Australia v South Africa, 1st Test, Brisbane, 5th day November 13, 2012

Australia on points as South Africa battle to draw


South Africa 450 (Amla 104, Kallis 147, Pattinson 3-93) and 5 for 166 (Kallis 49, Lyon 2-41, Pattinson 2-58) drew with Australia 5 for 565 declared (Clarke 259*, Cowan 136, Hussey 100, Morkel 3-127)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa began the first Test looking every inch the world's best team. They ended it cornered, scrapping unattractively to secure a draw, having weathered a sustained and significant resurgence by Australia over the final two days.

The loss of Saturday's play due to persistent rain deprived the match of enough time for a result given the benign nature of curator Kevin Mitchell's pitch, but Michael Clarke's team will depart Brisbane with the kind of spring in their step that England took from the Gabba after a similar recovery at the outset of the 2010-11 Ashes. Such confidence will be derived as much from how James Pattinson and Peter Siddle discomforted South Africa's batsmen on the final afternoon as from the way Clarke, Ed Cowan and Michael Hussey dominated the visiting bowlers.

On a tense afternoon characterised by a series of frenzied Australian appeals and grim South African occupation, Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis all flirted frequently with danger while the hosts dictated terms. Pattinson and Siddle frequently pushed the line of acceptable aggression with their words and appeals, but did no more than Clarke had predicted before the match.

A lone exception to the prolonged passage of Australian aggression and South African diffidence was a two-over period before tea in which the spinner Nathan Lyon was clumped for 26, but even he recovered in the final session with a neat spell that returned the wickets of Kallis and Jacques Rudolph.

Clarke had declared with a lead of 115 after he reached the highest individual score in Tests at the Gabba. His unbeaten 259 featured some rollicking shots on resumption, lofting drives down the ground and heaving over midwicket with plenty of force. Hussey's advance to a hundred was a little more fraught, and on 99 he escaped being lbw on South Africa's referral via the thinnest of edges picked up on Hot-Spot.

The pitch was starting to show the very first signs of deterioration, Morne Morkel extracting some variable bounce to strike Clarke in the ribs and on the back, while Vernon Philander gained some disconcerting seam movement. After Hussey lifted Morkel to cover - the first wicket to a bowler in 120 overs - Matthew Wade took his time getting in, and was beaten several times. However once he had his sighter, Wade unleashed a trio of rasping offside strokes, the first a drive that might have decapitated Rory Kleinveldt, and hurried Clarke towards his declaration.

South Africa's response to the scenario confronting them was uncertain. Pattinson found his rhythm and some early swing, and it was the combination of speed and movement that drew Petersen into an ambitious drive that resulted in a thin edge through to Wade. Smith battled through the session, snicking Siddle just short of the slips, and Amla was grateful for the third wicket off a no-ball in the match when he dragged Pattinson onto the stumps but was reprieved by Asad Rauf's referral.

The afternoon began with a tense and occasionally ill-tempered duel between Pattinson and Smith. Pattinson was irritated when Amla survived a caught behind appeal that was proven faulty by a decision review, and was further annoyed by Smith pulling away from one delivery as a bird flew across his eye-line. There was plenty of chatter over the next two overs before the bowler had the final say by coaxing a sliced drive that was well held by Rob Quiney at gully.

At the other end Australia lost their second and final review when Ben Hilfenhaus thought he had Kallis caught behind from an inside edge, but replays showed a large gap between bat and pad. The loss of the two referrals seemed costly when the hosts went up in unison for a caught behind appeal by Siddle against Amla, but again the video evidence of an edge was lacking.

Kallis survived another appeal from Siddle when avoiding a short ball that passed desperately close to his gloves, and Lyon's entry to the attack brought a brief flurry as both Kallis and Amla lofted down the ground with skill. Amla would lose his wicket shortly before tea when he pushed Siddle to Hussey at short cover, but it seemed at the interval that the South Africans had done enough to stave off the prospect of defeat.

AB de Villiers and Kallis held out for another hour but made very few runs. Lyon returned to bowl with the batsmen in their shells, and was rewarded when he drifted the ball across Kallis, finding the edge and allowing Clarke clasp a neat one-hander at slip. Next over Rudolph eluded a raucous lbw appeal because Siddle's delivery had pitched outside leg stump, and Australia's frustration showed they felt they were still a chance.

Ultimately Rudolph survived until just before the final hour was due to commence, at which time he was lbw to a Lyon back-spinner that pinned him on the back pad. This wicket encouraged Clarke to push the match into its last 60 minutes. The fact he was able to do so was a considerable moral victory for Australia, just as the final two days had been.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Graham on November 16, 2012, 2:09 GMT

    Spelele - It's nice to know that South Africa pushing the scoring rate on day 3 - closer to 3 an over was too much for them to handle and as such they lost 7 wickets. If your point is correct then it shows the obvious weakness in the South African team.

  • Patrick on November 15, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    @Spelele, good to know SA are weak batting even on 'roads' when the asking rate jumps to 3 per over... We're also able to manipulate clowns here but I'm sure you guessed that much.

  • ntokozo on November 15, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    @Chris_P on (November 15 2012, 03:45 AM GMT): Your so-called mathematics only but confirms my point. Wickets fell on Day 3 when SA were pushing up the rate, and on Day 5 when the pitch had slightly deteriorated. Other than that, the pitch was indeed a road!

  • Peter on November 15, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    @Spelele. Just for you here is how the scores got that way. South Africa scored 7/195 on day 3. They also scored 5/165 on day 5/166 which makes it 12/361 runs by the maths taught to me. 12 wickets for 361 runs and you say it was a road? LOL.

  • Henry on November 14, 2012, 23:27 GMT

    Great to see a close game after fears of a one-sided series! Also refreshing to see lots of positive comments from the Oz and SA players and fans, (ignoring the usual trolling from some of the less classy English and Indian fans).

  • Murray on November 14, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    @pronoysircar on (November 14 2012, 22:33 PM GMT)

    I was fairly certain I'd not get any converts to my way of thinking :). There is also a good chance that in this particular match Steyn was underdone in preparation.

    I am starting to rate Pattinson. Thought after a terrible first spell (3 over from memory) bowled well all match.

  • Pronoy on November 14, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    @Bonehead_maz : Wow. Well, thats one thing in common I guess, passionate love of the game. The only difference is that you actually played it. But on a parting note, I'll still disagree with you on Steyn. I have seen him make batsmen like Dravid look very silly. I rate him not based on what his stats are, but based on what I have seen him do. But well, anyway. we'll see in the next match

  • stuart on November 14, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    It is amazing how the silent majority of Aussie fans for the first two days come on here so quickly when it goes better.As for Randy Oz you have to believe he is almost an act of comic genius.

    Lets face it South Africa should have lost the last test in England and their record over here was a bit false. One record though that can't be denied is the Ashes will come home once more next year

  • ntokozo on November 14, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    @PFEL on (November 14 2012, 00:19 AM GMT): I think it is you who didn't watch the match! The pitch had clearly deteriorated on Day 5, although not as much because a day was lost. As to your argument that Aus had batted on the same wicket, yes indeed they had, but they had only done so untroubled on Day 4, and to a lesser extent towards the end of Day 3! On Day 5, they were clearly troubled a bit with some balls rising or keeping low. Please watch some highlights! Not to mention that Aus were batting without the pressure of being a batsman short!

    Fact is: wickets either fell when batsmen looked to up the scoring, or when the pitch had slightly deteriorated. Overall, the pitch was a road! However, as a Saffa, I'm happy if your lot underestimate the Proteas going into the second test.

    @ Chris_P on (November 14 2012, 02:26 AM GMT): "So, after day 1, South Africa managed 12 for 360 runs and you call that a road?". Lol, what are you on about? Weren't SA 255/2 after Day 1!

  • ntokozo on November 14, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    @Meety on (November 13 2012, 20:40 PM GMT): that really doesn't add anything to your argument. SA's run rate fell because they lost wickets quickly. They were looking to push the run rate up, and the Aus bowling performance had also improved drastically. I'm taking nothing away from Aus's performance. Think about it, if SA were not stepping up the gas when they lost their wickets, then why would the so-called ever-cautious Kallis had gotten out playing an uppish cut at a ball he could easily have left? Other wickets fell in similar fashion!

    Fact is: wickets on that pitch fell mostly when batsmen looked to up the rate, and on Day 5 when the pitch had slightly deteriorated. Overall, it was flat! Good on you to realise, unlike some Aus fans, the impact that the injury to Duminy had.

    I'm happy if Aus fans underestimate our team going to the second match. Although I doubt it, I can tell you that if Clarke and co. take the same approach, I won't see most of you on here after Tetst 2 :)

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