South Africa v Australia, 1st ODI, Centurion October 19, 2011

Australia prosper in the rain


Body-blow of the day
Of the three seamers, Lonwabo Tsotsobe is the one that would be least likely to hurt someone. But, he did. After three overs of impeccable control, he surprised Australian captain Michael Clarke with a short ball that had a little extra gas. Clarke was beaten and got a small top edge onto his own helmet. The crack it made had the crowd thinking the gentle giant had drawn blood but after a drink and a new helmet, Clarke was ready to go again.

Musical chairs of the day
It was more like musical covers as a four-and-a-half hour rain delay turned the first ODI between these two teams into something that more closely resembled a third Twenty20. The covers came on and off as the showers went from misty to torrential and the sun teasingly peeked through the clouds in the early stages, promising that the downpour would let up at some stage. The first time the covers were pulled off, minutes after a blackout which turned off everything from the stadium lights to the power points, the stadium dj played a song by a local band, The Parlotones, with the lyrics, "You are all beautiful, you are all magical," thanking the crowd for staying. A fair few of them waited until the end, even though the temperature dropped and the air was chilly. The covers were taken off and put back five times before play restarted.

Boo of the day
Graeme Smith must be getting tired of hearing the sound of boos every time he walks out onto a cricket field. This time there wasn't much noise when Smith was in the field or when he came out to bat but there was a sense of expectation when he took first guard against Doug Bollinger. A nervous Smith left the first ball alone but shifted awkwardly and he was lucky to be gifted four overthrows off the second delivery. He dealt with the next two by at least getting bat to ball and then succumbed to the fifth. Smith was struck on the back pad after playing across the line and was given out lbw. He considered using the review and consulted with Amla but decided against it. As he trudged off the fans near the dressing room steps made it clear what they think of his form, and it isn't good.

ODI introduction of the day
With the hype surrounding Patrick Cummins, his debut in the fifty-overs format of the game was highly anticipated. Hashim Amla, usually known for nice-guy tendencies, had no such hospitality for the 18-year-old. His first ball was not shockingly short but it gave Amla the width to upper cut Virender Sehwag style, but better. He arched his back, raised his arms and sent the ball screaming over the covers to give the South African chase some momentum. Cummins was pasted for a square drive in the same over but made an incredible comeback bowling Jacques Kallis off the inside edge with a full delivery to claim his first ODI wicket.

Slip of the day
Wet weather means more mistakes on the Highveld, especially for motorists on the road, but also for fielders on a cricket field. Australia had done a reasonable job negotiating the dampness but they did make a few errors. The most notable of them was when Cummins dropped the simplest of catches off fellow debutant Mitchell Marsh. Johan Botha was the man let off the hook after he lobbed a tame pull to mid-on. Cummins made his ground to take the catch but after getting down on his haunches saw the ball bobble out of his palms. The only explanation could have been the slippery surface of the ball, because everything else seemed poised to take the catch.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on October 21, 2011, 22:55 GMT

    @R Sridhar - still, its never right to Boo your own captain.

  • Dummy4 on October 21, 2011, 1:34 GMT

    Smith was booed because after losing the World cup badly , he did not return to South Africa to face the media and the angry reaction. He just went away on holiday and got married. Although I am an Indian , I do know that there is a lot of angst against Smith and an attempt to blame him for South Africa not being on top of the cricketing world. I personally feel that the long lay off has not helped South Africa. It is also strange to see how nervous they seem against real fast bowling. Smith is badly out of form and Amla too seems a bit rusty. I am sure they will pull back but Australia seems better prepared and the conditions seem to favour their bowlers. Ponting was steady that day and demonstrated his experience and Clarke fed off a largely loose Steyn. I am sure the other matches and the tests will be closer but I do hope Bollinger stays back for the tests. He is good. sridhar

  • Adrian on October 20, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    Can someone explain why Smith is being booed? What did he do that has turned a nation against him? It's not just form surely.

  • Andrew on October 20, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    @zenboomerang - mate, I'm a fan of Cummins, just an observation! re: booing - its never right to boo our captain. I'm not a fan of C White, but I would never boo him. I was at the Gabba for the Test (Friday/Saturday) - it was only Poms that were booing our blokes, those days. I think Pup got booed at the MCG because Victorian fans thought White would do a better job at being ODI captain.

  • Ajay on October 20, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    Ponting delivered when required. As expected Ponting will be the key of success for Australia.

  • Manesh on October 20, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    South Africa seems to be in the shock of the Choke in the WC...they are yet to recover from it.

  • curt on October 20, 2011, 2:39 GMT

    Last time Graeme Smith batted in a test in Australia he got a standing ovation when he went out to bat & he was cheered off the ground. It was a gutsy effort though, trying to save the SCG test with a broken hand & it won him alot of respect here. He won me over that day.

  • Roo on October 20, 2011, 2:37 GMT

    @meety... give the kid a break, bowled 3 overs for 3 wkts & bobbed 1 catch in wet conditions in 1st ODI... johnson again mainly got the tailenders & 2 extra overs... re: Clarke... he got booed at the Gabba & some in the crowd at Sydney & Adelaide on the days I attended... I don't agree with that attitude but I guess some of the public were getting sick & tired of Clarkes & Pontings pathetic batting record of recent times...

  • Andrew on October 19, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    Can't believe they'd boo Smith, in Oz that would never... oh wait it did when Pup got booed at the MCG, bloody Victorians!

  • Andrew on October 19, 2011, 23:19 GMT

    The catch he took in the T20 looked a bit iffy, there is a good file photo somewhere on this site showing it bobbling. That's an area he'll need to improve!

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