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The Report by Firdose Moonda in Johannesburg
February 5, 2014
South Africa 300 and 147 for 5 (du Plessis 67*) lead South African Composite XI 135 (de Kock 50, Peterson 3-9) by 312 runs
Niggles and another difficult day for batting were the biggest talking points from the second day of the tour match at the Wanderers. South Africa's frontline bowlers all had a decent workout, with Dale Steyn and Robin Peterson the highest wicket-takers and Rory Kleinveldt throwing his name into that hat to fill the lower-order allrounder vacancy.
After a solid showing with the bat on the first day, Kleinveldt also proved handy with the ball. He was brought on after 11 overs of the second morning, with no wickets having fallen at that point and two talented youngsters, Quinton de Kock and Stiaan van Zyl, looking to plant roots.
De Kock was the most successful of the Composite XI's batsmen, playing freely on a ground he knows well. He was their only batsman to score fifty and showed the promise that has had many calling on him to join the Test squad. He took one risk too many after reaching the milestone and flashed at a full delivery from Morne Morkel to edge to Hashim Amla in the covers.
Kleinveldt was not the protagonist of the breakthrough but he followed up well, dismissing van Zyl in the next over. With a teasing line outside off, he had the batsman undecided and caught behind. Kleinveldt maintained the same disciplines that have seen Vernon Philander succeed at Test level and also accounted for Rilee Rossouw. At 80 for 6, the match was no longer a contest and turned into an exercise in how quickly South Africa's bowlers could finish things off.
Temba Bavuma, who batted at No.8, much lower than his usual position in the top four, because he was feeling unwell, and Dominic Hendricks put on a resistance that lasted just under an hour. They showed the patience required on a surface like this but eventually caved in. Hendricks charged Peterson and offered midwicket a simple catch.
That brought Wayne Parnell, who turned on his ankle on the first day and who CSA advised would not bowl any further in the game, to the crease. He moved without discomfort and ended up bowling as well but he could not hold up the Composite XI tail. Steyn cleaned them up, bowling Bavuma, and having Parnell and Beuran Hendricks caught behind to ensure he had wickets to his name.
After the first-innings showing, South Africa's top-order would have wanted to show more staying power on a tricky pitch but Alviro Petersen lasted only seven balls. He was given out lbw off the left-arm quick Hendricks, who dismissed him for the second time in the match.
There was better news though, as Graeme Smith and Amla dug in for half an hour before Amla chased a wide delivery from Hardus Viljoen and was caught behind. Smith then hit Parnell in the air before Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy set about rebuilding - among the bowlers they faced was Viljoen, drafted to replace Parnell and Lonwabo Tsostobe, who is recovering from injury, and bowled four overs - before there was reason for South Africa to worry again.
Duminy had to retire hurt with a sore wrist. He was seen icing it but word from management is that it is not too much of a concern. Du Plessis went about the rest of the afternoon confirming he is the right man for the No. 4 spot. He batted conservatively against a searching Composite XI attack and a much-less expensive Parnell.
Du Plessis has previously indicated surfaces will not be easy in the Australia series and he is the batsman that has had the best practice for that. On the third and final day, it is likely South Africa's bowlers will be in action for the most part, looking for a final competitive run around before the Tests.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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