Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth, 2nd day December 1, 2012

Caught Petersen, bowled Peterson

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the second day of the deciding Test in Perth

Catch of the day
John Hastings turned it on against Robin Peterson as he tried to get Australia as close as possible to South Africa's first-innings total. He scored a hat-trick of fours in the 50th over and then tried to clear long-off, four overs later. Initially, it seemed as though Hastings had, but Alviro Petersen was getting ready for the catch. He knew he was likely to carry the ball over the rope, so he tossed it in the air as he went over and completed the catch after he had brought himself back into the field of play. He then turned around to give the crowd a thumbs-up. The scorecard read Hastings c Petersen b Peterson. Now if only Kevin Pietersen had been batting.

Catch of the day, mark two
Petersen's catch was remarkable for his quick thinking. Later in the day, he was on the wrong end of another brilliant catch. This time it was Mitchell Johnson's fast footwork and desperate dive that was impressive. Johnson drew a leading edge from Petersen and as the ball lobbed into the off side he shouted "catch it". Almost instantaneously he realised nobody was going to make it but him, so he sprinted across the pitch, kept his eyes on the ball, dived at full stretch and clasped the ball just above the turf.

Catch of the day, mark three
Graeme Smith was marching towards another century - and opposition teams know what that means - when Nathan Lyon ensured Smith did not complete his spell over the match just yet. Smith pulled a Mitchell Starc delivery over square leg and Lyon came charging in from the boundary. He had to dive forward at full stretch and stick out an arm at the same time to take the catch inches from the ground. The timing was perfect and Lyon hit the ground like a goalkeeper making the perfect save. He stood up with ball safely in his hands and Smith walked off in disbelief. South Africa have never lost a match in which Smith has scored a hundred and even if that is only coincidental on some occasions, it could give Australia some reason to hope.

Similarity of the day
Robin Peterson and Imran Tahir only had the very obvious in common in that they are both spin bowlers but that was before today. Peterson conceded 26 in his first spell of four overs, flighting with almost as much liberty as Tahir did in Adelaide and was consistently attacked by Matthew Wade. Peterson came back with a little more control and bowled a little quicker. When he tossed one up in his fifth over, Wade couldn't help but attempt the slog and missed. Peterson, like Tahir, ran a fair distance through the covers to the edge of the 30-meter circle and let out a roar before being smothered by team-mates. Somewhere in South Africa, Tahir must have smiled in recognition.

Minute of the day
15:29. That was when the players and umpires were in their positions ready to restart play but could not because the official start time was a minute later. The three slips all stood hands on hips, the gully waved his arms about, the bowler paced anxiously, Alviro Petersen jumped in his crease and Graeme Smith stared into the nothingness. Asad Rauf could do nothing but wait for instruction that the match could resume. Malcolm Conn, journalist for the Daily Telegraph, put it best when he said. "In cricket you can waste half an hour drinking tea but you can't start a minute early."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo and Firdose Moonda is South Africa correspondent