Australia in South Africa 2011-12 November 15, 2011

Beating Australia at home the 'pinnacle' - Donald

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Of the three coaches involved in South Africa's new set up, it is Allan Donald who stands out. While Russell Domingo quietly goes about his tasks and Gary Kirsten still learns to relax without the constant glares of Indian cricket shining on him anymore, Donald approaches his occupation with all the enthusiasm and effervescence of a youngster, eager to perform on the international stage himself.

Donald is relishing coaching in the country of his birth, having been overlooked by them in the past. Donald previously worked in England, Zimbabwe and New Zealand but throughout his travelling assignments, made no secret of his desire to come home. He was on the brink of confirming a full-time arrangement with New Zealand when Kirsten came calling and Donald agreed to take the post.

A part of him hoped that it would be present him the opportunity to achieve things on the field, with the national team, that he did not in his playing days. That part emerged on Tuesday at the Wanderers, when Donald was asked how he felt when he watched his attack skittle Australia for 47 last week.

"The guys went out and did something unbelievably special at Newlands, something a lot of people dream about," Donald said, with a wistful look in eyes. "To be at the forefront of something extremely special and to beat Australia on South African soil would be the pinnacle."

That word - pinnacle - expresses Donald's desire to do what South Africa have never done before: register a home series win against Australia since readmission. When Donald was playing, Australia were at their best and he was used to being dominated by them. Now, the chance to overturn that trend is here.

"Gary has always mentioned small steps and we are one Test match away from hopefully something very special," Donald said. "We are going to focus on what we have to do and do it well to try and win this Test series here in South Africa. It's not been done before for a very long time."

With South Africa's bowling appearing more incisive than Australia's in the first Test, Donald has been given much of the credit for their win. He accepted it reluctantly and modestly. "People in the street might be saying, 'What a bowling coach,' but what a load of rubbish," he joked. "It's not rocket science what happened in that second innings. We did a job and it was freakish how it turned out."

Australia were reduced to 21 for 9 by what Donald calls "aggressive lengths" bowled by South Africa. He has warned his bowlers not to expect a collapse of that nature again, especially on a totally different pitch at the Wanderers." I don't think we will see another pitch as friendly as the Newlands one," Donald said. "At the Wanderers, you've got to be fairly spot on, there's a bit of bounce and a bit of carry that keeps the bowlers interested but if you do tend to get loose on this pitch, batters will be able to score square of the wicket on both sides."

The Wanderers track is traditionally known to be good for Test cricket, and Donald expects it to provide a tough contest between bat and ball. "Yesterday, it looked a belter of a track, maybe slightly on the soft side," he said. "He [Chris Scott, Wanderers groundsman] has flooded it to stop it from cracking."

The change of strip could mean a rethink for South Africa, who went into the first Test with three frontline seamers and an attacking spinner. Dale Steyn and debutant Vernon Philander had outstanding returns, Morne Morkel found his form in the second innings and said he hopes to maintain it.

"It's always a bit of a judgement move from one-day to Test cricket. The margin is sometimes very small," Morkel said. "The timing and rhythm wasn't as I would have liked in the first innings."

South Africa's only other seam option is Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who missed Tuesday's training with flu, but the change could come with left-arm spinner Paul Harris, who may play a containing role. It would mean Imran Tahir might sit out, after being used sparingly at Newlands on a paceman's wicket. Donald was not alarmed by the legspinner's lack of immediate impact. "It's sometimes very difficult for a spinner when you come onto a wicket like that, that is responsive to seam bowling. More often than not, you will see a guy like that not bowl very much," he said. "Imran, if he does play, will come in and do a job for us, there is no question. When the time is right and the surface is right, he will definitely play a massive part."

While South Africa appear spoilt for choice, Australia have concerns, with Mitchell Johnson, who wowed on his last visit to the country in 2009, appearing flat. Donald said he noticed Johnson was not his usual self. "He is a bit slingy at the moment," Donald said. "That's for the Aussies to sort out. He is a match-winner so he will find a way of getting back. He is not in the team just to make up the numbers."

Donald also had words of warning for his side, about Australia's bowling and their team as a whole. "We expect them to bounce back heavily," he said. He would know.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY din2383 on | November 17, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    u are now dreamin to beat australia india beat australia regularly in 90s and 2000 and beaten australia in 2003 when australia was strong team same time australia south africa lost in 2001.india are no choker they always came out fighting .south africa is ordinary team they now are beating australia when they lost all great players but india take mantle with australia when they were strong our great leader saurav ganguly showed the way to indian team.

  • POSTED BY on | November 17, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    they were beaten by england badly... and also by india...beating australia now is not so great now... it was during 1999 -2007 times...

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | November 17, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    Australia were the pinnacle 3-5 years ago, sadly they are just another team. The teams to beat now are India, England and SA.

  • POSTED BY on | November 17, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    if this were a pinnacle in tests..chasing 438 in odi was really bigger than this...chasing 400 in test in aus bigger indeed.. ananth...

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | November 17, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    Howcome Aussies are pinnacle.....they were bowled out for 47 ...guess Donald should talk only for Saffers, Australia are pinnacle & not for rest of others....Australia were humbled by India even when they were World Champions in 1996....1998....2001...2003-04....SA has def. Australia since readmission...hence that statement....England & India and not Australia are pinnacle in test cricket..

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | November 17, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    It sounds like Alan Donald is still smarting from the results in his own era, when Australia were dominant. His words indicate that he will feel some sort of vindication if SA win this series but he shouldn't confuse this Australia team with the dominant teams he played against, which apparently RandyOz is as well. I guess SA consider Australia to be their primary rival so a win would always be satisfying, but I would think that the only pinnacle worth achieving at the moment, in this era without a dominant team, is to reach the #1 ranking.

  • POSTED BY cricket_slcsupport on | November 16, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    Good see SA not choking for the first time

  • POSTED BY sudhanshu.jsr on | November 16, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    it was absolute pinnacle of SA bowling but more misfortune of Australian batting.

  • POSTED BY Iamnotboredofcricket on | November 16, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    "Beating Australia at home the 'pinnacle' - Donald". Absurd. Australia aren't even top 3 any more. Perhaps 5,6, 7+ years ago... It's like someone like Gatting saying beating the West Indies on their turf is the pinnacle.

  • POSTED BY on | November 16, 2011, 16:02 GMT

    Its time australia realize and be humble about the fact that they are not the same great side they were in the past anymore..2000 to 2008 they were champions in all formats without a doubt.. they can never replace someone with attitude of hayden..skill of warne..brilliance of Mc grath and grit of Steve..it was the team that made every aussie captain look like they were in total control.. after all the greats left...it was made evident how can a captain be so ordinary if the team is one...Ricky is a standout example..he always batter after hayden/langer made a flying start and had waugh/martin and Gilly to follow him..he is a disgrace to the spirit of the game.. what they now have is a uncertain captain...their weakest bowling line up of few decades and a ex captain who thinks he is above the game...they need somelike Hussey to mould the new gen of players..and its back to drawing board for them...i would lov to see them peak again as it makes the whole game exciting..

  • POSTED BY din2383 on | November 17, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    u are now dreamin to beat australia india beat australia regularly in 90s and 2000 and beaten australia in 2003 when australia was strong team same time australia south africa lost in 2001.india are no choker they always came out fighting .south africa is ordinary team they now are beating australia when they lost all great players but india take mantle with australia when they were strong our great leader saurav ganguly showed the way to indian team.

  • POSTED BY on | November 17, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    they were beaten by england badly... and also by india...beating australia now is not so great now... it was during 1999 -2007 times...

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | November 17, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    Australia were the pinnacle 3-5 years ago, sadly they are just another team. The teams to beat now are India, England and SA.

  • POSTED BY on | November 17, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    if this were a pinnacle in tests..chasing 438 in odi was really bigger than this...chasing 400 in test in aus bigger indeed.. ananth...

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | November 17, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    Howcome Aussies are pinnacle.....they were bowled out for 47 ...guess Donald should talk only for Saffers, Australia are pinnacle & not for rest of others....Australia were humbled by India even when they were World Champions in 1996....1998....2001...2003-04....SA has def. Australia since readmission...hence that statement....England & India and not Australia are pinnacle in test cricket..

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | November 17, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    It sounds like Alan Donald is still smarting from the results in his own era, when Australia were dominant. His words indicate that he will feel some sort of vindication if SA win this series but he shouldn't confuse this Australia team with the dominant teams he played against, which apparently RandyOz is as well. I guess SA consider Australia to be their primary rival so a win would always be satisfying, but I would think that the only pinnacle worth achieving at the moment, in this era without a dominant team, is to reach the #1 ranking.

  • POSTED BY cricket_slcsupport on | November 16, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    Good see SA not choking for the first time

  • POSTED BY sudhanshu.jsr on | November 16, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    it was absolute pinnacle of SA bowling but more misfortune of Australian batting.

  • POSTED BY Iamnotboredofcricket on | November 16, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    "Beating Australia at home the 'pinnacle' - Donald". Absurd. Australia aren't even top 3 any more. Perhaps 5,6, 7+ years ago... It's like someone like Gatting saying beating the West Indies on their turf is the pinnacle.

  • POSTED BY on | November 16, 2011, 16:02 GMT

    Its time australia realize and be humble about the fact that they are not the same great side they were in the past anymore..2000 to 2008 they were champions in all formats without a doubt.. they can never replace someone with attitude of hayden..skill of warne..brilliance of Mc grath and grit of Steve..it was the team that made every aussie captain look like they were in total control.. after all the greats left...it was made evident how can a captain be so ordinary if the team is one...Ricky is a standout example..he always batter after hayden/langer made a flying start and had waugh/martin and Gilly to follow him..he is a disgrace to the spirit of the game.. what they now have is a uncertain captain...their weakest bowling line up of few decades and a ex captain who thinks he is above the game...they need somelike Hussey to mould the new gen of players..and its back to drawing board for them...i would lov to see them peak again as it makes the whole game exciting..

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | November 16, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    @RandyOZ, that's a bit over the top. The best ever team that I watched was the Windies of 70s to 80s. And remember that, though they came and decimated us in our own backyard, we still love those Legendary Windies. The pride and passion they displayed without resorting to cheap rowdy sledging was Legendary. The Great Malcolm Marshall had it in him to look into the batsman's eyes after every ball he bowled and mouth off like that repulsive McGrath. But he never did that. Same applies to The Great Joel Garner/Whispering Death/Andy Roberts......It's just the way they carried themselves and the friendly/jocular aura they bring to the table that makes them the most loved opposition team, as far as my memory serves me.

  • POSTED BY on | November 16, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    Beating this Australian team is not the big deal Mr Donald.You were their where ur side just rolled over by the Most Powerfu team of the universe even in ur presence So South Africa just won the Test match and not much more than that.they are Celbrating in killing the Dead Tiger.Yes South Africa played really well after being drubbed at 96 all out in first innings which is difficult task to achieve

  • POSTED BY zico123 on | November 16, 2011, 14:55 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson is a match winner, not for his own team but for opponent team :)

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | November 16, 2011, 14:55 GMT

    47 all out. Humiliating isn't the word. And it wasn't even on a dodgy pitch. 47....

  • POSTED BY Saksham197 on | November 16, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    Make no mistake. Trust australia for bouncing back like they always have done. They lost the first test only due to one bad session. the will be keen to turn things around this time. But, like every non-australian, i too would like to see south africa win this 2-0. And for all those who want Ponting to be dropped, guys, please give that a break. Hes just going through a little rough phase. He's a class act, everyone knows that. He will be back with good scores in no time. Form is temporary, class is permanent. And, his playing days are not over. It could be seen from the recent one dayers he has played. Just give him time. Certainly Australia should give him the due respect for what hes achieved for their cricket. Definitely he should not be as badly treated as India's best captain Sourav Ganguly was.

  • POSTED BY on | November 16, 2011, 13:13 GMT

    warner shud be a regular opener in this outfit..watson shud bat lower down the order..australian team shud be like thi:-warner,hughes,marsh,clarke,hussey,watson,haddin,harris,siddle,lyon,cummins....Australia used to select team on merit not on past performances..they shud do that mow als..pointing and johnson..have 2 b out of this team..give clarke a young team..team which will be build by him..exactly what border did in 80s..

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | November 16, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    @landl47 : You and many English fans are holding the Ind-Eng series tightly everywhere u go.. A home series win(Though that big) giving you this much boasting? If i was a English fan, i would well keep the Ashe win in Australia a bit higher than the 4-0 in home.. @RandyOZ : You were a great cricketing nation.. But not all time of course.. I guess Gary's coaching stint with Indians helped both India as well as Gary.. India is the most cruel country to coach or captain.. Every match is fresh and every day need to be a new page.. Win->Hero and Loss->Villan is what happens in India.. He could well abolish the complacency in the team if there is any!!

  • POSTED BY on | November 16, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    So, if a pitch favours seam it's friendly and if it aids spin it's dangerous??? Seems a tad unfair to me.

  • POSTED BY SuperSharky on | November 16, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    Just before South Africa was excluded from the international arena in the 1970's, they have white-washed the Auzzies on home soil. And after the long isolation, South Africa came back and beat The Auzzies in Australia at South Africa's first ever World Cup in 1992. Then everybody talked about how "pinnacle" it is to beat the Auzzies. I just hope we don't bruise them too much so that we can still say in the future it's pinnacle to beat the Auzzies.

  • POSTED BY Antomann on | November 16, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    Watson's had a great couple of years with bat and ball, no problem there. Khawaja - not Warner - will replace Marsh. Haddin and Ponting are the weak links in the batting at present, but it's the bowlers who are the worry, as usual for this generation Aussie team. Bowlers win matches, not batsmen. If we're still picking Siddle and Johnson, then our bowling stocks are woefully low.

  • POSTED BY thenightwatchman on | November 16, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Australia will lose the 2nd test and will struggle against NZ and India. They are all at sea. Lets run the rule over them, no one knows how to use Watson, is he a bowler who can bat? or an opener and main bowler he has shown and admitted he cant do both opening slots, Hughes is in trouble with his technique and struggling for runs, doesnt intimidate, Punter is all over the place, well below his best and a shadow of the imposing No3 he used to be, Marsh is out and could be replaced by an untried Warner, Hussey is OK, Clarke is not a problem, Haddin is stuggling with the gloves and bat and lacks temperanment to form a strong middle order back bone. Johnson well enough said -line and length shot to pieces, Siddle barely intimdates although consistent but doesnt take wickets, Harris, despite his 4 wickets in the first innings is unfit and because of this struggles in tests ie 2nd inns. Lyon, no one knows what he is capable of yet. Make no mistake, this is a team in all sorts.

  • POSTED BY on | November 16, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    Beating this Australian team is not the big deal Mr Donald.You were their where ur side just rolled over by the Most Powerfu team of the universe even in ur presence So South Africa just won the Test match and not much more than that

  • POSTED BY on | November 16, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    Would love to see Punter score some runs. It has been way too long... Bring Cummins in as well.

  • POSTED BY on | November 16, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    The point is redneck . . . the Proteas did not score 5 runs less; they scored enough to avoid the follow on and the rest is history. I agree that these two teams are alarmingly close, but it will not change the fact that the Ausies will leave South Africa with a 2-0 Test defeat, if every single Protea in the team, Gary Kirsten, Alan Donald and every single true Protea supporter has anything to do with it . . . and as it is . . . there is not any one of us who do not wish that the Proteas will grind this Aus. team into fine dust at the bullring from tomorrow onwards and win this second test as well.

  • POSTED BY indianzen on | November 16, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Every country are lions at home, but what it all matters is outside... Donald should speak only after their tour of england...

  • POSTED BY CriticalMay on | November 16, 2011, 7:45 GMT

    i like aussies when its not against my team. And I wish wish them best of luck. Most probably they are going to win. Go Punter!

  • POSTED BY sachin_vvsfan on | November 16, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    Agree with @ Phat-Boy. Teams feared but never hated WI of 80's. But for Aussies they are still hated but not feared.

  • POSTED BY on | November 16, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    Amazing to see Donald and Gary coaching the Proteas! Wish, MSD's team could be coached by Mr. Ganguly!!! That would add spice to the already spicy Indian team :P Wot say??

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 16, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Maybe the pinnacle would be a little higher if India and England hadn't beaten Aus in the last year, but I'm sure Donald will take a series win. I'd like to see it, too- that will pretty much guarantee the series between England and SA will be to decide who is #1. Rather like the series between England and India this year. I'm sure Aus will be fighting like crazy to level the series, but unless SA do fold up they seem to have a bit too much in all departments for Aus.

  • POSTED BY Phat-Boy on | November 16, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    RandyOZ - no, your post showed why opposition teams hate the Aussies. Has nothing to do with their record and status as one of the great sides. If it did, everyone would still hate the West Indies wouldn't they. Are you trying to say that the only team who can ever brag about anything cricket-related is Australia because they have a good record? So what? It doesn't change the fact that they have slipped to abject mediocrity. As a West Indies fan, trust me, how good you WERE doesn't make up for how bad you ARE after a while.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | November 15, 2011, 22:41 GMT

    5 less runs in south africas 1st innings and we could have enforced the follow on!!! south africa may have won by 8 wickets but these teams are a lot closer than that result suggests. reading what donald says, i smell the ever reliable south african choke just around the corner!!!

  • POSTED BY the_blue_android on | November 15, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    Replacing Tahir with Harris? I'm a big fan of Donald the bowler, but that has to be the dumbest thing ever said. May be that's why he was always looked over for a coach's role.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | November 15, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    Haha, of course beating Australia is the pinnacle Alan. We are the greatest cricketing nation of all time. That's why the poms starting crowing so much after they finally won an Ashes after 20-odd years. We're the best. people may hate us, but we love it because we're the only ones who have something to stand on!

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    Oh please! The "conditions" of the pitch. Same pitc Clarky, Amla and (a out of form) Smith batted easily. The Ausies threw the game away with bad judgement when batting. Don't blame the pitch, blame the Ausie batters.

  • POSTED BY Number_5 on | November 15, 2011, 21:42 GMT

    Aust lost the last test in one session of the poorest quality Australian cricket ive seen in quite some time (i grew up watching the aussie team of the 80s..). had they batted with a bit more steely resolve and made it through till the 3rd day when the pitch was at its best for batting, the result could have been very different. But they didnt and now must face inner demons as well as a rampant SAF. lets hope the pitch is a beauty and we get 5 days of fantastic test cricket..cant wait..gee i love test cricket!!

  • POSTED BY zico123 on | November 15, 2011, 21:07 GMT

    looks like Donald wants Johnson to play as South Africa will have 1 less bowler to worry :) Johnson is as wayward and inconsistent you can get in the world

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    south africa outfit real threaten to other teams excellent coaching stuffs

  • POSTED BY spence1324 on | November 15, 2011, 17:02 GMT

    Somebody call the fashion police because SA's training 'sunhats' look soooooooo silly thank you!

  • POSTED BY Arthaurian on | November 15, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    Why would you replace Tahir with Harris though? Tell us why? Make me understand. Why would you even suggest that. After just that one match, on a pitch that clearly favored fast bowlers, where non of the specialist spinners form either side got a wicket - mainly because there really wasn't any demand for them to - why would you drop him? Is Harris better than him? No. Does SA have a pool of attacking leg spinners to choose from? No. So why would you drop him thats what I wanna know? Why would you even suggest that?

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | November 15, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    the saffers seem to want to go into their normal defensive mode and keep what they have got. i hope the leggie plays. u have to have confidence after the last test or u never will. u may not be as lucky again with the conditions of the pitch. dpk

  • POSTED BY Lovetesh on | November 15, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    SA will become #1 test team if they beat Aus 2-0 and SL 3-0 which is not impposble as they would be playing at home. Just a couple of month and crown will be their.

  • POSTED BY krnataraj on | November 15, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    with the confidence from the newlands test the proteas will simply run over the aussies in the second test match!! my prediction an innings defeat for pup & co!!!

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  • POSTED BY krnataraj on | November 15, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    with the confidence from the newlands test the proteas will simply run over the aussies in the second test match!! my prediction an innings defeat for pup & co!!!

  • POSTED BY Lovetesh on | November 15, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    SA will become #1 test team if they beat Aus 2-0 and SL 3-0 which is not impposble as they would be playing at home. Just a couple of month and crown will be their.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | November 15, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    the saffers seem to want to go into their normal defensive mode and keep what they have got. i hope the leggie plays. u have to have confidence after the last test or u never will. u may not be as lucky again with the conditions of the pitch. dpk

  • POSTED BY Arthaurian on | November 15, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    Why would you replace Tahir with Harris though? Tell us why? Make me understand. Why would you even suggest that. After just that one match, on a pitch that clearly favored fast bowlers, where non of the specialist spinners form either side got a wicket - mainly because there really wasn't any demand for them to - why would you drop him? Is Harris better than him? No. Does SA have a pool of attacking leg spinners to choose from? No. So why would you drop him thats what I wanna know? Why would you even suggest that?

  • POSTED BY spence1324 on | November 15, 2011, 17:02 GMT

    Somebody call the fashion police because SA's training 'sunhats' look soooooooo silly thank you!

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    south africa outfit real threaten to other teams excellent coaching stuffs

  • POSTED BY zico123 on | November 15, 2011, 21:07 GMT

    looks like Donald wants Johnson to play as South Africa will have 1 less bowler to worry :) Johnson is as wayward and inconsistent you can get in the world

  • POSTED BY Number_5 on | November 15, 2011, 21:42 GMT

    Aust lost the last test in one session of the poorest quality Australian cricket ive seen in quite some time (i grew up watching the aussie team of the 80s..). had they batted with a bit more steely resolve and made it through till the 3rd day when the pitch was at its best for batting, the result could have been very different. But they didnt and now must face inner demons as well as a rampant SAF. lets hope the pitch is a beauty and we get 5 days of fantastic test cricket..cant wait..gee i love test cricket!!

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    Oh please! The "conditions" of the pitch. Same pitc Clarky, Amla and (a out of form) Smith batted easily. The Ausies threw the game away with bad judgement when batting. Don't blame the pitch, blame the Ausie batters.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | November 15, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    Haha, of course beating Australia is the pinnacle Alan. We are the greatest cricketing nation of all time. That's why the poms starting crowing so much after they finally won an Ashes after 20-odd years. We're the best. people may hate us, but we love it because we're the only ones who have something to stand on!