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

De Villiers reverse sweeps to century

Firdose Moonda and Brydon Coverdale at the WACA
Plays of the day from the third day of the third Test between Australia and South Africa in Perth

Catch of the day

For the second day in a row, Mitchell Johnson took a stunning catch off his own bowling. On Saturday, he took the catch with his quick feet and desperate dive; this time it was down to his lightning fast reflexes. Hashim Amla seemed set for a double-century when on 196 he drove a half-volley from Johnson straight back past the bowler, or rather, he thought it was going to go past the bowler. Instead, he saw Johnson instinctively thrust his right hand out and the ball stuck in it, a remarkable take in any circumstances and especially given how exhausted Johnson must have been during another long, hot day in the field. Another fine catch later in the day was Johnson's fourth for the innings, making him the first Australian fielder to achieve that feat since Matthew Hayden in 2004.

Milestone of the day

If any player could have gone to bed on 99 not out and not have a sleepless night, that man is Hashim Amla. He returned in the morning to nudge a single off his hips off the third ball of the first over and bring up a hundred without showing any nerves. Amla, similarly, was unruffled when he went to lunch on the edge of another milestone on 149. Again, it was on the third ball after the break that he got a single and the acknowledgment was even more bashful. No removal of the helmet, which he had only just put on, just a raise of the bat.

Shots of the day

Just two days ago it seemed AB de Villiers' flamboyance was a thing of the past. Even in the early stages of his innings today, it looked that way. But he issued a reminder that the panache is still there. On 89, de Villiers readied himself for the drive and then got down on one knee to paddle Nathan Lyon past slip. The next ball, he did again to beat slip but it was the third shot which showed off his style. With no risk involved, he sent the ball through point with a flourish and brought up his first century since becoming the full-time wicketkeeper.

Reverse umbrella of the day

The umbrella field is a staple of Test cricket but the rarely seen reverse umbrella made an appearance as the Australia considered all sorts of novel ideas to keep Hashim Amla quiet. As Shane Watson ran in to bowl to Amla, he had a cover-point, two men at mid-off a short distance apart, mid-on, two men catching at midwicket, deep midwicket and a deep square leg. There was no cordon, no third man and no fine leg. The only man behind the stumps was the wicketkeeper. It was a short-lived ploy and didn't bring about a wicket, but at least captain Michael Clarke was trying things.

Three-minute delay of the day

On the second day, the umpires and players were in position and ready to start after tea at 3.29pm, but the rules of the game dictated that they had to wait until the clock ticked over to 3.30. The same sense of strictness does not apply to starting late. After lunch on day three, the players ambled out and were in no rush to resume, and were not hurried up by the umpires. Play was supposed to recommence at 12.30pm but it was 12.33 before everybody was ready for action. The vagaries of cricket had claimed another three minutes.

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  • Dummy4 on December 2, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    Has anyone noticed that the Australian bowlers do not wait for the batsmen to get ready before they start their run up? On many occasions in all three test matches, the bowlers would already be almost halfway through their run up before the batsmen even looked at them. I know that the rule states that the batsman has to be ready to face the delivery by the time the bowler is ready to bowl it. But SA bowlers always wait for the batsmen to get ready before they start their run up. With Morkel, it's a compulsion to look at the batsmen ready to face him, then take a half circle and then start his run up, but even others do not try to sneak up on the batsmen.

  • John on December 2, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    I'm not sure that Amla's disappointment at not reaching 200 would be quite as acute as Cook's at not reaching 300 against India a year and a half ago but it would be close. He had actually looked a bit scratchy for a while leading up to that dismissal, but he was playing rather more aggressively at the time than would usually be the case at that stage of a Test match. Hats off to him for not going into his shell and trying to protect himself to make the 200, but milestones are always nice to see.

  • Dummy4 on December 2, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    I maintain there should be penalties for not being ready to play on time. Surely that is in the interests of everybody involved in the game. AND it may help teams bowl 90 overs in 6 hours and not require the extra 30 minutes at the end of the day. At the moment they may as well schedule the day to be 6.5 hours long.

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