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

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

Brydon Coverdale and Firdose Moonda at the Wanderers

November 17, 2011

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

Peter Roebuck's hat sits on a desk in the press box, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 1st day, November 17, 2011
Peter Roebuck's hat lies on a desk in the press box next to a note asking for donations to support the students he supported © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (November 18, 2011, 10:16 GMT)

@davidpk - "...a wide longhop..." - hmmm! I think you did miss something as the wicket taking ball was "...a full outswinger..." you must of been on the turps!

Posted by Vishnu27 on (November 18, 2011, 5:54 GMT)

davidpk: you've missed something: a solid & controlled debut performance from a young fast bowler

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 18, 2011, 4:37 GMT)

Too much of attack from SA.. They were undid by some unnecessary flashy play from Prince and rest of the lower order..

Posted by Patchmaster on (November 18, 2011, 1:36 GMT)

Well done to the umpires - FINALLY - some common sense, bravo !

Posted by Parsuram on (November 18, 2011, 0:52 GMT)

Classic day of cricket. However if my memory serves me right SA also attacked Australia in a similar manner during the kangaroos last tour and lost. This was after SA carried out the almost improbable chase of 434. Kepler Wessels is correct-you do not engage in too much of an attack. There must be a balance . It is important to make the transition from 20/20 and 50 overs cricket. Test cricket is the real test!

Posted by bumsonseats on (November 17, 2011, 23:21 GMT)

have i missed something did the boy get more than one wicket. with a wide longhop?. dpk

Posted by   on (November 17, 2011, 21:52 GMT)

Pat Cummins - superb debut. He can be one of the greatest bowlers, ever :)

Posted by   on (November 17, 2011, 18:07 GMT)

Two keepers in their twilight playing awful shots.

Let's see if either will still be playing in their next respective series.

I feel that both will be, but come 2012, it will be a different story.

Posted by   on (November 17, 2011, 17:18 GMT)

Good comeback from the Aussies.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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