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

Will remember this Test for a long time - Clarke

58

Just over a week ago, Australia were bowled out for 47. It was an indignity that had not been suffered by men in the baggy green in more than a century. They lost the Cape Town Test before lunch on the third afternoon. The bright future that beckoned Michael Clarke's side after their series victory in Sri Lanka seemed to have been extinguished. It was standing-room only in the last-chance saloon.

Early on Sunday, things didn't look much better. Australia trailed by 209 and South Africa had seven wickets in hand. At 1-0 up, they could bat like Bill Lawry and still take the series. In a previous era, Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath might have taken the ball and forced the match in a different direction. In more recent times, winning from such a poor position has been next to impossible.

Few spectators expected a gettable chase. But a six-wicket haul from the teenager Pat Cummins set up a target of 310, and half-centuries from the under-pressure Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin, as well as the rookie Usman Khawaja, set up Australia's win. Mitchell Johnson, whose bowling has been poor and makes him no certainty for the first Test of the home summer against New Zealand, got Australia home along with Cummins.

Last week, Clarke bemoaned a loss that was as painful as any he had experienced. The contrast could hardly have been more apparent after Australia's two-wicket win, the highest successful chase ever achieved at the Wanderers, and a victory that concluded in fading light late on the fifth afternoon.

"I didn't score many runs in this Test match but it feels like I just got my first double hundred for Australia, I couldn't be happier," Clarke said. "This is one of my greatest Test matches, no doubt. A big part of that is the way we got beaten in Cape Town. To be able to fight back and the rollercoaster throughout the Tests, the light, the weather, the chasing, the record last-innings total, for so many reasons it's one of my most special Test matches and I'll remember it for a long time."

Winning from any position was a hallmark of the great Australia sides of the past. Clarke's side is not great, but this victory will give them confidence. Young men like Cummins, Khawaja, Phillip Hughes and Nathan Lyon might just begin to believe that they are never beaten. The challenge is not to fall backwards.

Late in 2008, Graeme Smith's side chased down 414 at the WACA to beat Australia, and although they won the series, within four months they had lost to Australia at home as their self-belief waned. Australia's next series is against New Zealand, and that will be followed by a tough four-Test battle against India.

"To be able to fight back and the rollercoaster throughout the Tests, the light, the weather, the chasing, the record last-innings total, for so many reasons it's one of my most special Test matches."

"I think it will certainly help, we will continue to grow in confidence," Clarke said. "I said after Sri Lanka we would bring confidence into this series because of our success there and I hope we do the same; take momentum into the Australian summer. There will be some challenges that lie ahead and we've already seen that in Sri Lanka and on this tour, but we're getting better."

Not that it wasn't a nervous time for Australia as the chase came down to the wire. Clarke was bowled early on the final day, the victim of a fine ball from Vernon Philander, but also through a significant gap between bat and pad. When Ponting fell for 62, Australia still needed 145 runs with five wickets in hand. Clarke had been nervous the previous day; he was even jumpier on Monday.

"I started counting the runs down from 190 [required] yesterday," Clarke said. "I was next in the batting, I was walking back and forth while the boys were batting, they would get a single and I would say '189 more of those, Huss', '188 more of those, Huss'. When I came here today I thought we were in a really good position. I thought the way Usman and Ricky batted the night before was outstanding.

"They played really positive cricket so I was confident we could win the game today. I would have liked Ricky and I to have spent more time out in the middle but that's the way it goes. A lot of credit goes to our middle order batting in tough overcast conditions with a bit of rain around. We managed to hang in there and the youngster [Cummins] decided as he did in the one-day series to finish it off with ease."

As a result, Australia will fly home without having lost the series in any format on this trip. It is an outcome that has left Clarke proud and buoyant. "We drew the Twenty20 series, we've won the one-day series and now we have drawn the Test series against a fantastic opposition in their own backyard," he said. "We should be so proud of that. That's an amazing performance by Australian cricket in my opinion."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RandyOZ on November 24, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    @5wombats - I have got them covered mate. Their under performing, record chasing, flat track, dead rubber specialists will have nothhing on the greatest cricketing nation of all time.

  • 5wombats on November 23, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    @Meety - hey mate! Look; @Gerard Pereira & @Full-Blooded-Wallop are just a couple of the hundreds of jokers headed your way in a few weeks. Be interesting to see how Aus fans deal with them. You'd think that thrashing them would be the way to pursuade them - but as you rightly point out, there's always an excuse. And within a few weeks - they forget it ever happened!

  • RandyOZ on November 23, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    @Meety, the funny think is, we could send out our D side against India and still smash them. They've NEVER won a series here, and that ain't changing!

  • Meety on November 23, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    @Full-Blooded-Wallop - I agree that I haven't seen YOU give excuses, I was commenting on the flood of comments that were making excuses. For what its worth I am hoping for a good hard fought series, like the previous tours in Oz. IMO - this is India's last chance to beat Oz in Oz in a series for a while. I remember back in the mid 80s when Gavaskar or Dev led an Indian side that flogged us everywhere except on the scoreboard, too scared to go for a win & I thought back then they'll never come close to us again in Oz (not so), I also said 4 years ago to an Indian co-worker that as long as my preverbial points to the ground - India will NEVER beat us at the WACA, I got that wrong too, but despite that I am very confident that India can only win this series on the back of their aging legends piling up squillions of runs & putting Oz under scoreboard pressure. A fully fit Zaheer would also have to play out of his skin. I think Oz will have an attack that will test some aging reflexes!

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 23, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    @meety: My friend, 2-1 escaped my mind,was thinking of 1-1. And no, I am not the one who gives excuses.A win is a win and a loss is a loss, whatever the factors causing it :) and regarding rest comments of yours, let time decideth it all!

  • Barnesy4444 on November 23, 2011, 2:16 GMT

    Watson is a bowling all rounder. Surely he has to drop down the order to 4 or 5 so he can bowl more? He is our only bowler at the moment who has the capacity to consistently get top wickets and he has a history of injuries if overworked....... Batting order if all are fit: Hughes, Marsh, Khawaja, Clarke, Watson, Hussey, Paine, Johnson, Cummins, Harris, Lyon.

  • Meety on November 23, 2011, 0:53 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira - ":Is Bucknor in the Australian team..." - that my friend is the real reason why the BCCI won't use UDRS. So that "fans" like you can whinge if you don't get the "result" you want. Well the other REAL reason is that the BCCI doesn't have a patent on any of the technology & will only approve it once they have the rights to a cheaper & inferior version that always gives Green Lights when Sachin is batting!

  • Meety on November 23, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    @Full-Blooded-Wallop - "we accepted we lost, fair and square." - no judging by the gazillion comments that came in describing the Test team as a B,C or D side, clearly the majority of Indian fans did not accept the scoreline. "But if you see the last two series against Australia. We thrashed them 2-0 at home.." Hmmm a thrashing 2nil hey, when that included a 1 wicket win where had there been a UDRS in place Oz probably would of won the 1st Test & the 2nd Test involved India chasing over 200 to win - historically not an easy assignment. The last series played in Oz - Oz won 2-1, but you probably refuse to accept that because "we wuz robbed". The series before in Oz was 1 all - but do you hear any Oz fans saying stuff like that was an Oz C side because Warne & McGrath didn't play? Nope - it was a drawn series.

  • Meety on November 23, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    @ Full-Blooded-Wallop - I am assuming you are doing to us what RandyOz did to you with the (all out for 10 joke) - by stating that "... fearsome attack of aaron,yadav,ishant,zaheer(if fit) and ashwin..." Its funny that, given the WIndies - a modern day minnow, batted a whole day losing just 2 wickets to 3 of the bowlers you just mentioned. Also - there is nothing fearsome about the Indian attack. Zaheer is a very good exponant of seam & swing & if fully fit, will be capable of taking wickets. Ishant Sharma has struggled against good opposition since his Ozzy summer, he will need a massive form reversal to trouble Oz. Aarun & Yadav have some talent & did tour Oz recently in an emerging XI tournament, but they will get slaughtered. If you think Ashwin is going to trouble us - have a look at the best Indian spinners have done over the last 50 years, even Prassanna was below his best & averaged about 30+. Ashwin or Bhajji will not trouble Oz!

  • Aussasinator on November 22, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    SA lost this test, more than Australia winning it. As for the India series, the Oz will find it impossible to bowl out the Indian batting twice. India will lose only if they are careless, and they are quite prone to mindless playing.

  • RandyOZ on November 24, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    @5wombats - I have got them covered mate. Their under performing, record chasing, flat track, dead rubber specialists will have nothhing on the greatest cricketing nation of all time.

  • 5wombats on November 23, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    @Meety - hey mate! Look; @Gerard Pereira & @Full-Blooded-Wallop are just a couple of the hundreds of jokers headed your way in a few weeks. Be interesting to see how Aus fans deal with them. You'd think that thrashing them would be the way to pursuade them - but as you rightly point out, there's always an excuse. And within a few weeks - they forget it ever happened!

  • RandyOZ on November 23, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    @Meety, the funny think is, we could send out our D side against India and still smash them. They've NEVER won a series here, and that ain't changing!

  • Meety on November 23, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    @Full-Blooded-Wallop - I agree that I haven't seen YOU give excuses, I was commenting on the flood of comments that were making excuses. For what its worth I am hoping for a good hard fought series, like the previous tours in Oz. IMO - this is India's last chance to beat Oz in Oz in a series for a while. I remember back in the mid 80s when Gavaskar or Dev led an Indian side that flogged us everywhere except on the scoreboard, too scared to go for a win & I thought back then they'll never come close to us again in Oz (not so), I also said 4 years ago to an Indian co-worker that as long as my preverbial points to the ground - India will NEVER beat us at the WACA, I got that wrong too, but despite that I am very confident that India can only win this series on the back of their aging legends piling up squillions of runs & putting Oz under scoreboard pressure. A fully fit Zaheer would also have to play out of his skin. I think Oz will have an attack that will test some aging reflexes!

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 23, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    @meety: My friend, 2-1 escaped my mind,was thinking of 1-1. And no, I am not the one who gives excuses.A win is a win and a loss is a loss, whatever the factors causing it :) and regarding rest comments of yours, let time decideth it all!

  • Barnesy4444 on November 23, 2011, 2:16 GMT

    Watson is a bowling all rounder. Surely he has to drop down the order to 4 or 5 so he can bowl more? He is our only bowler at the moment who has the capacity to consistently get top wickets and he has a history of injuries if overworked....... Batting order if all are fit: Hughes, Marsh, Khawaja, Clarke, Watson, Hussey, Paine, Johnson, Cummins, Harris, Lyon.

  • Meety on November 23, 2011, 0:53 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira - ":Is Bucknor in the Australian team..." - that my friend is the real reason why the BCCI won't use UDRS. So that "fans" like you can whinge if you don't get the "result" you want. Well the other REAL reason is that the BCCI doesn't have a patent on any of the technology & will only approve it once they have the rights to a cheaper & inferior version that always gives Green Lights when Sachin is batting!

  • Meety on November 23, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    @Full-Blooded-Wallop - "we accepted we lost, fair and square." - no judging by the gazillion comments that came in describing the Test team as a B,C or D side, clearly the majority of Indian fans did not accept the scoreline. "But if you see the last two series against Australia. We thrashed them 2-0 at home.." Hmmm a thrashing 2nil hey, when that included a 1 wicket win where had there been a UDRS in place Oz probably would of won the 1st Test & the 2nd Test involved India chasing over 200 to win - historically not an easy assignment. The last series played in Oz - Oz won 2-1, but you probably refuse to accept that because "we wuz robbed". The series before in Oz was 1 all - but do you hear any Oz fans saying stuff like that was an Oz C side because Warne & McGrath didn't play? Nope - it was a drawn series.

  • Meety on November 23, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    @ Full-Blooded-Wallop - I am assuming you are doing to us what RandyOz did to you with the (all out for 10 joke) - by stating that "... fearsome attack of aaron,yadav,ishant,zaheer(if fit) and ashwin..." Its funny that, given the WIndies - a modern day minnow, batted a whole day losing just 2 wickets to 3 of the bowlers you just mentioned. Also - there is nothing fearsome about the Indian attack. Zaheer is a very good exponant of seam & swing & if fully fit, will be capable of taking wickets. Ishant Sharma has struggled against good opposition since his Ozzy summer, he will need a massive form reversal to trouble Oz. Aarun & Yadav have some talent & did tour Oz recently in an emerging XI tournament, but they will get slaughtered. If you think Ashwin is going to trouble us - have a look at the best Indian spinners have done over the last 50 years, even Prassanna was below his best & averaged about 30+. Ashwin or Bhajji will not trouble Oz!

  • Aussasinator on November 22, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    SA lost this test, more than Australia winning it. As for the India series, the Oz will find it impossible to bowl out the Indian batting twice. India will lose only if they are careless, and they are quite prone to mindless playing.

  • thebigone on November 22, 2011, 15:59 GMT

    gerard tell me about him. we also lost a world cup final because of him, against pakistan. we both can go on and on mate

  • mathewjohn2176 on November 22, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    @full blooded wallop,oh please don't embarrass yourself by bringing the names of jadeja and kohli ,thinking they will beat this Australian team.Aussies are back in their business of winning ways.They are always a great team who play to win games.Give respect and don't be overconfident,in that case it will be a downfall for india,as much as same for England by next year against subcontinent team.

  • Yevghenny on November 22, 2011, 14:52 GMT

    First time in a while I've wanted Aussies to smash someone, but I hope they whitewash India

  • 1st_april on November 22, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    India might draw a test....Australia 3-0...

  • on November 22, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    thebigone :Is Bucknor in the Australian team for the series against against India? if he is 3-0 would be a resonable result for Australia.

  • mathewjohn2176 on November 22, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    Yeh Atleast the so called Indian batting legends are better than England batting legends ,who got allout 51 against the westindian team and no single odi world up eventhough playing for century years,now that is "legendary" alright.

  • TeamRocker on November 22, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    My squad for the first NZ test, in batting order: Watson, Hughes, Marsh, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Johnson, Harris, Cummins, Lyon.

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 22, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    @5wombats: Not everything can be seem from the perspective of one english summer. Cummon mate, we accepted we lost, fair and square.But if you see the last two series against Australia. We thrashed them 2-0 at home and we draw the series in their den.So nothing to LOL about :P Regarding the batsman who returned with 22 avg, he loves performing against GOOD opposition. And he has a mighty liking against the strong Aussies of old. Not sure how he will fare now, as aussies are not the same anymore :P Kohli,gambhir,ravindra jadeja will be enough for them.

  • thebigone on November 22, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    iv just filled in the icc test predictor, with ozzie 3 india 0. think they will do well to get a zero, but they may get a draw out of the 4 match series, maybe.

  • 5wombats on November 22, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    @Full-Blooded-Wallop; "This winter it is going to be a no contest" - oh! brother - you have got that right, but not for the reasons you think! LOL. Lets have a look at those "batting legends" shall we....mmm, not seeing much there aside from Dravid. There's a guy who got a king-pair and a guy who said "England is not the toughest tour" - but he went on the leave England with a batting average of 22 for the series. He should have kept quiet. "Batting legends" who carried india to a 4-0 Test whitewash, yeah - they're "legendary" alright.

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 22, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    wow!@ lakshmi n rao. Sire I am having my exams next month.Please, something for me!

  • Mitcher on November 22, 2011, 7:54 GMT

    Geez the Indian fanboys took randy's bait pretty easily. The bravado is hard to take seriously since India has NEVER won a series in Australia. Not to mention our 1-1 result in sth Africa equals india's best ever result in that country. Since they've NEVER won a series there either. So in a sport where very few teams are competitive this so called superpower has NEVER won in two of the most challenging destinations. How sad...

  • muski on November 22, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    As I was watching Haddin get one on his helmet, was wondering how our Indian Jumping Jacks would have handled Steyn and Co at their devastating best. Its better if Indian sticks to series against Windies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the coming years. Our BCCI bosses are not going to wake up with bouncy tracks even for Ranji games. How are we going to handle such pace abroad. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for Indian batting once the Fab 3 are gone. God save Indian cricket and well done Aussie boys. You have shown that you have it in you to wallop India 3-0 ( India will draw Sydney Match).

  • on November 22, 2011, 6:24 GMT

    Hello,

    India can win only in India. Umesh yadav's and others are flash in pans. Can they sustain long term like Mcgrath, Holding, Walsh, Ambrose, Lillee? NO WAY. Aussies will bouce back in 2 years . India will not be an ERA nation. My bets!!!!

  • aatif456 on November 22, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    Imagine the fearsome attack of aaron,yadav,ishant hehehehe..again a good joke

  • aatif456 on November 22, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    @ Full-Blooded-Wallop calling dhoni a batting legend is the biggest joke of the millenium.. any day ponting and hussey is better than gambhir and dhoni

  • REH223 on November 22, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    @BRYDON COVERDALE: " Australia's next series is against New Zealand, and that will be followed by a tough four-Test battle against India.". TOUGH BATTLE ??? LIKE THE ONE WE SAW IN ENGLAND ??

  • Meety on November 22, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    @Udhaykumar Govind - apart from the fact Randyoz's comment about bowling India out for 10 was a gee-up (that you took the bait), the fact is none of the young Indian pace bowlers you mentioned are express. As Praveen Kumar proved in England & Anderson proved in Oz, speed is not everything, but do not delude yourself into thinking your (talented), bowlers are going to be a snippet on what Oz has just faced in bowler friendly conditions. India's top 7 will only have one youngster at most in the line up (assuming that Yurav does not play). The Indian strength is not ".. Gambhir, Rohit and Kohli and Dhoni.." although I suspect coming in @ #7 Dhoni could play some crucial cameos. NONE of the batsmen you mentioned have any credentials on bouncier & faster pitches. India will rely on the old timers in SRT, Dravid & Laxman, with punchy starts from Sehwag. Please, please, please select Bhajji - he is about as test match effective as Doherty! LOL!

  • mrgupta on November 22, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    @RandyOZ: If India cannot play outside then Aussies cannot play at home. Remember the same opposition that whitewashed India 'outside', blanked Aussies 'at home'. And this result is nothing to be very proud of, as when India last toured SA the result was the same with the same SA team. Talking about cannot-play-outside, breaking news Aussies have not Won a test in India in their last 6 attempts (spread across 2 series) instead they have lost 4 tests and 2 test series 2-0. So even if you beat India you are no better than us Won at home lost away, or maybe not, you lost at home too (Remember Eng, SA?)!

  • satish619chandar on November 22, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    @RandyOZ : Even i would say Australia are favourites in both the series.. But if you are going to say India can't play outside subcontinent, you are wrong.. Hope you guys provide good tracks and not the pure grass ones as the English did when India toured.. Dont say home advantage because you guys always cry and whine when provided square turners just because your batsmen cant play spin and enough said of spinners in Australia!!

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 22, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    This winter it is going to be a no contest. Imagine the fearsome attack of aaron,yadav,ishant,zaheer(if fit) and ashwin running through the weak batting line up of Aussies! 2 T-20 openers in watto and hughes, poor ponting, once in 15 innings clark, average hussey and a struggling youngster in khwaja. Add to it the poorest wk keeping batsman in haddin.Even carlton baugh is better. Oh my, Oh my.Then batting legends sehwag,gambhir,dhoni,sachin,dravid,LAXMAN, facing the poorest attack of world. 'left right but never on pitch mitch', 'Lyon,Who?' cummins impressive but not enough. Kohli or ravindra jadeja will take care of him. And ordinary ones in siddle and harris. :)

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 22, 2011, 2:50 GMT

    @5wombats: Memory is quite sharp. Ind 16 Eng 1 ;) Anyways champions don't falter twice. They learn from their mistakes and hit by hard :) unlike few teams who keeps on losing since 1985 ;)

  • on November 22, 2011, 2:43 GMT

    @Randy Oz India finds it difficult playing abroad but when it comes to Aus things are different. After the loss against England India is amking the right changes and you will see the emergence of new stars from India who will successfully push out the aged super stars. If Aus can be rolled out for47 by SA and you expect rookies to roll out India for less than 10 then I suppose Indian rookies Aaron, Umesh, Ashwin along with Pravin and Zahir will get your dodgy batsmen out cheaply each and every time. This series may well see the Australians beaten by the Indians. We surely wish Bhajji joins the hunting pack to nail the nervous roos.After seeing the Aussies struggle against the Springboks fast bowleres now it is time to face the Indian express bowlers Umesh Yadav and Aaron and the old hunter Sharma is picking up yards in pace to unsttle the Aussies. From the batting point of view this time around the batting will be spear heade by the likes of Gambhir, Rohit and Kohli and Dhoni.

  • Meety on November 22, 2011, 2:43 GMT

    @Wefinishthis - "...Our batting lineup is not the major concern right now...", mate 9/21 (admit against a great bowling line up) is cause for concern. I'm not too worried about Hussey as the Saffas are his bogey side, interestingly so too are NZ! Punter has bought some time because Marsh & Watson are doubtful starters for the GABBA Test. Apart from Hussey's SL heroics, no top 7 batsmen is in great form this year (Pup can be considered to a certain extent with 2 x 100). == == == The first test against NZ is going to be difficult to pick due to injuries. I would assume it will be 1. Warner, 2. Hughes, 3. Khawaja, 4. Ponting, 5. Pup, 6. Hussey, 7. Haddin (he'll get selected & might end up vice captain too!), 8. Johnson, 9. Cutting, 10. Cummins, 11. Lyon - 12th Siddle. That is the side that I think will be selected - I would insert Butterworth for MJ get him back in Shield cricket, Wade for Haddin. I am an O'Keefe fan, but Lyon has done his job for the time being.

  • Zahidsaltin on November 22, 2011, 2:38 GMT

    Mediocre batting line and ordinary bowler will be hammered around by indians. Cummins, Ryan Haris, Cutting and Ben Hilfenhaus is the best available bowling attack to face indians. Forget about including a spinner and play with 4 fast bowlers.

  • peeeeet on November 22, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    @Wefinishthis - definitely agree re your suggestions to the bowling line-up. It has to be remembered that whilst Johnson did essentially win us this test match, his bowling almost lost us the match. So that's why he has to go. If O'Keefe comes in, then we have a solid number 8 batsman to do his job, and a pretty good spinner also. I will be the first to admit that i was hesitant about Cummins, but I'm going to happily jump on the bandwagon now and say what a find! I disagree with your thoughts however that batting isn't a concern. It is a major concern. We keep collapsing. Watson needs to drop down. Ponting and Hussey need to be respectfully phased out, but maybe after the tough home series where experience will be key. After the retirements of Ponting and Hussey, this would be my top team taking into account fitness - Hughes, Khawaja, Marsh, Watson, Clarke, Warner, Wade, O'Keefe, Harris, Cutting, Cummins.

  • Silloh on November 22, 2011, 0:20 GMT

    I predicted Australia will win and ponting will score a century. Well he didn't but certainly contributed with a fighting 62 towards the victory. Why should one consider leaving out Johnson or Ponting ? Absolute rubbish in my opinion.

  • Wefinishthis on November 21, 2011, 23:51 GMT

    Our batting lineup is not the major concern right now, we're still carrying too many inconsistent bowlers like Siddle, Johnson and Lyon (who admittedly hasn't been that bad, but O'Keefe has been outstanding and deserves a go) and somehow there's still talk of the return of the Mick Lewis of test bowling Ben Hilfenhaus. It's time to go with a pick of: Harris, Cummins, Copeland, Butterworth, Cutting, Faulkner, Coulter-Nile, Pattinson and pick O'Keefe as the spinner. Then once we can bowl teams out and give our batsmen quality to face in the nets, we can work on our batting lineup (but for the moment, Warner and Wade need to come in and Watson needs to drop to no. 6).

  • OutCast on November 21, 2011, 23:50 GMT

    Champions are made when they strike at priceless moments. Yes, 100 hundreds don't make one a champion. Ricky & Johnson were on the brink of their cricket career, when they delivered- not the first time ever- but the first occasion they'll be remembered forever in the history of the game. Kapil stamped his name in 1983 WC and it can never be repeated, Jayasuriya did in 96WC, ditto to Luxman and ditto to these two. If Ponting wasn't playing a timeless innings, I suspect if Khawaja would've stayed long, and if Johnson wasn't staying long, I don't think Aus would've seen it through. At the fall of Clarke, I had hopes until Johnson is alive. If Ricky walks away today, he'll be doing a red-carpet exit, but he may be targeting Indian tour as his last assignment. Now I have one trophy to present, South Africa retains the trophy of 'chokers'...

  • Meety on November 21, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    @mrmonty - if you play what ifs - no doubt Harris would of made it tougher in the 2nd innings, but Oz would of milked him in the first innings & tripled the first innings lead to around 100 or more. Tahir is a bold paradigm shift for the Saffas - it needs to be stuck with. == == == I think Punter has bought the right to play on, but with conditions. I think he needs to be in close communication with Inverarity. If he has the slightest doubt about playing on till the Ashes - he must retire in Hobart at the latest. As for Haddin - well done matey, you were bloody lucky, about an inch from the same fate you copped in the previous 3 innings. I would prefer that we went with Wade into the NZ series, but since the selectors are probably wanting Paine (injured), Haddin will probably be retained. MJ? He is a must for the WACA test against the Indians, outside of that I don't know. Whilst he didn't get many wickets in either test, he did get stuck into Morkel & Steyn with the ball - softened?

  • on November 21, 2011, 23:39 GMT

    RandyOZ : Hell that is 37 less than Australia got rolled over for. Cutting, Harris, Cummins and Lyon I can't see them doing what McGrath Warne and Lee couldn't. Two scores of over 500 in the last series and one score of over 700 in the series before that, Check your facts Buddy. The great Australian side played India 21 times between 2001 and the facts show India won 9 to Australia's 6. I don't know why you Aussies and Poms are hung up over India anyway. Is because your cricketers and administrators have to dance to our financial tune?

  • Cootiemundra on November 21, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    Yes, great result, good for the morale, and yes @randyoz, a fit cutting, harris, cummins would be an awesome pace trio !

  • johnnycash on November 21, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    This was a great team victory - just about everyone put something into this test for Australia. Last night was riveting stuff - Punter and Clarke going early, Huss and Haddin fighting out of trouble, Haddin and Johnson with the perfect counter attack, then the tail bringing it home in Cummins. Awesome to watch. I must give a compliment to South Africa, who played the game in great spirit, and to Graeme Smith in his speech. They have also unearthed a fine prospect in Vernon Philander. Australia deserve to enjoy the celebrations of this match, then onto the Gabba next week, where i'll be waiting. I don't like to say anything about who should be in or who should be dropped, but my only change would be to bring in Ryan Harris and hope he lasts 5 days.

  • Rowayton on November 21, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    Cummins can retire now. Chances are that he may never have a better game.

  • thebigone on November 21, 2011, 22:31 GMT

    ponting to retire ?. after this he will need to be dragged, kicking and screaming. he will be sitting on the selection committee with his name 1st out.

  • avmd on November 21, 2011, 22:24 GMT

    Damn!! got late from work by more than thrre hours and had to bear the consequences, just could not leave the TV until the test was over, and----I'm not a SA or Aus suporrters but it was not an ordinary test. No ODI or 20/20 can creat such thrill and drama in a single game. Looking forward to a lot from Cummins in days to come, what a find, great for cricket.

  • RandyOZ on November 21, 2011, 21:58 GMT

    Nothing less than a whitewash of the minnows NZ and an Indian side which can't play outside of India is acceptable. Clarke, after seemingly getting over his 'can't perform under pressure' tag, appears to have got it back. 15 runs in the remaining 3 innings is simply not good enough. We need to make some tough decisions. Imagine an attack of Cutting, Harris, Cummins and Lyon. India would be rolled for 10!

  • Itchy on November 21, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    @zico123: like my Mum used to tell me "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything". All the Australian players who the public/media have been writing off performed at some stage in this test series. Ponting got them to a position where they could win the game after being 2/19 and Haddin & Johnson pretty much got them home from there. To have not lost any series in any format on the tour is a great result, particularly the way they won this last test.

  • 5wombats on November 21, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    LOL @Full-Blooded-Wallop - perhaps @kaze should have put; "Eng 4 india 0". Never mind the sense of humour @wallop - what about your memory?

  • SOURAV4EVER on November 21, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    Hey arent you the guy who said Ponting should retire, Mr. Coverdale ???Come on man......

  • mrmonty on November 21, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    SA would be wondering if Imran Tahir was the weakest link and if Harris' containment would have been more effective than Tahir's attack.

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 21, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    @kaze: loved your sense of humor :)

  • CriticalMay on November 21, 2011, 19:41 GMT

    well done aussies, and please let punter play for atleast 2 years, every great batsman has one great innings left in him.

  • harshthakor on November 21, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    This match was simply the greatest winner for test Cricket.The pendulum kept swinging one way to the other.On the first day the Aussies brilliantly came back while on the 2nd day S.Africa brilliantly came back after a mammoth opening partnership staged by the Aussies.In the run chase of 310 runs epic twists took place .After losing 2 wickets cheaply Ponting and Khwaja staged a remarkable comeback.Then after a flurry of 3 wickets of Khwaja,Clarke and Ponting S.Africa were on top. However 2 big partnerships brought the Aussies within a threshold of victory before S.Africa came back again taking 2 wickets with the score at around 290 making another twist to the tale.In the end the Aussie nerves prevailed.After capturing Clarke,Ponting and Hussey,the Proteas should have won the game but they lacked the killer punch.

    Sad it wasn't a 3 test series.The match will go a long way in reviving the spirit of Australian Cricket.

  • Kaze on November 21, 2011, 18:59 GMT

    Aus 4 India 0 go Clarke ............

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 21, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    OMG! Aussies have won!!!! :O

  • zico123 on November 21, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    this should be the end of Mitchel Johnson, even though he made few runs, but he is not in side as a batter, he has been terribly wayward n inconsistant with the ball, he has been out of form for last 2 years, he is the most inconsistent bowler in the world, he delivers once in 6 months

  • zico123 on November 21, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    Australia somehow scrapped though, but Ponting at prime would have saw them home, not this Ponting, these should be the end of Ponting, as expected he didn't walk off, so selectors would have to take the hard call on his behalf, NZ series is the best time to blood in youth, no place for Ponting anymore who has passed his prime 2 years back

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  • zico123 on November 21, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    Australia somehow scrapped though, but Ponting at prime would have saw them home, not this Ponting, these should be the end of Ponting, as expected he didn't walk off, so selectors would have to take the hard call on his behalf, NZ series is the best time to blood in youth, no place for Ponting anymore who has passed his prime 2 years back

  • zico123 on November 21, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    this should be the end of Mitchel Johnson, even though he made few runs, but he is not in side as a batter, he has been terribly wayward n inconsistant with the ball, he has been out of form for last 2 years, he is the most inconsistent bowler in the world, he delivers once in 6 months

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 21, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    OMG! Aussies have won!!!! :O

  • Kaze on November 21, 2011, 18:59 GMT

    Aus 4 India 0 go Clarke ............

  • harshthakor on November 21, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    This match was simply the greatest winner for test Cricket.The pendulum kept swinging one way to the other.On the first day the Aussies brilliantly came back while on the 2nd day S.Africa brilliantly came back after a mammoth opening partnership staged by the Aussies.In the run chase of 310 runs epic twists took place .After losing 2 wickets cheaply Ponting and Khwaja staged a remarkable comeback.Then after a flurry of 3 wickets of Khwaja,Clarke and Ponting S.Africa were on top. However 2 big partnerships brought the Aussies within a threshold of victory before S.Africa came back again taking 2 wickets with the score at around 290 making another twist to the tale.In the end the Aussie nerves prevailed.After capturing Clarke,Ponting and Hussey,the Proteas should have won the game but they lacked the killer punch.

    Sad it wasn't a 3 test series.The match will go a long way in reviving the spirit of Australian Cricket.

  • CriticalMay on November 21, 2011, 19:41 GMT

    well done aussies, and please let punter play for atleast 2 years, every great batsman has one great innings left in him.

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 21, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    @kaze: loved your sense of humor :)

  • mrmonty on November 21, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    SA would be wondering if Imran Tahir was the weakest link and if Harris' containment would have been more effective than Tahir's attack.

  • SOURAV4EVER on November 21, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    Hey arent you the guy who said Ponting should retire, Mr. Coverdale ???Come on man......

  • 5wombats on November 21, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    LOL @Full-Blooded-Wallop - perhaps @kaze should have put; "Eng 4 india 0". Never mind the sense of humour @wallop - what about your memory?