South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Cape Town, 2nd day November 10, 2011

The makings of a madcap day

Twenty-three wickets in all, Australia's ludicrous scoreline of 21/9 and a selection of other exotic ingredients went into producing one of the most exhilarating days of Test cricket
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Australia's lowest score in a century:
You've just rolled over the opposition in a little over two hours and taken a substantial first-innings lead. Time to return and pummel the dispirited opponents into the ground. Like the Australia of old. Nope. The visitors imploded to 47 all out, their tiniest total since 1902.

The run-rate:
When the bowlers are dominating to the extent they did today, it would be natural for the batsmen to decide to shut shop and bide their time. Instead this was a day in which nearly 300 runs were scored in less than 80 overs, at the decidedly brisk Test run-rate of 3.7.

The last-wicket pair doubling the score:
Australia did tumble to an embarrassingly miniscule total, but it could have been infinitely worse were it not for the tail-enders Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon. At 21 for 9, Australia were staring at the ignominy of subsiding for the lowest score in Test history. The final wicket pair were the only ones to get into double-digits - Siddle's unbeaten 12 was enough to briefly make him one of the world's most discussed topics on Twitter, while No.11 Lyon's 14 was the top score of the innings.

Watson's five-for:
Lyon's topping the batting chart complemented the fact that the man at the top of the batting order grabbed the most wickets for Australia. It had been a fairly anonymous day till lunch - Australia's tail hung on gamely for a while after which South Africa put on 49 for 1. Shane Watson was given the ball to kick off the second session, prompting an astonishing South African collapse. In a 21-ball stretch he waylaid the batting, completing one of the quickest five-wicket hauls in Test history.

An unlikely destroyer:
Coming into this Test, discussions of South Africa's bowling threat centred on the fast-bowling pair of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. The legspinner Imran Tahir was less known, but seen as a new breed of South African slow bowler, one who attacks instead of being content with containment. The third seamer was generally pointed to as the weak link, but it was the man filling that role, debutant Vernon Philander, who ripped through the heart of Australia's batting, finishing with 5 for 15 in seven overs - not as dramatically rapid as Watson, but impressive nonetheless.

All four innings in a day:
This Test joined select company when both teams batted twice in a day, a feat that has occurred only twice in the previous 2015 Tests. The only other occasions were when India and New Zealand played out a thriller in rainy Hamilton in 2002, and when West Indies were blown away for 54 by England in 2000.

The DRS dramas:
An extraordinary nine decisions were reviewed on the day, prompting one television commentator to quip that he hoped the TV umpire was paid as much as the on-field officials. Those nine included an Australian hot streak of successive successful referrals which accounted for the big three of South Africa's batting - Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers - leaving the innings in shambles at 77 for 6.

The drops:
In a match featuring two of the best fielding sides in the world, on a day with 23 wickets went down, you'd expect every chance to have been gobbled up. Instead, three regulation chances were grassed, including a potentially pivotal one from Hashim Amla off the final ball before stumps.

Rudolph's return:
Like the old cliche about London buses, Jacques Rudolph waited a long time for a Test innings, only to have two turn up one after the other . With a bucketload of runs behind him in domestic cricket, Rudolph walked out in the morning for his first Test innings since August 2006. He was dismissed for 18 before lunch but got another opportunity to showcase his Test batting skills after tea, this time making 14. "It must be some sort of record. I've finished my batting and my fielding within two days - and we had rain yesterday," Rudolph later joked.

Mr Cricket's flop:
Michael Hussey came into this match on the back of three consecutive Man-of-the-Match awards in the Sri Lankan Test series, during which he stacked 463 runs in five innings, took blinders in the field and even made breakthroughs with his dibbly-dobbly bowling. Today, he picked up a duck to go with Wednesday's 1, and also shelled a straightforward chance from Amla at slip.

Kallis' duck:
Another of the game's most reliable batsmen also flopped. Since December 2007, Kallis has put together a stretch of 56 Test innings without a duck, a run that finally came to an end today at his home ground, where he has a particularly formidable record.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 12, 2011, 15:31 GMT

    not even a single partnenership in which both the batsman scored atleast a run till 10th wicket

  • lokyshanks on November 12, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    the most important thing was that the Aussies were over confident because of the lead and as i said yesterday not referring Watsons LB decision which was way off target. if Watson was around he had the momentum and confidence and this collapse would have been surely averted.

  • on November 12, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Posted by Tom Haynes on (November 10 2011, 20:16 PM GMT) Why are there only two Tests?!!!

    Because we want more games in the Longer Formats, like T-20 where teams score 120, 180 etc., not 22 for 9. Australia would be great in the 6-6 tournament (6-a side, 6 overs). Against any elementary school team in the world.

  • DINESHCC on November 12, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    SIMON KATICH: The happiest man in Australia.

  • kingcobra85 on November 12, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    opening batsmen takes the most wickets and opening bowler makes most runs! I think that suggest Australia are no longer Joking!

  • RandyOZ on November 12, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Haddin, Siddle, Johnson, Punter - see ya later!

  • joseyesu on November 12, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    Like team depends on Laxman in India in crunch, Aus also depend too much on Hussey. Katich is missed surely

  • on November 12, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    cheguramana is spot on......

  • on November 12, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    Beware the wounded kangaroo, the Kiwis and Indians are going to be blown away and that lowest score of 26 is under serious threat.

  • ARad on November 11, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    I sincerely hope the braintrust of ICC does not decide to INVESTIGATE the Newlands pitch as they did the Galle pitch after another interesting Test match recently. This is not a batting paradise but it is a sporting wicket. Smart batsmen who could adapt to the conditions could thrive and those who want to play brainless shots would either perish or has to ride their luck. We need SPORTY PITCHES IN TEST CRICKET to separate the wheat from the chaff! Both SANGAKKARA and Mo YOUSUF have commented that some of their batting heroics are devalued by the pitches on which they were performed. Kudos to their honesty...

  • on November 12, 2011, 15:31 GMT

    not even a single partnenership in which both the batsman scored atleast a run till 10th wicket

  • lokyshanks on November 12, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    the most important thing was that the Aussies were over confident because of the lead and as i said yesterday not referring Watsons LB decision which was way off target. if Watson was around he had the momentum and confidence and this collapse would have been surely averted.

  • on November 12, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Posted by Tom Haynes on (November 10 2011, 20:16 PM GMT) Why are there only two Tests?!!!

    Because we want more games in the Longer Formats, like T-20 where teams score 120, 180 etc., not 22 for 9. Australia would be great in the 6-6 tournament (6-a side, 6 overs). Against any elementary school team in the world.

  • DINESHCC on November 12, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    SIMON KATICH: The happiest man in Australia.

  • kingcobra85 on November 12, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    opening batsmen takes the most wickets and opening bowler makes most runs! I think that suggest Australia are no longer Joking!

  • RandyOZ on November 12, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Haddin, Siddle, Johnson, Punter - see ya later!

  • joseyesu on November 12, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    Like team depends on Laxman in India in crunch, Aus also depend too much on Hussey. Katich is missed surely

  • on November 12, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    cheguramana is spot on......

  • on November 12, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    Beware the wounded kangaroo, the Kiwis and Indians are going to be blown away and that lowest score of 26 is under serious threat.

  • ARad on November 11, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    I sincerely hope the braintrust of ICC does not decide to INVESTIGATE the Newlands pitch as they did the Galle pitch after another interesting Test match recently. This is not a batting paradise but it is a sporting wicket. Smart batsmen who could adapt to the conditions could thrive and those who want to play brainless shots would either perish or has to ride their luck. We need SPORTY PITCHES IN TEST CRICKET to separate the wheat from the chaff! Both SANGAKKARA and Mo YOUSUF have commented that some of their batting heroics are devalued by the pitches on which they were performed. Kudos to their honesty...

  • bigwonder on November 11, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    @cheguramana, sorry but you are incorrect when you say "Test cricket is at the pinnacle of cricket. There's no other form ofthe game tha comes close, in giving you the highs and the lows!". If you are really looking for highs and lows you should consider surfing as an alternative. Test cricket is best to give you boring results and when occasionally something like this happens, test fans start calling it the best result ever. I guess you can compare it with someone who has not eaten for two days suddenly gets to eat or see food reacts the same way.

  • on November 11, 2011, 20:17 GMT

    to all those claiming this to be a great test match and epitome of quality cricket ... REALLY? how so? Exciting ... to a extent .. ... evenly fought ... hmm .. maybe ... one sided in the end really!!! but a 47 & 96 score with a 21/9 just shows reckless battting and complete lack of skill - in familiar home conditions ...even the first innings was pretty much based on the 150 ... wonder what makes everyone sing praises here?

  • xylo on November 11, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    i wonder what simon katich is thinking.

  • cheguramana on November 11, 2011, 17:21 GMT

    1. First and foremost, this has to be oneof the greater test matches of all time!! And it shows why Test cricket is at the pinnacle of cricket! There's no other form ofthe game tha comes close, in giving you the highs and the lows! 2. Congrats to Graeme Smith and the entire SA team for pulling off an incredible win! 3. This just shows, to all you India baiters out there, that theres no team in the world that's really good at handling swing, seam and bounce! The way cricket fans reacted when India lost in England, you would think it's a peculiar and loathsome flaw of the Indian team alone! 4. Just pause and reflect on this : if it was a test match played in India and the batting collapses were due to spin and not pace, what do you think would have been the reaction? There would have been a tremendous hue and cry !! People would have cried and whined and shouted about a disgraceful pitch and how it was all a conspiracy of the BCCI to boost Indian team's test ratings!!!!

  • on November 11, 2011, 16:13 GMT

    With Lyon being the top scorer and Watson being the best bowler, perhaps Australia should bat in the reverse order in the next test! Lyon & Siddle will also get some more twitter space being the new opening pair for Australia! Waiting for the next test!

  • zico123 on November 11, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    so far Australia carry Mr old Punter and Mr Inconsistent Johnson Australia would not go forward and stay at 4-5 in ranking, both of them should have been dropped 2 years back

  • on November 11, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    that wasnt classic the most boring match i hav ever witnessed it was a match full of nerves

  • Mooky on November 11, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    love it, 42 all out and Johnson and Ponting failed again, doesnt get any better then that

  • Azhar.Hassan on November 11, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Okay, let me try to absorb this - in ONE day, a batsmen completes his 150, this is followed by an entire side getting out for 96, followed by an entire side getting out for 47, then followed by the side that got out for 96 earlier in the day reaching 81 for 1 - again, all this in a single day. The glorious uncertainties of cricket you say. Hmm.........

  • on November 11, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    Day 2 proved how exciting test cricket can be. Yes, some of the batting was abysmal, but it made it so more unpredictable. Haddin must get dropped as he showed real reckless adondon, Ponting is also under pressure. Hopefully SA can knock the runs off today to win, but they must play cautiously the 1st hour to make sure they avoid defeat.

  • s_tiwari on November 11, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    Awesome day for Test cricket !!! after dis display i fear that Aussies will definitely make changes in their team for future series. Ponting, Haddin and Mitchell Johnson's place is under serious threat i guess. I think the way frwrd is to have katich and Marsh as openers wid Khwaja, Watson, clarke and Hussey in the middle order. I doubt Paine wud make it big in tests !! But d most interesting part is that Aussies have plenty of fast bowlers to replace Johnson. Amidst all these lows for Australian cricket, they can still field one of the best fast bowling group in the world !!! Bollinger, Copeland, Cummins, Pattinson...plenty of reserves !!! It wud be interesting to see their squad for the home series against Black caps and India.

  • satish619chandar on November 11, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    None can blame the pitch.. Not much of extra bounce.. just a small deviation enough to edge or hit the pad if you bowl just on the off stump!! Good pitch and conditions.. SA didn't knew what hit them when Watto hit them with double blow straight after lunch and Aus were a bit complacent(I guess) after that mammoth lead..

  • Humdingers on November 11, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    I wonder if the ICC will investigate this pitch now? They did it in Sri Lanka and that was a joke! Wouldn't put it past them. But what a bizarre day! You can't even try to explain it to someone who didn't watch it!

  • gagguv on November 11, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    @Tom Haynes: At the rate they are playing, you can have 3-4 tests in 10 days!!

  • on November 11, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Please check this, but I am certain there was a test match in the late nineties between SA and Pakistan where the game last 3 days and on the 2nd day all 4 innings occurred?

  • on November 11, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Big Disaster for Australian...Now may South Africa will win this match.

  • sudhar.n87 on November 11, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    Extraordinary day of Test Cricket. It makes me so hard to believe 21 for 9 in mordern day cricket. No.11 making the top score. 23 wickets in a day. Felt like this would not happen even in my wildest of dreams.SA better placed to win, but early wickets on the third morning could turn the game completely once again. A real classic encounter this !!

  • johnathonjosephs on November 11, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    This will go down in the future as a classic Test Match. Australia make ~275 and then skittle South Africa for 77, narrowly avoiding the follow through. While watching, I thought Watson would be man of match and that there was no hope for South Africa winning and a miracle if they could even draw. What does South Africa do? They then launch a series of fast bowling assault, demolishing Australia to 44, which is one of the top 5 lowest scores in the entire history of Test Cricket (120 years). They now look like they can win the match. I tell you, from this position, if Australia somehow manage to win this one, this test will go down as one of the best Tests every played (at least in recent times). Upgrade the pitch curators salary and give him a bonus so pitch curators around the world can learn from him. I've never watched every ball so intently like this since Ajantha Mendis's debut test series against India

  • on November 11, 2011, 3:13 GMT

    This test will complete on 3rd day. Why not add another test to make 3 match series...

  • Lmaotsetung on November 11, 2011, 1:30 GMT

    Good bowling will always trump good batting. Just look at Pakistan...they are able to win the odd matches on the strength of their bowling. On the other spectrum you have Sri Lanka who can't take 20 wickets if their lives depend on it. Fast bowling at its finest. Can't wait for summer 2012 when SA visits Eng.

  • Zahidsaltin on November 11, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    A very good advertisement of test cricket after watching some dull cricket being played in India and UAE. The world of cricket has ODI and T20 for dull wickets and they should at least make bowler friendly wickets in Test matches. But they won't as when the match is over in 2½ days, the revenue from TV showings goes down too.

  • orangtan on November 11, 2011, 0:36 GMT

    Wonderful, wonderful Test cricket and all played out against the backdrop of Table Mountain, surely the most attractive setting in the cricketing world, in stark contrast to the ugly monolith that is the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi.

  • rajhe1 on November 11, 2011, 0:28 GMT

    Unbelievable !!!!...what a day for test cricket . Normally I hate watching a full day of test cricket on TV or in the stadium ...this one I would have loved to see it live ...

  • on November 11, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    For an Australian supporter- I was shell shocked . But let me admit -that was fast bowling at its best- I was fortunate to watch- the SA bowlers showed what is line and length in a responsive pitch. I was bit surprised -Ricky also could not handle- I think he is missing the fire in him.

  • on November 10, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    Can't help comparing this against the 434 run chase in 2006. That match was also played in SA and the records broken were of the opposite kind. :-)

  • on November 10, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    What a day for test cricket?! 4 innings in a day, almost caught up with baseball there.

  • on November 10, 2011, 22:37 GMT

    Time for Ponting to retire and have 3 wicket keeper for the 3 formats. Wade for T20, Paine for Tests, Haddin for ODI's.

  • donda on November 10, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    SA is the best country to play test Cricket. Bowling paradise and if you are really good batsman you can score too. What a day of test cricket and i hope to see better day than today tomorrow I want to see a nail bitter where both teams struggle to win. This is classic test match. What a match.

  • teo. on November 10, 2011, 20:20 GMT

    Man.. after day 1, I thought SA had this... then Aus put on a good score and thought that it would be too much... then we got bowled out for 96... and i put my head down in shame and accepted defeat.. then the 47???!!!!!! wooow!!! and as it stands... I have no clue... this test will be wrapped up tomorrow for sure... insane day's play. And the pitch is not even that bad!!

  • on November 10, 2011, 20:16 GMT

    Why are there only two test?!!!

  • on November 10, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    That was really an epic day for the test cricket, reminded me the same excitement of that chase of 434, that was wow day, i wish that kind of so many days in test cricket but one more thing is that if that happens on spin pitches just like in galle aus vs sl and few days ago that kotla pitch then media says it was under prepared pitch not good for cricket why who says that is not good for cricket if bat wins it is good for cricket why not good if bowl wins, one more thing if it is bad in galle and kotla so now they should this pitch was not fit for test cricket,what ever it is i thouroghly enjoyed th excitement today,,,,i love test cricket

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  • on November 10, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    That was really an epic day for the test cricket, reminded me the same excitement of that chase of 434, that was wow day, i wish that kind of so many days in test cricket but one more thing is that if that happens on spin pitches just like in galle aus vs sl and few days ago that kotla pitch then media says it was under prepared pitch not good for cricket why who says that is not good for cricket if bat wins it is good for cricket why not good if bowl wins, one more thing if it is bad in galle and kotla so now they should this pitch was not fit for test cricket,what ever it is i thouroghly enjoyed th excitement today,,,,i love test cricket

  • on November 10, 2011, 20:16 GMT

    Why are there only two test?!!!

  • teo. on November 10, 2011, 20:20 GMT

    Man.. after day 1, I thought SA had this... then Aus put on a good score and thought that it would be too much... then we got bowled out for 96... and i put my head down in shame and accepted defeat.. then the 47???!!!!!! wooow!!! and as it stands... I have no clue... this test will be wrapped up tomorrow for sure... insane day's play. And the pitch is not even that bad!!

  • donda on November 10, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    SA is the best country to play test Cricket. Bowling paradise and if you are really good batsman you can score too. What a day of test cricket and i hope to see better day than today tomorrow I want to see a nail bitter where both teams struggle to win. This is classic test match. What a match.

  • on November 10, 2011, 22:37 GMT

    Time for Ponting to retire and have 3 wicket keeper for the 3 formats. Wade for T20, Paine for Tests, Haddin for ODI's.

  • on November 10, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    What a day for test cricket?! 4 innings in a day, almost caught up with baseball there.

  • on November 10, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    Can't help comparing this against the 434 run chase in 2006. That match was also played in SA and the records broken were of the opposite kind. :-)

  • on November 11, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    For an Australian supporter- I was shell shocked . But let me admit -that was fast bowling at its best- I was fortunate to watch- the SA bowlers showed what is line and length in a responsive pitch. I was bit surprised -Ricky also could not handle- I think he is missing the fire in him.

  • rajhe1 on November 11, 2011, 0:28 GMT

    Unbelievable !!!!...what a day for test cricket . Normally I hate watching a full day of test cricket on TV or in the stadium ...this one I would have loved to see it live ...

  • orangtan on November 11, 2011, 0:36 GMT

    Wonderful, wonderful Test cricket and all played out against the backdrop of Table Mountain, surely the most attractive setting in the cricketing world, in stark contrast to the ugly monolith that is the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi.