South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 1st day November 17, 2011

A ridiculous delay and a poignant moment

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the second Test between South Africa and Australia, at the Wanderers

Poignant moment of the day
As journalists made their way into the press box at the Wanderers, they were greeted by a familiar yet eerie sight. Peter Roebuck's distinctive straw hat was sitting on a desk. Next to it was a box with a written note asking for donations to support the underprivileged South African and Zimbabwean students who were financially supported by Roebuck, who took his own life on November 12. The ABC radio commentator, Jim Maxwell, one of the last people to see Roebuck alive, delivered an on-air tribute to his broadcasting colleague before the match started. "Peter's gift of language, ideas, knowledge of the game, his self-deprecation, occasional intensity and downright contrariness," Maxwell said, "made for stimulating, often brilliant broadcasting."

Delay of the day After tea, with Australia seven overs behind the required over-rate and a thunderstorm looming, both teams were eager to get going. But the Powerade advertisement on the sightscreen at the Corlett Drive End would not switch off, causing a 13-minute delay, and the ground staff eventually had to throw a curtain over it. Michael Clarke spent the time signing autographs for young fans while AB de Villiers had a lie-down next to the pitch.

Common-sense approach of the day
Umpires are often criticised for their hasty decisions to leave the field for bad light, so it is only fair that they be applauded when they use common sense. Such was the case when Billy Bowden and Ian Gould allowed play to keep going in the final session. The conditions were gloomy but the floodlights were on, and the South Africa batsmen were in no danger as Australia bowled spin from both ends. It was only when the Australian innings was to start, presumably against the pace of Dale Steyn and Co., that bad light was called, and rightly so in conditions that had started to resemble a day-night match.

Debut of the day
The last time Australia played a Test at the Wanderers, they handed out three baggy greens, to Phil Hughes, Marcus North and Ben Hilfenhaus. Hughes is the only one of that trio left in the side. They hope for greater success with Pat Cummins, who was presented with his cap by Ricky Ponting, a man old enough to be his father. At 18, Cummins is Australia's second-youngest Test debutant of all time and he entered the match with nine first-class wickets. His tenth arrived in his 12th over of Test cricket when a full outswinger was edged to second slip by Hashim Amla. Fittingly, it was the old man of the team, Ponting, who took a sharp catch above his head to give the new boy his magic moment.

Tremor of the day
In-form swing bowler, opening batsman, vice-captain - Shane Watson is the most important man in Australia's side. Imagine the concern in the Australian camp, then, when Watson walked off the field during his fourth over with an injury to his right hamstring. Already he had collected a wicket, but if the injury proved serious he would leave Australia down one bowler and a key batsman. To Australia's great relief, he returned to the field during the second session and fielded at first slip. It remains to be seen how much he can contribute with bat or ball.

Start of the day
Jacques Kallis came to the crease with both South Africa's openers back in the dressing room. With his arrival, South Africa would have expected calm to reign, but, with the first ball he faced, Kallis showed he had other ideas. A full, wide, Watson ball could have been left alone but Kallis decided to show intent early. He moved forward and cracked it through the covers, a stroke sprinkled with nothing but Kallis class. That shot saw him draw level with Brian Lara in fourth place on the all-time leading run-scorers in Test cricket and was the ninth time in his 146-match career that he has opened his innings with a four. An over later, Kallis overtook Lara with a nudge into the leg side.

Needless shot of the day South Africa's slide of four wickets in four overs was largely caused by needless stroke-play against slightly more incisive Australian bowling. Mark Boucher played the most careless shot of the day when he was left to marshal the tail and take South Africa close to the 300 mark, which looked like a certainty earlier. Instead, Boucher pulled a Peter Siddle short ball and top-edged it. The ball went high but Nathan Lyon ran around from the boundary in time to catch it and leave the lower order to fend for themselves.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo; Firdose Moonda is ESNcricinfo's South African correspondent