South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 5th day November 21, 2011

Ponting gets applause, Morne serves tea

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

Drop of the day
Australia needed nine to win and South Africa required two wickets when Pat Cummins drove fiercely back at the bowler Dale Steyn. It was struck with such force that the ball flew through Steyn's hands and away to the boundary, but under the circumstances, it was a huge moment. The world's best fast bowler had given the world's most promising teenage fast bowler a reprieve. Cummins won the game in the next over with another boundary.

Ball of the day
Steyn is known to get progressively better the longer he bowls and he started his second spell of the day with a delivery that should have got better reward. It was a good length ball that straightened on Michael Hussey, who was clueless in his attempt to play to the off side. Instead, the ball took the inside edge, missed the stumps and evaded Mark Boucher, who was diving to his right, to race away for four. Hussey was lucky not to be bowled, play on or be caught behind and even luckier that he was able to add four runs to the total.

Reception of the day
Ricky Ponting jogged on to the field to boos on Sunday, but the Johannesburg fans had changed their tune within 24 hours. As Ponting walked off the ground having been caught in the slips for 62, the handful of spectators at the Wanderers stood and cheered, and not just because his dismissal increased South Africa's chances of victory. Ponting's future is unclear, he may or may not play on in the Australian summer. Whatever the case, this was surely his final innings in South Africa, and his standing in the game was recognised.

Cuppa of the day
Rain is a defining feature of a Johannesburg summer but, unlike some of the coastal cities, chilly conditions have not been, until now. Under cloudy skies, the Wanderers time-travelled to Cape Town in the winter and was caught in an icy, wet grip, with the security guards the people who felt it worst. The men stood around the pitch, in the cold, but were saved by a true gentleman of the game. Morne Morkel brought out four cups of hot drink and did the rounds, handing each guard a little something to keep them warm. His good deed was picked up by the commentary team and social networks and he was widely lauded for his kindness to those who had to endure the morning's unpleasant conditions.

Voice of the day
The weather and the fact that it was the first working day of the week meant a disappointingly small crowd was in attendance for the final day of the series. At 10 am, the time play was due to start, there was not a single spectator but midway through the morning, some school children arrived and were delighted with the time they had to collect autographs. Once play began, the tour group organised by Merv Hughes had taken their seats and one of them had brought his voice along too. The only sound to be heard during the first hour of play was this Australian fan, cheering his team along. Cries of "Come on, Aussies," were interspersed with reminders of how many runs Australia needed to win.

Drought of the day
Australia knew the conditions would be difficult early on after a lengthy delay due to rain. The ball seamed about and runs were hard to come by, but even so their first boundary of the day took an unexpectedly long time to arrive. It wasn't until the 75th delivery of the day that the ball rolled across the rope for the first time, when Michael Hussey cut a loose ball from Jacques Kallis.

Review of the day
With Australia needing five runs to win, Graeme Smith surprisingly handed the ball to the legspinner Imran Tahir. He nearly struck with his third ball, when his googly struck Cummins on the pad. Ian Gould called not out, and Smith asked for a review. The crowd roared when they saw on the big screen the projection of the ball hitting the stumps, many missing the fact that "umpire's call" was the answer as to whether the ball had hit Cummins in line.

"As soon as it hit my pad, I thought it must be going down leg," Cummins said. "Then I went down the other end and Johnno's [Johnson] like, 'yeah, it hit you outside off'. I said, 'I thought so!' I was happy to see the orange light go on."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Steven on November 21, 2011, 22:28 GMT

    Was very nervy watching last night unfortunately had a 5.30am tee time so had to go to bed at the tea break so missed the ending :( The rain was a lessing in disguise I think even though it meant I missed the ending

  • Chris on November 21, 2011, 19:23 GMT

    What a great series, and great wrap, well done Mr Morkel, a true gentleman. Its harder and harder for people to get to Test matches on a working day so the small crowd is no surprise on days 4-5. Whilst not a fan of the idea of Day Night test matches, you can understand the point of view in terms of giving the punters time to attend the test. But thats one for the ICC, those insightful gentlemen blessed with the keeping of this grand game's interest to take care of. I have no doubt they will have the games best interests in mind, not lining their pockets. For anyone to suggest Test cricket is dead shows an individual not respectful to the history and foundations of the game. Everything should be done to preserve what cricket fans have had the luxury of observing over this series.

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    One of the most thrilling series of recent times. Those who were saying that test matches are things of passe can watch the highlights of this series and I am sure they will munch their words back.

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    Its was Great match .& i wish that we see lot of test matches in south Africa because its very supporting wicket....

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    @Rajeev129 you missed Ponting's poor form since 2008. He WAS praised during world cup quarterfinal 100. so browse the site and u will get articles. Also, Dravid and Tendulkar were 'advised' retirement (Ian Chapell) on the site ,so Ponting isnt alone there.

  • D on November 21, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    This is the difference between Ponting's runs being "matchwinning" and Tendulkar's not. From 215/6 the Australian tail got to 310/8. In Chennai '99 (yes, I still remember this) India's gutless tail went from 254/6 to 258 all out. Having a team with a spine makes for a winning team. Hats off to the Aussies for winning this game against Steyn & Co.

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    @Rajat Ranyal, It was okay on first 4 days. The morning rain and today being a Monday made it look worse....Don't get me started on test matches in India and their scheduling!

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    Great show by Pat Cummins. Showed grit and determination. Good luck for the future.

  • avinash on November 21, 2011, 17:14 GMT

    good example morne morkel,i think our indian youngsters need to learn some behavior from him,i saw likes of virat kohli and praveen kumar quarreling with camera men and praveen kumar went on fans in england where raina cooled him cleverly.all youngsters need to the more humble you are the more respect u get.nice work morne it also makes the curators andthe working staff feel them more that they are part of game rather than workers doing their job for breed in subcontinent especially in india.

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

    Morne does this regularly at all matches. He did it at the test match at Supersport Park when SA played India last December and again yesterday at close of play. It was an energy drink on these occassion bringing relief to those who were doing a thankless job. Shows that the fame the profession brings has not made him forget those less fortunate.

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