 man team is looming, although the Aussies must be used to that by now". And the best for last - @Front-Foot-Lunge: "Australia's slide continues... Yesterday, Australia continued their long and proud tradition of being saved by rain. Today. they continue their proud tradition of being thrashed in their own back yard, this time not by England as is par the course, but by South Africa."

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

How strange. Only a few months ago people were saying England couldn't possibly be No 1, because they went a whole day without taking a wicket...

Posted by sawifan on (November 12, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

To everyone commenting about the flat pitch, get a grip! Yes, it's the end of day 4 of the test, but really we have just finished the 3rd day of play. Rain has robbed this test of a result (probably), not the pitch. If this was stumps at Day 3, then a result would certainly still be very much on the cards! Why isn't anyone blaming SAF for their sub 3 rpo run-rate for helping taking a result away from this test. The AUS batting in the last hour proves they think they can sneak a win, and N. Lyon bowled very well here last year in the 3rd innings (albeit against NZL). Chances are still high for a draw, but stop blaming the pitch for a 4-DAY TEST!!

Posted by TJAPUKAI on (November 12, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

Michael Clarke is now playing more matured innings man :).But to be honest,it is also something to do with SA bowlers.So much of hype and expectations I had on them.They just let me down.Also how many times does Morne need to be taught to not bowl no-balls.Such a talent.Just need to be more disciplined.If this could have been 5 day match.I would have a strong bet on Aussie win.So pathetic to see the day 2 washout.:(.Only if JP Duminy had his injury before the test match, SA could have posted a better total.But still their bowling let the team down.

Posted by Cantbowlcantbat on (November 12, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

Cannot believe the Saffer whining about the pitch. When they scored runs, it was because Oz's bowlers were rubbish. When Oz scores runs against the over-rated Saffer attack, it's because of the flat pitch. This is an ordinary Oz team, but Clarke has taught them how to fight. Don't rest on yer laurels too soon Saffers!

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

wow - Aussies are already celebrating a draw with their 30-something years old novices

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

Best the Australian players not get too confident, nor us Australian supporters get too cocky. There are two more tests to come, and I don't think much can be read into performances on a flat Gabba track.

This series still looks like it is going to be a great, closely-fought, contest and could go either way. Pity it isn't a five-test series.

Posted by PFEL on (November 12, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

The track is not quite as flat as it is being made out to be, and personally i have been VERY dissapointed with the South African attitude, field placings and lack of energy. In stark contrast to the way the Aussies came out on day 3 facing 2/255, they fought hard with attacking fields and got the wickets, whereas SA have had men out everywhere practically GIVING aus free runs. Battle styles also, SA batted for the best part of 2 days at just over 2 runs an over, Aussies have been batting at 4 an over . . . There is still a day to go but first blood well and truely to Australia who have (so far) dominated and outplayed SA in every facet

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (November 12, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

And if you feel like reading some of the comments, mostly by England 'fans' then this record, after day 1, is a telling record of cricketing ignorance: http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-south-africa-2012/content/current/story/590680.html

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (November 12, 2012, 9:12 GMT)

I feel ashamed when fellow England supporters feel that the only way for us to move forward as a team is to denigrate Australia's performance. Hopefully Australia's excellent performance with the bat today may make them be more generous and less jingoistic with their comments. We'll never step properly out of the cricketing shadow they cast over us for over 20 years if fans stop thinking that the only way for England to do well is if Australia does worse. They showed today what we could not do at the oval: they did to South Africa what Amla,Smith and Kallis did to us. We haven't won a series against decent opposition in a year and and are about to have a torrid time in India. Perhaps we could learn something from Australia's cricketing culture rather than resorting to our default position and rubbshing it, as the latter hasn't served us well at all.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (November 12, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

Not a bad day that-4th of the test at the 'G'.An useful effort from Clarke-good for some more tom..Wonderful to see Cowan get that breakthrough 1st 100 after good but incomplete fighting essays in the first handful of tests-good to get it done and it is just first of many more to come... looks good for at least 1 more triple F score in the rem 2 tests.Unlucky to go in that manner (run out) when looking set to for a really big one-will def learn from that and the next time past 100 will make it really big -he is really capable as shown today. Can't wait for Mr.Cricket to bring up his ton as well morrow.Looked real class today and is primed for a prolific series.The SA bowlers...well when batsmen are in this form not much can be done really..isn't it? Steyn worked up pace toiled out there without much back up...Phlilander-mediocre at best-barely bothered Aus bats with his 125 k mediums. Morkel the best by far with no luck..then again Aus(esp the outstanding J Patto) didn't either..

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (November 12, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

This series was hyped as a battle between two high quality bowling attacks but it just shows how ordinary the bowling standards are nowadays with all bowlers seemingly able to perform only on favourable pitches. There are no more bowlers like Mcgrath, Warne , Wasim ,Waqar, Ambrose, Donald or the fearsome West Indian pace battery of the 70's or 80's who could take wickets even on featherbeds, just a group of overrated bowlers like Philander who have been exposed thoroughly.

Posted by Backyard Barnstormers on (November 12, 2012, 9:08 GMT)

Funny all those 20/20 fans here sooking about what is actually good quality batting in TEST cricket. Tests ebb and flow and there doesnt HAVE to be a result every game. Too many 20/20 know it alls who have no respect for REAL cricket. Aust have the chance to push for a victory (albeit a small chance), tomorrow and thats after a whole day was taken with rain. A great batting display from both teams but both teams had chances to stop the rot by taking wickets instead they bowled no-balls or dropped catches. There may not have been half the runs scored if those chances were taken but thats what tests are all about, you miss a chance you have time to turn the tide and make up for it UNLIKE that 20/20 trash

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (November 12, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

Philander iz a type of bowler who depends too much on pitch plus environmental conditions to help him doing the job.BAD THING 4 HIM IS THAT HE MIGHT NOT GET TOO MANY GREEN TOPS TO BOAST UP HIS STRIKE RATE.HE is just An ordinary bowler who was being needlesly ovr.hyped way too much.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (November 12, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

and only 3000 people turned up to see it haha... When the goin gets tough, the aussie crowd stays at home

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

This pitch is dead. No need to make noise. Lets see what happens for the next two matches. Well played Clarke

Posted by Meety on (November 12, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

@Wasim_Wasamadroota on (November 12 2012, 08:26 AM GMT) - Pup said he'd be looking for another 70 runs tomorrow, before declaring!

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 12, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

The pitch is fine - just takes some work to get wickets. I basically grew up on the Gabba and it was always such. This time it started a little soft and then the rain kept it soft Movement is there for anyone who bends their back not Pattinson and today Morkel.

If Amla had correctly been given on 0, game would near be over despite loss of a day.

THIS IS NOT a boring can't get wickets pitch - 10 wickets fell yesterday ! South Africa is a boring can't score quickly OR get wickets side, who hoped to draw before they even tossed the coin......... even the team selection was defensive.

Posted by Meety on (November 12, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

@Unomaas on (November 12 2012, 08:06 AM GMT) - just remember mate, that technically you could say it is day 3 today. The pitch would of been protected from wear on Day 2, so if we lived in a world where an extra day could be added on, we would have a real chance of a result. @Chris_P on (November 12 2012, 07:51 AM GMT) - I am so happy for Cowan - I had been a supporter of his, although I admit I thought his form in the Shield was woeful - I couldn't get that dismissal off a full toss out of my head. I said about 3 to 6 months ago, I thought he would do well in England & against the Saffas. He now creates a conundrum - as I don't think he should be the opener in India! I was at the Gabba on Day 3, & thought he was brilliant (albeit a shade lucky off that no-ball) - however he hardly missed a ball against an attack that had its back up. I think Morkel bowled an 147kph yorker at Cowan, so there quality cricket that afternoon.

Posted by Gizza on (November 12, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

There were two negative consequences for South Africa when they dropped Tahir. First as others have noted, it made the 5 man pace attack very samey and easy to face once the ball dies down and/or the batsman gets their eye in. Even if Duminy he is still at the very most a batting all-rounder but that's bit of a stretch. And Tahir is a leg spinner so he would always create more wicket taking opportunities than Duminy. And secondly, it would have done Tahir's confidence no good to be left out.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 12, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

Great time for Cowan to come into his own. I think that, for someone who has been criticised for being a slow scorer, his strike rate is probably the most impressive aspect of his innings. He did get a big stroke of luck, but then he wasn't the first to survive due to a no-ball. Morkel's was as close as it gets but I have to wonder how many others go undetected as we've seen a number of let offs now that umpires can check on a dismissal. I really think that front-foot no-balls should be completely the domain of the TV umpire. We complain about on-field umpires not getting decisions right often enough and yet they have to watch the bowler's front foot and then adjudge an LBW a split second later? That's madness.

Posted by redneck on (November 12, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

a captains knock if ever there was one!!! disappointed with the pitch though, however dont think it was the aussie camp calling the shots. my guess is mitchell was instructed to make a pitch to go 5 days by queensland cricket. hosting the saffers for the first time since the 60s and keen to cash in on attendances as much as possible.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 12, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

It was a sparse but appreciative crowd at the Gabba today, witness some real class. Cowan made his intent known yesterday, and I think taking 27 off Kleinveldt in 3 brutal overs really rattled the SA'ers. Considering that Steyn extracted some real venom from the lifeless Sydney pitch, it was a real surprise that he couldn't rise to the occasion.

All the naysayers have to admit now that Cowan, is pure class and he is only going to get better. We may not get to no. 1 in this series, but when we do eventually get there, we'll be around for a while.

There was always danger there for the taking as Morne Morkel showed towards the end with 3 vicious deliveries in one over to Hussey, either of which could have been a wicket, as it was Huss still took 2 fours in the same over, making a real statement of intent.

This makes Adelaide a lot more interesting. As I said yesterday we can still win this. I'll be flying out to Cairns tomorrow for the eclipse on Wednesday.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 12, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

"Posted by Marcio on (November 12 2012, 07:57 AM GMT) BTW, I'm not one to bag players and captains, but Smith's negative captaincy in this game defies all belief!

Did in selection, at toss and was fully evident halfway through day 1 ! Truly incredibly poor captaincy ( suspect I'm on record here showing amazement from about tea day 1) .... guess he's thinking of being the next Stuart Surridge already.... hope the bats he makes are as good lol

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

As I signed in to ESPN Cricinfo this morning to check on the score for the test match between Australia and RSA, I was expecting to see mayhem by RSA bowlers. What I saw made me go WOW WOW WOW, awesome AUSSIES. What a fight back.

Posted by CSpiers on (November 12, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

The pitch may be pretty flat but nowhere near as flat as the SA bowling attack. Morkel was the only one who looked like taking a wicket. Just because it doesnt seam or swing on command doesnt mean you should bowl proper trash for the majority of the day. really pathetic, especially from the 123kph philander, good for him to bowl on a pitch that doesnt gift him wickets for once. Australia managed 9 wickets, South Africa only 3, i thought this was supposed to be a great bowling attack??

Posted by aussiealltheway on (November 12, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

Great show Clarke and Ed . . Aussies number 1 al the way

Posted by disco_bob on (November 12, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

You've got to feel sorry for all those SA supporters who were already celebrating a few quick wickets in the morning session, enforcing the follow on and then obliterating the hapless Aussies with The World's Best Attack™.

Let's recap, if I correctly recall there was widespread derision about how SA only lost two wickets for a whopping 255 runs, then added to that by only losing 7 wickets for 200.

After being 3/40 and beginning the day on 111 it transpired that we made 376 for the loss of (if we don't count a lucky deflection to run out the non striker) er... no wickets, that's no wickets as in 'not any wickets at all'.

As in the World's Greatest Attack™ only got tonked all over the Gabba for 376 runs without any of your bowlers taking a single wicket. Oh dearie me. And what about the mighty Ned? Flanders is yet to take a single wicket on this tour.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

Got to laugh at all these Australian coming out of the woodwork taking a pop at Smiths captaincy. I could have scored a hundred on that pitch. Its the first game and I see a lot of premature celebrating. Series victory will be even sweeter after seeing these comments.

Posted by Last_ride on (November 12, 2012, 8:45 GMT)

Haha me being a saffer the arrogance from Oz Fans is funny.Fine we had a bad day no sorry let me make it better for you. We had a terrible day. Its not the end.Draw is the most likely result. Sa will easily bounce back next test. And Btw well played Cowan , Clarke. Come on South Africa.

Posted by beefman138 on (November 12, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

Wow, even when Australia fields a relatively unproven team, they can still make the World's #1-ranked team look toothless in attack. Great to watch!

Posted by austentayshus on (November 12, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

where are all bashers now ... talking about getting used to innings defeats and lablab... Must be hiding somewhere

Amazing cricket by lads and ... Pup only 3rd batsman to score three triple hundred in calender year ....

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (November 12, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

I'm sure many on here who have read Eddie Cowan's excellent articles (& book) and feel like they know him a little bit more than the average Test cricketer will be very happy for him today. He has had a lot of criticism but whatever happens he can always say he has a Test century. Well done that man & hopefully we will see many more.

Posted by nthuq on (November 12, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

Top notch stuff by the Aussie bats today. We were more than a little lucky, but we definitely showed the Saffers how to play on a flattish track to unmotivated bowling. I'll be looking forward to seeing particularly how Lyon goes tomorrow. The pitch has deteriorated a bit and he could definitely have more than a few words to say to the South Africa batters.

Posted by Bollo on (November 12, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

What a difference a day makes - set up by a wonderful counter-attacking partnership yesterday evening. Some less than positive cricket by SAF while on top in both innings has hurt them, could be in for an exciting finish...

Posted by Wasim_Wasamadroota on (November 12, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

Australia to pile on 150 in the first 30 overs, declare and put SA under some pressure for 70 odd overs. This is why test cricket s king, it is like a good book with twists and turns while T20 is like a comic strip, you get a short thrill but no substance.

Posted by Hammond on (November 12, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

Also, probably one of the best openers hundreds that I've ever seen, the blokes in the office were ecstatic. I would be glad to see Australia smash South Africa (in revenge for what happened to England) but that then doesn't bode well for the ashes next year, glad it is being held in England! :)

Posted by mthi4life on (November 12, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

Tahir,Tahir,Tahir smith fell into Clarke's trap when Clarke said he might use an all pace attack.On day four Tahir is for dangerous than Kleinveld.I hope they never leave him out again unless they are playing on Green Mamba of a pitch. I said this on day one Tahir is the difference.

Posted by Haleos on (November 12, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

Well done Aussies. 3 of the world top 10 bowlers were not able to take a single wicket in a whole day..top that with going over 4 rpo. Have some humble pie saffars.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

would love to see the faces of all the people calling for a innis win by SA, once again Clarke shows why he is the best batsman in the world, Cowan proved he is a test quality player and the SA proved they still dont understand how stupid it is to bowl no balls, you would think they would have lernt after siddles incicdent, then again after morkels (and then morkels again) below average performance from a 5 man pace attk that was suppose to blow AUS away

Posted by seniorgators on (November 12, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

A wise man I knew once said you should refrain from too much judgement on a cricket game until both sides have batted. There was an awful lot of premature condemnation of the Australian bowling attack after the end of Day 3. It will be interesting to see whether those same armchair critics who called the Australians dismal will now condemn the South Africans as woeful. Methinks the pitch is a tad benign gentlemen. @ Front Foot Lunge. You were at least half right for once in suggesting the rain had saved one team. Unfortunately for you, it appears to be South Africa, who like England many times in the past, have been(to quote you) "saved by rain"

Posted by popcorn on (November 12, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

This Aussie Test Side deserves to be Number One.

Posted by Buggsy on (November 12, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

Wow, even though the pitch didn't have much, I haven't seen SA's attack so inept ever. 22 no-balls for the innings? Weak. It's pretty clear that Kleinveldt and Philander have a great deal of learning to do on docile pitches. Morkel though should be doing nudie runs for two wickets off two no-balls.

Posted by ozwriter on (November 12, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

well played australia, though is this sort of pitch good for test cricket. no flatter than the ones we accuse india of producing.

Posted by Unomaas on (November 12, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

As a saffa supporter, I have to admit to being slightly depressed after Clarke and Cowan batted us into submission :(. That being said, questions need to be asked! Firstly, I don't think that this pitch is conduscive to producing a result. In the last couple of years, test match supporters have come to agree that we want result orientated matches/pitches. If this pitch is going to set the tone for the rest of the series, I'll most probably forego the chore of waking up at 2AM to watch the cricket. Secondly, the absence of a spinner in SA side was so blatantly in your face that it had me grinding teeth! Playing a rookie in the first test match against your arch rivals? The same reason we don't play Tsolokile should have been the same reason we don't play Kleinveldt! The idea of playing 4 seamers + Kallis is so reminiscent of the old boring, predictable, safe, unimaginative SA. I hope Smith + Kirsten have been sufficiently faced-palmed to never consider doing this again!

Posted by trumpoz on (November 12, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

Great so see Cowan get a hundred - well deserved. Clarke is a machine at the moment - made the South Africa bowlers look almost as toothless as our Aussie bowlers in the first innings. Would be quite happy to see the Aussies bat as long as possible and make 600-700. Bring on Adelaide and Perth.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (November 12, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

Two centuries in the SA innings. A century and a double in the Aus innings and another century (Hussey) on the way. Aren't test matches boring when batsman dominate this way and bowlers look tired? Where are the famed sporting pitches of Australia? Where has the crowd gone?

Posted by Mikecricket on (November 12, 2012, 8:01 GMT)

Yeah Aussies! We are back! all the people who said we are out of this! Comeback kings! Great stuff!

Posted by Marcio on (November 12, 2012, 7:57 GMT)

BTW, I'm not one to bag players and captains, but Smith's negative captaincy in this game defies all belief! He had the game by the scruff of the neck, and just toyed with it while taking a nap! Compare that to Clarke's aggresive captaincy. Like chalk and cheese.

Posted by Mervo on (November 12, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

Now can we get rid of Warner and get an opener with a proper technique? Not a 'quick fix' T20 player. Either Kawaja or Chris Rogers have the technique to prosper.

That way we wont always have to look to Hussey and Clarke to be saviours.

Posted by Marcio on (November 12, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

Well, well, well! Where are the 200-odd comments now about how awful Australia are, and how SA will win by an innings and the series 3-0? LOL. AUS must play Zimbabwe to get the wins up - even though they've only lost 2 out of 15 tests in the last 2 yrs; AUS bowlers are pop-gun medium pacers - just better in this game than SA's. @Hammond, hope you enjoyed the sound of that single wicket falling today, albeit from a crashing Clarke straight drive which Steyn fingered on to the stumps. Zero bowling wickets for 400+. Maybe I was right when I talked about pride coming before a fall. Mind you, the way SA were being talked up there was no way they could ever live up to the hype - nor AUS stoop to the standards of the pessimism of critics.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 12, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

Well that wasn't at all predictable ! Expected SA to actually attack early rather than try to defend when 330+ in front. Guess they - unlike their press - knew they had a hopeless attack....... Now I regret my idea of declaring before tea 100 behind (still can't believe SA didn't attack) Aus wasn't even that many by then.

Meantime we have seen the world's best attack under all conditions go for only 376 for no wickets in a reduced day ......once again they failed to bowl as many balls as required.

Watching Dale Steyn bowling at 120 only and even he seeming to know he had nothing to offer was balm for my cricketing heart......... hard when nothing to help you huh ? (welcome to being a fast bowler in Aust mate lol)

Nothing needs to be said about Australia's sub standard ? batting, much about their excellent bowling and WAY more about South Africa's desire to draw from the toss win. Try to not win and hope you lose is something I first heard as a 10 yo State primary schools captain

Posted by Des_65 on (November 12, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

Definitely a flat track to keep SA at bay.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 12, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

Thanks for that flat track groundsman, draw it is.

Posted by Chris_P on (November 12, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

Where are all you Cowan knockers now? This guy has succeeded due to his hard work & persistence. Give me a guy with limited abilities who puts in the yards ahead of talented stars who don't care, any day of the week. Great viewing from the stands too, and the pitch is starting to take turn. Go you good thing!

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

They said something about the Indians when they performed in Australia. Now look at where South Africa. The fact is no one beats the home team in their home ground. It is unlikely that any team will beat the Australians, South African, English, Pakistani and Indian teams in their home grounds.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (November 12, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

Excellent batting from Oz - good, positive attacking cricket. Cowen unlucky after a solid display, Clarke in superb form, & Hussey magnificent - exactly what middle order batting should be.

Hard to believe Philander & Kleinveldt could overstep that much. Morkel had this problem before, & seemed to have fixed it - but not well enough. Kleinveldt's selection, as most thought it would, proving a poor decision. Smith trundling away, test bowling avge of 105, & Amla, 1st class bowling avge of 244, says it all.

With Clark and Hussey fast taking this game away, SA's selectors need to rethink AB's keeping, Rudolph's continued selection & an all pace attack. None seem to be working! Faf du Plessis will not offer any less with the bat than Rudolph, but is a good leg spinner - something SA could really use right now!

Coincidence of the day. When Clarke was on 146, he had faced 274 balls, & struck 14 fours - exactly the same number of balls faced and fours struck by Kallis in scoring 147.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 12, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

So, Rory was a failure in this game. Tahir should be back next game at expense of Rory in the main 4 bowlers. Who will SA now go for the No.7 slot? Will they go for a keeper and allow ABD to concentrate more on batting? Or will they go for Faf who like Duminy will offer in other departments too or persist with Rory himself? I would rule out the third option after Rory's failure this game. Option 1 will be better for long term and 2 for short term.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 12, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

Is this the No.1 syndrome. SA caught up there too early. India faced this in England and Australia, England faced it in home against SA and SA now. Wish they don't follow the trend and prosper to make this an interesting series.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (November 12, 2012, 7:06 GMT)

And I thought the Indians only prepared flat pitches. Guess I was wrong

Posted by DylanBrah on (November 12, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

Where is all the Aussie bashers? If day 2 wasn't washed out we'd be in the box seat!

Posted by heathrf1974 on (November 12, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

Good to see the Aussies taking advantage of favourable conditions. As I said before; SA have a very good bowling attack, but not a great one. I just hope our top order can get their act together (with the exception of Cowan).

Posted by only_sachin on (November 12, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

Ozzies have played safe to prepare a flat wicket. They already knew that with this kind of batting order they will hardly last 3 days on a good lively wicket. God help them.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (November 12, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

well that just about proves that these two teams are the best in the world, neither will surrender,both have quality and fighting spirit, it is only a year ago that after the first test for both of these sides the series was won, and their opponents in England and India capitulated and had nothing to fight back with, if the Saffers or the Aussies scored 450 against either of those incompetent sides the game would have been a walkover.

Posted by crh8971 on (November 12, 2012, 6:29 GMT)

Terrific innings bu Ed Cowan - looked a real test player. Hope he kicks on from here. If this was the later stages of day 3 with the Aussies at 4 for 400 odd then they would just about be favorites for the test. As it stands the momentum is with Australia.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

SA will really miss some good spinners here.

Posted by pat_one_back on (November 12, 2012, 6:23 GMT)

Look forward to reading Posts from all those who've been discrediting the Aussies! Suddenly our bowling, batting and fielding compare quite nicely to The World's No 1 team and blows away recent form of any other pretenders to the throne (England, India). Let me guess now it's ok to say it's a lifeless track huh? Or is that SA are underdone, again???

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

Wonderful stuff, Ed! I knew you could do it buddy, keep on going!

Posted by MinusZero on (November 12, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

Boring!

Posted by Aussasinator on (November 12, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

If Australia get a lead of about 200 by lunch time tomorrow and come up with a hostile spell by Pattinson & Siddle, they could wel give the jitters to South Africa and very nearly win this Test. My genuine admiration for Michael Clarke for his captain's knock. What a leader!

Posted by Hammond on (November 12, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

Wow- Clarke could declare 150 in front and go for a win- C'mon Aussie! Incredible performance, never imagined in a million years that they could do this. Cowan is a legend!

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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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