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

Fired-up Johnson bullies South Africa

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

February 13, 2014

Comments: 329 | Text size: A | A

South Africa 140 for 6 (de Villiers 53*, Johnson 4-52) trail Australia 397 (Marsh 148, Smith 100, Steyn 4-78) by 257 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Jarrod Kimber's Report: You can't handle a force of nature

If anyone thought Mitchell Johnson's Ashes campaign was a one-off, they had better think again. It took Johnson only four balls to make his impact felt in South Africa. The only question was who felt it more acutely, Graeme Smith, the first of three wickets in Johnson's new ball spell, or AB de Villiers, who survived until stumps but suffered a nasty blow to the forearm when he had the temerity to attempt a pull off Johnson late in the afternoon.

Johnson finished the day with four wickets and his team-mates chipped in with two more to leave South Africa looking almost as shot as England did at times during the Ashes. The notable exception was de Villiers, who showed why he is the No.1 Test batsman in the world. By the time rain ended the day's proceedings with half an hour to play, de Villiers had reached 52 and was alongside Robin Peterson, who was on 10, and at 140 for 6 South Africa still trailed by 257 runs.

The batsmen did not need to be asked twice to leave the field. The last ball before the rain arrived was a ripsnorting bouncer from Johnson that was so accurate that Peterson did well to get bat to ball to protect himself, and he was lucky that it lobbed just safely wide of second slip. In Johnson's previous over he had delivered to de Villiers what may not quite have been the broken, ah, arm that Michael Clarke promised James Anderson in Brisbane, but it was close.

Generally though, de Villiers handled Johnson far better than any of his team-mates. His movements were quick and so was his decision-making. He scored 28 runs off the 35 balls he faced from Johnson, driving him for a couple of boundaries but most notably lifting him off his hips over fine leg for six, a remarkable shot given that at the time South Africa were languishing at 45 for 4. He reached his half-century late in the day, equalling the all-time record of fifty-plus scores in 11 consecutive Tests.

Mitchell Johnson continued his blistering form, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Centurion, 2nd day, February 13, 2014
Mitchell Johnson's outstanding form continued © Associated Press

Other than de Villiers, there was little else to celebrate for South Africa. The tone for their innings was set when Johnson quickly reacquainted himself with Smith, whose hands he has broken twice in the past. This time he rapped Smith on the glove with the fourth ball of his first over, a magnificent bouncer that resulted in a looping lob over the cordon that was taken by Shaun Marsh running back from slip.

That left South Africa at 11 for 1 but it was to become 15 for 2 in the sixth over of the innings when Johnson added the wicket of Alviro Petersen. Petersen had little idea of how to handle Johnson's pace and flashed well wide of off to tickle a catch through to Brad Haddin for 2. In Johnson's next over he struck with another outstanding short ball that Faf du Plessis tried to fend, but succeeded only in edging off the handle of his bat, such was his struggle to get the bat up in time, to slip.

Jacques Kallis might have been sitting at home and congratulating himself on his decision to retire when he did, given the threat Johnson posed over and over again. Hashim Amla and de Villiers did their best to recover but Amla was unable to get more than a start and on 17 he was lbw to Peter Siddle, who nipped the ball back in and had Aleem Dar's not-out decision overturned on review.

JP Duminy joined de Villiers for a 67-run stand that ended when Duminy, on 25, tried to lift Nathan Lyon over the infield but miscued and was athletically taken by Johnson running back and jumping from mid-off. The final wicket of the day came when Johnson's pace was far too severe for Ryan McLaren, who lost his off stump when he left an enormous gap between bat and pad.

Until they had to bat themselves, the South Africans could have been relatively happy with the day's play, for they claimed the last six Australian wickets for the addition of 100 runs and kept Australia below 400. Steven Smith joined Marsh as a Centurion centurion but Dale Steyn finished with 4 for 78 as the South Africans did their best to fight their way back into the match.

Marsh and Smith found the going slow - Smith spent more than an hour in the nineties before he brought up his third century from his past four Tests with a nudge off leg from his 211th delivery. However, he was unable to add to that and was caught at second slip pushing at McLaren for exactly 100, ending the 233-run stand with Marsh that began shortly after lunch on day one.

Marsh added 26 to his overnight score before he edged Vernon Philander to slip on 148. Between those two breakthroughs Haddin also fell lbw for a duck trying to sweep Peterson, and South Africa might have felt they had a chance to run through the tail. But Johnson (33) and Ryan Harris (19) contributed some valuable runs before Steyn finished off the task, keeping Australia to 397.

It was hardly the kind of total South Africa wanted from Australia when they sent them in but given the way Marsh and Smith batted it was a good counter-punch. But as Johnson showed later in the day, everything is relative.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 15, 2014, 22:02 GMT)

Amazing performance from Australia. I look forward to seeing if South Africa can learn and fight back. I hope so, being a Saffa!

Posted by espncricdiehrtfan on (February 15, 2014, 11:20 GMT)

no doubt ausies are playing better than sa almost all sesions nd have good edge this time but sa is known for fight back which they has done many times in past, unless amla or dewlvers are there sa is still is match....

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 6:13 GMT)

Hey Quinton Jacobs, against india SA was playing against the worst test bowling attack one can have.. Here, it is Magnificent Mitch. .

Posted by crikkfan on (February 14, 2014, 20:49 GMT)

ModernUmpiresPls thanks. Steyn consistently bowls at 144+ so maybe he has slowed down to mid-130s becoz of the stomach illness. MJ's successfully obviously has a lot more to do than just speed - even Shami bowls the odd 145. It is the consistent speed and the mortally threatening bounce employed successfully. It intrigues me and many others I am sure to no end - a very good thing for test cricket! What I really want is a Steyn comeback a la the spell of Cape Town 2011 against Sachin and India.

Posted by wapuser on (February 14, 2014, 11:06 GMT)

How is this match anywhere near even scottstevo? We are miles ahead here. This is gonna end exactly the same way the first 2 ashes tests did. We bat til we lead by 500. Then bowl them out for 200 depending on weather ofc

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 10:47 GMT)

Ashokdmightyindian ; Please read my post again - I have said none of what you have accused me of saying. I was just correcting a previous post and pointing out this team is quite different from when we tour India. I'm not into making any predictions, I just comment on what has occured. I would have thought no one in this side would be ashamed of thinking they can win, I reckon they went to South Africa thinking they could win when so many posters said they couldnt - Do you think they would be ashamed of having those feelings now?

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 14, 2014, 10:42 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresPlz, I know. That's 4 that have chopped on out of Steyn's 5 wickets. We're gifting them to him; and he's way too good to keep giving freebies away to him. It fires him up. That first little spell of his was the first hostile spell from him - and it looked like he might've strained himself in doing so! Think he's trying to compete with Johnson for hostility - you bet your ball sack he is! Still so evenly poised here. The pitch is a bit up and down; and we know our propensity for a disastrous batting collapse! If Aus make 200 in this innings, it's hard to see SA winning it. If they can keep us under that, they'll think they're in with a shout. Doolan has a big chance here to prove he's up to it. He's not my first choice for #3, but I'll be backing him all the way!

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (February 14, 2014, 10:29 GMT)

@Greatest_Game I'm pretty sure if JP had the pleasure of facing NZ,PAK&IND at home as well, instead of AUS away plus AUS&ENG at home immediately after that, he would've probably averaged 60+ too!

Alviro is an opener so no comparison. Remember AB could only average 36(3x100) as an opener after 20 matches(13@home), and had to be dropped down the order for his career to survive. While Alviro averaged 42(5x100) in his first 20 matches as an opener(4@home). I doubt Faf would even average 30 as an opener!

When Alviro stops succeeding as an opener, then as they did by protecting Rudolph, I expect one of Faf/AB to switch with him and open which is precisely what was done to Ashwell Prince. Not put QdK or anyone in his place. Unless of course there is a pattern to who gets favours that I'm not aware of, since I also seem to recall a certain ailing Shaun Pollock being carried to a milestone something Ntini was denied! CSA made its bed now it must lie in it for as long as Thami doesn't play!!!!

Posted by ThreePIllarTales on (February 14, 2014, 10:28 GMT)

Looks like the Aussies could be the first touring team to win a series in more than a year. Unlike England and India, these two countries could battle for number 1 spot for quite some time. Nothing like vicious head removing bouncers to spark a Test series !

Posted by StarveTheLizard on (February 14, 2014, 10:09 GMT)

Australia had a different coaching team in India. Moral was low. The coach did not have the players' respect. The team selection was off. The results would have been much closer with the current setup.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 10:08 GMT)

Wow.... I can't believe Rogers played at that. What the hell man.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

The biggest problem with the South African team is that we always have to settle for 2-3 test series with long periods of nothing in between. We are always slow starters due to this. But then...... chasing absurd 4 innings totals is this team's staple diet. Remember what happened against Indian in Jo'burg? Nearly pulled that one out of the hat and can do it again!

Posted by mixters on (February 14, 2014, 9:57 GMT)

@Posted by AltafPatel on (February 14, 2014, 9:44 GMT) Bowlers had been so negative bowling body-language. That's not real cricket whether they win the game or series.

Nah real cricket is played on selectivly watered dust bowls that suit the local bowlers. Get real this is real pace at its best, I remember Ishant Sharma doing this to Ponting in Perth a few years ago was that cricket??

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 14, 2014, 9:57 GMT)

India do not have good spinners get your senses back!!.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 9:48 GMT)

wow what will be the series this could be Two world class team Australia and South Africa competting

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 9:46 GMT)

I always thought AB De Villiers was classy but looks like since I last saw him he has gone up a few notches. Everyone struggling with Johnson but AB looks at ease. I can certainly see why he is number 1 in the world.

Posted by AltafPatel on (February 14, 2014, 9:44 GMT)

Bowlers had been so negative bowling body-language. That's not real cricket whether they win the game or series.

Posted by RapidCommentsPlz on (February 14, 2014, 9:43 GMT)

@shaggy076 so you think with your current team you would have been able to cope up on turning tracks in India??? dude ask your team. Even they will be ashamed in admitting that!! Or probably you could ask your "so called best spinner" ( which is obviously a joke) who sweated all 5 days to claim India's wickets and finally got some!! ha !! get your senses back!!

Posted by AltafPatel on (February 14, 2014, 9:43 GMT)

AB again shown his class and ease of play on any circumstances. He handled furious attack aggressively with ease. JP should have given him company instead of throwing away wicket at crucial stage of the game.

Posted by AltafPatel on (February 14, 2014, 9:41 GMT)

JP should have shown maturity by being patient at critical situation of the game, particularly then when game was settling for SA. Hope Elgar gets chance in second game unless he brings any magic in second innings, though it seems to be improbable.

Posted by steve48 on (February 14, 2014, 9:30 GMT)

Can't believe South Africa ignored what happened to England. Johnston made our very goo lower order look like Devon Malcom! Had to go into this series with their 7 best batsmen and 4 best bowlers. Robbie P and Ryan M will score valuable runs against other test attacks, but not MJ and co. Sometimes teams have to be picked according to the opposition, instead they have given away the advantage of having the best batsman / wicket keeper of all time!

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 9:26 GMT)

Sageleaf : im sorry Im the one to break this to you but centurion is in SOuth Africa and that your whole point about Australia doing well as all teams do well at home looks a bit stupid. Also hate to break it to you but we went to Sri Lanka recently and won there, we always win there.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 9:21 GMT)

warneneverchuck; Lets look at this side between Rogers, Doolan, Marsh, Smith, Haddin, Johnson, Harris and lyon that is 8 players they played a total of 6 test matches collectively in India. The team is substantially different to the team that played in India.

Posted by wanatawu on (February 14, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

In with ZFC on the Faf issue, also think he talk to much. The jury is out on Alviro and JP, also think Mclaren is not test standard.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

Ashokdmightyindian; There is a lot of comments about India for a country that couldnt care less. No worries no need to see you post here again. DOnt worry Ill be able to cope.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (February 14, 2014, 9:14 GMT)

3-0, 3 drubbings are on the cards for SA. Form team vs team who don't try to win. This was an easy prediction.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 9:13 GMT)

Drop J.P & Alviro Petersen..give chance to Dekock & van Zyl or Elgar...& bring in Beuran Hendricks for Robin Peterson

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (February 14, 2014, 9:10 GMT)

AB looks solid on the crease, beautiful technique. just watch him bat and you don't even need the stats to prove that he is the best batsman in the world for quite while

Posted by sathie.reddy on (February 14, 2014, 9:07 GMT)

SOS- Jaques Kallis please pad up

Posted by rajcl on (February 14, 2014, 8:51 GMT)

guys enyone remember few years back some one broken MJ redem guess who ??????? sachin the master blaster, ponting feild possition for sachin for mj boncers 3rd man & 1st slip on boundary line, all in my eyes , now he is retired who could stop him now

Posted by android_user on (February 14, 2014, 8:47 GMT)

AB is class player and is doing good in current situation so no need to panic and thow wicket

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 8:38 GMT)

@ ZCFOutkast writes "Faf was pathetic for a long time, but very few complained about it. Except the same kind of tolerence won't be extended to Alviro&JP."

Alviro & JP have been pathetic a lot longer than Faf has. JP started in the team in 2008, and Alviro in 2010. Faf has been playing since 2012. He has far less games than either. I support him no more than Alviro or JP, but the truth is the truth, and claiming anything else is simply a fabrication.

Stop fabricating. It is not working. Look at the stats.

JP Duminy - 21 tests, ave 32.88. Alviro Petersen - 28 tests, ave 38.82. Faf de Plessis - 11 tests, ave 60.15.

Faf has played half the number of tests and has twice the average. I repeat, half or less the number of games, twice the average number of runs scored. THOSE STATS DO NOT LIE.

If the stats do not lie, who is lying?

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (February 14, 2014, 8:31 GMT)

This once again shows that SA is a team on the decline. Indian young batsmen were very comfortable against this attack and only if the bowling had done better we would have won.

This also shows the true pace can trouble you anywhere and anybody and not necessarily teams from sub-con.

SA teams poor performance reflected also on stadium being empty for most of the day.

Posted by RapidCommentsPlz on (February 14, 2014, 8:28 GMT)

@shaggy067 none of the Indian is actually bothered how your team performs just like you guys are not bothered except when we mistakely hand over our rank to you n you are overjoyed as if you deserved it. ha ha!!!

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 14, 2014, 8:27 GMT)

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 8:07 GMT) Yeah mate, after this series where there will be plenty of twists and turns some SUPPORTERS will be very dizzy swapping which team to bag hahaha. maybe they will just watch SL v Bang

Posted by amfas on (February 14, 2014, 8:20 GMT)

Just worked out MJ's stats over the past 5 and a bit tests and they make pretty impressive reading. 41 wickets @13.85. I didn't have the heart to include the list of casualties in achieving the feat. Hats off to them men behind the resurgent Johnson. Dennis Lillee & Craig McDermott take a bow!!!!

Posted by DickCam on (February 14, 2014, 8:11 GMT)

It was just so beautiful to watch. More please Mitch!

Posted by wanatawu on (February 14, 2014, 8:08 GMT)

Graeme Smith is a disgrace.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 8:07 GMT)

@ rickyvoncanterbury wrote "Ah... makes you laugh, same names, same garbage ,different teams…"

I could not agree more. The legions of suddenly new SA fans predicting a SA victory is embarrassing. Everyone knew this was to be a tough encounter. Legions of armchair experts suddenly predicting victory by teams they were bagging 6 months ago, is astounding.

At the end of the day the 2 teams will fight tooth and nail and there will be a winner, or perhaps a draw. The only certainly is all the predictions made by all the armchair experts, will be wrong.

It is good to see some tough cricket, & it will get tougher.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

@IndCrab You might be right really, Adelaide, Sydney and the MCG aren't really pitches I would expect India to struggle horribly on and they all take spin, and the WACA has been stripped of its test match. Should be a good series.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 8:00 GMT)

Steven Charie; I think the majority of the 3-0 calls are from Indian supporters and English supporters. I dont think there are too many Australians saying that - I would think we are a really good chance at going 1-0 however still a long way to go.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 7:59 GMT)

Very hypothetically, if South Africa fail to score enough to avoid the follow on there is no chance that Clarke will enforce it. The Australian side has a heavy bowling workload due to the absence of Watson and whatever the outcome there are still two more games to play. His bowlers will need to put their feet up for at least a couple of sessions for Clarke to get the best out of them both now and in the following matches.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 7:50 GMT)

@John Strong That would be nice wouldn't it. A lot of Indian fans go on about the art of spin and spin is better than pace but the fact is that having a pitch that seams and bounces with a bit of moisture in it at the start of a match often turns into a track that's rough and dry by the end of it, so you get the best of both worlds, and often a pretty nice deck to bat on in between. When you make a flat dusty track that spins a lot on day 1, that's all you're gonna get. Nothing changes, the pitch doesn't evolve. It's just the same thing, day in, day out. That's why I dislike it so much.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 14, 2014, 7:49 GMT)

@Posted by IndCrab on (February 14, 2014, 7:31 GMT) I bet they do not give away 100k for a crowd catch off a six with him bowling.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 7:39 GMT)

Where is this man Kyle Abbott

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 7:39 GMT)

@IndCrab Is that comment serious? I really can't tell.

Posted by IndCrab on (February 14, 2014, 7:38 GMT)

Unfortunately my brain won't allow me to recall what happened last time we played for some reason, but don't kid yourselves. India are the only ones to raise their standards markedly, everyone else (including Australia) is treading water at best.Aussies will wear black band in next match

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 7:37 GMT)

@Sageleaf So you think the only way to decide if SA or Aus is a better team is to give them both a track they hate and see who wins, as opposed to a track that they both like? Seems odd to me. The only way to find out who is the "best" at a given time would have been the test world cup that got scrapped. You definitely weren't the first to have this thought but it turns out it's not doable, especially with the shortening attention spans of the human race in general. To be fair I think Aus did a lot better in England than England did in Aus.

@warneneverchuck Did you purposely leave out the bit where Lyon came back and did well at the end of the series after Doherty's utter failure? To be honest I think if you put Doherty and Maxwell into any test team they would more or less ruin it. Henriques doesn't help much either.

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 14, 2014, 7:35 GMT)

Seriously punters there's NO chance in hell of Aust enforcing a follow on should the unlikely opportunity arise, this deck is not that lively, it's great bowling stemming the flow, there's good runs for the patient & discerning as Smith, Marsh & AB have proven. With these tight schedules you'd have to skittle a team in a session to even half consider it, the follow on is done and dusted these days, a talking point for commentators but barely rates a thought in any Captains mind I'm quite sure.

Posted by android_user on (February 14, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

I been watching sl vs Bangladesh and I gave up on cricket until I watched this test match.what a great game of cricket. asian teams should seriously consider not having flat pitches but saying that other than Pakistan no asian team have a good pace attack.their paces bowl fast as their spinners lol.

Posted by IndCrab on (February 14, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

Next Year Harbajan will visit Australia and demoralize the Aussies. Aussie cricket now centered around Johnson,,,,, a one man show team. Against our Caribbean style pace bowlers like Varun aaron , Umesh Yadav , Anwar Ahmed , Ishwar Pandey , Ishant , Pravin Kumar..oh my god aussies will run for covers along with Slater , Harvey etc etc I cant wait any more for the Aussie series. Fire with Fire. Saffers will thrash one man moustache team neck and crop soon.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 14, 2014, 7:29 GMT)

I think more than aus its SA who wil suffer more in subcontinent since they dont have a spinner of even maxwell's caliber and philandeer will be another medicore bowler in those condition

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 14, 2014, 7:25 GMT)

Hussain kurwadwala same team doesnt mean all eleven has to be ther. But out of eleven players there were 9 players in india test series. Coming to doherty's place he was selected ahead of lyon after the first test wher he was smashed all over by indians. So lyon was also a part of that squad. Though I can understand your frustration

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 7:23 GMT)

Amla needs to find his form back quickly, Kallis should have played on , he is now being missed and why are the selectors persisting with Dumminy he has not done anything for a long time, 2 centuries in 20 test and only 5 fifties- poor. I think SA will fight back

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 14, 2014, 7:17 GMT)

Wow 3-0 predictions already. SA are such overrated has beens I just hope we get to keep our test status after this series. Aus have played great no doubt and are on top, but lets not get crazy. Hope we show some good fight here, but either way should be a cracking series.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 7:15 GMT)

I think its too early write proteas off ... they can always come back hard in second innings ... Remember ,Fax has saved two epic matches batting the whole day with tail enders in lively pitches at Centurion and Adelaide ... Steyn also brought his team into match against india from nowhere in the last test only in Durban .. they have players who can turn tables pretty quickly ... No doubt Aussies are favorites to win from here but I can't wait to see SA come back ... An epic test match on cards ... Good Test match cricket getting played all around these days !!

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 14, 2014, 7:14 GMT)

Hussain kurwadwala same team doesnt mean all eleven has to be ther. But out of eleven players there were 9 players in india test series. Coming to doherty's place he was selected ahead of lyon after the first test wher he was smashed all over by indians. So lyon was also a part of that squad. Though I can understand your frustration

Posted by RapidCommentsPlz on (February 14, 2014, 7:13 GMT)

@hussain If india-aus series is worth over an year I suppose its high time to erase the memory of whitewash India got in australia and england!!! eh?/

Posted by RyanRSA on (February 14, 2014, 7:13 GMT)

With out a doubt Best Bowler in the word Mitch Johnsaon Vs Best Batsman in the world AB - Who will win?

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 7:10 GMT)

south africa will come harder today/////////

Posted by DragonCricketer on (February 14, 2014, 7:07 GMT)

I'm just gonna throw it out there, drop Clarke and put in Hughes.

Posted by henchart on (February 14, 2014, 6:59 GMT)

SA play better in second compared to first innings but ,probably,not every time.Lead of 175 odd could be a match winning one for Clarke and Co. but if the lead is around 225 no harm in enforcing Follow on .By the way,Flat track bullies have their noses ahead after day one at Basin Reseve which was meant to bundle them out for sub 100 total in both the innings!What a leveller this game is.

Posted by android_user on (February 14, 2014, 6:55 GMT)

@warnereverchuck Same side ??? Recently?? India series was almost an year ago and they had Doherty Cowan Maxwell and Henriques

Posted by Sageleaf on (February 14, 2014, 6:49 GMT)

No doubt Johnson is bowling at his best right now and may be the best fast bowler. But he is extracting and bowling best on faster tracks. Australia is now in South Africa and it suits their fast bowlers. Just like England did best in their home grounds and Indian did well in India. But what happened to both teams when they toured? England lost the ashes and India is no better. As i said before any team is good on their own soil. I think they should play in a neutral venue so we could see which is the best team in the world.I feel Australia, South Africa, India, England are just in the same ranking.Right now you cannot make one of the teams as the best. I'm sure the Aussies will fail miserably in the sub continent If they play India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 14, 2014, 6:49 GMT)

Johnson, Steyn....., Johnson, Steyn...... Steyn, Johnson does anyone remember Philander is number 1 and Harris number 3 What a series for seriously talented bowlers Morkel and Siddle would lead most bowling attacks if they were not born in SA and Aus.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (February 14, 2014, 6:46 GMT)

A lot of Aussies are commenting about the lack of love for Amla from Saffer fans, as well as the quick criticism of Philander. Welcome to "South Africa" guys! The profile of the posters should tell you a lot about their inclinations.

Think about it. Faf was pathetic for a long time, but very few complained about it. Except the same kind of tolerence won't be extended to Alviro&JP.

Philander has been by far the best seamer in world cricket till MJ's resurgence. Just a few blips along the way & his place in the side is being questioned. Yet the ever underacheiving Morkel is immune to that!

Amla is streets ahead of both Kallis&AB as our best batsman(& the world in all conditions), whose presence at #3 actually caused a drastic rebirth in Kallis' batting which was on the wane&delayed his retirement. I don't remember people's affections for AB dipping when he went through a poor patch recently, yet many will praise him at the slightest achievement from his comfortable low middle order!

Posted by SHK1 on (February 14, 2014, 6:44 GMT)

This test cricket at its best! True cricket lovers would rate this over any ODI or T20.

Posted by RapidCommentsPlz on (February 14, 2014, 6:43 GMT)

@shaggy076 you seem pretty good with astrology!! Maybe you shud try your luck in India!! ha ah

Posted by Macker60 on (February 14, 2014, 6:43 GMT)

Sorry to be the one to Inform the guys that keep going on about SA being Slow Starters. You are all Forgetting a Major Point, Once in Front Australia Hate Losing, And at this Time Pray Nothing Happens to Siddle or Harris because the Fastest Bowler in Australia is Not MJ but Paterson, Who also has when on song one of the most deadliest Bouncers in Modern Cricket. AND has anyone Heard if AB de Villiers is OK, SA may be short of the best batsman going around after today,

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 6:40 GMT)

@AltafPatel Smith started off playing it the right way, he looked to be aggressive then tried to bail when it got big on him. Problem was, by the time he was bailing it was on him, so he defaulted to self preservation. Hence we get the photo.

@warneneverchuck I dunno, Lyon got a few to spin and bounce. He definitely got most of them off the straight. I don't think Peterson or Duminy managed that, but they aren't real spin bowlers are they? If you want the ball to do something you have to toss it up a bit and Lyon is willing to do that and even if he gets smacked a couple of times he's right back in there tossing it up and inviting a big shot.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 14, 2014, 6:39 GMT)

@ jb633 on (February 14, 2014, 0:15 GMT): I'm an Aussie but I agree with pretty much all of that post. This match is only just struck, let's see how it burns before going wild with the predictions. It's been mentioned heaps of times that SA have a long history of starting slowly and then running their opponent down in the straight. This could just be another example of that. .. Or, it could be something else entirely. We'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 14, 2014, 6:35 GMT)

Lol cant believe SA bowling has become so ordinary that they r allowing average aus batsman looks great. This is the same aus side that was whitewashed in india recently

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 14, 2014, 6:23 GMT)

Such a flat track this is wher ther is nothing for spinners.

Posted by AltafPatel on (February 14, 2014, 6:23 GMT)

SA tried to be attacking unnecessary at early start of the game. Smith could have been more patient by avoiding that delivery and Peterson could have left delivery taking more time to understand the bowling strategy.

Posted by Awesomedude1111111 on (February 14, 2014, 6:19 GMT)

good start 26 added to shaun marsh's name 9 added steven smith's name 4/51 Mitchell Johnson wow Mitchell johnson is on fire at centurion go mitchell johnson rahhhhahahah go australia

Posted by CricEshan on (February 14, 2014, 6:19 GMT)

AB is still got there and he usually counter attacks very well no matter what the bowling attack is . Lets not forget that he is the #1 batsmen in the world! KEEP CALM AND BELIEVE IN AB!

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 6:16 GMT)

@headphonedelephants Spot on there.

I really enjoyed AB's knock as much as MJ's bowling. Looks like the only way to get him out is to bowl a seriously unplayable delivery, if you're going to trouble him with pure pace with no seam or swing you probably need to be at about 160+kph by the looks of it.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 6:06 GMT)

Ajay Chauhan ; When did the subcontinent just become India? Anyway doesn't matter because India will lose 4-0 over here so its all cancelled out. We are the #2 side in the world and that will be official very soon.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 6:03 GMT)

SOUTH AFRICA Will Bounce Back...........on 3rd day

Posted by headphonedelephants on (February 14, 2014, 6:00 GMT)

When Cricket loses its context, people start talking about flat track bullies, fast track bullies, Sachin is the best batsmen, India is the best team out there. But when Cricket is back to its context (like it was yesterday), people put aside all of these trifles and start talking about how fast that ball was, how good that shot was, what a good knock under pressure it was. Now that's cricket.

Posted by mrmonty on (February 14, 2014, 5:37 GMT)

@wapuser @msdhoni123, I hate being misread, but SA have been living in denial that they have the best attack in the world and Steyn is the best fast bowler in the world. May be till some point in the last 1-year that statement was true. Even the visiting flat-track bully Indians didn't get cowered by Steyn. Like many others in this forum including me are pointing out the fact that Johnson is doing stuff that we didn't think would be in witness again, terrifying a whole class of batsmen. And, the pitch looks like it could be from the subcontinent. I didn't say he is better than Steyn (career-to-career) or he will be better in India or he will master all conditions. In the Test series we are witnessing at present, he is the best bowler by far and that is all that matters in forcing a results in favor of his team.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 5:14 GMT)

Also all the chatter about SA comebacks from the SA fans. I haven't ruled SA out of this first test, but if Australia do go 1-0 up here don't expect them to just chill out and relax and let SA win a test or 2. The Australian team is always full of mongrel, a dog with a bone. Let them get ahead at your peril, if SA can win the series from 0-1 down it's going to take one hell of an effort.

I think most people who watch a decent amount of cricket would say that the one team you definitely don't want to let get ahead of you in a series is Australia.

Posted by android_user on (February 14, 2014, 5:14 GMT)

@valleypf yeah u r right my bad but I think the wickets in IPL and his muting of Gayle right after he smashed Indian trundlers for 175 ( 175 is a big number in t20 s even if he scored it against the worst attack) would have helped him further his case

Posted by android_user on (February 14, 2014, 5:02 GMT)

hope aussies enforce followon..if possible. crazy risk to set a target with saffers. they play for draws.

Posted by one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on (February 14, 2014, 5:00 GMT)

@Partha Neogy, perhaps cricket balls should be speed limited. Realistically, though, I don't think that I have read a more thoughtless piece of drivel. Your comparison lacks betrays the use of any grey matter. Not even apples and oranges.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 4:56 GMT)

I love the comments about Johnson going to start spraying it. I don't remember him ever not spraying it even when he was taking wickets in the old days, but since his change in action (it's clearly much straighter now) he has excellent control given the pace he's bowling. Anyone who is expecting him to completely lose the plot is kidding themselves, he has a much more consistent action now. SA might, hell they probably will, start playing him better, but his bowling isn't going to get worse.

I don't get why SA fans don't like Amla. He's got seriously good technique, the only weakness I saw in that innings is that he likes to close the face of the bat when it's on his pads. That said, he has great hands and great timing, so if the ball didn't move off the straight it was going for 4. Siddle nipped that delivery back in significantly, would've got a lot of batsmen out, the only survival was edging onto pads.

@crikkfan Johnson avg spd ~145-146 I think. Steyn was about as fast as Siddle.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 14, 2014, 4:44 GMT)

We get carried away talking about records in cricket, what people have done before. Viv Richards has a good record, but who would pick him now? What matters is what you are doing right HERE, right NOW. That's what i love about cricket, just because you average fifty it doesn't mean you are going to get 50 today, you have to prove yourself over and over again.

Based on current form, Mitch is the best bowler in the world and a member of the best bowling attack in the world.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 4:38 GMT)

Aaaaand the handlebar mustache is back.

Posted by Iceman29 on (February 14, 2014, 4:29 GMT)

@ TommytuckerSaffa: what's matter can't take negative comments when your team plays badly :P........SA is a good team we know that and they tend to bounce back from losing position....but we will be watching this series closely and dont worry...

Posted by jonty129 on (February 14, 2014, 4:26 GMT)

Wow, what a start to the series. Some firey fast bowling from Johnson. Great to watch, even for a SA fan. Australia showing that the Ashes was possibly not a one off. Still long to go, but they could not have wished for a better start. Happy for them after a few lean years.

It is still early days in this test and we could be in for a few surprises. The scores are similar to the 2008 Boxing Day test match, which SA won. I was at the game all 5 days and was taunted the first 2 days by Aus fans. Was great coming out with a famous victory.

I hope, at the least, that we have a full day 4, as I will be going. I was there in 1997, so I can't wait to see Aus play at Centurion again. Crowd will be crazy, could not get tickets for the stands, had to settle for grass.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 4:17 GMT)

@ snowsnake safs hav lots of talents hendrics viljon s van zyl ,de lange ..a long list why not playing these players.... kangaroos ant play in subcontinent as they have poor batting line up and no more shane warne....will be thrashed again 4-0 in this part so they can fit only on no 3

Posted by android_user on (February 14, 2014, 4:15 GMT)

If Johnson is doing this damage to a lineup who has extensive experience of facing such hostility in the lined up conditions, how much damage he can cause to the sub continent teams visiting Aus for a test series? Steyn, Johnson, Irfan 3 most dangerous bowlers of the world who can disturb batting lineups with their sheer pace and brilliance

Posted by crikkfan on (February 14, 2014, 4:13 GMT)

Can someone tell me how the average speeds of MJ and Steyn compare? I understand MJ is in a brutal form - but it gives the feeling of speeds that have not been achieved and am curious how Steyn compares!

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 4:12 GMT)

Well there is some good news~!!!! Hopefully people will realize to drop Alviro petersen and include Quiton De Kock~! baptism by fire ;-) by fighting fire with fire~!! Losing the first test will hurt us hard but progress is in the making

Posted by Humdingers on (February 14, 2014, 4:04 GMT)

Nothing quite like seeing all the SA fans go quiet.

Posted by SA_FAN315 on (February 14, 2014, 4:03 GMT)

SA are doing it all over again.....they always preform poorly at the beginning of the series and give their opposition a sniff and then come back fighting to win the series......same old same old

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 4:01 GMT)

What a turnaround! A year back Johnson looked pale and withdrawn, the Aussies were being brownwashed 0-4 in India. Now India would not like to tour Aus in the year end. Johnson is the current No1 bowler jointly with Dale Steyn. He is as good as Wasim Akram in his pomp.

Posted by postandrail on (February 14, 2014, 3:59 GMT)

Hussain Kurawadwala If you knew anything at all about Johnson you would know it was off the field that he regained his self belief. He moved States and became a father and that changed his view of life completely. The IPL and India ODI's merely reflected that.

Posted by LJ253 on (February 14, 2014, 3:58 GMT)

No real surprise with johnson ripping through the top order.. No one in world cricket matches his hostility, so south africa really cant prepare for what he brings. His first spell is exactly what the aussies needed.. and what SA couldnt afford. Now, just like in the ashes, he is no doubt in the head of the south africans. Could you imagine if he started to swing the ball like we know he can. would be unplayable.

Fantastic work by the aussies, We're back!!!

Posted by postandrail on (February 14, 2014, 3:55 GMT)

endofageofaquarius You're making the simple and old mistake of confusing pace of the ball out of the hand with pace off the pitch. MJ gets it off the pitch quicker than anyone else at the moment and if 153kph out of the hand isn't quick what do you think would be? It's those 153 balls that set the batsmen up for the slightly slower one that the batsmen gets through his shot too quickly on and lofts the ball. Simple mistakes often made by novices.

Posted by DylanBrah on (February 14, 2014, 3:47 GMT)

It is amazing how many South African fans here underestimate the relentlessness of this Australian team.

Posted by EashwarSai on (February 14, 2014, 3:07 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson has finally become what Lilee predicted all those years ago. Become the best bowler in the world. Sachin is not the sort of guy to hype people up and mentioned mitch in his retirement press conference!

Posted by AussiePhoenix on (February 14, 2014, 3:02 GMT)

Brilliant work from AB, as always. Day 3 - going to be a ripper. This day will determine the series. Either team can take the match from here, it will reinforce the psychological state and levels of self belief. Australia will tighten the grip, SA will worry - leading to fear (the great destroyer). But they have AB, he can turn it around. SO proud of our bowling unit. I laugh everytime people criticise Siddle. He performs his role perfectly, chips away. It's not just MJ, it is the unit working together that allows MJ the freedom to play the way he can. I'll take a team of hard workers over a group of statistical #1's any day.

Posted by Will90 on (February 14, 2014, 2:50 GMT)

If we can keep up this intensity on day 3, this match is in the bag (assuming we can find some way to dismiss ABDV and FDP in the 2nd innings). Steyn has been crook but still took 4 wickets, so I wouldn't be judging him yet.

Posted by whensdrinks on (February 14, 2014, 2:49 GMT)

How was Morkel allowed to bowl? What's the point of having playing laws if they are not going to be enforced! Great to see the Oz wearing black armbands for Luke Batty - a nice gesture.

Mitchell Johnson and AB - world class performers. Can't wait for day 3.

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (February 14, 2014, 2:47 GMT)

msdhoni123, you are surely joking. Not only is Johnson's bowling the best today, and perhaps for the last 6 months, this is as good bowling as what we have seen from the greats like Marshall, Holding and Ambrose. I dont remember even the Windies quicks blasting batsmen out better than this. I saw all his spells yesterday, and barring the first 4 balls, he was bowling at red hot pace throughout. Not a ball where the pace dropped. And deadly accuracy in his bouncers. Watch this carefully, this happens once in 20 years.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 2:45 GMT)

@ ZCFOutkast writes "like it or not, the Proteas are on their way to a loss here…"

There are still 3 days to play. Much can happen.

" Thami in the squad can score just as little&be equally embarassed but at least keep."

We don't NEED him to keep. We NEED runs. AB, wherever he bats, can't score ALL the runs. He needs partners!!!

"Faf(&Smith) almost got his head taken off! With hindsight would be silly to throw QdK & any of the emerging young batsmen against this kind of pace."

QdK has proven better at handling the fast, short ball that anybody except AB. There is nothing "silly" about him playing. Nothing. He is putting up better figures than any other domestic batsman. Many have started their international careers when much younger, against such bowling. You don't want QdK in because you have an irrational, inexplicable desire to see Thami play. THAMI WILL FAIL. He has failed before.. He'll have to bat at #12! He will be defenseless. Are you trying to get Thami killed?

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (February 14, 2014, 2:21 GMT)

SA getting bundled out, I'm not surprised. No Kallis there to take care of collapses. Faf was lucky against us in the first test when he saved SA. I lost count how many times his ungainly defence from in front of his face to short pitch deliveries went off the bat's splice or shoulder or outside edge and each time those chances went over the slip cordon or fell in no-man's land. He finally ran-out of his luck in this test. I won't be surprised at all if Australia win this comprehensively. SA's batting is suspect without Kallis and SA's bowling is very weak. Hope SA deny this overseas victory to Aussies.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 1:57 GMT)

Good bowling wins matches. The Aussies have a good combo going; good work MJ and Lyons Siddle and Harris. Surprised? Not at all. SA not going to be good enough this time.

Posted by Afta on (February 14, 2014, 1:43 GMT)

What I like about Australia is that, they have always been a team with positivity. Always trying to play to win, no half measures, not trying to play defensive cricket. So, what makes them more interesting is that, even the opposing team has a chance of winning. I think that's the best approach to the game. That's why other teams love to challenge Australia. Its not about Johnson vs Steyn, both are brilliant in their own ways, its the challenge and Australia will fight to the bitter end. I don"t know whether South Africa will come out unscathed. Once they instill the fear in the opposition, they will come at you like the whirlwind. In this series, I am afraid SA might take the back seat and that's dangerous. SA has not seen Muirhead, they are always suspect against leg spin. For me, Australia will take the series.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 1:43 GMT)

johnson's peaking for way too long now.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 1:33 GMT)

@ GRVJPR wrote "Where are big mouth south african like @TommytuckerSA . This is how your players play when opponent has a genuine pacer. Atleast our young plagers showed stomach to fight against Steyn and company, but your guys are sitting ducks against Mitchell Johnson."

Your guys are sitting ducks against New Zealand. You have not taken one match from NZ or SA. After you lose the 2nd test to NZ, India will slip to #3. Sorry mate. you can't win a game anywhere but on flat tracks. And please, don't blame the umpires, again.

Aua may take the series from SA, but will still be #1. Aus will be #2. India will be #1 at NOTHING, which is an accurate reflection of their teams. You can come here and crow as much as you like, it will not stop India from losing in NZ, Enf and Aus.

In a year India will be #5 or 6.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 1:21 GMT)

Shri Ram; Yes South Africa have been number one for a long time for good reason but your snide mark at Australia was unnecessary. In the last 6 tests where we have turned it around 7 different blokes have scored tons, five of which have scored more than one hundred. The whole bowling attack has contributed and not allowed the opposition to get off Siddle, Harris and Lyon have all been averaging under 30 in this time. Its going to take a massive effort from here for the South Africans to recover from this one, with all due respect there other recoveries have not come against a bowling attack as good as this one, however if any team could do it it will be South Africa.

Posted by Wefinishthis on (February 14, 2014, 1:12 GMT)

A little early in the series to be making any strong conclusions. MJ has obviously proven that he is capable of having a good, consistent run, but opposing batsmen will inevitably improve against him soon. Steyn has carried an injury and was still outstanding. He is already one of the all-time greats and still has plenty of cricket left. I wouldn't write Philander off either, he's had one bad innings, but has a chance in the 2nd innings to improve. It just shows how good Philander has been that he has one bad innings and people are writing him off when Morkel was also poor but gets let off the criticism. Australia will need to get De Villiers quickly and wrap up the tail fast to stand any chance in this series. As an Aussie, I have to once again give credit to the South African curators. This is yet another world-class test wicket.

Posted by Morgan78 on (February 14, 2014, 1:12 GMT)

Another sustained assault from MJ with an able supporting cast. De Villiers is all class though and I can see him dragging SA to a 250 total which keeps them in touch if Aus collapse in the second dig.

Intriguing cricket with Aus holding the aces at this stage.

PS Still love my boy P. Siddy. Amla is a quality batsman and real danger. I'm a little gobsmacked at how little love he seems to get from SA supporters. I was very glad to see the back of him.

Posted by Thegimp on (February 14, 2014, 1:10 GMT)

There were a lot of Saffa fans saying that SA is the best side in the world and now those same fans are calling for changes Hmmmmm

If and it's a big if because I'm not one to make rash statements, If this Australian bowling attack continues to do what it did to England you will see your changes. You will see a rash retirement, an omition or two, a few sackings, an enquiry, a new coach and some egg on face from a few supporters.

Posted by leighsydneychina on (February 14, 2014, 1:09 GMT)

All teams relyon 1 or 2 stand-out players. Styne and Kallis have been that for SA for a long time.... now Australia have Smith and Johnson... that is the way of cricket... India used to have Tendulka, Laxxman et al. Now look at them... going down to NZ.

When India become the 4th rated team, will they play Bangladesh in the hope of getting back?? I am sure they will ensure (like they did with SA, that they only play teams they THINK they can beat), but I don't think Afghanistan is a test playing country yet..

Posted by DragonCricketer on (February 14, 2014, 1:05 GMT)

I'm just gonna throw it out there, drop Clarke and put in Hughes.

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 14, 2014, 1:04 GMT)

Very sooky @TommytuckerSAFA, maybe you need an English Thunder buddy for mutual support. You'd know full well what Aust did to SA earlier that day, the innings that followed was an Aust choke of SA proportion, it was a crazy day of cricket anyway and all credit to great bowling from both teams. Enjoy your memories, early days but you definitely to brace yourselves for a fall.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (February 14, 2014, 1:03 GMT)

@Shri Ram - You say the Aussies always rely on 1 or 2 players. I beg to differ. I think the Aussies have a team with everyone contributing in all areas. In the recent Ashes series, the top 7 batsmen all scored centuries. Wickets were also shared. As for SA being "the best test team going around" I think their reign is over. They lost Kallis and their bowlers lack are aging. But they have been a champion team and I expect them to fight back. However, England were a champion team and I waited 5 tests for them to fight back.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 0:54 GMT)

@ shri ram think ure missing the whole point there pal. Australia used the same 11 players all summer and that indeed is the key to their recent success. u say they rely on 1 or 2 players, I say the have had a well rounded 11 and over the summer there was meaningful contributions from a number of different players in differing match conditions.There was a few key moment in the summer where Ozzies were in a bit of trouble and different players rose to the challenge on each occasion. Johnson was indeed the most ferocious and consistent but there was times when others had impact as well

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 14, 2014, 0:52 GMT)

LOL!!!....Poor old Smithy, that was a snorter, might have to re-evaluate playing that hook shot to Mitch....And Faf copped another beauty....Reckon Mitch bowls the nastiest bouncer I've seen since the days of Thommo and Andy Roberts

Posted by bren19 on (February 14, 2014, 0:29 GMT)

Stats, Stats, Stats. Philander and Steyn are 1 & 2. Their averages are imposing at this ground. Johnson has only had one good series. Blah, Blah, Blah. I bet smith, du plessis and co were not pondering the stats when Johnson was sending bullets down. The best bowler in the world is the one that batsmen least want to face. That seems to be Johnson.

Posted by wapuser on (February 14, 2014, 0:26 GMT)


No, we don't judge a bowler on the "NOW" or on their current string of form. We base how good they are on their performances in a variety of condition many of which favorable and many not so favorable to truly determine how much depth they really have as a player and in essence how good they truly are.

MJ is good no doubt about it, but let's not get ahead of ourselves and crown winners already. Just because India bowled out NZ cheaply for 100 odd doesn't mean much likewise just cuz MJ has done well in bowling friendly conditions doesn't equate to him being the world's #1 bowler either.

There is no such concept ad being a "best player right NOW". Give it time. I'd like to see MJ try his luck in the subcontinent.

Posted by whofriggincares on (February 14, 2014, 0:17 GMT)

@partha neogy, I am sick of comments that complain about short pitched bowling, shut up and live with it it is here to stay. What do you suggest we do , roll up concrete pitches and bowl half volleys? With modern bats , shorter boundaries and ever flatter pitches in the modern game everything is in favor of the batsmen. I think most people who love and understand the game get a buzz out of watching a bowler Like Mitch at his dangerous best. I suppose if you love watching batsmen dominate on dead lifeless pitches you should just stick to the IPL.

Posted by CustomKid on (February 14, 2014, 0:15 GMT)

To see Biff (Mr Smith) fend a bumper away like he did tells me that MJ is firing on all cylinders. I'm a die hard Aussie fan but I have a lot of respect for G Smith, especially from 2008 onwards when he matured a lot and stopped the trash talking and let his and his teams results do the talking.

ZA aren't number one for no reason, If they can reduce the lead to 150-175 they have the tools to dismiss Australia easily and put themselves right back in the drivers seat.

At this stage of proceedings I'd much rather be in the Aussie's seat but never discount the talent and class of the proteas, especially their 3 quicks, and key batsmen averaging over or around 50. It only takes a few of them to stand up and turn things around.

The best team versus a contender, it doesn't get much better and so far it's living up to the hype.

Posted by jb633 on (February 14, 2014, 0:15 GMT)

As for Aus being the dominant side in world cricket lets just wait and see shall we. I still would expect them to get stuffed in India and the UAE again. I am not digging Aus by saying this either buy playing in those conditons is completely different than playing in Aus, SA and NZ for example. They do have a good team though. I even said during the English summer they weren't a bad side but needed some consistency to become a power. They seem to have found that with Smith, Rogers, Warner all improving. Their seam bowling attack is quality, of that there is no question. I still think Harris is the best of the bunch and will surely come to the party in this series. It is so classic for cricinfo fans to jump the gun with their judgements about sides. This series is not even close to over and SA are a top side, they are a better side than Aus still. You don't become a bad side overnight and they have time to improve. If Aus win the series then maybe we should talk.

Posted by MarshLillee on (February 14, 2014, 0:14 GMT)

Another good day for Australia. May this form run last a long time. I have got so much pleasure this summer watching the resurgence. Especially after the dissapointment of the winter campaign. Still the Saffas are a great side with batting and bowling talent coming out there ears. Only a fool would think they can be dominated for an entire test, let alone a test series.

Posted by jb633 on (February 14, 2014, 0:09 GMT)

It's great when your predictions come off. I really did have the impression the Saffas would come unstick against searing pace. When you have been facing essentially medium pace for 3 years you get into poor habits and the footwork becomes slack. When a genuine fast bowler comes along those habits are ruthlessly exposed because you have no time to make any adjustments. I hate to admit it but Johnson is tearing up world cricket. Dale Steyn is a great bowler. This is fact. There is no point in slamming him on here because he is great. However guys are not scared of him the same way they are of Mitch. He is brutally agressive and bowls from a horrible angle. People can say what they will about the Ashes but if you ask me they were won by Johnson. Although tests 3,4,5 other bowlers may have taken more wickets it was him that knocked the stuffing out the batsmen early on and really broke the back of England. Is he going to be doing the same here with SA??

Posted by LoungeChairCritic on (February 13, 2014, 23:55 GMT)

There is a long way to go in this match. South African's always fight so I am expecting a counter attack. Mitch is a different man with the moustache. It's like he turns into a nasty pantomime character. Lehman and DK Lillee must take some credit for turning a shy guy with confidence issues into a fire breathing fast bowling dragon.

Posted by Biggus on (February 13, 2014, 23:54 GMT)

@SA_Scot:- It was actually Colin Cowdrey and not Brian Close that England recalled in 74/75. Close had to face the music in 76 Vs the Windies after Tony Greig had made the infamous 'grovel' remark. Two wonderfully courageous players, both of them.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 13, 2014, 23:52 GMT)

It took about 2 days for England to get a bit rattled and start doubting themselves. I can see the same thing happening to South Africa. England never recovered but I wonder if the Saffers will.

If the follow on becomes an option, which I doubt, I don't think Clarke will take it. A 200 plus lead sometime on day 3 is the perfect scenario for a jolly good Warnering. I reckon he'll go down that track if he's given the choice.

@ Greatest_Game makes a good point about Kallis. Exactly how do you replace the best all-rounder the game has ever seen? .. Short answer. You don't. It takes two very good players to do what he could do and there's no easy fix. Another Kallis is the ultimate solution but we might not see the likes of him for 100 years or so.

Posted by Biggus on (February 13, 2014, 23:48 GMT)

@Pavinasen:-" I am a SA supporter and lets be realistic.SA will loose this match & series."

Way too early to make that call in my opinion. Despite what some would have you believe we have too much respect for the Saffers to think it will be easy. In the last series between the two in OZ we were all over them for the first 1 1/2 tests and still lost. We're well aware of SA's excellent recent record and class bowling and batting power, so I'll be keeping my powder dry until we win, should that in fact end up happening. We're going to give it our best shot and the series result will show whether it's been enough.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 13, 2014, 23:29 GMT)

@Partha Neogy on (February 13, 2014, 17:09 GMT): Re intimidatory bowling. Yo're kidding aren't you mate. It's been a part of the game for 150 years and one of the reasons it takes courage to play cricket. It's not a game for the faint hearted, despite appearances and "Boys Own" story books. Besides, the batsmen are protected by the rules (no body line, 2 bouncers per over, Intimidatory Bowling Rules, more body armour than Sir Lancelot, covered pitches, unsafe pitch rules etc etc etc). .. And besides, baseball is a game where anything other than a waist high full toss half a metre outside off stump is unacceptable. Baseball batters aren't used to anything else and spit the dummy if it's not right in the slot. I know, I used to play.

Posted by riahcmra on (February 13, 2014, 23:19 GMT)

The thing about Johnson is he is so fit. He bowls thunderbolts all day every day - people go on about how he is used in short spells but he bowled the most number of overs of any bowler during the Ashes. Clive Lloyd said the same thing about Thommo - they knew he was quick but they only expected him to last a few overs at top pace ... they said that is what was devastating about Thommo, he was so fit. Anyone who has opened against really quick bowlers knows you can weave around for 40 minutes ... but a guy like Mitchell you know that the longer you bat its only matter of time til you get a broken finger etc because the pace just never drops ... so you play poor shots against the other bowlers or just start slashing at Mitchell in frustration. That's what unrelenting pace does ... it grinds you down

Posted by Martyr82 on (February 13, 2014, 23:18 GMT)

This is looking similar to the 2008-09 series in SAF. Let me remind you how that played out;

1st test; Johnson 96* as AUS post 466 recovering from 3/38 Johnson 4/25 as SAF post 220 with ABD 104* Aus futher lead to 453 with 207 in second dig SAF all out 291 with Johnson taking 4/112

Johnson man of the match (and later series) as Aus win 2-0

Posted by Thumpa on (February 13, 2014, 22:59 GMT)

One word "scared", the series is already over. Pray for rain saffers!

Posted by OttawaRocks on (February 13, 2014, 22:41 GMT)

Wow that boastful SA team looks pretty ordinary now. Could it be that they weren't all that they were cracked up to be?

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 13, 2014, 22:40 GMT)

As far as I can see both teams are manoeuvring themselves into their preferred positions and both should be happy enough with things.

The Aussie tactic is simple and direct. Get in front early and then try like hell to either maintain or widen the gap. Ok, doing that.

The Saffers seem to be a much more complex ball of wax though. They like to dig themselves a nice deep hole and then spend the rest of the game clawing back the ground they gave away earlier. .. Yep, doing that as well.

So as you can see, this match is definitely on a knife edge because both teams have the other team exactly where they want them.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 22:36 GMT)

"Posted by mrmonty on (February 13, 2014, 18:22 GMT) @msdhoni123, People are hyping Johnson NOW over Steyn, because he is the better bowler NOW."

And coincidentally this test match is being played NOW, and Saffers are suffering NOW. Steyn career average is not playing for them, he is.

Posted by letsgoproteas on (February 13, 2014, 22:35 GMT)

Ozzies played really well today. This is why we watch cricket... What a game!

I would just like to point out - how many series SA have been behind after their first session but somehow manage to come back and take control of a game. We are known for being really bad starters.

Can't wait to watch the rest of it!

From a Protea point of view... Mclaren should not be in the team. I would choose De Kock and Abbot before him... AB does not have to take the gloves anymore with De Kock being around. Personally I would drop JP Duminy for De Kock and Mclaren for Abbot. Duminy had one good series against the Aussies how many years ago... He just doesn't have the metal for high pressure situations anymore. He only seems to shine when the team are in a comfortable situation.

Steyn/Philander and Morkel will come out firing in their next session - no question. Johnson will not be the only one getting all the praise.


Posted by GermanPlayer on (February 13, 2014, 22:35 GMT)

I wonder what cricketing sense people use when saying Steyn's pace has gone down. Yes it has, but has his performance gone down? NO! There is a reason why fast bowlers lose pace at the end of their careers. Its not just age. Its the fact that they learn how to take wickets without bending their backs! Steyn's performance has not gone down! He is still taking wickets like before but people still have problems with his pace! Get a life!

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 22:34 GMT)

"Posted by Shri Ram on (February 13, 2014, 18:29 GMT) South Africa are the best test team going around. They have been the best for quite sometime now and that is not without reason. From what I have seen, they do not rely on one or two players like Australia here.Come Monday, I am sure we will be talking how well the saffers bounced back to win this match." _____________________________________________________________________ One batsman faces Mitchell Johnson at a time. Six have cried uncle. The only way Saffers bounce back is if Johnson gets hurt.

As to Australia relying on one or two players, note that Haddin, Warner were tremendous in the last series and Marsh and Smith have contributed already. Of course there is Clarke who is always a threat to score big.

Good bowling will always beat good batting. Great bowling will destroy any batting

Posted by chicko1983 on (February 13, 2014, 22:28 GMT)

@msdhoni123, Johnson has an icc player of the year trophy in his cabinet, steyn doesn't. Johnson hasn't been good for just six tests matches but much longer than that. Mj also has far more test man of the match awards than steyn and he has played in 12 less tests, 8 to mj and 5 to steyn. Count the odi world cups and test match century, you can see how mj will look back on his own career with far greater satisfaction than steyn will. Mj had a couple of bad years yes, but steyn would be envious of Mitchells accomplishments

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 22:27 GMT)

Mitch on the way to be number 1 bowler in the world..come on Aussies bring it home.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 22:23 GMT)

The problem for SA is the that they have become complacent. Drawing in UAE and not winning against India that convincingly. Like many of my fellow cricket fans have mentioned, hendricks/de cock/van zyl have to be given a chance. We cannot keep subpar international players in the #1 team. Well played MJ and co, that was devastating bowling and I'm hoping our boys have seen the light and biff will lead the way.

Posted by chicko1983 on (February 13, 2014, 22:07 GMT)

Aussie, Aussie, aussie! Just as I said in the match preview article, Aussies to win 2 or 3 to nil depending on weather, Johnson to be leading wicket taker and The Smith (the good one plays for Australia) will be leading runs scorer of the series. South Africa, their time has come and gone, bet they wish they won a few more matches while they were at the top rather than be happy with draws. Aussies will show how to dominate, by winning every test they can, for the next era. Our four most talented young bowlers in the country are yet to get going as well (pattinson, cummins, starc and bird) so it's not going to get easier for the rest of the world.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 21:57 GMT)

Don't know why everyone is getting hyped. The trend with the saffers in the last few home series was to lose the first test. Lets speak after they bowl for the 2nd time.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 13, 2014, 21:55 GMT)

@ GRVJPR on (February 13, 2014, 12:34 GMT) re people with big mouths - guess who said this early in their team's recent ODI series vs NZ ?

"Get a funny feeling - India will win every match from now on! Accidents can't keep happening again and again. This is not a street level mediocre useless team like sri lanka and Pakistan"

Posted by JG2704 on (February 13, 2014, 21:54 GMT)

Well played Australia.

However I think this series is set for several twists and turns.

Extremely impressive performances from Smith and Marsh. Smith has come in on a number of accasions in pressure situations and helped the side make very competitive totals. I usually say that bringing someone in who has done well in shorter formats can be a disaster - especially if he overcompensates on his SF game - but Smith defies my thinking here as he is a totally different player in the test arena but still very effective. And Marsh on his return has justified the selection. It'll be interesting to see how many more SA score in this inns. I'd expect them to avoid the follow on and my guess would be that they'll score around 250. If they get withing 100 of Australia the game could be really interesting. If Australia can make SA follow on then the game is their's to lose. I wonder if they'll enforce the follow on or bat again - as seems the modern way - if they skilttle SA out

Posted by disco_bob on (February 13, 2014, 21:52 GMT)

@steve48 on (February 13, 2014, 13:19 GMT) the physics of it is that force is force, it doesn't matter who delivered it, once the ball leaves the hand. The variation in air pressure and humidity would have little effect on the speed. The only consideration is the deck which determines how much speed the ball loses when it bounces. I have heard commentators claim that a ball travelling along the ground after being hit appeared to gain speed. It's all in the mind.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 13, 2014, 21:46 GMT)

@twistedseatbelt on (February 13, 2014, 16:37 GMT), no point in clinging to a false hope that Johnson can't keep this up and will eventually 'start spraying it around', that notion was well and truly scotched in the Ashes where he was menacing one day, deadly the next, from beginning to end of a 5 match series. And if you think Clarke would definitely enforce the follow on then you have no idea what an intuitive and clever captain Clarke is.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 13, 2014, 21:38 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa on (February 13, 2014, 13:25 GMT) "SA have to get within 150 runs of Oz score to stay alive in this test".

Mate, SA need to simply get out of the way of the ball a bit quicker if they want to stay alive. Period.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 13, 2014, 21:33 GMT)

Johnson received no credit when he took 37 wickets at 14 against the second best test batting line up in the world, instead people said England were a broken team. Now he has dismantled the top order of the best batting side in world cricket. Maybe, people should be starting to give him some credit. England were not broken pre-Mitch, they were broken after Mitch. The form he is in at the moment its quite easy to see why McDermott said at the moment Johnson is best in the world. Note: The words "At the moment".

Posted by glance_to_leg on (February 13, 2014, 21:19 GMT)

Splendid performance by Australia. Oh, and thank you South Africa for making England look slightly less hopeless. I have never much liked MJ, but one has to give him credit for his incredibly gutsy and aggressive play. if Johnson had shown the same confidence (determination?) and consistency earlier in his career, he would have gone down as one of the greats. Good to see competition in world cricket, and good man-management paying off. Also good to see a team winning in which the players apparently seem to enjoy their cricket.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 13, 2014, 21:15 GMT)

I love Johnson's 'hands straight down by his sides celebration' (like an irish dancing jig) rather than the overblown 'why won't this damn chainsaw start, oh well I'll have to bite his jugular out, blood dripping from the mouth', celebrations of Steyn.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 21:05 GMT)

These are the 2 best teams and this is a very interesting game. If JP did not play such a foolish shot it would have made the game even more exciting. Both teams have very good bowlers and batsmen

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 21:01 GMT)

@Shri Ram. You've really contradicted yourself there buddy.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 13, 2014, 21:01 GMT)

Let's not ignore how well DRS has been used in this match so far, no frivolous calls and overturning an important error from Dar. It would have been very unfair on Sid if Amla had been given not out, and in the process possibly changing the outcome of the match and diminishing the impact of MJ.

Posted by VillageGreen on (February 13, 2014, 20:53 GMT)

Seems the Aussies don't care much for reputations & rankings, rather just enjoying their cricket and making their own history.

South Africa will surely be more resilient than England. Can their tail wag? Can they they halt Australia's habit of batting well in the 2nd? If this Test is lost, can they bounce back in the 2nd & 3rd Tests? That's what No1 teams do.

We should be enjoying a 5 Test series … this kind of series is career and generation defining.

Its a pity too Kallis chose this moment to retire (to the BBL): if this series proves to be a changing of the guard his magnificent career may be bookended with a feeling he deserted his post in his county's hour of need.

Posted by t20cric on (February 13, 2014, 20:52 GMT)

Well Johnson is doing really well right now but to keep up this performance for the whole series is a tougher task. During the last few test series that SA was in I noticed they are particularly weaker in the 1st test of a series. Against Pakistan in SA they got bowled out for just over 250 on the 1st of the 1st test. The 1st test against Pakistan in UAE they didn't pass 250 in both innings & let a weak batting team like Pakistan pass 400 which resulted in a loss. Then against India in SA for most of the 1st test it looked like they would lose. So SA aren't that good when it comes to 1st tests but always comeback hard after & end up winning or at least drawing the series. If Mitch & co. can keep up this intensity & not let resilient SA to come back then they truly are a good team.

Posted by endofageofaquarius on (February 13, 2014, 20:47 GMT)

Just been watching Mitchell Johnson's wickets in the recent Ashes series. I would not describe his pace as express by any means! Most wkts were at mid 140s or below. There was good bounce and length and swing from the variation in the seam position.

I think its a case of people re writing history when over excited and remembering that which never happended.

Posted by AlSmug on (February 13, 2014, 20:45 GMT)

No surprises here after Australia beat sth africa in sth africa , sth africa will know who is the best team in the world even if they will only be ranked 2 by the icc

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 20:36 GMT)

After Marsh scored an excellent century I was wondering how Johnson was going to win MOTM ...... what was I thinking!!! Brilliant spell of bowling ..... but cut short when he was taken off by Clarke.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 13, 2014, 20:29 GMT)

@Iceman29 I think you should return to the NZ vs India threads so try and help your team end the 10-0 away losing streak !!!

The last days have really been gutting, but for people who have read my posts for the last few weeks, its been about the team selection going into this. Kallis cannot be replaced by sub-par all-rounders like R.Peterson and McLaren. I have been ranting for weeks that we should've selected 2 specialists - 1 bowler and 1 batsman instead of these two and make JP bowl spin.

But take nothing away from Oz. Marsh and Smith batted really well and Johnson is in sublime form. Australia also seem more up for it, more hungry than our guys. This is saddening.

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 13, 2014, 20:29 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson now has 40 wickets in his last 6 tests (5 v ENG - 1 v SAF). Amazingly, 22 of them are South African.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 20:29 GMT)

What's with the pathetic crowd? Just shows Australia were right to treat SA demand for a Boxing Day test at home with contempt. This match at the MCG would have drawn 90000, weekday or not. Maybe South Africans don't understand the concept of a sickie. As far as Johnson goes, the whole time I was picturing Alastair Cook at home laughing his head off, probably the first laugh he's had in months. SA have learned that talking about facing Johnson and actually facing Johnson are two completely different things. You cant plan for Johnson the way he's bowling at the moment, only natural ability like De Villiers has can get you through.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 20:25 GMT)

@Shri Ram : What one or two players are we relying on? The highest scorer so far in this match didn't even play in the last series. Despite the wide hailing of Clarke and Haddin's batting efforts in the Ashes, likewise, they were actually out-scored by Warner and Rogers. This was Steve Smith's fourth century in seven tests. Peter Siddle is our top ranked bowler in the ICC rankings and Ryan Harris took 22 wickets in the Ashes at an average under 20.

Yes, we owe Mitchell Johnson a lot of thanks but I can't see anyone he's carrying in the team other than possibly Doolan - but it's harsh to judge a bloke after only one innings. Meanwhile Saffa supporters were quick to say they'd have got the wickets if Steyn didn't have a stomach bug...

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 20:25 GMT)

John Wright Kumble and support staff of MI should be thanked .It was IPL where it all started .He bowled brilliantly and got his confidence back .One of the few good things IPL did

Posted by slazenger on (February 13, 2014, 20:16 GMT)

As someone said we again entering the Period of Australian dominance. Good or bad what I have seen is Australians are producing great cricketers continuously. We have to learn the secret pretty quickly.

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 20:15 GMT)

The most unique thing about Johnson is that his pace has increased with age.I cannot recall him bowling as fast as he does nowadays ,when he was in his twenties. Another unnoticed thing about him is that hell be 33 by November this year.

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 13, 2014, 20:13 GMT)

@Shri Ram, I'll take that bet!

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 20:05 GMT)

guess what guys styen also took 4 wickets for 79 lets see nd jhonson did it for 50 so lets see who is better i think steyn is way better then anyone in the world. u guys will see how sa will bounce back (a pakistan fan)

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 19:58 GMT)

Mr. Shri Ram it was that kind of complacency that did for us (England) in Australia. I have a nasty deja vu feeling that SA are going the same way as we did. You think you're the best, and you're gonna get your come uppance. And another -little - reason why too- you reckon you weren't relying on one player? You were. And he's retired. An he is irreplaceable. No need even to mention his name.

Posted by msdhoni123 on (February 13, 2014, 19:56 GMT)

@mrmonty i guarantee that the same johnson going to be criticised by people like you by end of the series. Amla,smith and ab are too good to be bullied around by a bowler. Im not going to mention du plesis as the sample is not big enough. i admit johnson is the best at tests in world right now but he is no where lethal like steyn in odi and t20. and steyn is going to prove by end of the series why he is considered as the best bowler in the world for the last 6 years. and you mentioned courtner nile taking ishant all over the block. so are you actually comparing ishant and johnson. ishant getting smacked over the place is usual thing but johnson getting smacked around is bit shocking when you claim him to be better than steyn. johnson even got smacked around the england in odi. but i have to admit australia got so much depth in there fast bowling.the got different bowlers for all 3 formats. While Sa got steyn and morkel.but i rate SA as best fast bowling attack in test

Posted by Bamber on (February 13, 2014, 19:40 GMT)

Gotta confess it's good to see it's not just the English getting Johnson'd... I'd been a harsh critic of him based on prior performances against us but By God, he was mighty good in the Ashes!! and England were crap too of course. When a line-up the class of the Saffers struggles like school-kids, as England did, we all have to acknowledge he really is very, very good; 32 with the bat, 4-52 with the ball and a cracking catch - not a bad couple of days at the office..!! If his form continues, he could turn into a SERIOUSLY good All-Rounder.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 19:35 GMT)

As a die-hard Pom, it grieves me to say it. MJ is the real deal. I didn't like him very much when he was blowing us away in Aus, but now he's blowing SA I rather like him. No I don't. I absolutely love him. There's nothing like a great fast bowler - and that is what he is right now- to get the cricket heart pumping, for batters and spectators alike. To be honest it was thrilling watching him blow us away in Aus. Anyone who can come back from the bad times he had - spraying it everywhere and being roundly ridiculed - and land up where he is today, deserves nothing but the highest admiration. Well done fella. You're right up there with the ones we all got a thrill from watching, Tommo, Donald, Holding, Marshall, Lee and Akhtar

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (February 13, 2014, 19:21 GMT)

again Aussies too hot to handle. signs were there for SA even against the meak indian side but we are up for a fantastic series now. problem for SA is except AB most of there batsman are either out of form or not up to test level. du plessis defensive mindset will not take him that far in long term, although he got a brutal ball in this innings

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 13, 2014, 19:20 GMT)

i think this time there is no doubt Australia is no one team in all has the best players in all formats.i think this t20 world will go to aus bcz it has the best players of present time like finch,white,watson bailly and particularly maxwell and faulnker and also i think aus will won the odi world cup to.

Posted by Puffin on (February 13, 2014, 19:18 GMT)

This is exactly the way to bowl in the first innings of the first match in a test series. Fast, aggressive, well directed, not letting the batsmen settle. Good bowling puts so much pressure on the opposition.

SA are going to be chasing the game after this, needing to find some way to match this OZ purple patch and quickly.

Posted by Mintsweety on (February 13, 2014, 19:17 GMT)

@msdhoni: it's right now that counts, yesteryear is just that. Plus Johnson has demolished SA in SA before. I'm afraid as good as stern is or was, he's not a McGrath or wasim, even at his best. I know who I'd rather have in my side and I wonder if your opinion would change if either McGrath or wasim were Indian. Just saying :)

Posted by 200ondebut on (February 13, 2014, 19:11 GMT)

So this is what happens when the so called No 1 side comes up against some decent opposition. Oz are certainly on a roll.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 13, 2014, 19:05 GMT)

@Shri Ram Actually the bowling attack doesn't really rely on Johnson, it's just more effective with him there in this kind of form. Harris, Siddle and Lyon aren't exactly the worst going around. As for the batting, the guy we've relied on in the recent past in Clarke, and in the last Ashes series it was Haddin to the rescue. In the first innings Clarke scored not many and Haddin made a duck and we still came out with 397.

I'm an Australian who has been saying a lot about how bad our batting is, but even I have to say it's starting to look better. Especially now that Steve Smith looks like someone we're going to be able to rely on for runs in the middle order and we don't have Bailey around to cough up a wicket when we're 4 down.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 18:53 GMT)

@MrMonty who wrote; "Do you think when Johnson was charging in, either Smith or Faf were thinking this bloke has a career stat worse than Steyn (who I play so well in the nets)?"

Thank you sir, that did make me laugh! Quite right too, the now is all that matters and when there's a little red missile coming down at 150kmph and variable bounce the now probably isn't much fun, even worse when it's as well aimed as it seems to be these days, in fact it almost seems to have an instinctive weakpoint sensing detector in it that invariably leaves the batsmen in a complete tangle. Such a complete turnaround from just a couple of years ago.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 18:49 GMT)

SA team is handicapped by selections that are not based on merit. We have been able to get away with it against weaker teams in the past. Against this Aussie team, we need our strongest team on the park.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 18:42 GMT)

@The South African Fans calling for more specialists I'd have to agree with you guys. Aus tried it too in India to overcome our lack of spin bowling options and we failed massively in doing so. I reckon AB has to go up to 4 for starters, if that means giving up the gloves then so be it but Faf hasn't yet learnt his game well enough to repel this attack from no.4. I'm not so sure about other changes, Hendricks seems unanimous and being a leftie could provide all important variation. Pretty hard to field a four man pace attack though without anyone in the top six that can at least roll their arm over tidily, I guess that's the difficulty and was always going to be with JK making way. One thing is abundantly clear though, guys like Maclaren cannot replace him and others like Robbie P may just be exposed a little too far without the covering fire of JK's seamers, a factor most of us probably didn't think too much about to begin with.

Posted by creebo777 on (February 13, 2014, 18:37 GMT)

I thought mclaren bowled why should he be drop?

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 18:29 GMT)

South Africa are the best test team going around. They have been the best for quite sometime now and that is not without reason. From what I have seen, they do not rely on one or two players like Australia here.Come Monday, I am sure we will be talking how well the saffers bounced back to win this match.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 13, 2014, 18:25 GMT)

Ah... makes you laugh, same names, same garbage ,different teams, before the ashes people were bagging the Aussies, Australia started winning so they start bagging England, then they saw the Aussie improvement so started telling Australians that the Saffers would give it to them, now today they are all Aussie supporters bagging the Saffers, you would not want to be in the trenches with some of you guys, well done Johnson, Smith and Marsh bring it home boys.

Posted by mrmonty on (February 13, 2014, 18:22 GMT)

@msdhoni123, People are hyping Johnson NOW over Steyn, because he is the better bowler NOW. And, NOW is all that matters, not for last 2 years, not over their careers. Do you think when Johnson was charging in, either Smith or Faf were thinking this bloke has a career stat worse than Steyn (who I play so well in the nets)? Are you saying Steyn is better because he took out the Pakistani line-up in UAE? Pakistan and good batting line-up. Then, you speak of Kohli and Rohit battering him in India in ODIs; do you remember what Nathan Coulter-Nile did to Ishant. Wait till India visits Oz by year-end. Give credit where credit is due. Steyn probably was the best bowler in the world for the last several years. But, at present its MJ. And, nobody make me laugh about Philander; his rookie year is up.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 13, 2014, 18:18 GMT)

It could be too early to say this but I think SA's days as the no.1 test team are OVER. Enter Mitch "Fiery" Johnson, the BEST fast bowler in test cricket since the last few months. Steyn is still good, but he's showing signs of ageing; his speeds prove it. What a bowling by Australia !! Looks like Australia are entering another era of dominance in test cricket. Scary stuff this.

Posted by Chris_P on (February 13, 2014, 18:15 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa. You had been contributing meangful posts until that post. What's wrong with recognizing outstnading efforts on the field?

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 13, 2014, 18:09 GMT)

Amazing bowling by mitch. Same time abd batted beautifully and he proved that he is best batsman in the world post tendulkar and lara era.

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 13, 2014, 18:09 GMT)

If Aus doesn't take a first innings lead of at-least 175+, SA are in the game !!

Posted by msdhoni123 on (February 13, 2014, 18:02 GMT)

wow i cant believe people rating johnson higher than steyn after he had 6 good tests. I admit he is in red hot form right now. But steyn been lethal for last 6 years.steyn is just the best fast bowler i witnessed even better than mcrath wasim. Johnson was getting battered around by kohli rohit and dhawan in the series against india. I admit it was a flat track but steyn is lethal everywhere. He took apart pakistan in uae. johnson was going all over the park in champions trophy final against a 19 year kid samson. Saying that right now johnson is better than steyn. but you cant rate johnson better than steyn.:).

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 17:58 GMT)


Exactly! QDK, Hendricks & Van Zyl all potential match winners with serious X-factor unlike Petersen/Peterson/McClaren. Also there would be a freshness and hunger that the side has not seen in a while.

We all know the conservatism at the heart of SA selections and cliqueness in the team its unlikley to happen. Sadly it looks like we may have to lose first before a real willingness to make changes.

As for this game these guys are very proud and I do expect a strong comeback from players like Amla, Faf, Vern & Dale. Actually in many ways with this selection the bowling worries me more than the batting at the moment - we lack variety with the older ball!

Posted by Iceman29 on (February 13, 2014, 17:58 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa : oh come bad session and already i can see the fear creeping in from your comments....hope you would have now realized every team is weak against genuine Pace and bounce so atleast stop humiliating other teams..SA need this.... :) best of luck

Posted by Umair.Khalid_UK on (February 13, 2014, 17:58 GMT)

Johnson is the clear difference b/w the two sides, his Blistering and fiery spell reminds me of Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee. Really a rare site in near past of International Cricket.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 17:55 GMT)

South Africa have the better bowling attack, but Mitchel is the best bowler in the world currently. no doubt. What makes Mitchel Johnson such a threat is his round the wicket approach, at that pace he is at the body of the right hander's. He also gets the edge's as the ball is coming across the batsmen. Once SA have gotten over the shock of facing MJ they are going to be more comfortable playing him. The openers need to do a job against Australia, Smith needs to do well and SA will do well. Alviro Petersen needs to prove himself this series, as he is not doing his cause any favours.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 17:48 GMT)

Greatest_game has it spot on. I am afraid Thami is being led a merry one by the selectors. Fact is he is not good enough.With Kallis in the side, obvious cracks were papered and repapered over and now we see at least 3 bits and pieces cricketers (robbie, jp and maclaren) and a woefully inadequate opening partner in Alviro. Nothing new, they been there all along, but the might of the rest conquered all. Faced with this rejuvenated Australian team, spear headed by a super aggressive, intimidating Johnson, imagine the pressure on the quality cricketers, when they know that if they fail, there is almost no one to take up the gauntlet and fight it out? Bring in de Kock,he has had a great partnership with Hash recently, imo, because there was infinitely more trust there, i am sure it would translate to the others. He can be groomed to take the gloves and and play in the top order. Hendricks is a wicket taking left armer, who genuinely offers so much to the bowling attack... Time is now!

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 13, 2014, 17:47 GMT)

@Naeem Azam Khan It's not all about what the speed gun says though. Johnson has always bowled fast, he actually used to bowl a bit faster I'd say. But now he's at you constantly, he bowls good lines and lengths and he's got that little bit of shape and seam movement in his bowling. Eventually you're going to have to try and score a run off someone as it's not particularly easy to smack Siddle or Harris to the boundary either. The whole attack functions together but the pressure and need to score seems most pronounced when you throw Johnson's extra pace into the equation.

If you look at Harris on the speed gun he was hitting 147+ as well, but somehow just doesn't look even close to as quick as Johnson. I'm sure the batsmen will say the same. ABdV played him beautifully but he still got hit with one, which isn't an easy thing to accomplish. It actually really surprised me.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 17:44 GMT)

There is no substitute for an express bowler.. If you have them at your disposal, just unleash.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 17:43 GMT)

As a neutral spectator i have said it before and wud say it again that at the moment not many batsmen and the so called wannabe batsmen would want to face johnson on any pitch in any conditions right now. Johnson seems like a man on a mission and he is out there to knock the daylights out of a batsman right now . This is just a classic example of brutal ,fast ,accurate pace bowling not seen from a fast bowler in a long long time . Not sure about what changes johnson has made in his bowling but he is definitely right up there as one of the most lethal bowlers in the world right now and has shown the world how its done .

Posted by ZkAneela on (February 13, 2014, 17:43 GMT)

Too early to say that SA is out of contention in this match coz they have the ability to bounce back and bounce back hard.So Aus should better be aware of that fact.mark my words.

Posted by gladiatorgannicus on (February 13, 2014, 17:42 GMT)

thought SA had fast and short pitch bowling for breakfast,lunch and dinner.well well look what just happened.all at sea against mitch on a pitch with nothin much 4 bowlers.said this only 2 put certain things in perspective for some fans.truth is fast and short and accurate---no batsman likes it. BUT i still believe SA will come back stronger.there are still 13 days 2 go and SA is not the no1 without a reason.SA truly deserves no1.very good battin and pace attack. Indian fan here

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (February 13, 2014, 17:38 GMT)

@Greatest_Game, like it or not, the Proteas are on their way to a loss here, and if I'm not mistaken we don't have the best record in PE. I expect that to have more assistance for the seamers. Considering what AUS seamers are doing on this dead pitch, with gametime behind them I expect them to outperform our seamers even more that side.

A lot of our batsmen will fall for very little. With AB shouldering the burden of repairing the innings, albeit from a much easier position in the batting order, questions will be asked ahead of the 3rd Test why some of his batting partners who have done nothing over 4 innings are still in the side when Thami in the squad can score just as little&be equally embarassed but at least keep.

Faf(&Smith) almost got his head taken off! With hindsight would be silly to throw QdK & any of the emerging young batsmen against this kind of pace. Many players have had many chances and failed recently&before. Why not Thami I ask repeatedly? No logical response yet!

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 17:38 GMT)

Mitchy u have brought back thunderous memories of the blistering pace of the legendry Dennis Lillee with his flying mane and Viva Zapata moustache screaming down the batsmen throats ! Please for gods sake Mitchy never do away the Lillee mushys!

Posted by CodandChips on (February 13, 2014, 17:35 GMT)

Australia are on the rise. First obliterating England. Now turning up the heat away to the number 1 side. Good for them.

Two players I doubted, Smith and Marsh, both scored hundreds. Fair play, especially against the best attack on the planet.

Would be interested to hear what the umpires have to say re allowing Morne Morkel to bowl.

It's only 2 days into the series, and I'm sure South Africa will come back fighting even in this match, but Australia are certainly helping to make this an exciting series.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 17:35 GMT)

Johnson's bouncer to Smith was one hell of a bouncer. Without Kallis, Saffers batting looks thin in resources and with too many bits and pieces players. I think if opposition can bat well against them and get rid of Amla, Smith and AB cheaplythen that's pretty much the recipe for winning against them.

But once again Johnson has proven, pace is pace!

Posted by Smahuta on (February 13, 2014, 17:35 GMT)

Great effort from Aus today to swing the tide their way. I wouldnt count SA out of this match yet though. THeres a lot of cricket yet to be played.

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 17:27 GMT)

brilliant stuff from Johnson

Posted by InfiniteWhite on (February 13, 2014, 17:21 GMT)

You really have to feel for KP and Flower. English lost the Ashes due to 'force majeur'. ECB barked on the wrong tree.

Posted by Samdanh on (February 13, 2014, 17:20 GMT)

Aus have taken the first 2 days. This despite pitch having helped pacers first 2 hrs of the match and later turning into a semi-docile pitch offering little to bowlers. 3 more days. Expect SA to put up a fight. They are mentally a very strong side. Look fwd to more competing cricket instead of a one - sided match

Posted by immi2711 on (February 13, 2014, 17:12 GMT)

Forget Steyn...seriously...Johnson is far more menacing than Steyn. Yes, Steyn can move the ball a bit, but hell Johnson is just fierce fast and ugly....

Posted by SA_Scot on (February 13, 2014, 17:10 GMT)

Well done Oz, you kinda got into the heads of SA it would seem :-).

Are top class batters really that at sea against this type of bowling? Surely morkel with his height and bounce makes facing him in the nets a decent preparation for Johnson? Not that much in it in terms of clicks per hour....

Oh well, who knows.

As to the team selection discussions, I mentioned a week ago that it would be very risky and a bit daft to go with a Parnell or McLaren at 7. As many have said, choose your strongest specialists, don't try and manufacture a 60% Kallis.

De Kock needs to be in, he is a fearless player against quick looks like this is needed. England brought Brian Close in to face Lillee\Thomson, and he was 40. Select the player tat can stand up to Aussie fast bowling, even if only 21.

Marchant or Hendricks to add fire, and perhaps yes, get Duminy officially entrusted with off-spinning duties....make it part of his responsibility as the ongoing number 7. Van Zyl at 6 yes.

Posted by blogossip on (February 13, 2014, 17:10 GMT)

MJ is the tornado in world cricket. I see SA losing this contest and perhaps even the series...

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 17:09 GMT)

I don't understand why this Johnson noise is everywhere. Pakistan has produced over the years many fastest bowlers, still sami who bowls 155 K which is much faster than Johnson is playing domestic cricket. Like wise M.Talha, Bilawal and many more are in the domestic circuit. I believe its more to deal with psychological thing than actual fast bowling and Australians are good in playing with it.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 17:09 GMT)

The brutish craft of intimidating batsmen with deliveries that maim or worse, and claiming the wickets of hapless victims trying to shield themselves with the bat, must be nearing its limit. How much longer before, as in baseball, deliberately hitting a batsmen will result in a pavilion clearing brawl between the two sides?

Posted by mensan on (February 13, 2014, 17:06 GMT)

Johnson was on fire. In fact I never agreed with people who were saying that SA will win 2-0 or 2-1. I always had my money on AUS.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 13, 2014, 17:05 GMT)

@ ZCFOutcast believes "Solution: McLaren must be dropped. Give the gloves to Thami and promote AB. We cannot afford to rely on Faf,JP&McLaren for runs in the top 7. Two of them is bad enough. As a mirror of the AUS attack, Philander, Steyn, Morkel&RobbieP/? should be enough for wickets.

That is not a solution, it is a recipe for disaster. Thami will be of ZERO use. He can't bat, and having him NOT score runs will not make AB score any MORE runs. I agree that " We cannot afford to rely on Faf,JP&McLaren for runs in the top 7," but replacing any of them with Thami will not gain SA ANY runs at all. What is the point? HE CANT BAT!

Hendricks (or Abbott) must come in. de Kock must come in. They CAN bowl & bat, unlike McLaren, JP, Robbie, Alviro … & Thami. ( Robbie is a better batsman.) Faf has delivered more than any of them, & although he inspires little confidence in me, he has put in some strong performances.. Alviro last scored 2 years ago!

Forget Thami - he will not help.

Posted by SnowSnake on (February 13, 2014, 17:04 GMT)

Over the years, SA failed to find new talent and is heavily dependent on two players-- De Villers and Steyn. Amla, Smith etc. are primarily playing on their reputation than actual performance. Good job Australia. If you get a chance to enforce follow on then do it. Don't bat. Just show us what teams used to do in good old days. For some reason, current teams don't enforce follow on and let their bowlers rest.

Posted by riaz_7214 on (February 13, 2014, 17:02 GMT)

Why didn't Mumbai Indians (MI) use Right to match Card for Mitchel Johnson.. they must be ripping their heads now, MJ is a great threat now in all format

Posted by twistedseatbelt on (February 13, 2014, 16:59 GMT)

Update on the weather in my hometown Pretoria at 7pm- Bucketing down, cats, dogs and rats at the moment. Meaning tomorrow is going to be gloriously sunny!!

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 16:58 GMT)

I do think Smith's bad decision with the toss has lost SA the game. MJ is quick and hostile enough, but give him a dimpled landing area and he's almost unplayable. (The 'almost' courtesy of ABDV.)

Posted by Navaneeth1717 on (February 13, 2014, 16:55 GMT)

This was amazing bowling from Johnson. That puts everything into perspective. There were people saying Indian batting is susceptible to fast bowling. Now even SA's are feeling the heat. They are supposed to be one of the best against fast bowling. I am sure the Aussie batsmen themselves cannot face Johnson in such a form as seen from IPL matches where they were put up against Johnson. So let us spare poor Indian batsmen who have played very little test cricket. Let us agree that it is difficult for any one to face such fast stuff. Steyn and Morkel are also fast. But one advantage that Johnson has is that he is a left hander. Left handers have that beautiful and natural angle to trouble right handed batsmen. They have that natural advantage. But there is nothing to be taken from Johnson. He was awesome.

Posted by sams235 on (February 13, 2014, 16:44 GMT)

I wont be surprised if Aussies take the next world cup.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 13, 2014, 16:44 GMT)

Well done to Australia who have done exactly what they needed to do. Bat sensibly, bowl aggressively, & seize their chances.

That Steyn & others were ill & that Morkel took a tumble is unfortunate, but does not take away from Aus' performance. Marsh & Smith built a partnership, and posted the runs required to win a test. They have not won yet, and 3 more days may see many more twists and turns, but Aus is firmly in control, and for good reason. They fielded a team that can perform.

Until SA does the same, it is difficult to see them posing any serious opposition to Aus, who will feast on players who have proven they are not up to international standards. While SA had Kallis to carry the passengers, the lack of depth was obscured. The question of what would happen after his retirement has been answered: SA will either go on with players who perform poorly, & lose, or pick the in-form uncapped players that can perform at the top, and SA can compete with all.

Sooner would be better!

Posted by twistedseatbelt on (February 13, 2014, 16:37 GMT)

Everyone please relax, this is South Africa - the Proteas always start slow,and the match is far from over. Well done to Oz so far, but there is a long way to go before you beat SA. So wonderful seeing fast bowling at its very best, test cricket needs more deliveries aimed at the neck. The weather will play a role tomorrow and Saturday as well, but lets hope it doesnt prevent a result. All it will take to end Johnson's form will be one 150 run partnership, then the old habits will be back, spraying it all over the place. One thing is certain, Clarke will definitely enforce the follow-on if SA fail to make it to 198.

Posted by TheBowlerHoldingTheBatsmansWilley on (February 13, 2014, 16:34 GMT)

Australia set a great tone for Day 2. Still along way to go and SA has a pedigree in turning tests on home soil (as well as away, in some cases). S Smith and Marsh tons a credit to both, especially S Smith.

Well done to MJ, he seems to be continuing in the same vein as the recent Ashes series.. So far, 41 wickets in 6 tests..

Australia's workload based off the front four could come back to hurt in 2nd inn. Can't help but think Henriques would have been the wiser choice... Time will tell

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 16:33 GMT)

I support saf and believe steyn is the best, but rarely seen anyone bowl that hostile than johnson today. Lets hope saf can limit the lead to 150 and bowl aus below 200 in next innings, but with johnson in such form its tough to see peterson and philandar can make any impact with the bat.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 16:30 GMT)

Where is all the talk of playing fast short bowling now, SA are looking like rabbits in front of headlights....admit it everyone is as vulnerable to accurate and fast short bowling. McDermott has brought back a bit of that desperate vibe of the 90s in the Aus team, MJ's Merv Hughes style moustache is a reminder...Australia have started playing that desperate fighting cricket of the 90s from the Aus Ashes and look well on the way to taking the no.1 spot by the scruff of its neck again.....This Aus team has brought tottering powder keg quality to cricket, they look unstable but also dangerous if you make one wrong move...kind of like handling a dangerous wild animal.....good stuff...

Posted by creebo777 on (February 13, 2014, 16:30 GMT)

Johnson on fire!! Brilliant stuff from abdv ,atleast take us to 200....ab has to ptotect the tail from johnson...why did jp duminy play that shot?

Posted by DD_f0rever on (February 13, 2014, 16:29 GMT)

Ever since Johnson joined MI last season IPL, he is unstoppable.

First in IPL ..then against Ind in Ind,,,then ripped Eng apart and now SA feeling the HEAT.

I'm just loving it.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 13, 2014, 16:28 GMT)

Echoing the comments of Simon Tzu and others, it is abundantly clear that what was predicted would happen if the SA selectors stuck to their antiquated views, did happen. Robbie Peterson is no spin bowler - he's a better batsman if anything. McLaren/Parnell do not make the team as bowlers or batsmen. SA has the players to do the job: if they are not picked, SA will be looking down the barrel. They now are.

Beuren Hendricks is exactly what SA needed - another real pace bowler & wicket taker.The overs bowled by Duminy & Peterson were pointless - gifted runs & not wicket taking opportunities. Similarly, de Kock makes starts & converts them, unlike Alviro Petersen & Duminy.

As many here have been saying all along, Kallis cannot be replaced by half baked part timers. To replace him, and ensure SA's bowling & batting is of international standard, proper bowlers and batsmen need to be selected. SA has the players. The selectors refuse to call on them. Politics, not cricket, guides them.

Posted by AltafPatel on (February 13, 2014, 16:27 GMT)

Smith and Peterson should have shown patience instead of being attacking from first over, as ABD and JP did. Instead of giving reply to Johnson's body language bowling, they could alleviate such deliveries and picking loose one to get the boundaries as were easy to come on this ground.

Posted by Blackholesun on (February 13, 2014, 16:25 GMT)

Super display of the art of fast bowling, well done Johnson ! Suddenly the Australian team seems to be unbeatable, but it is too early to arrive at that conclusion.

It's going to be a tremendous series, both sides have quality fast bowlers.

Posted by steve48 on (February 13, 2014, 16:15 GMT)

The way he bowls at the tail, MJ on fir an 8 for! I am a proud Pom, but have followed this guy since Dennis Lillee made his prediction; having read 'The Art of Fast Bowling ' as a kid, and watched him terrorise my then hero Dennis Amiss, I figured he knew what he was on about! Always suspected he would eventually ram our taunts down our throats, cos when he gets it right, no batsman seems safe, of body or stumps! No offence to South Africa, but nice to see its not just us English who struggle with his pace, aggression and angle. Can't have been a quicker left armer, with all due respect to wasim akram, the most skilled quick I think I have seen. So much on DeVilliers now, then if Steyn is fit and firing, could be a few twists left in this game. But ABD really needs to protect that tail. MJ made Swann and Broad look like Phil Tufnell!

Posted by Vitruvius on (February 13, 2014, 16:13 GMT)

Johnson was quick and poor SouthAfricans didn't have answers?! I heard Kepler Vessels say that Africans haven't faced this kind of pace for a long time and hence were unprepared for Johnson. What the hell? Thats no excuse and btw don't they play the likes of Steyn atleast in the nets?? This just shows the actual caliber of SouthAfrican batsmen against real good fast bowling and it also says how weak the Indian bowling is against whom they were able to put away with ease.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 16:12 GMT)

Well played aussies. Is SA at its most vulnerable with no Kallis and Amla in a bad patch? Promises to be an interesting series.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 16:12 GMT)

Some small vindication from those who asserted that wasn't just England being really poor that cost them the ashes The MJ factor played a big part.

Smith and Marsh batted well, but the extra 5kmph that MJ gets above Steyn or Morkel pushes the comfort envelope of all but the most extremely good of batsmen. Small margins make big differences in cricket.

How many people were amazed when the radar gun first began to find that a spinner bowls at 60%+ the speed of a seamer? Warne bowls 60 McGrath bowled 84 - you'd swear the ratio must be far higher than that. So it is with the extra pace MJ brings. 4mph might as well be all the difference in the world. He looks so much more threatening than Steyn or Morkel you'd think they were playing on different pitches

For SA DeVilliers is a class apart - - and the Saffers best hope of salvaging something from a series that already looks to be heading the Aussies way

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 16:02 GMT)

MUSTACHE man strikes again.... villiers is simply class who is enjoy to watch.. if australia get 150 + lead, then south africa will be in a great danger.... though nothing can tell any1 remember 48,96????

Posted by Haleos on (February 13, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

So the bounce troubles even the batsman from the best team in the world. Johnson has been a revelation. Well done.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 13, 2014, 15:59 GMT)

@ZCFOutkast Don't think Australia would mind that too much. The only reason that England previously and Australia now can work with a 3 man pace attack is because they had or have a quality spinner in the side. Does Robbie P look a quality spinner? Can't remember too many flighted balls.

On that same note, really impressed with the bowling from Lyon. Not just the flight, dip, a bit of turn and the wicket of Duminy, but that he's willing to toss the ball up to AB and offer him a drive if he wants to take it on. Takes some balls.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (February 13, 2014, 15:58 GMT)

McDermott should be applauded for his bold, accurate statement that MJ is the best fast bowler in the world today.

Today's performance by MJ as compared to Steyn's over the past 2 days, coupled with MJ's destruction of England over 5 tests proves McDermott is correct. Lillee's statement that MJ is a "one-in-a-generation" bowler has also been proven. At 32 how long can MJ's dominance last?

if only we had another MJ...

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 15:53 GMT)

How cynical everyone is. Cricket is a game of many halves, and we judge so quickly based on some great play. Just enjoy it, let it unfold and we may all be surprised at the outcome, as we have been so many times between these two teams. At the moment is looks like Aus, but so quickly that can change...

Posted by Captain_Tuk_Tuk on (February 13, 2014, 15:45 GMT)

I live in Pakistan but I an an Ausis fan now because I am a true cricket fan. Ausis did really well Micheal Johnson just as expected by us Ausis fans did a great job but we must give credit to DeVillars who is playing really well against the most fearsome attack in these conditions I doubt the trio of Styen, Philander and Morkel is as good as Johnson, Haris and Siddle in these conditions well played AB :)

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 15:40 GMT)

Very disappointed in the SA selections. The result many SA fans predicted is being borne out.

Yes MJ bowled magnificently however Petersen & Duminy got out to poor shots which no one can afford against this Aus attack.

Changes are needed!

Q De Kock . In for Petersen, yes he is young, yes he is untested but he can hardly do worse + can support AB with the gloves

S Van Zyl. In for Duminy/Peterson, can only play one of these spinning allrounders It really seems like Duminy bowls better than Peterson and Peterson bats better than Duminy. Van Zyl has incredible presence at the crease and massive maturity.

B Hendricks for McClaren McClaren didn't bowl badly but Hendricks is a match winner with the ball.

These 3 players have serious X-Factor and deserve a place in the team

Yes the team looks a little light on batting but with the very solid Van Zyl at 6 and PetersonORDuminy/Philander at 7/8 it is OK. The bowling however looks much more varied and penetrativei

Posted by diptanshu on (February 13, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

India, SL and to an extent England have an excuse of not having a tearaway fast bowler in their ranks to practice batting against. What excuse does SA batsmen have with the likes of Steyn in their ranks? And like someone mentioned earlier, it is not even a fast pitch.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 13, 2014, 15:38 GMT)

2 more wickets for Oz and we are Toast. Vern can bat but after that its curtains. I hope there are some team changes after this Test. Looks like playing sub-par all-rounders instead of specialists is not working out for us....what a surprise!!

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (February 13, 2014, 15:38 GMT)

I wouldn't say they were stunned. This was to be expected. Smith&Alviro were always going to fall early, while Amla is not in his best form at the moment. Faf is definitely not a top four batsman. Expect the same second innings.

Of the AUS top order, Clarke, Warner, Doolan&Haddin gave away their wickets cheaply, and it can be argued that Marsh&young Smith succumbed to lack of concentration having done sufficient damage. So basically our pretty much dominated attack earned only one wicket really. Unless we get a miracle from somewhere, I can't see our "world's best" attack improving or the AUS batting getting any worse, while the form and balance of our batting is wrong. Are Australia favourites? Without a shadow of a doubt!

Solution: McLaren must be dropped. Give the gloves to Thami and promote AB. We cannot afford to rely on Faf,JP&McLaren for runs in the top 7. Two of them is bad enough. As a mirror of the AUS attack, Philander, Steyn, Morkel&RobbieP/? should be enough for wickets.

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 15:32 GMT)

Anything could happen between these two sides. But Tla tiny word to those English fans who annouced the aussies in SA would be wiped off the park. How are you enjoying the show so far?

Posted by Mike_Tyson on (February 13, 2014, 15:21 GMT)

I find it quite hilarious that a lot of SA fans are getting all worked up when people here are criticising their side! After all isn't this exactly what the SA fans and also the SA team have beend oing for quiote some time now? You have a top side but the arrogance is amazing.

It's a fact that the SA batsman have been cluelless against the pace of Johnson, like it or not, that is the truth and this is not even a fast wicket.

Posted by Pavinasen on (February 13, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

Hey my Austrailan brothers,please give us some breathing space to heal & overcome this assuault from the aussies.Your guys sure do know where to put your money on your mouths worth

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

First he takes out 4 batsmen and then injures the only batsman who is playing him.Mitch Johnson in gr8 touch.

Posted by Biggus on (February 13, 2014, 15:18 GMT)

Correction to my previous post, I meant relatively elastic, not inelastic collision.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 15:18 GMT)

What Johnson did in last six months is simply amazing...i would say the reason behind his good performance his MOUSTACHE :-)

Posted by steve48 on (February 13, 2014, 15:13 GMT)

Thanks to endofageofaquarius , I guess , depending upon the surface, the trajectory is key to this, as i have already replied to biggus, my comment was sent mostly in awe at how Mitchell hurries up class batsmen in a way i don't think the speedgun alone explains. I a different way, i always marvelled at how an overweight but very strong Ian Botham got so many top edges to the cordon bowling slow medium long hops in his later years! And at my own humble playing level how as a keeper i struggled more standing up to our 50 something ex marine medium pacer than i did bowlers far quicker through the air!

Posted by Biggus on (February 13, 2014, 15:12 GMT)

@endofageofaquarius:- It's important to distinguish between what is and what appears to be. A bouncer, slammed in half way down the pitch will take longer to get to the batsman than a yorker delivered at the same pace since it travels a less direct path to the batsman. That's an inescapable truth. It's also likely to lose more pace since the impact with the pitch is harder and more energy is lost, being a relatively inelastic collision, however since the eye has to track the ball first in one direction and the suddenly track it in a substantially different direction it seems faster than it is. Same with a ball that has seamed off the pitch. Off the pitch a shorter bowler SHOULD lose less speed and the amount of backspin on the ball would also make a small but detectable difference I would imagine, but would have to be confirmed by experiment. You'd likely have to use a bowling machine so as to have solid control over the initial energy state and trajectory of the delivery.

Posted by Iceman29 on (February 13, 2014, 15:12 GMT)

One bowler who is ripping apart all teams?? gosh...what a player Johnson a Phoenix he rose from the nowhere and now he is the most deadliest and best bowler in the world....had my doubts always on this SA batting lineup...they used crack even against the toothless Indian bowling..but lets see SA always manage to come back and win the games from losing position...

Posted by Pavinasen on (February 13, 2014, 15:11 GMT)

Biggus , I am a SA supporter and lets be realistic.SA will loose this match & series.Australia have a lot of fire power in their bowling and batting.Something happened to our bowling & batting.You know the aussies ,they are like pitbull and will never let you go once on top of you.I am only praying the MJ does not injure any of our batsmen,like he did to Smith & Kallis the last time.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 13, 2014, 14:48 GMT)

@Biggus Too soon to roll the dice on Smith, Lyon's not bowled many overs. Smith could just as easily release all the pressure in 2 overs as he could snare a wicket.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (February 13, 2014, 14:46 GMT)

More solid evidence that Australia has turned the corner and that MJ has turned the corner. The two, of course, are positively correlated.

I sense the opposing fans are getting a little restless

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 14:45 GMT)

Boy this Lyon has to be the best spinner for Aus .Perfectly fits into this attack .Takes vital wickets when pacers sort of fizzle out . Also those saying SA s tail is not as good as Aus 's are wrong it looks much better with Robbie and Vernon pretty capable and Steyn can also bat a bit. No offense to Aussie tail though

Posted by endofageofaquarius on (February 13, 2014, 14:44 GMT)

@biggus - I think the point @steve48 is making is whether there may be any variation between bowlers in the speed loss ratio? I think that's an experiment worth performing by direct measurement. for instance I would have expected Marshal to have a lower ratio (skiddy) than say Imran who slammed it in.

Ratio would be measured as speed at batsman divided by speed at delivery.

Posted by steve48 on (February 13, 2014, 14:42 GMT)

@biggus, thanks for the reply, agree that is what makes sense! Also get the trajectory / clarity of action thing. Just always seems strange how the physically stronger bowlers have this effect more often. For example, if it is all about that extra couple of mph, why when Harris gets the odd ball up to a very similar pace to Mitch does the surprise of this not make it unplayable? I know you are right on the science though, my comment was based more in wonderment at how fearsome Mitch seems to be to class batsmen than any serious attempt at logic! Thanks again

Posted by JOHNCSPACE on (February 13, 2014, 14:39 GMT)

Well welcome to the club Mr. Albie, this is a forum for clowns which makes you one. No serious commenter has anything to say here. It's a circus act...if you've not noticed. Including your truly. So why should anyone show respect. Polite yes, to your end SA is a great team and so do each playing nation including Minnows, why not. Have said all that To us Australia are the modern game Greatest. But they can lose to so, we know that...likewise SA is very beatable as is going to be the case this series hic!

Posted by Biggus on (February 13, 2014, 14:39 GMT)

@Albie Hanekom:-"man some big mouth clowns commenting on this site. Please all of you comment again after Australia loses this test match. Amazing how suddenly everything australian gets overrated so much after a couple of wickets fall. SA has been in bigger holes then this and end up winning comfortably infact it happens so often that we turn any situation around that its not really a surprise anymore, your lack of respect for what this side is really about are gonna bite you back seriously... "

And you're accusing us of arrogance I presume? Take a look in the mirror mate, as I type this Duminy has fallen. I haven't made ANY rash predictions, but you just can't help doing so, can you? Much still has to happen, and anything can happen but your post strikes me extremely rash, anger driven and yes, arrogant as well. Don't accuse us of showing a lack of respect when you yourself show absolutely none. We'll remember you Albie, and track your posts from now on matey.

Posted by fair_paly_1 on (February 13, 2014, 14:39 GMT)

Well, Aus are on a roll. SA have got a real equal to contend with here, if not better.

Posted by GoCho on (February 13, 2014, 14:38 GMT)

That was the difference between Lyon and Peterson I mentioned. No freebies here so the pressure will get the better of the batsmen eventually! Clearly underrated bowler, about time he got his recognition.

Posted by Biggus on (February 13, 2014, 14:25 GMT)

Nice work thus far by AB and JP. Time for a little out of the box thinking. Smith for a couple? Wouldn't hurt IMHO.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Looks-Silly-Now on (February 13, 2014, 14:17 GMT)


Almost as embarrassing as getting whitewashed by Australia in your own country back in 2006!

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

man some big mouth clowns commenting on this site. Please all of you comment again after Australia loses this test match. Amazing how suddenly everything australian gets overrated so much after a couple of wickets fall. SA has been in bigger holes then this and end up winning comfortably infact it happens so often that we turn any situation around that its not really a surprise anymore, your lack of respect for what this side is really about are gonna bite you back seriously...

Posted by Gavp on (February 13, 2014, 14:00 GMT)

Great bowling by Mitch & co, but don't forget that AUS were 4 for not many too! For me it's De Villiers & Duminy v's Marsh & Smith. Still too early to call.

Posted by wanatawu on (February 13, 2014, 13:56 GMT)

It is funny how nice AB is playing Johnson even hit him for a six, truly class batsman.

Posted by sasmit_cricket on (February 13, 2014, 13:53 GMT)

Yes, Jono has been on fire. But I would still like to see AB's Back before I rest.

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 13:53 GMT)

No doubt Johnson has bowled brilliantly .But AB is playing him much better than his teammates .He has Duminy for company plus there's McLaren Robbie and Vernon philander to come .So surely they are down but u can't count Saffas out.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (February 13, 2014, 13:50 GMT)

Fine bowling by Australia. However, I must admit de Villiers is a class act.

Posted by DylanBrah on (February 13, 2014, 13:50 GMT)

Wow! I'm impressed! How good is this mad man with the mo!?

Posted by Biggus on (February 13, 2014, 13:50 GMT)

@steve48:- Tempting theory but not backed up by physics. Once the ball leaves the bowler's hand at a given velocity the strength of the bowler is out of the equation and deceleration will depend on friction, both through the air (drag) and as it hits the pitch. Some things that can make a bowler appear faster than he is are 1) skiddy bounce 2) extremely steep bounce 3) deviation off the pitch and 4) an action that makes it harder to pick up the ball asap. Jeff Thomson was not only very, very fast but his action apparently made it difficult to pick up the ball early since his hand disappeared behind his back during the wind up, hence his fearsome reputation. Brett Lee, in contrast, had an action that made early ball spotting relatively easier than Thommo, so Brett, though being very fast seemed slower than he might have otherwise have done.

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

Apparently Clarke's proclamation of having the best bowling attack in the world is being justified by his bowlers.

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

No doubt Johnson has bowled brilliantly but AB is playing him much better than any of his teammates and he has Duminy for company plus there is McLaren Robbie and Vernon philander to come so surely they are down but u can't count saffas out

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 13, 2014, 13:48 GMT)

johnson won the fisrt clash to make early inpack against styen .

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 13:45 GMT)

I think its a gr8 start by aus but looks like AB is playing Johnson much better than his teammates and hr has Duminy for company as well as McLaren Robbie and Vernon Philander .They are surely down but u can't count Saffas out

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 13:40 GMT)

They weren't a much better team. Haddon got them out of difficulties many times. Their bowling was much more potent. By which I mean Johnson and perhaps Harris. Aussies on way up. England down.

Posted by Diaz54 on (February 13, 2014, 13:36 GMT)

Mr Coverdale......why are you saying Kallis would be relieved not be playing. I am sure Kallis has faced much better bowlers, waqar, wasim, Shoaib, Ambrose to name a few! Johnston with all his current pace is not quicker than Shoaib Akthar.

Posted by endofageofaquarius on (February 13, 2014, 13:35 GMT)

@steve48 - Thats a question worth getting an answer to. They should have speed gun measurements after the bounce. In most cases I would guess the ball has lost 2/3 of its speed after bounce.

Posted by JimmySA on (February 13, 2014, 13:32 GMT)

All these Aussies lol, 3-25 isn't even close to 6-8, don't come with a once in a generation bowler please. Thank you. goodbye. Lets wait for the result of this test now. Not taking anything away from that amazing bowling, just some of these comments wow lolol

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 13:30 GMT)

Jeez, session 2 has been one hell of a session. I think it has put to rest a lot the Steyn vs Johnson talks. I doubt there is a team left in the world that can survive him. England was annihalted, I can see the same thing happening to SA. I suppose the Aussie rule has started again.

Posted by dinosaurus on (February 13, 2014, 13:29 GMT)

With every wicket that falls, England start to look better and better. Maybe they will admit that they were beaten by a (much) better team.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 13, 2014, 13:25 GMT)

Wow. We are in massive trouble here!! But at least we weren't bowled out for 47 runs - that would have been really embarrassing!!

Well bowled Johnson, great to watch. SA have to get within 150 runs of Oz score to stay alive in this test.

Posted by wanatawu on (February 13, 2014, 13:25 GMT)

The Mo is in town, take note people.

Posted by London_Meistry on (February 13, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

Still early days mates, remember, this is Test Cricket and this Proteas team has done wonders and I am not expecting them to lose this match. Call me stupid, but this believe comes from wonders achieved before.

Posted by steve48 on (February 13, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

Just a thought to everyone watching Mitchell Johnson, it has long occurred to me that POWER =speed x strength. Yes, the speed gun shows him to be rapid, but like thommo, or even a fully firing flintoff, the batsman seems even more hurried than he should be. We need a speed reading as the ball reaches the batsman! I am no scientist, so want to know if the ball slows down less for these physically strong fast bowlers!

Posted by Biggus on (February 13, 2014, 13:18 GMT)

Now you see boys and girls this is what we were talking about when we Aussies said that the bowling outfit from the Ashes was seriously good. It wasn't boastful arrogance as so many have been saying, and ANYONE who watched a lot of that series (not just highlights) knew they'd seen something special. Not boastful arrogance but a sober evaluation of what had occurred indeed. Much water will still need to pass beneath the bridge before we'll know the series result but at least the credentials of our bowlers has been established without the "It's only hopeless England" disclaimer. For what it's worth Harris looks to me a little out of rhythm and he's the one I rate most highly of the group, despite Johnson's ability to bowl unplayable spells, so we still have the potential to be even better as a bowling unit. The Saffers need to lift, and soon.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

Does Smith have any answers? Aussies surprisingly well in front already.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 13, 2014, 12:54 GMT)

Now that was a howler of an LBW decision, thank goodness for DRS. Does it get any more plumb? I was worried mostly about Hash and AB for obvious reasons, that was a cracker though. Sorry SA, pitch ain't dead.

Posted by GoCho on (February 13, 2014, 12:53 GMT)

Only guy who could have saved the Saffers was Amla. Pure talent but wily Sid vicious has done him in. Duminy, mclaren and the rest will follow soon. Dont be surprised if Australia are batting again at the end of the day

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 13, 2014, 12:51 GMT)

Sleeping's dreadful. 4 down. Well done Peter Siddle. Crucial wicket. Notice that his pace has increased as well - over 140. Even Harris was above 150 for one ball... This is brilliant.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 12:46 GMT)

Mitch Johnson is the scariest bowler in the world now, with an X factor that even Steyn does not possess. He will be the difference just as he was in the Ashes

Posted by GRVJPR on (February 13, 2014, 12:44 GMT)

Lots of articles were written when Suresh Raina got out to Johnson bouncer in 1 day series. But such are the double standards that no one will write a single artcle when South African batsmen get choked against him.

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 12:40 GMT)

how could SA not have expected this from johnson? bad preperation, nerves, or just plain good bowling from johnson?

Posted by Albert_cambell on (February 13, 2014, 12:39 GMT)

Very disappointing to lose 3 wickets earlier on. Hopefully we get some partnership going on.

Posted by Pragmatic on (February 13, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

Let's face it no one can play extreme pace anymore and make no mistake Mitchell Johnson is the ONLY express bowler in the world. So glad he is one of ours.

Posted by Johnny_129 on (February 13, 2014, 12:36 GMT)

Look at the difference in Amla's facial expression when he is facing Johnson as opposed to facing India's medium pacers - He looks totally terrified against Johnson!! Cricket is an Australian game, really - You can't keep them down for too long. Australia will always rise to the top before too long, always! They play aggressive, gutsy cricket. Not girly medium pace stuff like India!! Also shows the difference between good consistent batsmen as opposed to all time great. SRT was comfortable against all bowling while modern day great like Amla is terrified against aggressive Johnson!!

Posted by Mike_Tyson on (February 13, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

The SA fans have gone very quiet, where is all the talk of SA not struggling against the pace of Johnson because they face Steyn in the nets all the time?

For the record Johnson is a fair bit quicker than Steyn and SA at the moment look as though they have no clue whatsoever against Johnson.

Posted by GRVJPR on (February 13, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

Where are big mouth south african like @TommytuckerSA . This is how your players play when opponent has a genuine pacer. Atleast our young plagers showed stomach to fight against Steyn and company, but your guys are sitting ducks against Mitchell Johnson.

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 13, 2014, 12:33 GMT)

Also, saw a stat that SA's last four conceded 200 run partnerships have been conceded against us - Clarke + Cowan, Clarke + Hussey x 2 and now Smith and Marsh. Love playing Saf. Also saw that we were three runs short of being the last touring team to make 400 on SA soil since England in 2009/10. Take a bow, Australia.

I'm too tired now and am going to sleep - because I've talked it up I'm predicting to wake up to 300/3, but hopefully not.

Posted by JOHNCSPACE on (February 13, 2014, 12:33 GMT)

This will test the strength and depth of SA. No real established bats left, one more wicket and SA will be struggling unless Amla "the great" and De V does a Marsh or Aussie Smith. No real class in the restof the bats to comein..

Posted by wanatawu on (February 13, 2014, 12:32 GMT)

I can see SA losing by a innings and more in this game and 250 runs. Go Johnson, the worlds most dangerous bowler.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 13, 2014, 12:32 GMT)

This is compelling, really breath-taking stuff from Johnson! No doubts over which version has turned up to South Africa. Almost 400 runs in the first innings was excellent by Australia, and the way Australia are bowling here that score seems very, very far away in the distance...

Posted by iffy187 on (February 13, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

Australia slowly regaining their crown as the top test side in world cricket at the moment. Mitch Johnson what a comeback year he has had.

Posted by Iceman29 on (February 13, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

lol...SA's vulnerability has been exposed brutally by Johnson...i had a doubt before this series about SA's batting....its wonderful how one quality pace bowler can on...

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 13, 2014, 12:30 GMT)

This. Is. Amazing. Mitchell Johnson take a bow. Took you a while but you truly are a once in a generation bowler. Can't criticise SA for this - there's no team in world cricket that can stop him in this form.

Posted by GoCho on (February 13, 2014, 12:27 GMT)

And Du Plessis too! Man I can barely sit on my chair here. Incredible stuff from Mitch! And there will be no let up because Lyon will not give away any free runs unlike Robbie P!

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 12:22 GMT)

Smith the dominator has succeeded in bowling the Qzzies out,Smith with the willow tried to dominate but failed.Johnson snares the openers and SA are on the back foo t Its going to be absorbing but Graeme and his side will find it tough going.The Highveld thunderstorms will have a role to play.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 13, 2014, 12:20 GMT)

And Cook and Carberry fall again without any impact.

Oh wait...

Posted by Mike_Tyson on (February 13, 2014, 12:17 GMT)

Looks like ethe South Africans can't play genuine pace and bounce very well, absolute brute from Johnson.

Posted by GoCho on (February 13, 2014, 12:17 GMT)

Mitch you beauty! Proving your detractors (who pointed out the Ashes as a one-off) wrong once again! Go get a few more wickets and silence this SA contingent on the forum once for all!

Posted by Biggus on (February 13, 2014, 11:59 GMT)

What an absolute brute of a ball to get Smith! We have a game on our hands.

Posted by android_user on (February 13, 2014, 11:57 GMT)

i can see SA batting this game into a stalemate.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 11:56 GMT)

It is going to be a cracking test match. Whoever win, will be tight contest.

Posted by wanatawu on (February 13, 2014, 11:45 GMT)

I can see SA losing by a innings and more in this game.

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 13, 2014, 11:42 GMT)

SA back in the game - Aus blew it away - should have scored atleast 450 to make a match. Now it's anybody's game. Fingers crossed !!

Posted by Scuderi on (February 13, 2014, 11:17 GMT)

This is just like the test where sth africa had the aussies 4/98 and recovered to restrict them to around 400

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 13, 2014, 11:15 GMT)

@ wouldlovetoplayagain on (February 13, 2014, 10:58 GMT) I did not know why they wore armbands but that is a great tribute... to a very sad story. poor little boy

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (February 13, 2014, 11:12 GMT)

Scans on his shoulder? yet they call it an external injury.........very interesting. I think the rule has to be for all injuries, you don't bowl once you get back on the field until the time you were off it has gone by. Fair for all concerned and more in the spirit of the game.

Posted by Not_Another_Keybored_Expert on (February 13, 2014, 11:10 GMT)

How can Morkel be allowed to bowl as soon as He comes on the field? have I missed something, How can a knock on the field be classed as external?

Posted by wouldlovetoplayagain on (February 13, 2014, 10:58 GMT)

By the way, thank you Cricket Australia and the Australian team for honoring the memory of Luke Batty whose tragic death yesterday has really touched all cricketers and the whole Victorian community.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 13, 2014, 10:51 GMT)

Good fightback from the saffers, losing Marsh, Smith and Haddin early was a bummer and they could have been rolled for 350, but now they have had SA in the field for 4 sessions and more to come, if you score 400 in the first innings you win more tests than you lose and it is also a psychological number, I hope the tail can keep them out there for another hour and twenty for a nice little half an hour at their openers before tea, anyone else see the similarities of Johnson scoring important runs in the first innings of the first test, look out if he gets the half century.

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