Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day

Australia count the cost

Michael Clarke has a tough task to pick up his players in time for the Perth Test and his bowling attack may need to be reshaped after the efforts in Adelaide

Daniel Brettig at Adelaide Oval

November 26, 2012

Comments: 56 | Text size: A | A

Peter Siddle is exhausted after the draw, Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day, November 26, 2012
An exhausted Peter Siddle sinks to his knees during his final spell © Getty Images

For once, life imitated marketing spin. The central character in Cricket Australia's television commercial to promote the Test summer was Peter Siddle, revving himself up in one last despairing effort to win a match. That scenario played out almost exactly to the advertisers' script in Adelaide, but there was to be no happy ending. After both of his wickets in a final spell to try to claim the match, Siddle sank to his haunches, doing all he could to preserve energy. When Morne Morkel punched away the last ball of the match, Siddle looked utterly spent, and utterly inconsolable - he could not have given any more.

Siddle's travails summed up those of his team as a gilt-edged opportunity for a series lead slipped away, the rush of victory denied by South African defiance and an Adelaide pitch that declined to break up quite as much as Michael Clarke's men would have liked. Australia departed Brisbane fancying their chances after having much the better of the draw at the Gabba. They will fly to Perth having had even better of the contest in Adelaide, but this time they will be counting the cost. A side injury serious enough to end James Pattinson's Test summer is the most grievous blow, his pace and fire sorely missed on the final afternoon, but the rest of the attack are severely fatigued in body and potentially wounded in mind.

This much was underlined by the announcement of a Test squad stacked six-deep with fast bowlers. Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood and John Hastings provide much-needed reinforcement, but their presence confirmed exactly how concerned the national selectors were by the amount the last two days in Adelaide have taken out of Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Nathan Lyon. There is even the possibility, however unlikely, that none of the aforementioned trio will play at the WACA ground. Such a changeover would be radical, but seldom has an attack composed of three full-time bowlers been asked to deliver 117 overs between them under an unrelenting sun and then back-up for a Test match three days later, one of which will be largely occupied by the four-hour flight to Perth.

There will be mental scars for Clarke, the coach Mickey Arthur and his assistants to salve in the short time available, much as there were when Australia fell one wicket short of winning the first Ashes Test of 2009 in Cardiff despite dominating to a similar degree. On that occasion the former captain Ricky Ponting spoke of a fuzziness of purpose that clouded the squad between Tests, directly resulting in a poor first day of the second Test at Lord's that set his side on the path to a heavy defeat. Clarke was not enthused by the comparison with Cardiff, but acknowledged Adelaide as a reminder of how much his team needed to do right to close out a Test against the world's No. 1 ranked Test team.

"I'd like to hope there are a lot of differences to Cardiff. We didn't bowl at a No. 10 and No. 11 for as long as we did in Cardiff. There's a lot of differences there," Clarke said. "It's a great example of how hard Test cricket is. There's ups and downs, nothing's a given in this game, you have to work your backside off to have success, and it's even harder against the No. 1 team in the world. We didn't expect them to lie down, we didn't expect them to give us the game today, we knew we were going to have to fight, we knew the wicket was still going to be good. We have to play our best cricket for five days, five full days to give ourselves every chance of winning this series."

Though he collected the parsimonious figures of 3 for 49 from 51 overs with 31 maidens, Lyon is one bowler who will look back on this day with some regret. For most of its journey, Lyon looked rushed. He jogged up to the bowling crease, bustled through his action, then hurried back to his mark with the sort of haste usually associated with Hilfenhaus. Only occasionally did the ball whir out of his fingers with flight and loop, more often spearing in a flatter arc towards the dead bats of Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis. Later on, around the time he belatedly dismissed Kallis, Lyon's rhythm improved, though this seemingly had less to do with design than fatigue. Walking slowly to his mark and gathering himself before each delivery, Lyon was simply too tired to rush anymore.

There have been times so far in his young career when Lyon has delivered better spells in the first innings of a Test than the second, notably on his debut in Sri Lanka and during the Dominica Test in the West Indies, when on both occasions his fingers and body tired on a pitch offering plenty of assistance, leaving others to take most of the wickets. Clarke was content with Lyon's bowling in Adelaide, but his advance from a promising international bowler to a complete one will require his finding the right rhythm and confidence to call the tune in the fourth innings.

Siddle and Hilfenhaus, meanwhile, face an enormous battle to freshen themselves up for the WACA ground. Siddle's efforts in a cause that fell short of victory are deserving of the sort of status afforded to Merv Hughes for his 13 wickets and a hat-trick for Australia against West Indies in Perth in 1988. Hilfenhaus was unfailingly accurate and wholehearted, but lacked the spark and sense of danger that Starc may have added with his left-arm variety. Admirably durable, Hilfenhaus can at least look forward to the ball swinging more readily for him in the west, and there is little chance of Matthew Wade venturing up to the stumps for him once they get there.

Ultimately, how Australia look back on their thwarted efforts in Adelaide will depend on how they recover for the third Test. A loss in the final match will tinge their recollections with tremendous regret, but a win will allow them to conclude, as England were able to do after falling a wicket short of winning at Old Trafford in 2005, that their superiority over the series was rewarded in the final analysis. Either way, the sight of a forlorn Siddle at the end of the match will certainly linger more readily in the memory than the ad that foreshadowed his last desperate push.

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Beertjie on (November 28, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

@Meety on (November 27 2012, 00:33 AM GMT): "I really have no idea what is the best squad for this Test, although I am preferring Hastings & Starc to be in it!". Well I'd want Hastings for Hilfenhaus doing that into the Doctor stuff as well as Lyon for that purpose. Starc, Siddle and Watto bowling downwind. One PS about Adelaide. Warner could have been tried at the end to try to dismiss Morkel who is quite useless against spin. Siddle was clearly a spent force, but that's where "momentum" clouds judgment.

Posted by Meety on (November 28, 2012, 1:03 GMT)

@Lawnton Ratnam - Clarke's declaration was brilliant. He allowed 140+ overs to bowl Sth Africa out. What he didn't count on was Sth Africa's resistance being as great as it was. Bear in mind - had Sth Africa scored at 3 rpo, they would of won with a few overs to spare!

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 0:02 GMT)

The Aussies have achieved so far what they had planned all along.Select the venues,Brsbane and Adelaide and ensure that they have more than a better chance of drawing the tests and with a bit of luck win in Perth where they have a better track record.Imagine SA the number 1 team not playing in Melborne or Sydney the two greatest cricket venues in Australia.Its obvious that the Aussies feared playing the SA in both at the SCG and MCG

Posted by someoneelse on (November 27, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

@Marcio, yes South Africa were outplayed. yes Australia were the better team over the 5 days. yes dinosaurs roamed the earth long ago. You seem to like stating the obvious but for all the drivel which you have written here is the cold hard fact: Australia for all their might could not beat South Africa after two solid tries in their own back yard. Little old weak South Africa who "haven't measured up to their status as no 1". Another thing, you say that Australia were weakened well even things up and realize that South Africa lost Vernon Philander and a full strength Jacques Kallis too. It's easy to talk about who dominated and who didnt. At the end of the day if Australia were so dominant and South Africa are so mediocre why couldn't Australia win the darn test match?

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

Well done SA for holing on for a well deserved draw. Aus threw everything they had and still could not win. Hopefully we can see a proper SA performance that we know they are capable of at Perth which will probably result in a 3 day match with Aus losing by an innings. Good on you aussies for making flat decks in fear of the SA attack, nice way to get your skippers average up though hey?

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Lets not forget that SA played with 10 men in the first test which gave the Aussies an unfair advantage and played with badly injured Kallis for most part of the second test.The point is the Aussies do not have a match winning bowler like Warne or McGrath.Add to that Michael Clerks declaration was poor.He chose safety first approach and forcing a win was only secondary.Bottom line-draw was a fair result.

Posted by Marcio on (November 27, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

Interesting to watch folks spinning stuff. The truth is that SA has been dominated in all aspects of the game so far in the series - batting, bowling, fielding & leadership - scoring at 3 runs an over less, averaging a huge 15 runs a wicket less. Sure, it's great to show grit backpedaling to save yourself from a huge loss when your opponent has been severely weakened, but it doesn't change the fact that there was only ever 1 team in the game that tried to win, or could. The mind feels better by imagining the next game will see the arrival of the "real" team. Reality? To date the team just hasn't measured up to its status as #1. Suggesting that the opposition has "reached its limit" is more of the same fantasy, an imagined future that fails to grasp the obvious truth that with 4 bowlers & a star all-rounder coming back in the next game, the opposition is actually going to be much better than the weakened team that just outplayed you convincingly.

Posted by Meety on (November 27, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

@ thectexperience on (November 27 2012, 00:13 AM GMT) - good comment, the reality is, on that pitch - 430 was gettable against a 3-prong bowling line up. I think SA deserve to be #1 for the fight they put in, but any talk of them being a great side is crud. A great side would of beaten Oz with a session to spare chasing 430.

Posted by Flying_Kicka on (November 27, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

Aus is deserving of the no.1 test side and have been the much better side, SA have been poor and their bowling attack has been lacklustre.

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

@ Popcorn, Test cricket is a war of attrition, while yes Australia may hold the advantage on performances so far there is the real possibility that Perth is where we click and take the series despite playing from behind. Being at the top is not only about winning from positions of dominance but also from when you have been put under the pump. Nobody deserves anything unless it is actually earned.

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

I think it was a fantastic fight back by South Africa and full credit to them for holding on to a draw against the odds. Whilst Australia would doubtless be bitterly disappointed at not being able to close the match out, I am not sure if this is Cardiff all over again where the tail thwarted them for so long. Also they will have fresh legs and minds shouldering some of the burden. Australia have played out of their skins to hold South Africa and actually dominate them for almost the entire first two test matches. South africa is now the team on the run. I dont believe too much in momentum as it is clearly with australia who have dominated at least 8 of the 9 days so far.Yes the south africans have been flat and Steyn ordinary and I am sure they will do well but this Austrlalian team under Clarke is not the sad team of 2009 to 2011. It is different and I think they will win though make no mistake it will be tough. Ramanujam Sridhar

Posted by Brenton1 on (November 27, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

SA played terribly for most of the test, Australia player very well but the outcome was a draw. So what happens when SA fire? What happens when Australian batting slips from 3/50 to 5/100? What happens when Clarke fails? SA will take the series 1-0 if any of these things happen.

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 3:54 GMT)

Are you serious Vincenzo? They gave them 430 to chase in 148 overs on a flat pitch with just the 3 front line bowlers. If that's not dangling a carrot I don't know what is.

Posted by RoJayao on (November 27, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

BTW yes SA losing Kallis was a blow, but SA still had four bowlers, Australia lost Pattinson, had three bowlers. Big difference. Remember, Watson hasn't even played yet. And Lyon may not have been great yesterday, he's still learning after all, but he still took five wickets for the game. How did Tahir do, most expensive wicket less analysis in history? Yeah I think Lyon won that battle pretty convincingly!

Posted by Rowayton on (November 27, 2012, 2:53 GMT)

Front foot lunge is wrong as usual. In fact Swann and Lyon's figures are very similar in Tests - each has an average of 29 runs per wicket; and their balls per wicket is also similar - about 10 overs per wicket for Swann and 10 and a half for Lyon. Mind you, trying to bowl out South Africa on the last day yesterday, I would have taken Monty over either of them.

Posted by Slysta on (November 27, 2012, 2:11 GMT)

@VincenzoPavarotti, Clarke's declaration was perfect. What was he supposed to do - set South Africa 350 to win, off 200 overs, with only three front-line bowlers? If you think that sort of "bravery" would have won Australia the Test, you're deluded. 430 off 150 overs was perfectly reasonable - South Africa would have won the match had they maintained the scoring rate of the first three innings, and against an attack one bowler short, it was absolutely a possibility. It didn't happen because the Australians did well early, but Clarke's thinking was right - 150 overs had to be enough, because he didn't have anyone to bowl any more than that.

Australia simply failed to generate enough opportunities. I can't remember a genuine chance in the 4 hours de Villiers and du Plessis batted, and with that much time out of the game, the Australians needed to take either the thin nick from Faf or the early return catch to Lyon from Kallis. But no good... so no good. Big ask to start again in Perth.

Posted by Meety on (November 27, 2012, 0:33 GMT)

There is some parrallels woth Cardiff. I think Pup is a more up-beat individual & it won't be as much of a problem. IMO the parrallels are more in line with the Oz v WI series in 92 (?). Oz led the series, 1nil, had the WIndies on the ropes at Adelaide & then lost by a run or two. We went to the WACA & got flogged. Hopefully as I said that Pup is too strong a captain to allow that. I really have no idea what is the best squad for this Test, although I am preferring Hastings & Starc to be in it! @Marcio on (November 26 2012, 11:26 AM GMT) - I think you need to clarify the "...all DRS reviews go against you.." - do you mean they were wrong, or just that line ball went against. Personally - I had no problems with the decisions, but in future think that something has to be obviously wrong for an umpire to be overruled. As for how Saffas played, I think they outplayed on us Day 2 & 5 & Day 3 was line-ball. We smashed them on Day 1, & were clearly better on Day4.

Posted by Meety on (November 27, 2012, 0:33 GMT)

There is some parrallels woth Cardiff. I think Pup is a more up-beat individual & it won't be as much of a problem. IMO the parrallels are more in line with the Oz v WI series in 92 (?). Oz led the series, 1nil, had the WIndies on the ropes at Adelaide & then lost by a run or two. We went to the WACA & got flogged. Hopefully as I said that Pup is too strong a captain to allow that. I really have no idea what is the best squad for this Test, although I am preferring Hastings & Starc to be in it! @Marcio on (November 26 2012, 11:26 AM GMT) - I think you need to clarify the "...all DRS reviews go against you.." - do you mean they were wrong, or just that line ball went against. Personally - I had no problems with the decisions, but in future think that something has to be obviously wrong for an umpire to be overruled. As for how Saffas played, I think they outplayed on us Day 2 & 5 & Day 3 was line-ball. We smashed them on Day 1, & were clearly better on Day4.

Posted by thectexperience on (November 27, 2012, 0:13 GMT)

No, in fact, the only reason Clarke could set such an achievable target was because the South African obduracy has become so easy to foresee. The fact that such an illustrious batting line-up would willingly crawl into its turtle-shell when faced with a bowling opposition featuring a gentle off-tweaker and having suffered the loss of its major strike bowler speaks volumes about the mindset of Graeme Smith and the coaching staff. In historical perspective, they are one of the most talented sides to take the field, but they will not be remembered long. Win it or lose it in Adelaide!

Posted by thectexperience on (November 27, 2012, 0:10 GMT)

Plenty of S. Africans crowing on the boards about Australia's supposedly lacklustre attack and bland captaincy. For me the most disappointing part is the S. African team's acceptance of the draw as a worthwhile result. Obviously there is a culture divide here, as the draw has been disdained loudly and proudly since the captaincy of Mark Taylor. The target of 430 set by Michael Clarke was less than 3 runs per over! The pitch was still excellent for batting, with very little variable bounce, the outfield was lightning fast, the boundaries short and the heat exhausting for the bowling side. And now we have the South Africans laying the blame for the draw with Michael Clarke!

Posted by L4zybugg3r on (November 27, 2012, 0:00 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge - Lyon is doing well, give him a break. Aus had the wrong approach with trying to rush through overs, they were already a bowler down. Why would you give more workload to already overworked bowlers? I can't understand it. Ok, so yes you should be trying to maximise the number of QUALITY deliveries to get wickets but bowling lots of mediocre deliveries doesn't get wickets. I think if the bowlers had slowed down a little they would've had more success. Also, I didn't see it but Wade going up to the stumps seems a bit risky (the dropped catch hurt), were the batsmen really leaving their crease.? I doubt it considering how defensive they were. Well played Du Plessis and SA.

Posted by Buggsy on (November 26, 2012, 23:58 GMT)

As much as I hate to agree with that lunge bloke, he's right - our bowlers, apart from the always injured Pattinson, are rubbish. Hilfenhaus and Siddle just don't understand the concept of a good length. I'm seriously sick and tired of seeing them bowl short of a length. How on earth do they plan to suffocate the batsmen with that rubbish?? They've had their turn, they've consistently failed, time to go. If Starc doesn't get a run in Perth, I'm giving up on Australian cricket.

Posted by Bishop on (November 26, 2012, 23:47 GMT)

@Marcio As a Kiwi watching this match in Australia, and therefore completely unbiased as to the result I have to say I think you are wrong in your assessment. Proteas won days 2 and 5 without a shadow of a doubt. Aus won days 1 and 4. Day 3 the honours were shared. Therefore a draw is not an unreasonable representation of how the teams played. Tahir had an absolute shocker, and to be honest was the difference between the teams. Steyn continues to perform below his best, and I have my doubts about Rudolph at test level. But credit should go to both teams for a thoroughly absorbing match. And particularly to SA for saving it from a position where most had written them off. Sometimes (for one team) a draw IS a win.

Posted by d_the_b on (November 26, 2012, 23:16 GMT)

Congratulations South Africa - an agonising draw, would have loved to see us go up 1/0 but what a great game. Twenty20 certainly has a place in world cricket but I hope this thrilling draw goes a long way to persuading people that Test Cricket is its own beast and is the pinnacle of the game (said the man who's team recently ranked below Bangladesh in T20!).

Posted by 5_day_tragic on (November 26, 2012, 23:11 GMT)

Revisionist history there...or complete ignorance of it. Steve Waugh would rack up huge totals and set fields very much like what Clarke had in the 4th innings....setting less with even more time would have been ridiculous when one of your two impact bowlers was down. Gimme a break.

Fantastic test match cricket. SA deservedly drawing the match in the end Faf and AB partnership was superb....there should have been a result and would have been if the game was injury free on both sides. Pattinson was not 100% in the 1st dig or else he would've bowled more the 2nd day, Philander out before the game, Steyn looks about 85% fit. Kallis bowling under 4 overs. Australia need to play 4 quicks in Perth, not because Lyon did a poor job or anything, but if you play 4 quicks you can back Siddle up (and he is going to be more effective if he only has to bowl 15-20 overs) Hilfy as the workhorse again and Starc and Johnson to join Siddle in a 3 pronged attack. Hopefully Watto can bowl as a bit too.

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 22:59 GMT)

Amazing test, and series so far. Awesome efforts from Siddle and DuPlessis and cant wait for Friday.

As a die-hard Indian supporter it does make me laugh that Aussie supporters claiming their current crop of bowlers are "county-trundlers!!"...geez louise!!...we would have KILLED to have some of these "trundlers" in our team. And Sth Africa with 3 of the best bowlers in the world, still unable to get 20 Aussie wickets. It is truly amazing that India managed to stay no 1 for almost 2 years!!

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 22:50 GMT)

@Marcio "Here SA barely played a shot to him in 50 overs: total non-initiative. There's not much more that you can do - when your main strike bowler goes down, the pitch stays true, all DRS reviews go against you and the opposition lamely pads the ball back down the pitch for 4 sessions - than to just keep trying. And they did. Australia did all the work it this test, took all the initiative, took all the risks, thought the hardest; while SA sleepwalked through the whole thing. They were terrible 4 out of 5 days, AUS were excellent 4/5 days, and did their best on the 5th" Hilarious! Look out when SA DO ACTUALLY TRY!!! Your precious Aussies will get a real hiding. :)

Posted by MinusZero on (November 26, 2012, 22:49 GMT)

It will be a backwards step if Johnson plays, he is past 30, let a youngster who will be there for the future play. Why isn't Bird considered, he outplayed Johnson in the sheild game recently

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 26, 2012, 22:30 GMT)

Australia has one of the best fast men in the world, Starc, yet we don't select him. Hilfenhaus, with one good summer in a career filled with mediocrity, continues to get selected despite non-performance. The mind boggles.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (November 26, 2012, 20:56 GMT)

@ Front foot lunge, These 'county standard trundlers" are did a much better job 1 man down than England's seamers did against South Africa. Try to consider for a second that this was the fifth day on a hit pitch minus the main strike bowler against the number 1 test side in the world.

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

Well Marcio i agree the Proteas were mostly terrible and were well below par but you see there in lies the problem an ozzie side at their absolute best still couldnt beat an sa side struggling to get out of first gear the ozzies might get smashed if the proteas do manage to find some form in Perth

Posted by philvic on (November 26, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

The Aussies under Clark are not bad but they are very negative. Their field-placing is way more defensive then SA which is why the teams scoring rates are different. Anyway, Perth should be another humdinger.

Posted by Jasonlupus on (November 26, 2012, 18:01 GMT)

@Marcio at it again? Okay I'll bite. But lets agree on a few things upfront.

Firstly the match was drawn, nether Aus nor SA either won or lost the game. Second Aus played some great cricket Third both sides had injuries at critical times, Philander before the game, Kallis in the middle of a fiery spell which could easily have gotten either Clarke or Warner had he not pulled up lame, that before that incredible onslaught on day 1, your point on Pattinson also goes the other way, SA could easily have been chasing 300-330 in the last innings, for the win instead of going for the draw.

Right now that's out the way, for me the difference between a good and poor cricket team is the ability to control a game, that said the difference between a good and great team is the ability to force a result. Aus has not managed to do that no matter how well they have played, and they have played well.

Personally I loved the game, it has shown how good both teams are, bring on the third Test.

Posted by fitzy99 on (November 26, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

Great test match - well done to both teams.As an Aussie I'm glad that they are not no.1 at the moment because I don't think they've really earned it yet.I'd rather see them gather some momentum and leave the no.1 mantle to someone else for a while.A series win against South Africa would do them the world of good but there's loads of cricket to be played before that happens

Posted by Spelele on (November 26, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

Clarke is responsible to be honest. He should have declared weigh earlier. Something tells me that I was right in predicting that - by the end of this series - all Clarke's praisers will turn against him. He hasn't been bad, but has been nowhere near what his fans have hyped him up to be!

Posted by Spelele on (November 26, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

Clarke is responsible to be honest. He should have declared weigh earlier. Something tells me that I was right in predicting that - by the end of this series - all Clarke's praisers will turn against him. He hasn't been bad, but has been nowhere near what his fans have hyped him up to be!

Posted by   on (November 26, 2012, 17:01 GMT)

VincenzoPavarotti - Which dangling carrot are you talking about? I mean, C'mon, Clarke did leave the carrot dangling by asking SA to score 429 in 140 overs. I agree it wasn't a brave declaration, but he really couldn't have handed them the match to them on a platter by giving them only 350 to chase. He surely knew it was hard work to get 10 wickets, so he gave his team 140 overs to do that.

Most teams now-a-days score at more than 3 RPO, so I don't think declaring earlier would have had any effect on SA being more positive. It was not the mountain of runs that caused them to shut shop, it was the 45/4 situation they were in, that forced them to do that.

Posted by 68704 on (November 26, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

Before the series started, I read enough "optimistic " aussie supporters who were predicting a 0-3 South african white wash. Now after the second test when australia have dominated most of the sesssions of both the games and looked the most likely winner, what are people saying? Clarke delayed the declaraation ! Get real guys ! Australia is hunting and the proteas are hunted! It is likely that the south africans could still win as the australian batting is too dependient on Clarke and Hussey. But just step back and consider what Australia is trying to achieve. South africa is the no 1 side in the world, they smashed England in their own back yard and are licking their wounds now. Enjoy the moment and who knows Clarke the no 1 test ranked batsman in the world and the best test captain in the world might still make it . Ramanujam Sridhar

Posted by Gregg22 on (November 26, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

As much as it pained me to watch Mitchell Johnson run through the South African batting lineup in 08 and 09. I just love watching him bowl. Especially with his tail up and actually swinging(which heaven knows how with that gawd awful release and seam position) the ball. Especially because he's by far the most consistently fast bowler in test cricket. Love that compact measured run up and that sling that generates so much pace. This btw is coming from the biggest Dale Steyn fan ever. But where johnson will start the day off at 145kph and probably finish it there. Dale starts off far gentler at about 135 and gets quicker as the day continues, which makes him a fantastic test bowler. And yes i know it's not all about bowling fast but boy is it exciting. Nothing beats an express bowler running in and sending the fear of God into the batsmen by bowling at 150kph. Cannot wait for Perth! And a protea win hiehiehie

Posted by VincenzoPavarotti on (November 26, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

Marcio - welcome to test match cricket!

It is a fact of test match cricket, that you will do well to recognise, that a team must be able to take 20 wickets if they want a chance of winning. Bare in mind too that Australia wasn't the only team impacted by injuries in this match.

I agree that fortune favours the brave - the issue is that Clarke's declaration was anything but brave. It's not surprise South Africa shut up shop after this. I think the great Australian sides of years gone by would have left a carrot dangling, encouraged the opposition to play some strokes, and backed themselves to bowl the opposition out. But not Clarkey and this team.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 26, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

The truth comes back to haunt Australia yet again - Their seamers are county -standard trundlers and the less said about Lyon the better. Can't they find just one, just one, person in the whole of Australia who can spin a cricket ball?? The Australian cricket 'Academy' should just distribute videos of Graham Swann bowling, the long-accepted biggest turner of the ball in world cricket for the last three years. Back to the drawing board Australia.

Posted by tpjpower on (November 26, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

Plenty of comments across the boards about how awful South Africa have been, and how Australia's efforts are far more deserving of victory. What I would say, though, is that the fact the Saffers have managed to salvage a 0-0 scoreline from two Tests (despite several of their key players facing injuries or poor form) suggests they are an impressive and mentally tough Test team. I feel they've really worn the Aussies down already, and that their pace attack could prove a handful in Perth. Surely Clarke has to fail at some point, just as Steyn has to fire. Smith and Kirsten might just manage to pick a balanced side for the third Test, too. Sounds strange, but if I were a gambling man I'd be tipping the visitors from here.

Posted by popcorn on (November 26, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

Australia will have the satisfaction of honestly knowing that it wasn't for the fault of not trying that they could not win the Adelaide Test. The bowlers and fielders gave it their all. Australia have dominated BOTH Tests - and the JUST Reward for their efforts will be a win at Perth AND consequently, the Rank of Number One Test playing Nation in the world.

Posted by Marcio on (November 26, 2012, 13:28 GMT)

I suppose some might not like me writing SA were terrible 4/5 days, but if you look at the comments by SA fans all through this game they were saying the same thing. A few claimed they would no longer follow the team, and were absolutely savage in their comments. At any rate, in the interests of diplomacy, I downgrade my assessment to "mostly terrible" ;-) Honestly, that's my genuine opinion of what I saw most sessions on the first 4 days.

Posted by TsoroM on (November 26, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

@ Marcio, SA have not even come close to their peak in this series, but De Villiers, Du Plessis and Kallis showed how gutsy this team is and they got the best possible result for the team looking at how the test match went. You say Australia were "excellent", but I think we can safely say they are just not good enough then if they "did their best" in 4 out of the 5 and still returned with a draw against an SA team you say, "were terrible 4 out 5 days". I hope SA play their best cricket at the WACA so you can see the results good teams get when they play at the peak...

Posted by airbus380india on (November 26, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

@ Marica : I don't agree withyou on fortune did not favour the brave. I belive The Title BRAVE should go to Du Plessis. He was absolutley brillaint on his debut test match for his country. He played real test match cricket. He proved test match cricket is not always about winning and loosing. It's a test of your character. He survided it with the support of his AB, JK and the rest. This test match belongs to you. No one else should be mentioned here even though there were lots of other good performances. This one stands out. HATS OFF DU PLESSIS

Posted by Gloucsfan on (November 26, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

Should be 5 tests, 3 is a total joke. The last series between these two countries comprised of only 2. Great viewing, sport at its best

Posted by McPiggle on (November 26, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

Perhaps the Saffers "sleepwalked" through the whole thing, but the very best that the Aussies threw at them just wasn't good enough. Well done to the Saffers for that immense effort. That said, it would have been interesting to see how the game would have turned out if Kallis had been able to continue bowling in the first innings. Me thinks it would have been with SA going to Perth 1-0 up.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 26, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

@Marcio on (November 26 2012, 11:26 AM GMT), don't you think it's a bit weak complaining that all the DRS reviews went against Australia? If the reviews went against them then that means that the batsman weren't out. Are you saying that Australia deserved to get wickets when the batsman weren't really out? Also, I don't doubt that, if the shoe was on the other foot, you'd be applauding Australia's application at saving the match. You seem to be implying that SA did something wrong by not trying to chase a target that was clearly beyond them once they lost early wickets. Noone thought they'd last the day today so they should be applauded for doing so. Some even criticised Clarke for declaring too early. There's no doubt Australia had the better of this game but everyone knows a Test has to be won in 5 days and if you're not good enough to do that then you don't get the win. Tough break re Pattinson no doubt, but a fit Kallis could have done considerably more too. Well played both teams.

Posted by Emile1985 on (November 26, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

@Marcio. Die hard Aussie supporter yes? :) You seem quick to take credit away from South Africa - I also saw you mention that you don't believe Faf deserved the MOM. You don't seem to be aware of the fact that this "lame" South African batting means that the series remains completely open? Clarke's 2nd consecutive double hundred was no doubt impressive, but it pales in comparison when you consider that Faf's performance has ensured that his team still have an opportunity to take the series. If that isn't worthy of a man of the match award, then I don't know what is. Also, Pattinson was injured during the 2nd SA innings... shame - You seem to forget that a certain Mr Jaque Kallis, after taking 2 wickets in 3.3 overs, was unable to bowl from that point on - early in the 1st innings. But i get where you're coming from - I'm a die hard Proteas supporter, as you are for Oz. Whichever way it goes, tremendous cricket all round. 3rd Test is gonna be Epic! Come on Proteas!!! :)

Posted by morriarty on (November 26, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

Only one aspect missing from the aus team...pace! they needed one more bowler who was fast and dangerous ,We have a bunch of medium pacers Gaaawd how pedestrian. I am also extremely disappointed that the selctors would change the team ...Quiney isnt my first pick but this team needs to prove they can win ...and beat the SA team.I would even go as far as to say that it is essential that watson not return and johnson be put in pattersons place.Why ? because the team needs an express bowler to smash the tail and the natural variation of the waca wicket can be unplayable at pace. There is no other aus bowler who bowls at 150 .Only johnson .I hate to say it because I am not a fan of his never have been.But this is his one and only last opportunity after which he can be dropped -harsh but hehehe .

So lets have the same team please selectors Quiney staying is a must !!!! Johnson in- is also a must for this test only then he can go again...thankyou.

Posted by Ravendark on (November 26, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

@Marcio: If the positions were reversed, would you be disappointed to see Australia playing for the draw, and "lamely pad(ding) the ball back down the pitch"? How did you expect SA to play? Perhaps if Clarke had set a more reasonable target (340ish?) SA would have played more shots and given more opportunities. Especially after losing 4 quick wickets, they didn't see the target as gettable so they shut up shop and effectively outplayed Australia at the pointy end of the match, where it counts.

Posted by AshesErnie on (November 26, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

Marcio, look in the newspaper tomorrow. The game was drawn. Aus scored 482 on Day 1 and failed to win. The captain scored 230 and failed to win. The bowlers bowled almost 300 overs and failed to take 20 wickets. You are so desperate you even accuse DRS of being biased. Open your other eye, you might see why people enjoy Test cricket for what it is - in this case, an excellent draw.

Posted by The.Duckpond on (November 26, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

Total non-initiative? I'm quite amazed at how many people, mostly Oz supporters, have accused The Proteas of being boring. It was a massive total to chase, and losing 4 so quickly meant the chase was never going to be on. You are right, they never played a shot in anger to Lyon, which was the right way to minimize the risk of losing a wicket. Still, SA have been poor! I'm not sure we can improve enough to win in Perth.

Posted by Mayan820 on (November 26, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

Everything being equal the result of this test mach should have been Aus. 1 SA 0, but just because this Protea team NEVER, NEVER, NEVER gives up, no matter what, the match ended in a draw. The brilliant thorn in Australia's flesh was one Faf du Plessis. What a player, what a South African find!! One could could sum things up this way . . . Faf du Plessis 1, Aus. 0.9. Just like he paid the Kiwis back 3-fold for that little World Cup humiliation in Dhaka, so he has now made utterly sure that the Ausies will NEVER, EVER forget his name. You are the one, Faf, who made sure that your captain's record still stand, the one where South Africa has never lost a test mach when G. Smith scored a test century. Faf, you are a new South African hero!

Posted by Marcio on (November 26, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

You can't blame Lyon. He's a finger spinner, they create pressure through accuracy and forcing batsmen into mistakes. Here SA barely played a shot to him in 50 overs: total non-initiative. There's not much more that you can do - when your main strike bowler goes down, the pitch stays true, all DRS reviews go against you and the opposition lamely pads the ball back down the pitch for 4 sessions - than to just keep trying. And they did. Australia did all the work it this test, took all the initiative, took all the risks, thought the hardest; while SA sleepwalked through the whole thing. They were terrible 4 out of 5 days, AUS were excellent 4/5 days, and did their best on the 5th. Sadly, fortune did not favour the brave. It will be very tough to pick themselves up. It will be a true test of character.

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Daniel BrettigClose
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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