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

Debutant Cummins outshines Johnson

Australia's fast-bowling future was on display during the first day at the Wanderers. It's just not clear how much of it
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Pat Cummins and Mitchell Johnson began the first day at the Wanderers from opposite positions in every way. They shared the new ball, Cummins running in from the south end and Johnson from the north, Cummins seeking to prove that at 18 he was not too young for Test cricket, Johnson at 30 hoping to show that he still had something to offer.

They each took one wicket in the day, but it was Cummins' performance that was more encouraging. Johnson was one of the men who entered this match looking over his shoulder at the new national selector John Inverarity. He still should be. A tally of 34 wickets at 44.08 in the past year and a half is inadequate for Johnson, who is supposed to be Australia's spearhead.

Before the match, the captain Michael Clarke let out a Freudian slip in saying that Johnson had potential, before correcting himself: "Well, potential is not the right word, he's played for long enough". Perhaps Clarke meant nothing by it, but maybe there was a subtext. After 46 Tests, Johnson is still viewed as a man who could be so much more. But at 30, will he ever fulfil his potential?

On the first day in Johannesburg, Johnson was - again - frustratingly inconsistent. There were some fine deliveries early in the day, including the inswinger that nearly had Hashim Amla lbw, and the ball that seamed away and took the edge of Graeme Smith's bat. Equally, there were many bad balls, particularly as the day wore on. Johnson bowled too straight, targeting the pads of both right-handers and left-handers, or too wide.

If it seems churlish to criticise Johnson on a day when South Africa were bowled out for 266, it is worth noting that many of the wickets fell late in the day to poor strokes. It is also worth noting that after 12 overs, Johnson had 1 for 60; after the same amount of overs, Cummins had 1 for 26. Importantly, Cummins kept challenging the batsmen through the day, his high leap at the crease hardly flagging.

It is difficult to judge Cummins on one day, but he was full of raw pace and enthusiasm. In his opening spell he bowled full and swung the ball a fraction, and was unlucky not to have Jacques Rudolph's wicket when an inside edge rocketed past the stumps. His maiden Test wicket came with a full outswinger that Hashim Amla edged to slip where Ricky Ponting, twice Cummins' age, took the catch.

His first ball to Jacques Kallis, Test cricket's fourth-highest run scorer, was a good bumper. Later, he grazed the helmet of AB de Villiers with another well-directed short ball. The bouncer, Cummins said after play, is a good way to assert yourself. Not that he overdid it. If anything, he erred on the side of bowling too full, which for a man aiming to swing the ball is not a bad thing.

"I felt a bit nervous," Cummins said after play. "It was good that we bowled today so I didn't have another day to mull over my debut. I was a little nervous but I got over it pretty quickly."

Cummins didn't appear nervous. On the contrary, he looked like a natural at Test level. If he continues to handle Test cricket with aplomb, and assuming his body is strong, he provides the new selection panel with an interesting conundrum ahead of the Test series against New Zealand, which begins just over a week after the side returns from South Africa.

Should Ryan Harris prove his fitness, and if Peter Siddle keeps up the hard work that earned him three wickets on the first day in Johannesburg, Inverarity and Co. will have four fast men to squeeze into three positions. Combined with the other young talent in Australia, it leaves Johnson in a precarious position. The former captain Steve Waugh believes a mid-1980s approach is required from the selectors.

"We've got some really good young players coming through," Waugh said on radio in Australia on Thursday. "[James] Pattinson from Victoria looks an outstanding prospect and then you've got Mitchell Starc and a host of others out there. We've got the talent in Australia.

"It's now about the selectors rebuilding for the next couple of years and saying these are the guys we're going to stick with, much the same way they did with myself and a few others back in the mid-80s. It took a while to get some success but they showed faith in that team and that was rewarded in the long run. Once they pick a player now they've got to try and stick with those players."

Is one of those players Johnson? Is one of them Cummins? Is there room for both?

Late in the day, both men considered going for a catch when AB de Villiers miscued a pull off Siddle. The ball lobbed over the head of Johnson, at mid-on, but he was beaten to the ball by Cummins, who sprinted from mid-off and took a terrific catch. Johnson was left to look behind him and wonder what could have been. It might not be the last time he is overtaken by a younger bowler.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bumsonseats on November 18, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    get a grip they have to make their debut 1st before they are world beaters just because their in a baggy green does not make them better. look at the ones who have them on at the moment. dpk

  • ugirish on November 18, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    One inning does not a test player make. Give Cummins a chance to prove himself in 47 tests before outing MJ.

  • diteras on November 18, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    I think you can only say how well Aus bowled once SA have done likewise - so best to keep that one for tonight. But again yesterday Johnson looked poor( again). The fact that he was outperformed by a lad only just old enough to drink aside. Watson's starting to creak under the weight - if anyone thinks he can re-convert to a bowling a/r they are mad. He will be broken and finished by this, it has to stop. If Mr Waugh is right in his assertion why not rotate all these youngsters he mentions for the third spot? Could do no worse than the man in possession surely. That is of course assuming that Harris and Siddle can play a handful of games without ending up horizontal - no, maybe not then,

  • lolrocket on November 18, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    I know I'm a bit biased but why isn't luke butterworth ever mentioned?

    Close to the top of the shield averages and wickets last 2 or 3 years and is a handy batsman as well. James Faulkner is also a star of the future.

  • on November 18, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    Is it only me or has anyone else realized that there were nine different catchers for Australia? Only Hussey and Siddle missed out.

  • satish619chandar on November 18, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    Hav seen a bit of George, Starc. .They doesnt look anything special.. Just bowling straight.. They cant be better than Siddle!! Pattinson has pace.. He can be the next choice..

  • on November 18, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    First impression of Cummins? Useful, but not a world-beater! Bowled at 140kmph on a lively surface with a lot of bounce, but had very little swing to be effective. Hope he proves me wrong, but he seems to me as an article which is hyped. Not his fault, but of the media. Australia's "talent" has been exposed over the past couple of series, so it might be better that its media lets the players do the talking by their performances on the field.

  • jonesy2 on November 18, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    what the hell is this article? why cant you just praise a brilliant performance from an 18 year old bloke who has the sky and the limit as to what he can achieve in the baggy green? cummins, mitch marsh, dave warner and james pattinson are the ones that are going to lead australia into the next 10 or so years of dominace, the talent of those lads is unbelievable

  • Meety on November 18, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    @Wozza-CY - it interesting the old debate about "NSW bias", I had a look at the last 51 debutants to play for Oz a while back & it was clear that NSW & QLD are the most reliable states to produce good (or better) test cricketers. NSW have clearly had a lot more debutants - however there have been very few duds. If there was bias to NSW players there would be duds all over the place. Also - being from NSW certainly hasn't helped O'Keefe, our best performing spinner on the domestic scene over the last 2 seasons! I think NSW clearly has the best production line of all states, a fact that really gets up the nose of some blinkered fans! QLD don't produce as many as NSW - but name a dud from QLD? Maybe in ODIs Maher? Can't remember anybody else! Even Scott Muller had 7 wickets in 2 matches! I have to go back to Rob Kerr in 1985!

  • Meety on November 18, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    @johnnycash - agreed. A win will repair a lot of the 1st test debacle damage. For most of the post - Ashes period - I have been staunch in support of MJ, Haddin, Punter & Pup. IMO - 9/21, is a trigger to move from support (when a player plays for Oz, I am 100% behind them), to now regime change. The management structure is almost sorted, now to have a look at the players both at Baggy Green & State level. Pup has stood up & proven himself to be very capable as the captain, however I think he needs more contributers. Hussey, by virtue of the Ashes & SL tour is safe, Watto by virtue of his bowling is safe, (but where does he bat?), Hughes is still on probation & the rest need to start proving themselves. I think in the case of Haddin, I think his time has come. Nothing short of some great catches & a well played 100 can save him.

  • bumsonseats on November 18, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    get a grip they have to make their debut 1st before they are world beaters just because their in a baggy green does not make them better. look at the ones who have them on at the moment. dpk

  • ugirish on November 18, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    One inning does not a test player make. Give Cummins a chance to prove himself in 47 tests before outing MJ.

  • diteras on November 18, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    I think you can only say how well Aus bowled once SA have done likewise - so best to keep that one for tonight. But again yesterday Johnson looked poor( again). The fact that he was outperformed by a lad only just old enough to drink aside. Watson's starting to creak under the weight - if anyone thinks he can re-convert to a bowling a/r they are mad. He will be broken and finished by this, it has to stop. If Mr Waugh is right in his assertion why not rotate all these youngsters he mentions for the third spot? Could do no worse than the man in possession surely. That is of course assuming that Harris and Siddle can play a handful of games without ending up horizontal - no, maybe not then,

  • lolrocket on November 18, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    I know I'm a bit biased but why isn't luke butterworth ever mentioned?

    Close to the top of the shield averages and wickets last 2 or 3 years and is a handy batsman as well. James Faulkner is also a star of the future.

  • on November 18, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    Is it only me or has anyone else realized that there were nine different catchers for Australia? Only Hussey and Siddle missed out.

  • satish619chandar on November 18, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    Hav seen a bit of George, Starc. .They doesnt look anything special.. Just bowling straight.. They cant be better than Siddle!! Pattinson has pace.. He can be the next choice..

  • on November 18, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    First impression of Cummins? Useful, but not a world-beater! Bowled at 140kmph on a lively surface with a lot of bounce, but had very little swing to be effective. Hope he proves me wrong, but he seems to me as an article which is hyped. Not his fault, but of the media. Australia's "talent" has been exposed over the past couple of series, so it might be better that its media lets the players do the talking by their performances on the field.

  • jonesy2 on November 18, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    what the hell is this article? why cant you just praise a brilliant performance from an 18 year old bloke who has the sky and the limit as to what he can achieve in the baggy green? cummins, mitch marsh, dave warner and james pattinson are the ones that are going to lead australia into the next 10 or so years of dominace, the talent of those lads is unbelievable

  • Meety on November 18, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    @Wozza-CY - it interesting the old debate about "NSW bias", I had a look at the last 51 debutants to play for Oz a while back & it was clear that NSW & QLD are the most reliable states to produce good (or better) test cricketers. NSW have clearly had a lot more debutants - however there have been very few duds. If there was bias to NSW players there would be duds all over the place. Also - being from NSW certainly hasn't helped O'Keefe, our best performing spinner on the domestic scene over the last 2 seasons! I think NSW clearly has the best production line of all states, a fact that really gets up the nose of some blinkered fans! QLD don't produce as many as NSW - but name a dud from QLD? Maybe in ODIs Maher? Can't remember anybody else! Even Scott Muller had 7 wickets in 2 matches! I have to go back to Rob Kerr in 1985!

  • Meety on November 18, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    @johnnycash - agreed. A win will repair a lot of the 1st test debacle damage. For most of the post - Ashes period - I have been staunch in support of MJ, Haddin, Punter & Pup. IMO - 9/21, is a trigger to move from support (when a player plays for Oz, I am 100% behind them), to now regime change. The management structure is almost sorted, now to have a look at the players both at Baggy Green & State level. Pup has stood up & proven himself to be very capable as the captain, however I think he needs more contributers. Hussey, by virtue of the Ashes & SL tour is safe, Watto by virtue of his bowling is safe, (but where does he bat?), Hughes is still on probation & the rest need to start proving themselves. I think in the case of Haddin, I think his time has come. Nothing short of some great catches & a well played 100 can save him.

  • shuvo_bba on November 18, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    Look Ricky people should not & will not forget that you are a true champion player but you need to do some favour for your team & Country by letting the best performances out. If you can't make it out in 50/60 innings in a row, that's gonna certainly hit your chamionship attitude and also denting your heroic records! Don't let them ( your heroic records) break down and get forgotten! Come down with respect from people and make way for Callum Ferguson or Usman Khawaja.... Come on...that's the time!

  • TheLoneStranger on November 18, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    Sadly, Mitch will never meet his potential. He's 30, and has the ability to be a brilliant all-rounder, but something is missing. I expect Cutting will be given a go this Summer. He seems to have similar all-round potential to Johnson, but I think it's too late for Mitch now. If Katich is brought back and given the chance he should never have been denied in the first place, he and Warner could be a good opening pair. It's well past time to punt Punter, and Watto's in trouble with injuries again, and he can't be a batsman AND a bowler (except for a handful per innings). He has to be one or the other, and I suspect his body won't stand up to bowling as readily as batting. Team for 1st test against NZ: Katich, Watson (if fit and ONLY as a batsman!), Warner, S.Marsh (if fit), Clarke, Hussey, Haddin (if in form), Siddle, Harris (if fit), Cummins, Copeland/Cutting/Lyon. Stand-byes if fitness and form are missing: Khawaja (Warner to open), Hughes (at 4), Paine/Wade, Cutting/Copeland.

  • Marcio on November 18, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    There was a fair bit of tripe dished up out there, but AUS kept taking wickets, so full credit to them. Cummins really showed up Johnson, so I think the 2nd innings here will be Mitch's last hope. If he doesn't do something spectacular, he's a goner.The pitch is hard and bouncy, not too much movement. It's the kind of track that will reward good, tight fast bowling and should also allow some big scores from batsmen. 260 is a poor total, with 350-400 being par, I'd say. SA have very good fast bowlers but there is a real chnce for AUS to take 100+ lead - only if they are disciplined. Expect a big one from Punter - i.e. a good century today.

  • RandyOZ on November 18, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Pick 2 from Coulter-Nile, Cutting, George, Hazlewood, Pattinson, Starc, Butterworth, Cummins - to join Lyon and Harris and replace Johnson or Siddle.

  • whitesXI on November 18, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    The difference between Siddle and Johnson leaking runs - Siddle bowls at the stumps whereas Johnson bowls wider deliveries hoping his angle or some swing forces a miss shot, when that goes wrong he is smashed off the poor delivery or the batsmen leave harmless deliveries waiting for the inevitable bad ball. So while siddle got wickets from poor shot selection he was forcing the batsmen to play at most deliveries, which is also when he was leaking runs, particularly on this type of ground, i mean Kallis hit a four from a back foot block.

  • hes_a_victorian on November 18, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    Peterincanada: There is always a place for an attacking bowler who does leak some runs (like Brett Lee) but they have to be bowling the right lines. The problem with Johnson is the radar, he can't bowl it in the right channel. Lee used to go at about 4 an over, sometimes more, but he bowled a full length and generally the right lines. He got driven through the infield quite a bit, but the ball was up there and had a chance to swing. Johnson is bowling too many wide balls. I think Siddle is the ballast in the side, he's the one bowler that seems to be able to keep nibbling the ball off the seam and hit the deck with good pace even when the wicket's flattened out. The problem is getting a settled new ball partnership with the right mix of attack and control... injuries not helping.

  • Srini_Indian on November 18, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    There were hardly 500 people out there, so much for the hype. It looks like SA are off to familiar territory of choking. If it stays overcast, expect Aussies to bundled out for 15 or something. This time they'll surely break the world record. Aussies don't know to play the swing, seam and spin.

  • hes_a_victorian on November 18, 2011, 3:15 GMT

    Johnson's got to go I'm afraid. I like my matchwinners as much as anyone else, but I think it's time to turn to one or two more of these younger guys and give them some game time... Pattinson, George, Cutting are all taking wickets on a regular basis, Cummins looks really exciting but is very young and questions marks over the workload. If Harris can't play two games in a row (and the evidence suggests his body can't handle that workload) then I'm afraid they have to move on and pick a stronger younger player. I actually think Siddle is a perfect first change bowler at this stage, becuase he's strong, super fit, maintains his pace and bowls with a tall, hit the deck action. A real workhorse for the team when the pitch has flattened out and plays a key role in the attack. Cummins pitches it full and swings and has genuine pace, Harris is such a smart bowler, Johnson's the loose cannon... not sure we can keep carrying him at the moment.

  • Meety on November 18, 2011, 2:42 GMT

    @Rooboy - about 3 days ago Bollinger was getting a massive rap after significantly out-bowling Starc, however the next day he got injured after 7 balls. This will put a question mark back over his head. It's a shame. @gbh250 - I agree re: Copeland, but bear in mind Cummins had an economy rate of about 2.5, which was half of what the other bowlers were doing. Oz looked good in SL in tough conditions because Copeland kept things tight. To me its between the 4 Cs - Cutting, Copeland, Cummins & Coulter-Nile!

  • Wozza-CY on November 18, 2011, 2:10 GMT

    @Meety- Cutting is looking like a bit of a no brainer for a debut on his home turf at the GABBA vs NZ. He is a more than handy bat as well so that will also be welcome. RE; NSW bias- Are people saying if you play for NSW you have a better chance of being selected? Watson, Hauritz & Katich all debuted before they joined NSW. Playing for NSW didn't really help the national selection hopes of N.Lyon, Krezja, Christian, Hogan, Cameron, A.Maher, Cowan, Forest, Cooper, A.O'Brien, Berendorf or Forest? Or could it be that NSW genuinely turn out more FC cricketers than other states that are less populus? Mmmmmm....In fact, most squads now have quite a few key 'imports'. Ironically QLD have the least amount of imports & they are currently undefeated.

  • johnnycash on November 18, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    @ Meety - the ticker he shows is probably why he gets picked, as we can't have 3 flashy guys that turn it up when the ball doesn't swing and the pitch gets flat - he's the one we seem to turn to at the moment. And he gives his all, as long as he continues to take wickets and make the breakthroughs, we need him atm. He bleeds for his country and i guess thats what a lot of people on these forums forget - these guys are playing for Australia, not their states (sorry for international contributors). What the team needs is support and not everyone saying 'drop so and so'. A win in this test would go a long way to helping everyone, and it starts again tonight with the batsmen.

  • orangtan on November 18, 2011, 1:58 GMT

    Cummins was by far the best on display yesterday. Siddle got lucky with deVilliers and Boucher playing awful shots though he did bowl well to Kallis despite being hit for a six. And don't forget the spinners, Lyon and Clarke, Lyon provided the much-needed breakthrough by snaring Prince. then flummoxing Philander, leaving Clarke to efficiently take care of #s 10 and 11. If the spinners had been wayward, SA could have pushed up to 300.

  • on November 18, 2011, 1:51 GMT

    @Rooboy: Dougie just hurt his ankle in the FC game against the Bulls yesterday. Ben Cutting or Hilfenhaus are my choices for the job. If only Hilfy could control his swing better...

  • peeeeet on November 18, 2011, 1:24 GMT

    @Meety - I know Rogers has a fine record, but we need to get young players in the team, not old mid thirties players. As for Johnson, I have been wanting him to be gone since before the Ashes. Since coming into the team, he has never been dropped and given a lengthy stint back in first class cricket to work his way into the team. Players like Hayden, Langer, Martyn got dropped after a few tests, worked their way back and became great players. Johnson has never had to work for his place; its all been handed to him. I'm sick, like most other bloggers, of his woeful inconsistency, and just hope he gets removed from the Australian setup for a while. As for other bowlers, I think the likes of Harris, Siddle, Copeland, Cummins, George, Cutting are the ones which a reasonably successful team can be drawn from.

  • gbh250 on November 18, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    It's getting very hard to see the case for retaining Johnson. For the handful of tests he's won for the team, how many others could have been won or not lost by a merely competent performance from a different seamer? It's clear by now that he is never going to have enough control of his action to be consistently good, and as good as he can be, he's never going to be anything but a lottery.

    My concern with a Harris/Siddle/Cummins attack is that there's a certain sameness in pace, angle and movement. The hidden benefit of having a guy like Copeland (apart from tying up an end, which is worth an awful lot when you don't have anyone else who can do it) is that very lack of pace makes the other guys seem better, because it's harder for a batsman to find his groove.

  • Meety on November 18, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    @Winsome - Cutting is the man as far as I'm concerned - but I think it is harsh to say Starc would be undeserving, (I would have him down the list). Also - this NSW thing has been flogged to death - there has hardly been a "NSW" selector on the panel (Hilditch has links) in ages (John Benaud the last one?). I find it hard to believe that people like Cox, Boon & Hughes would bow to whatever Hilditch says. @ johnnycash - I think Siddle is structurally, potentially a very good test bowler. He lacks some refinement - he doesn't swing it, (rather dips into the right hander), I think he needs to get his pace back up to 145kph on a regular basis, but the bloke has ticker. == == == I see the opening spot is a difficult one. The best opener in Oz at the moment on CURRENT form is Liam Davis, his overal stats mean he doesn't demand a spot in the side. Warner is an obvious choice, however, I think Rogers maybe the man. He is no spring chicken, but maybe a 2 year stint??

  • Rooboy on November 17, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    I have to admit I'm a huge Johnson fan and have been defending him up to now. But even I can't see how he can justify his position any longer. And why is no one talking about Dougie? He had a bad test in Adelaide and that seems to have been it, but I'd still like another look at him playing the five day game for Aus.

  • inefekt on November 17, 2011, 23:40 GMT

    So Copeland has two matches on sub continent roads, where naturally he does not take bagfuls of wickets, and he's out of the side and never spoken of again? Johnson has had his opportunity and has failed to grasp it, he should have been out of the side a long time ago, time to look elsewhere. He would do well to take one or two of the batsmen with him as well as that ill disciplined keeper of ours.

  • Meety on November 17, 2011, 23:20 GMT

    @davidpk - I agree, although I think the Amla LBW, (Im OK with not out), should not have counted as a used referral. When a ball is half hitting a stump - I'm happy for the benefit of the doubt but not a loss of a referral - if the umpire had given it out & Amla referred the decision - he would of been out! @HatsforBats - I agree that we need to blood players into the test team, however it needs to be a controlled process. IMO - Cutting must be the man to debut against NZ at the GABBA. Then maybe introduce another player or two during the Indian series. The other thing I would be looking at is the fitness levels of players. To me, we cannot have Watson, Marsh & Clarke in the same side. All 3 will forever have question marks on their durability over 5 days. Our elderly statesman Ponting & Hussey are far more durable - it is embarrassing! As Pup & Watto are the management - it means that Khawaja & Warner are ahead of Marsh (IMO).

  • Dismayed on November 17, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    Siddle bowled rubbish all day and benefitted from terrible shots by the batsmen. Cummins will lead us in the future,with Harris for now and Johnson. Siddle should not have been picked for this tour or again going forward. We have at least 6 guys playing in OZ who should be in front of Siddle.

  • MinusZero on November 17, 2011, 23:07 GMT

    Everyone outshone Johnson

  • on November 17, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    Ive said this for more then 2 years now. Siddle and Johnson should not be in the same team. Siddle leaks as many runs then johnson. i thought johnson's last spell before tea was ok. infact if i had the choice between johnson or siddle in my side i would take johnson. in saying that atm i wouldnt have johnson in my side, so that says something about siddle. Johnson needs that Mcgrath, stuey clark, trent copeland type bowler who can keep it tight at one end and mitch can come on and just bowl aggresive. i think too many people have got into johnson's head about his action. i believe he thinks too much about it rather then just running in and bowling fast and aggresive. when he is aggresive, when he had a bit of mongrel in his game, he was good without swinging it but now he is thinking too much, he floats it up there hoping for some swing and it doesnt and gets belted to the fence. Johnson needs to get away from everyone and just bowl fast.

  • Dashgar on November 17, 2011, 22:40 GMT

    Cummins has potential but I'm still not sold he should be in the test side NOW. Sure in the near future when he's got some solid Sheffield Shield under his belt and increased his speed so he can consistently hit 150 he should be in the side but right now a guy who can swing the ball and be consistently dangerous should be there. Ben Cutting tops the list for mine. Its interesting that Siddle was hardly mentioned in this article, its almost as though talking about him isn't news worthing compared to the other two. Yes he was expensive but 6 fours between gully and second slip were a big part of that and in the end he got the most wickets of any bowler. And given the recent form of our bowlers is that really surprising?

  • RJHB on November 17, 2011, 22:32 GMT

    Johnson is a proven matchwinner, moreso than Siddle. Unfortunately Johnson also loses more matches than Siddle, in fact he loses or atleast contributes heavily towards many more losses than wins for Australia. You do need attacking bowlers to take twenty wickets, thats why Copeland is not a good replacement as he's never going to contribute much. But then he isn't going for four or five an over either. Australia once and for all has to decide which way to go, save a match or attack and try and win a match whilst losing plenty.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on November 17, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    Steve Waugh is right. Of course he is he's STEVE WAUGH. The likes of Cummins , Pattinson & Cutting are the future and it's all about bringing them and others in in a timely & sensible way. Harris unfortunately is not a long term prospect physically , Johnson is infuriating and unlikely to change post 30 while Siddle is willing but limited.

  • dsig3 on November 17, 2011, 22:26 GMT

    Is it just me or does Cummins look like Glenn McGrath? Their bowling is obviously very different but he reminds me of Glenn every time I see him.

  • dsig3 on November 17, 2011, 22:24 GMT

    Johnson was ok. Cummins was impressive and Siddle tried hard. Johnson is bowling well he just doesnt seem to get the free wickets he used to get. He is still our most intimidating bowler on a bouncy track.

  • DazTaylor on November 17, 2011, 22:11 GMT

    Headline is "Cummins outshines Johnson". In other news, the Pope has today announced he is a Catholic. The only reason Johnson got a wicket is that Smith was shocked he got a straight ball to edge.

  • RandyOZ on November 17, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    Not that it is hard these days to outshine Johnson (I mean even Clarkey did), but WELL DONE PAT. Sensational start. Get rid of Jono and Siddle and get Harris back in with Pattinson and we will be up there with the SA attack!

  • Peterincanada on November 17, 2011, 21:55 GMT

    Sifter132 - I only partially agree. People say Johnson and Siddle shouldn't be in the same side because they leak runs. I maintain that any bowler who leaks runs should not be in the side. It was always and England have proven it is true today that test cricket is about containment and applying pressure. The England seamers are certainly not outstanding individually but they bowl line and length with some movement and they squeeze the batsmen into mistakes. They are like McGrath although not as good. A basmen is not under pressure if there is a loose ball in every over.

  • johnnycash on November 17, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    I thought Cummins was very good today. Obviously his pace was down just before tea, but he had given his all through the day, and bowled beautifully. Johnson i thought also bowled well early. He kept the ball up and tried to get some movement. I was impressed with all the bowlers today, especially Siddle. If only all our paceman had this mans ticker to run in over after over. Lyon chipped in when needed, and he continues to improve. When Kallis was letting loose, it could have been curtains, but they kept their heads. Australia have a great opportunity today to bat south africa out of this test match, the pitch looks good. Guys like Hughes, Ponting and Haddin will be licking their lips to get out in the middle.

  • Winsome on November 17, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    I really do hope that Johnson is gone after this series. So over him it's not funny. Ben Cutting should be getting the call-up but I wouldn't trust the Aus selectors not to automatically choose another NSW bowler like Starc, no matter how undeservng.

  • HatsforBats on November 17, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    This is an issue some of us cricinfo pundits have been debating since Argus was announced. Some are advocating selecting the best peformed players in state cricket regardless of age. I'm in Waugh's camp; identify & pick younger performing players with talent and develop the team. Constantly topping up the team with a 30yr old who tops the state averages for the year does nothing for team consistency. A champion team is better than a team of champions, and right now we have neither. Haddin is a great example; at one point he was one of the best batsmen in the country and his glovework was solid, unfortunately by the time Gilchrist retired Haddin was past his best (a reason Paine & Wade need to be blooded sooner rather than later). Johnson, Harris, Haddin, & Ponting need to be dropped or retire and players like Faulkner, Cosgrove, Pattinson need to be blooded.

  • zico123 on November 17, 2011, 21:29 GMT

    how many more chances Johnson should be given, he is out of form since last 2 years, he should have been dropped long long back, he is the most inconsistent bowler in the world, he gives a match winning performance once in 6 months and assures his place in the side for next 6 months!! its high time to invest that time in a younger bowlers, Johnson should be done and dusted now, enough is enough

  • sifter132 on November 17, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    I can't see how Siddle is better than Johnson going forward. Everyone complains Johnson leaks runs, but have they looked at Siddle's figures? Having them both in the side is very risky, Siddle would have been better replaced by Copeland as I see it. Someone who can keep a line and length would be handy, and with no Harris, Copeland, Cummins and Johnson would have been my attack.

  • SaneVoice on November 17, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    davidpk - you don't need hot-spot or hawk eye ball tracking to eliminate howlers! A howler, by defintion, is the one which can be clearly seen on replay!! The one you mentioned was clear on replay!!!! Wonder what the guys at the ICC are upto!!!

  • on November 17, 2011, 20:25 GMT

    This is correct. A very encouraging debut. The fact he was given the new rock was equally pleasing. Harris is like a broken down racehorse and a short term prospect. My side: Hughes, Marsh, Khawaja, Watson, Clarke, Wade, Mitch Marsh, O'Keefe, Cummins, Pattinson, Siddle. You would have 6 bowlers. Hughes or Warner.

  • bumsonseats on November 17, 2011, 20:22 GMT

    it was nice to see a game were the referal system was used to stop a howler. when kallis was give out by bb from an inside edge. to people who think they should only use the standing umpires. they like the referal system, can be wrong but in more cases than not the referal gets it right.dpk

  • on November 17, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    Harris, Cummins, Siddle is the way I would go. I've always said Johnson and Siddle can't be in the same side and today once again proved why. Siddle has better control, seam position and more likely to get swing so I've gone with him over Johnson. Assuming Cummins keeps these sorts of spells up then he will finally give us consistency plus wickets that we have been looking for to back up Harris.

  • Buggsy on November 17, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    Well the writing is all over the wall for Johnson. Lets hope the selectors read it and take action. They can't honestly expect he's going to make a difference now after all these years of failures.

  • jakeyboy91 on November 17, 2011, 18:44 GMT

    Waugh is dead right. Hope the new selector has a few more brains than the current lot. Australias success in the past few decades have been built around keeping the same players. these days we are expecting gilchrist/waugh/hayden performances from all these newcomers. People need to be patient - not going to be a world number 1 side overnight. but i agree that changes need to be made. The team should be 1. S Marsh. 2 Warner/Cowan. 3 Ponting (form is temporary, class is permanent - however if he fails to average 50+ this home summer he needs to go) 4. Hussey - where he belongs 5. Clarke. 6. Watson. 7 Paine or Wade - both are better than haddin. Lyon hasnt done much wrong so deserves to be persisted with and not wasted like all the previous spinners. Harris should be the leader of the attack when fit. Cummins seems ok and should now be persisted with. bollinger needs to replace johnson as left armer. would be happy to see anyother bowler given a crack as long as the are persisted with!!!

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  • jakeyboy91 on November 17, 2011, 18:44 GMT

    Waugh is dead right. Hope the new selector has a few more brains than the current lot. Australias success in the past few decades have been built around keeping the same players. these days we are expecting gilchrist/waugh/hayden performances from all these newcomers. People need to be patient - not going to be a world number 1 side overnight. but i agree that changes need to be made. The team should be 1. S Marsh. 2 Warner/Cowan. 3 Ponting (form is temporary, class is permanent - however if he fails to average 50+ this home summer he needs to go) 4. Hussey - where he belongs 5. Clarke. 6. Watson. 7 Paine or Wade - both are better than haddin. Lyon hasnt done much wrong so deserves to be persisted with and not wasted like all the previous spinners. Harris should be the leader of the attack when fit. Cummins seems ok and should now be persisted with. bollinger needs to replace johnson as left armer. would be happy to see anyother bowler given a crack as long as the are persisted with!!!

  • Buggsy on November 17, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    Well the writing is all over the wall for Johnson. Lets hope the selectors read it and take action. They can't honestly expect he's going to make a difference now after all these years of failures.

  • on November 17, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    Harris, Cummins, Siddle is the way I would go. I've always said Johnson and Siddle can't be in the same side and today once again proved why. Siddle has better control, seam position and more likely to get swing so I've gone with him over Johnson. Assuming Cummins keeps these sorts of spells up then he will finally give us consistency plus wickets that we have been looking for to back up Harris.

  • bumsonseats on November 17, 2011, 20:22 GMT

    it was nice to see a game were the referal system was used to stop a howler. when kallis was give out by bb from an inside edge. to people who think they should only use the standing umpires. they like the referal system, can be wrong but in more cases than not the referal gets it right.dpk

  • on November 17, 2011, 20:25 GMT

    This is correct. A very encouraging debut. The fact he was given the new rock was equally pleasing. Harris is like a broken down racehorse and a short term prospect. My side: Hughes, Marsh, Khawaja, Watson, Clarke, Wade, Mitch Marsh, O'Keefe, Cummins, Pattinson, Siddle. You would have 6 bowlers. Hughes or Warner.

  • SaneVoice on November 17, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    davidpk - you don't need hot-spot or hawk eye ball tracking to eliminate howlers! A howler, by defintion, is the one which can be clearly seen on replay!! The one you mentioned was clear on replay!!!! Wonder what the guys at the ICC are upto!!!

  • sifter132 on November 17, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    I can't see how Siddle is better than Johnson going forward. Everyone complains Johnson leaks runs, but have they looked at Siddle's figures? Having them both in the side is very risky, Siddle would have been better replaced by Copeland as I see it. Someone who can keep a line and length would be handy, and with no Harris, Copeland, Cummins and Johnson would have been my attack.

  • zico123 on November 17, 2011, 21:29 GMT

    how many more chances Johnson should be given, he is out of form since last 2 years, he should have been dropped long long back, he is the most inconsistent bowler in the world, he gives a match winning performance once in 6 months and assures his place in the side for next 6 months!! its high time to invest that time in a younger bowlers, Johnson should be done and dusted now, enough is enough

  • HatsforBats on November 17, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    This is an issue some of us cricinfo pundits have been debating since Argus was announced. Some are advocating selecting the best peformed players in state cricket regardless of age. I'm in Waugh's camp; identify & pick younger performing players with talent and develop the team. Constantly topping up the team with a 30yr old who tops the state averages for the year does nothing for team consistency. A champion team is better than a team of champions, and right now we have neither. Haddin is a great example; at one point he was one of the best batsmen in the country and his glovework was solid, unfortunately by the time Gilchrist retired Haddin was past his best (a reason Paine & Wade need to be blooded sooner rather than later). Johnson, Harris, Haddin, & Ponting need to be dropped or retire and players like Faulkner, Cosgrove, Pattinson need to be blooded.

  • Winsome on November 17, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    I really do hope that Johnson is gone after this series. So over him it's not funny. Ben Cutting should be getting the call-up but I wouldn't trust the Aus selectors not to automatically choose another NSW bowler like Starc, no matter how undeservng.