South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Centurion, 3rd day

Warner and Doolan punish South Africa

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

February 14, 2014

Comments: 274 | Text size: A | A

Australia 397 and 288 for 3 (Warner 115, Doolan 89) lead South Africa 206 (de Villiers 91, Johnson 7-68) by 479 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Jarrod Kimber: 'I'd like to be able to say it wasn't about Mitchell Johnson again, but in a way it was'

It has been hard to tell what has done more yawning over the first three days of this Test, the Australian fans staying up into the wee hours to watch it or the chasm between the sides. Consider this: South Africa were bowled out for 206 on the third morning in Centurion. On the same pitch, in the same conditions, David Warner and debutant Alex Doolan then proceeded to put on 205 for Australia's second wicket. It helped that they were not facing Mitchell Johnson.

Graeme Smith and his men left the field on the third afternoon knowing that this match was all but out of reach. Warner's sixth Test century and Doolan's 89 meant Australia's lead had ballooned to 479 by stumps and it would grow on the fourth morning. South Africa can post huge fourth-innings totals - their 414 in Perth in 2008 and their 450 for 7 against India at the Wanderers in December are testament to that - but unless Johnson loses a limb it is impossible to see a way out for them this time.

That he finished off the tail for figures of 7 for 68 was not unexpected. What was a little surprising was the sloppiness of the South Africans in the field, the inability of their fielders to grasp the few chances their bowlers created. Warner was dropped three times and survived a run-out opportunity, and overthrows were a worryingly regular feature of Australia's innings. It was as if South Africa had already given up.

By stumps, the total had moved on to 288 for 3 with Shaun Marsh on 44 and Michael Clarke on 17. The odd ball had stayed low, the odd ball had bounced sharply, but generally it remained a reasonable batting surface. Warner and Doolan certainly enjoyed working on it after they came together at 1 for 1, when Chris Rogers chopped on trying to force Dale Steyn through the off side in a half-hour period Australia had to bat before lunch.

Warner and Doolan put together the highest Australian second-wicket stand in four and a half years, Warner making the most of his lives to strike 13 fours and two sixes and Doolan more gradually working his way into Test match mode. Warner's first stroke of luck came on 26 when he top-edged a hook off Vernon Philander and Dean Elgar, on as a substitute for Steyn, who battled what looked like a leg problem throughout the day, grassed a chance he should have taken at fine leg.

In the next over, Warner was again put down on 27 when he flashed at Morne Morkel and Alviro Petersen at second slip jumped and thrust his hand above his head but was unable to make the chance stick. Perhaps the hardest of the three opportunities arrived on 51, when the ball fizzed high off Warner's edge and Smith at first slip got his hand above his head but despite having two bites, could not keep hold of the chance off Ryan McLaren.

Warner made South Africa pay, typically strong driving along the ground through the off side but equally happy to go in the air, including with a daring and deliberate uppish steer over the cordon off the bowling of Steyn and a muscular drive over the head of the bowler McLaren for six. On 97 he survived an lbw review instigated by Smith from a Morkel ball that pitched outside leg and brought up his century next ball with a crunching cover-drive for four off his 118th delivery.


David Warner and Alex Doolan put on a 205-run stand, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Centurion Park, 3rd day, February 14, 2014
David Warner and Alex Doolan put on 205 for the second wicket © Getty Images
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It continued Warner's trend of kicking teams when they are down, for he has now made three second-innings hundreds from his past six Tests and over the past year has averaged 54.83 in the second innings compared to 25.00 in the first. Eventually South Africa held on to a chance when Warner had 115 - Philander had missed a run-out attempt when he was on 106 - as Warner played for Robin Peterson's non-existent spin and edged to Smith at slip.

The focus then switched to Doolan, very much the junior partner while Warner was at the crease, to see whether he could match Marsh as a centurion in this match and on debut. Doolan was slow to get going but played some classy strokes as he became more comfortable at the crease. His half-century came, fittingly, from a South African misfield and he was especially strong off the back foot, although perhaps his best shot was a crisp cover drive for four off Philander.

However, Doolan was less sure against the slower bowling and on 89 edged behind when JP Duminy skidded one on from around the wicket. Doolan chastised himself as he walked off, knowing a debut hundred was there for the taking, but his 154-ball innings had certainly shown the Australian selectors that he was up to the task in Test cricket, albeit with the buffer of a hefty lead already in place when he walked to the crease.

The reason for that was that Johnson had continued to torment South Africa on the third morning. Again AB de Villiers was the only batsman who seemed able to match it with him but eventually he too succumbed, albeit to a slower ball rather than Johnson's pace, and fell short of a century. The day began with Peterson fending a catch to slip off a fast, accurate Johnson bouncer and a rapid end seemed nigh until Philander gave de Villiers some help in a 49-run stand.

That partnership ended with a canny review from Clarke when Lyon came around the wicket and managed to pitch the ball in line and straighten it enough to have Philander lbw for 15. Meanwhile, de Villiers was playing just as assuredly as ever and seemed destined for a century when he misjudged a drive and was well caught by Warner at mid-off for 91.

The end arrived when Morkel edged another excellent bouncer behind to leave Johnson with the figures of 7 for 68, his third haul of at least seven wickets in Test cricket. The way the South Africans struggled to handle his pace, it might not be his last on this tour. Or even in this match.

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

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Posted by Thegimp on (February 17, 2014, 8:12 GMT)

@MCSJCW.....So apart from a new opening batsman, a new middle order batsman, a new number four, a new keeper so that AB can just bat, a new spinner and .......and a new Captain, this is the #1 team in the world and will grind Australia into the dirt?

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 15, 2014, 21:32 GMT)

Does anyone think Indian conditions would not suit Johnson, Harris, Lyon and Muirhead to bad we will not see it for a while.

Posted by Zainnajam on (February 15, 2014, 15:56 GMT)

I Dont think we are able to be seeing some tough and close matches these days, if one team bullies down the other, it stays that. Now, South africa's loss was very unsurprising after what the target was. And, @MCSJCW, you know that South africa were always Down and out, no need to Blame the australians, they were always the winner, whatever tactics or missed chance they applied in the Game.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 10:31 GMT)

@MCSJCW So the chanceless ton from Smith and the chanceless 89 from Doolan don't count in your books?

Posted by MCSJCW on (February 15, 2014, 9:42 GMT)

Australia still as weak as ever. Look at the scorecard in the 1st innings. 2 scores, one of which was dropped on 12. Only one bowler. 2nd innings, one big score dominating and he had 4 chances.

What they do have is attitude (bordering on arrogance) which they lost since Warne and pigeon retired. They basically scare teams into submission. They may win but all that will happen is that SA will be even stronger afterwards. Example, they will drop Peterson opener (good but not getting any better) and will blood a new spinner. That is all that is wrong with SA. Captaincy may need a refresh.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 9:20 GMT)

Nice placement Mr Smith, Doolan adds some extra value to his batting.

I can't believe Amla didn't get a new helmet, with that dent in the grille if he gets another one there it's gonna break his face.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 9:09 GMT)

@cccrider There is no way on earth that SA can make 480 in 2 days on this thing. It's up and down, it's left and right. They'll be all out just before or just after tea.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (February 15, 2014, 9:04 GMT)

Clarke declares early!!. Madness or Brave? Whatever this is more interesting now. 5+ sessions and the target can be chased down if there is no interruption in the play. But will Mitch allow them to do that.Come on Saffas. Show the class now. My eyes on Amla, Faf and AB and that monster Mitch.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (February 15, 2014, 9:01 GMT)

@SLslider, what on earth are you on about. Australia are so dominant now all people can complain about is how we celebrate our tons? I guess it's a 'problem' we don't have to worry about lol! This game will be over today, it could be over during Mitch's first spell.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 8:58 GMT)

Despite I hate all big3 but I have to acknowledge the big heart of Australians. Like ponting Clark also declared while he could easily dragged this inning to lunch to take the lead up to 600 plus and make the match winning virtually impossible for sa (though it seems already so with 482 and Johnson the dragon)

Posted by cccrider on (February 15, 2014, 8:53 GMT)

I hate Clarke's declarations! Get 570-580 in front and pile on the misery! Don't give them a sniff!

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 15, 2014, 8:51 GMT)

2 overs was enough to see that this wicket is tough to bat on when the bowlers get it right. MC declares straight after Marsh got out.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 8:43 GMT)

@SLslider You got problems. Warner is young and enthusiastic, Clarke kisses his helmet, raises the bat and that's about it. He's the guy you should compare to Sanga and Mahela. They're both a whole lot older and more experienced than Warner is, why would you expect him to act like he's been there for a decade scoring tons? Silly.

This pitch officially looks like a nightmare, the ball couldn't be much older and its doing everything. If SA can draw this I'll eat my entire wardrobe.

Posted by SLslider on (February 15, 2014, 8:33 GMT)

Its so funny to see Warner jumping so much whenever he reaches a century. He should be a bit more mature like Mahela or Sanga. And it goes for all the Aussies. Behave like gentlemen.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (February 15, 2014, 8:32 GMT)

3-0 was the pre series prediction and it looks an easy one. Form team vs team that gives away victories (e.g. Against India). This is a very mismatched series. No point hanging around here for a snide comment if you're an England fan still crushed by your Ashes humiliation. Australia will be handing out another whitewash.

Posted by SLslider on (February 15, 2014, 8:31 GMT)

Its so funny to see Warner jumping like a monkey whenever he reaches a century. He should be a bit more mature like Mahela or Sanga. And it goes for all the Aussies. Behave like gentlemen.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 15, 2014, 8:30 GMT)

@ ZCFOutcast wrote "After all in his first 2 Tests Elgar did record a king pair against AUS, followed by just 21 against NZ, so Thami can't be much worse than that!"

Oh yes he can. Thami's big list of test scores: 9, 15, 1, 22, 0 - ave 9.4. His recent 5 scores are 2, 12, 4, 15, 5. He can't bat. If that is difficult to grasp, consider his 1st class ave of 30.26, list A ave of 21.55, & his 20/20 ave of 20.95. He can't bat.

Thami was tried. Thami was dumped because he was no good. Why on earth bring him back for more really really bad play! HE CANT BAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 8:20 GMT)

@SLslider SL can't even beat Aus in SL, what are you on about?

On the point, almost time for play, time for some T20 batting. And don't forget, Johnson on a hat trick to start the SA innings.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 15, 2014, 8:19 GMT)

@ SLslider on (February 15, 2014, 8:01 GMT) Sorry mate, my misunderstanding we must be talking about two different Sri Lanka's

Posted by sergio11 on (February 15, 2014, 8:11 GMT)

@SLslider...ENG at 8?? forget about everything you wrote..thats just...serious joke man..lol..SA,AUS,ENG are correctly the top 3 side in test...no doubt about that...because these are the teams in which there is a balance in both bowling and batting..take ind,good in batting but not sure about bowling,PAK excellent in bowling bt batting ordinary..SL also bowling is weak...ind or SL dont have a Johnson or a Steyn or a Broad or a Anderson or Morkel...Pak dont have a Sanga or mahela or Pujara..thats where subcontient team misses out...not enough balance...spinner wont win u games in a Perth or a Jo'burg..understand the game and support your team...

Posted by Great_Lion on (February 15, 2014, 8:10 GMT)

hello guys,SL fan here.plz ignore the comments of sLslider.He is either non srilankan or mental one.Don't get angry with those comments and don't insult sri lanka.Be enoy your game,thanks.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 15, 2014, 8:09 GMT)

Johnson has been that destructive he has even got into the heads of Sri Lanka.........n supporters

Posted by tom120 on (February 15, 2014, 8:07 GMT)

Australia have won a test series both in India and Srilanka, but both have been unable to win a test series in Australia. I don't think I have to say anything else.

Posted by SuperSharky on (February 15, 2014, 8:02 GMT)

It's a bit weird when these limited overs fans comment on 5 Day Test Cricket. I think the Proteas will be either really stupid, or don't understand Test Cricket, if they don't aim for a draw now. And if the Auzzies don't realize that, then they could be the ones who don't understand Test cricket. You're first goal is always to go for the win, if you're opponent shut that door in your face, then you'll have to fight not to loose. It's as simple as that. A draw in a series can also be a psychological win and gives you a ahead start in the next match of the series. You can also physical tire down your opponent in a draw, so that they can be weaker in the next match. The Auzzies should send in the Proteas to bat and pack there whole field close around the Saffer batsmen. And Johnson must just give them a hard time if they want to stay long at the crease. Colour their bodies purple & blue.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (February 15, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

The Proteas have well&trully been an utter embarrassment. It will take a 180 degree turn for Steyn, Philander&Morkel to become threateaning again.

Hopefully this series signifies the end of Morkel in Proteas whites. With the amount of talent we have, the Proteas should never have a bowler who averages 30 and looks it, perhaps even worse than that average.

Spin will surely give Duminy reprieve, while RobbieP, like Morne, also waves goodbye to his Test career. But those two along with McLaren are the 3 out. Parnell was selected so he will definitely be replacing McLaren; assuming Rory is injured, Abbot will come in for Morkel. Batting needs to be beefed up so Thami will be a favourite to replace RobbieP and take over the gloves, with AB at 4 and Faf down at 5 ahead of JP. After all in his first 2 Tests Elgar did record a king pair against AUS, followed by just 21 against NZ, so Thami can't be much worse than that!

Smith, Alviro, Amla, AB, Faf, JP, Thami, Parnell, Vern, Steyn, Abbott

Posted by SLslider on (February 15, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

@ rickyvoncanterbury Well On current form Sl can beat AUS in AUS as well. Easily I may add.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (February 15, 2014, 7:59 GMT)

Here comes the SL fans with their vengeance. @MaruthuDelft Pujara and Kholi are yet to play tests in Eng . So give them a break. If there are dozens of players from SA, ENG and Aus who played better than Sachin in Aus, SA, Eng then there are hundreds of players who have done better than Ponting in India (and more than hundreds of players have done well than Sangakkara in Aus, SA, Eng)

Off the record. Didn't Murali Vijay score 97 against SA in SA recently against the likes of Steyn and co? Does that make him a great player? He had his chances but you don't expect this consistently from him.

Remember Hughes debut in SA? IMO he is still better than Marsh . He had some problems against moving ball in Eng(couple of matches?) and was spinned out in India but he showed determination to overcome the problems but selectors did not show faith in him. Probably deserves one more go.

Posted by sergio11 on (February 15, 2014, 7:50 GMT)

@Shaggy076...see mate i wasnt talking abt ashwin's bowling avg...when MaruthuDelft told Kholi and Tendular are the only players getting the lime light when performed on a bouncy wickets,and AUSssie even aftr doing it regularly not bgn praised..so i was trying to explain to him...they always bgn proven players of spin and if they also can play pace on SA and AUS pitchs what else you need?they proven themself in all pitches and against all type of bowlers(well Kholi still long way to go)....and AUS player record against spin in subcontient in horrible.u know that..the guys he compare with Sachin was Warner who was a disaster when AUS tour ind against spin and Doolan who never played in ind!! there by i was asking him to think before he comparing a debutant avg just 37 in first class and an explosive opening bastsman who cannt play spin or swing with a legend like Sachin...thank u

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 15, 2014, 7:39 GMT)

SLslider on (February 15, 2014, 5:48 GMT) I think SL can beat SL in SL on a good day.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (February 15, 2014, 7:23 GMT)

No need for comment - take a look at the scoreboard

Posted by SLslider on (February 15, 2014, 7:23 GMT)

@ hussain.robel@yahoo.com.au Well laugh all you want but you are getting whitewashed in sub continent.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (February 15, 2014, 7:22 GMT)

@SLslider- Bit to early to call this young Aus side as the best yet .Yes they have won the Ashes and have continued that good showing to SA as well seeing them to a v commanding position. to win this test. The team are improving 1 and the younger 1s are finally showing promise ,but dont take credit away from SA who are rightly no.1 and for a reason. Consistency. They are a good all round side the S Africans and so have earned that top spot they are sitting for a while. Aussies have played great so are in a good position to win this 1 and are looking good from a series p.o.v as well.But, nothing has been 1 yet and a lot of cricket is to be played still. Aussies are again showing they are 1 of the top teams but are not the Aus of old. SA too ,as we see now are not in the same league as those past great sides though they are the best of all the sides at present and rightly no.1.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 7:12 GMT)

@disco_bob I wish one of those top 6 could bowl even just some swinging medium pacers at 120 kph on a good line and length. I'm sure we'd be done and dusted with Watson if that were the case, he seems to be bowling an average of about 5 overs an innings these days. Without him it feels like the team is full of good batsmen, he's only seems to be there just in case Harris has a break down at some point as far as I can tell. Siddle and Johnson have fitness to burn.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 15, 2014, 7:07 GMT)

sergio11; We have no problem with Ashwin's Carrom ball think he averaged 90 in Aus. The issue we have is on those pitches its not the spinner doing the work as we saw from Ashwins attempt in Australia but we cant read what the pitch is going to do to an innocous spinner.

Posted by sasmit_cricket on (February 15, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

@SLslider I do not want to say you don't watch test cricket because the Rankings you have mentioned is not suitable for ODI's or T20. Clearly, you don't watch cricket at all.... But I have to give it to you, that made me LOL.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

@SLslider The problem is you're rating "performance" on how it looked, without taking any other factors into account. The difference is that SL's performance you're rating on was against Bangladesh. England may be in a shambles but I'd still back them to spank Bangladesh if they were playing them tomorrow.

Australia whitewashed England and are miles ahead so far in this test match, and you think SL's performance (more like Sanga's performance) against Bangladesh puts them in front. It's pretty hard to agree with that assessment unless you're Sri Lankan.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 15, 2014, 6:46 GMT)

Hughes/Doolan; Warner; Doolan/Hughes; Clarke/Marsh; Marsh/Clarke; Smith; Haddin; MJ; Ryan; Sid; Lyon.

Posted by SLslider on (February 15, 2014, 6:39 GMT)

@ sergio11 Well here are the true ratings which are not manipulated. Ranking on the performance 1 SL, 2 PAK, 3 AUS, 4 SA, 5 IND, 6 NZ, 7 Bang, 8 ENG. SL, PAK and AUS are the best teams at the moment. All are good travelers.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 6:37 GMT)

@sergio11 I think Rhino would break a leg in India with no assistance but I think a Johnson, Siddle, Lyon and maybe Muirhead attack could give it a shake. I'm pretty curious as to how Doolan would go over there too. No matter what we'll do better than that mix n match team we had last time that got the 4-0 punishment.

I'm still stuck on the fact that Clarke, Rogers and Haddin have made 45 runs between them in the match and we have a 500 run lead in the 2nd innings. I would have given you 200:1 odds on that bet before the start of this series. The only batsmen who've completely failed are Clarke and Rogers, the rest have a century under their belt or Doolan's chanceless 89 until he got out. I can't believe it.

Posted by rajcl on (February 15, 2014, 6:34 GMT)

@ SLslider, in ur dreams dream also not going to happen any thing , even vs bangla on 5th day not going to win by ur so called best & in t20 last ball finishes oh what a team take a bow plz publish

Posted by sergio11 on (February 15, 2014, 6:19 GMT)

@SLslider that some funny comments..lol..2 best side?? where is SA and ENG then??Sangakara better than Ponting and Bradman??lol..man nothing to say...SL rocks..:P

Posted by sergio11 on (February 15, 2014, 6:14 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft...yeaa routine stuff for Aussie..how about playing spin???is that too routine stuff??never seen any of those names picking Ashwins Carom ball..even Clerk..look at the stats..he struggled against the left arm spin of jadeja,last time around, who was playing his first series...now that why Kholi or Tendulkar are praised when they do well in bouncy pitchs because they already are proven player of spin,you knw how indians treated your legend spinner when he travelled ind each time..no one can be called world class unless he plays all types of balling well in all surface..and unless he is a Aussie..lol...look..taking nothing away from AUS,to be honest the way Steyns begin bowling,now i'll defintly say AUS are currently the best side...but that doesnt mean they can win every where and all there batter are better than "all" the others in the world..how can u compare Warner or a Doolan with Tendulkar??god..

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 6:11 GMT)

@Shaggy076 Even when Watson scores runs he doesn't look convincing though, that's the only reason I think Clarke would be at 4 because Smith is always going to be at 5 or 6 at this stage and Watson at 6 makes with Doolan earmarked for 3. Watson at 4 is pretty much the same as Clarke being at 4 anyway. Both Marsh and Doolan looked far more like top order material than he has ever done. The problem I have with Watson in the top order is he makes bowlers feel like they can get wickets because he makes every pitch look difficult more or less, except when the game is out of reach. It's clearly a mental thing for him but he's not going to get over it, it's been way too long.

I've become accustomed to Marsh throwing his wicket away, but he and Doolan were very solid in this second innings. I think Marsh is genuinely playing each ball on its merits now and he's so much better for it.

479 lead, 7 wickets in hand. Clarke, 40 runs, Rogers, 5 runs, Haddin, 0 runs. Must be another dimension.

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 15, 2014, 6:00 GMT)

Poor India, can't produce a fast bowler or batsmen of merit on grass and so they detract from the feats of others who can. Sad really, their "stronghold" at home broken by Eng has forced the BCI to progress beyond the traditional dry surfaces that assist even the most ordinary spinners to selective watering of the strip to nullify movement for quicks bowling stump lines. Everyone's getting too rich to care how weak and overrated Indian cricket has sunk. I'd expect concern from the genuine cricket enthusiasts here but Indian fans seem hooked on their home cooked coolaid meanwhile mediocrity thrives and the gap between India and the great teams grows ever larger.

Posted by Basingpiechucker on (February 15, 2014, 5:58 GMT)

This puts England's woeful performance in a slightly different light. Lehmann has got the Aussie team buzzing. I am sure that S. Africa will fight back but I suspect no team would be want to face the Aussies in this mood.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 5:51 GMT)

Credit to the Ausies and especially MJ. He is in some kind of form. But as usual everyone is getting carried away already. If SA lose here(I know it's more like when) I think it will be only their second loss in 10 matches over the last year with 1 draw (better than any other team). Never mind the record for the last 7 Years. AUS are hot and are the form team right now but this series is far from over. SA is #1 for a reason and 1 test match won't change that. Wish there were more AUS v SA series. Best matchup in cricket for a long time now.

Posted by SLslider on (February 15, 2014, 5:48 GMT)

What happened to the chockers. I guess they are choking again. I have to say AUS is the best test side now followed by Sri Lanka. And Johnson is way better than Steyn. Philander, well I have always considered him a mediocre bowler. Kulasekra is better than him coz he bowls in unfriendly condition. I bet we can whitewash SA in SA as well. I hope we tour there and teach arrogant SA fans a lesson.

Posted by SLslider on (February 15, 2014, 5:48 GMT)

@ MaruthuDelft I agree Sl is the greatest team in the world. With Sanga better than Bradman and ponting. And Kulasekra the best swing bowler ever to have graced the field. Anderson and Steyn and Johnson are school bowlers in front of Kula, Eranga and Lakmal. Even our herath is way better than Warne or Swann. Lions will become the greatest team in the next couple of years. And Bcci,CSA and England board knows that and that's the reason they are going for two tier system. I dare SA,IND,ENG and AUS to visit us in SL and we will give you a classic SLwash. Lions lead the way.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 15, 2014, 5:37 GMT)

ModernUmpiresPlz; I reckon clarke was always going to bat at 5 this series. As for Marsh, its harsh but if Watson wasnt injured he would'nt have had the opportunity. Yes harsh but he was also very lucky to get the chance. Watson has got a ton and a match winning 80 in his last 3 tests, and also gives valuable bowling support for the days Mitch doesnt run through the oppostion. From what I heard from the Physio its doubtful Watson will be bowling come the next test so I dont think he will play.

Posted by leighsydneychina on (February 15, 2014, 5:35 GMT)

I still have a problem with Warner..... I don't think he is test material. He seems to play when the game is over and does very little to win the game. His average of 25 in first innings is the problem. Openers need to know when to go hard at the ball and when to knock the edges off the new ball..... Warner doesn't seem to get it. I would rather see him down the order, in the first innings at least. There is no law that says a batsman HAS to play at a given position. maybe the way to manager warner is to do that... down the order in the first innings and opening in the second....

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 5:28 GMT)

can Rsa come back strong as they always do

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

@Shaggy076 I'm almost certain they would have kept Clarke at 4 and put Watson at 6 if Marsh wasn't fit. Now I have no idea what they'll do, those guys love Marsh and he scored 148 and is 44 n.o. and looks better than he did in the first innings, even for me as a Marsh detractor would think that's pretty harsh to be dropped at that point. I think it's possible Rogers will get dropped, especially if the PE pitch is quick, and Marsh or Watson to open.

All these runs are throwing spanners into the works. Who'd have thought that would be the problem a year ago.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 5:14 GMT)

One need to accept the fact that Australia's are the best cricketers in the world. They faded out after the retirement of few legends. South Africans thinks they have the best fast bowlers in the world. SA never were up to a standard to beat or have an edge over Aussies. Johnson is just amazing. We can soon see Aussies back on to No.1 in both ODI's and test cricket.

Posted by humdrum on (February 15, 2014, 5:12 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft:Which planet are you from,and secondly,do they live in trees over there? That's how you got a bird's eye view of the whole thing,I suppose.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 15, 2014, 5:08 GMT)

Hat's off to Lehmann. Up until now I've been calling for Hughes at no. 3, it's now plainly clear that Lehmann really does know what he's doing and I am happy in the knowledge that Hughes will be inserted into the No. 1 slot when Lehmann deems the moment is ripe.

Posted by Biggus on (February 15, 2014, 5:06 GMT)

@Supreet Singh:-" century for Rahana... what a classic innings."

Odd, I'm pretty sure he's not playing in this game.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 15, 2014, 5:05 GMT)

Wow, two pilloried debs and each was involved in a 200 run partnership against the most vaunted pace attack on their home ground in world cricket.

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 15, 2014, 5:01 GMT)

Appreciate your comments on overuse of superlative @Greatest_Game but to then label AB brilliant for a middle over innings is just a brilliant example of hypocrisy. He escaped Johnson's new ball spells and did not even go on to make a ton. A good knock from a great batsmen but not even close to par with Marsh's & Smith's 1st innings tons that have shut SA out of this match. Not your most brilliant thinking...

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 15, 2014, 5:00 GMT)

I think Australia's intent coming into the series was Doolan 3 Watson 4. So if Watson is fit to bat and bowl Marsh will make way.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 15, 2014, 4:58 GMT)

@Supreet ...well said but Dave the "rahana" Warner was dropped three times I would not say a CLASSIC innings.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 4:55 GMT)

Supreme innings from Doolan, no chances til a bit of extra bounce off a long hop got him. Considering when he came to the crease with Rogers down and 1 run on the board and Steyn looking like himself it was every bit as good as AB's innings. That's what we need at 3. Sighs of relief all around I think.

@Supreet Singh How is that relevant to this discussion? Can't be that hard to post your comment somewhere in NZ v India can it?

Posted by Chris_P on (February 15, 2014, 4:43 GMT)

@Supreet Singh, What name is he using in the South African/Australia Test? Seeing you said century his name must be Warner, Smith or Marsh? You know what pal, not one person gives a squat about your comment. Unbelievable.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 4:31 GMT)

century for Rahana... what a classic innings.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 4:29 GMT)

What's with the attendance? The two best teams going at each other in the Centurion of all places and the crowds are completely absent. Absolute disgrace. Do South Africans think that T20 is the only format worth attending?

Posted by 58cans on (February 15, 2014, 4:24 GMT)

A.Doolan has shown he has what it takes .89 on debut is a fine effort.Aussies will go and win the 1st test,without Watson,so it time to put Watson on ice and say thanks for nothing.He has begin over rated and injury prone.Time to move on.Keep the winning team together.

Posted by cricketsubh on (February 15, 2014, 4:05 GMT)

shot274 if aus win this test i do not think aus will change the team in 2nd test watson is not a test player every one knows that .australia need solid batsmen they found doolen his teqnic was very bud and now aus bating line up is very strong with marsh at no4 and clarke no5 smith no6 if shane watson find a place in the team he need to replace rogers as a opener. but i do not think watson is a automatic choice for 2nd test with doolan score runs .

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 15, 2014, 4:01 GMT)

On the basis of what we have seen in this test, SA will miss far more than Kallis' bating bowling & fielding. I get the sense that Kallis was quietly the brains behind the SA captaincy, and the glue that held this team together. Without him, they are a shadow of their former selves. He had been slowly withdrawing over the past year, but would obviously step in and steer things back on course when it went awry.

Smith was just horrible today. His captaincy was abysmal. I can only think that the wisdom & guiding hand of Kallis is what has kept him "successful" over the years.

SA are finally feeling the full effect of life after Kallis, & it is a lot more difficult than any ever imagined. He was a giant in ways that were never fully appreciated.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 3:58 GMT)

No way am i buying into this attitude that "Aust have won this series already" and "we are world #1 already." This SA team are the masters of resurrection. Last time Mitch took 8/38 vs SA we lost the game. Last series Clarke belted SA for consecutive double tonnes and we still lost the series. Then there is the are the comebacks vs Pakistan and India. Even if we win this test comfortably then a drawn series is still on the cards. Having said that the runs that Doolan and Marsh are getting is extremely exciting for Aust cricket. I hope Johnson's performance doesn't overshadow their performances. Lehman is performing miracles with this squad!

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 3:34 GMT)

I think cricket fans the world over should watch this Johnson pace led Aussie side very closely. I think we are going to see an era of Aussie invincibility for the next few years and a bowler like we probably last saw in a Thompson, Lillee, Akram. Exciting times!

Posted by crickeymate on (February 15, 2014, 3:29 GMT)

Hope that South Africa can improve but Australia to win the test. May the best team win.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 2:57 GMT)

What Johnson has done on this sort of a dry pitch is sort of unnerving !!

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (February 15, 2014, 2:45 GMT)

This series shows Pujara and Kohli are still not world class; they are just better than other Indian batsmen. Actually an average Australian or South African batsman would be better than them on a sporting wicket. Even Tendulkar was not as good as many projected then. There are at least 2 dozen players from Eng, SA and Aus who have done better than Tendulkar in SA and Aus.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 2:33 GMT)

Very early days yet but whoever spotted that special something about the way that Marsh and Doolan play (despite their poor FC records) and brought them into the team should get a shiny gold star. They've both got more solid techniques than Rogers or Watson. Very promising.

Posted by HansonKoch on (February 15, 2014, 2:25 GMT)

"I miss Shane Watson" said no-one.

Posted by Thumpa on (February 15, 2014, 2:24 GMT)

@shot274 you are spot on mate, Doolan does remind of Damien Martyn. I am still disappointed the way DM retired, to me he retired when he was right at the top of his game and had so much more to give. Let's hope Doolan keeps his spot in the test team.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 15, 2014, 2:16 GMT)

@Shot274: It was Marsh who was brought in for Watson, not Doolan. Doolan was 12t man towards the end of the Ashes and was training at three ever since the Aussies touched down in SA. I don't think you can drop a no.3 who on debut scored over 100 runs for the test match. Watson is probably not fit yet anyway. I hope he misses out the series and we see how Doolan and Marsh go over a bigger period. If they do, and Rogers doesn't, there's your answer.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 1:53 GMT)

@Cric Snake. I would never say Ranatunga was a fighting captain. Back in his day he always called for a runner every time he ran a 3.

Posted by Macker60 on (February 15, 2014, 1:52 GMT)

The Watson Debate need to wait on What is the condition of the next Venue. if it has Spin then Aust is well suited with Smith as he is a Leg break Spinning All rounder, If it a Pace Wicket then Horses for Courses and Watson Plays. "Note" has the instructions gone out to the grounds keeper to prep a Slow Pitch. They could even decide to go with Paterson, Giving them 2 x 150 plus average bowlers.By the way guys it not just the pace of MJ but how dangerous he is with that pace, that plays on the mind, He is not the fastest bowler in Aust but he is one of the most dangerous, Along with Paterson and Starc Both who are Quicker A fast bowler is hard to Play but a Dangerous Fast bowler plays on the Mind.

Posted by inefekt on (February 15, 2014, 1:50 GMT)

As well as both Doolan and Marsh have played, there is no way you can leave out Watson if he is fit.......and by fit, I mean fit to BOWL as well as bat. Despite Watson's inconsistencies with the willow, it is his bowling that is invaluable to the team. His ability to bowl very economically from one end while also picking up the odd wicket means much more to the team than his batting. I have a feeling that Marsh, given his own calf injury, will make way. Watson should bat at either four or six though.

Posted by pommy80 on (February 15, 2014, 1:40 GMT)

In 6-8 months Australia have gone from hopeless to world number 1, thanks to us English helping Johnson from bowling pies. Congrats. Think the new rankings need a change.. 1.Australia, 2. South Africa, 3. England, 4. Pakistan, 5. NZ, 6. Sri Lanka, 7. India.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 15, 2014, 1:31 GMT)

Cpt.Meanstar; Ill agree Pujara has made his mark, but Kohli is yet to prove greatness at the test game. An average of 43 is not one for the greats. He is definetely proven in the one-day game.

Posted by pick_at_the_seam on (February 15, 2014, 0:59 GMT)

hi. interesting how similar the comments are to the first ashes test in Brisbane. started with ridicule then on to excuses bewilderment humiliation and soon to anger. How long until we stop seeing 'this aus team is good but not great'? I suppose halcyon days aren't seen as that until we can look back at them. max

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 15, 2014, 0:47 GMT)

AltafPatel; Not sure where you got your data from but in the first 3 tests against England we set them 500. But its not to ensure a draw, there is over 2 days to go there is no rush. If you can't bowl a team out in 130 overs chancesarevyou won't bowl them out in 200 cos your bowlers are spent. I would imagine now with the target runs are no longer an issue, opt for no roller in the morning. Then declare at the hour which give you around 12 overs to lunch and Mitch gets two fresh goes with a new ball. This game is not over though South Africa are renowned for fighting we dominated them for the first 4 days of the first two tests in Aus and lost the series 1-0. I'm confident we are better now but its not over yet.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 15, 2014, 0:37 GMT)

Johnson has been great, but he is not the whole story. 3 centuries have been scored in this match by Aussies, could have been four for Australia but for Doolan's swipe t Duminy's bad delivery. We have fielded well, and bowled well. We are becoming hard to kill, big collapses are now replaced by mini collapses, which is what good teams do, they fight back. Smith and Warner are coming of age, Marsh has come back witha bang and in Doolan i think Australia have found their no.3, along with Clarke, we could soon have a good batting line up.

The only negative is where to fit Watson in, you can't drop Doolan or Marsh. I would give Watto the seires off and see how Rogers goes, he is a good player but inconsistent. IF he has a bad series, then Watto can come in, if not, well, i don't know.

Posted by Thegimp on (February 15, 2014, 0:35 GMT)

@shot274 & ScottStevo.......I would beg to differ. Appart from the well timed but unlucky pull shot in the first innings Doolan has looked much classier than Watson at three. If you want to use "No pressure" innings as bench marks, Watson's only decent score in the last twelve months was that hunded at the WACA on a much easier batting track than this in a similar position. The mark of a batsman at test level is the ability to face 50 balls on a difficult pitch without scoring and not get flustered, Watson couldn't do it and with the free scoring batsmen around him Doolan can keep doing that. Without looking at the stats I would say Johnson has scored as many runs as Watson recently.

With Mitch, Harris and Siddle (and plenty of others in the wings) Lyon can hold up an end along with Smith for ten overs or so per innings I don't see the need for another seamer.

Posted by Diaz54 on (February 15, 2014, 0:22 GMT)

I am very sad to see SA perform so poorly. I wish Kallis should have stayed for this series, he would made a huge difference. One has to be fair and acknowledge Australia's magnificent performance. There is no doubt that Johnson, is the catalyst behind this and Lehman has successfully empowered the team. What is amazing is that Johnson's performance has motivated all the newcomers as well. Let's see when Johnson fails or breaks down. As to SA one prays that they can come out from this shock...they need perform better in 2nd innings though I suspect they may not. They will need to regroup in the 2 nd test match...I am sure they are capable of it. May need. Ring in Quinton de Kock.

Amazing what growing a moustache does.....Ala Samson!

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 0:02 GMT)

If Australia win this test series they will be the best test nation in the world

Posted by SHER-A-PANJAB on (February 14, 2014, 23:54 GMT)

Graeme smith is a weak link on SA side and his captain ship also poor ..... They were / will never have been in this test ...biggest defeat for SA so for...

Posted by chechong0114 on (February 14, 2014, 23:44 GMT)

Before the first ball of this series was bowled there was an article on this website with the heading " A Mouth Watering Pace Battle Awaits" my response to that heading was who is going to enjoy that mouth watering prospect, the players, the commentators or the huge amount of empty seats that will be on display throughout this series at all the grounds.I guess someone thought my comment was offensive and they refused to publish it on the site, but low and behold reality in itself has proven me right and the site has now published their own article on this worrying trend. The history between these 2 teams and the quality of cricket that is on display in this series is 2nd to none and there is no reason why there should be a single empty seat in the stands of any of the 3 venues at least for the first 3 days of each test match. But CSA like most of the other cricket boards and the ICC has failed miserably to capitalise on anything financially. Its time them to embrace change people.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 14, 2014, 23:31 GMT)

@ Greatest Game: re the "Brilliant" thing. I take your point but it's all just semantics really. Believe me, we have a thousand other words we could use. Most of what's happened so far has been quite brilliant from my point of view. I expected Marsh to come out and make a match score between 10 and 20. So far he's just short of 200 for once out. When weighed against my expectations, that's a brilliant result. .. Warner had some luck early, should have been out 3 times but rode his luck and kept the aggressive mindset. I think that's brilliant intent. Too many players go back into their shell after a near miss or two.

I think it all depends on perspective and context. For me the most startling thing about all this is that less than a year ago we were total rubbish. Turning it around so quickly has been a breathtaking and, yes, brilliant thing to watch for an Aussie. What you see is probably not what I see though, understandably enough.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 14, 2014, 23:03 GMT)

Remember how there were tears of anguish (not from me) when Mitchell Johnson was brought back into the team. There were howls of disbelief that Alex Doolan could be playing based on his first class record, but after seeing him today, I can't believe that anyone would want Watto at no.3 instead of him in a dicey situation. If Watto was in yesterday I'm sure he'd have been able to compile a hurtful 70 at over a run a ball, but Doolan has shown a temperament that Watto will never have and which has cost us in the past. Therefore I hope that Lehmann can show his has some real cajones and give us a second look at Doolan at 3 before bringing Watto back. Perhaps Watson can have some diplomatic residual muscle soreness or something like that. If we are going to ease Hughes into Rogers' slot soon, then we need a Doolan, not a Twatto at no. 3 to give Hughes some breathing space,

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (February 14, 2014, 23:00 GMT)

Two things seem very frightenening for South Africa at the moment. 1). It took even England nearly 2 matches to completely give up. 2) Ryan Harris hasn't taken a wicket yet.

Posted by Biggus on (February 14, 2014, 22:51 GMT)

What a perfidious lot some cricket fans are. Those same neutrals who predicted we'd be on the canvas begging for mercy are now dancing on the freshly dug, but still empty, grave of the Saffers acting as if this is what they'd predicted all along. If we lose the next test they'll do it all over again. Either they have no sense of shame or suffer from acute memory loss, and frankly we could do without their 'support', such as it is. On to the game at hand.....few things bring a team down more than fielding badly, and dropping Warner three times takes the cake I'm afraid. Dropped catches are dressing room poison. Interesting player is Doolan, his pull reeks of Punter but as yet it needs work. Someone earlier mentioned Damien Martyn and I see similarities in the way he plays off the back foot between cover point and third man on the off side. Perhaps the most impressive facet of his innings was his ability to hang in there when things were challenging and he was becalmed, unlike Watto.

Posted by Regulators on (February 14, 2014, 22:51 GMT)

@ShaunGuff. agree with those comments, and good to see the Saffas (and Smith especially after his pre series jibes) cowering like school kids facing up to the wrath of MJ. this reminds me of the sort of domination the point used to dish out to scotts in the town of origin clashes

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 14, 2014, 22:29 GMT)

@shot274, brilliant is a word oft used to describe the unbelievably, outrageously, extraordinarily outstanding - apparently. So, using that word to describe this performance just mightn't sit well with those who love nothing more than to see Aus fail. You know the types, rose tinted glassware, but only over the eye not wearing a patch! On a serious note, it's great for us to prove to said detractors, that Aus, regardless of bizarre FC batting & bowling averages, has a vast cupboard of players more than capable of performing at the top level against the best of the best. If I were one of these such types, I'd be spouting loads of bile too, as I can't see a time in the near future where they'll get a chance to do so when coming up against us...

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 22:13 GMT)

@shot274 - If Oz win, no changes will be made. Watson will have to wait his turn if Doolan and Marsh are making minimum, half centuries. S.A bowling attack has become stale and too predictable. The attendance is absolutely disgraceful.

Posted by CricFanKrish on (February 14, 2014, 22:05 GMT)

It is easy to get carried away by Australia's success against South Africa in the last few days. However, I see a problem and to me it is quite glaring. Though the batting has done well, there is one bowler doing all the damage - Johnson. Take Johnson away and it seems much less intimidating. Agreed they have good bowlers in Harris and Siddle. But, are they capable of running through South Africa the way Johnson has? What if Johnson were to get injured? The sun is shining on Australia and Johnson, but it won't last for ever. Australia will very likely win this test. However, they need to have good alternatives if Johnson is not available for whatever reasons. He can win matches by himself, but he will have his off days for sure. It will be interesting to see what Australia do when that happens.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 14, 2014, 22:03 GMT)

The only thing that SA can get out this game now is pride. If the batsmen can actually put up a fight and wear some deliveries from Johnson instead of flapping their hands about. Maybe they can keep the Aussie bowlers in the hot sun for a day or so, make them toil, try and grind them into they ground like we did in Adelaide. Injuries would be unfortunate.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 22:01 GMT)

Greatest Game; I didn't go into players collectively I just said the cricket we have played as a team in the last 6 games has been outstanding. I'm a little sick of hearing that we are winning only because how bad Sa and England are. Both these teams are world class, yet so far although I'm not counting this game as over we have been miles in front. JB633 I qualified my post as the last 5.5 games only so not sure why you are using the India example and having a go at me. Greatest Game, JB633 how much would we win by if were brilliant?

Posted by VivGilchrist on (February 14, 2014, 21:50 GMT)

If roles were reversed, people would be saying that Australia were lucky to come up against a weak England, SA are the best team in the world, and that the Aussies are pretenders. The game is not over, but if I were an English fan I would be feeling better about the Ashes as Australia are just playing an awesome brand of cricket at the moment. Credit where credit is due.

Posted by Int.Curator on (February 14, 2014, 21:40 GMT)

SA is another team with no plans or players to carry out the operation.

Australia have had the intent, plan and skill to destroy oppositions since the arrival of Boof.

At which time the No1 ranking was decided.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 21:40 GMT)

Steyn may be the world's best bowler, but Johnson is the world's most dangerous bowler at the moment and I know who I'd rather have in my team. That said, I think SA can salvage a draw, their ability to dig in and survive is phenomenal. Johnson is the X-factor, SA have not had to put their legendary survival skills up against a bowler in such superlative form before. It was encouraging from an Aussie point of view to see how clueless Du Plessis looked against Johnson, maybe we can banish the memories of Adelaide yet.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 21:30 GMT)

In my view, the Aussies are now the number one team in world cricket, in all formats. With a plethora of young rising stars (Titans) on the team, the future looks bleak for their opponents.

I anticipate Clarke to declare mid-way through the morning session with a total in excess of 550. I also expect some lusty, hard-hitting, T20-like slogging on resumption and a confident declaration about an hour or so in and further 75 to 100 to the already daunting chase!

Only Mother Nature can save the Saffers from a humiliating, crushing defeat!

Posted by ilililililililililililililx on (February 14, 2014, 21:25 GMT)

so SA get one bad game. Big deal, they are still the no.1 team atm. AUstralia, watch will know what true cricket is when SA play them in the next match

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 21:25 GMT)

On batting alone, Watson would definitely be out. He simply doesn't have the century-making qualities of someone like Hughes or, from the looks of it, Marsh and Doolan. (It's Hughes I feel sorry for...)

It would be worth rewarding both Doolan and Marsh with an extended run and seeing how we go without Watson, at least while Mitch is in this kind of form and currently relieving the bowling unit of a lot of pressure.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 21:15 GMT)

No doubt I could get pilloried by fans of other teams but - could the performance of these batsmen who have been conspicuously NOT topping the Shield scores and averages suggest that Australia is back to its good old days when the bowling in the Shield is as tough, if not slight better, than a lot of international bowling? How many ex Test players do we have in the Shield now? Bollinger, Copeland, Hilfenhaus, McKay, Hastings, Hauritz, Botha, Doherty. Not to mention the fringe international players like Cutting and Sayers. Our bowling depth could finally be benefiting our batsmen...

Posted by mrmonty on (February 14, 2014, 21:11 GMT)

David Warner is turning out to be quite a third innings bully; I mean that in a flattering way. Give him little bit of lead in the first innings and he will smash out a humongous lead to shut out the opposition totally.

Posted by shopcraft on (February 14, 2014, 21:11 GMT)

If Australia employ the same policy as the Ashes and stick with a winning combo, then there is no need to bring Watto back in. Save him for the one-dayers... If Smith can bowl a few leggies, that pretty much replaces what Watson was doing. Fair enough, Watson is more economical and got an occassional wicket, but Smith needs to develop his bowling at the highest level to become the 5th bowling option. Doolan is the future in the top order, Marsh is steady as a test player as well. Good all round performance so far from Australia, thanks Smith for putting us in for a bat as well!!

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 21:09 GMT)

the aussies are looking really good for the next 5-10 years with a healthy crop of batsmen in their early twenties with real talent, a list of first rate fast bowlers in their early twenties and a genuine leggie..i still think this team we are fielding isnt the best we have. doolan, marsh and rogers, and to a lesser extent, lyon, could be replaced with any of our second and third string players- and rogers surely has to make way for some youth now. he has been less than convincing over the last 12 months. i dont think johnson is the difference though, we have 2 other quicks who are pinning down batsmen, and some pace and a bit of doubt into where the next ball is going to go has the batsmen with no reprieve. take out the other two and MJ wouldnt be nearly as effective. credit to him, but batsmen see his offerings and go for them..hence he's alot more expensive, and has the wickets. its a near perfect combination..now for that leggie... and he's good!

Posted by CowboyNQ on (February 14, 2014, 21:04 GMT)

@shot274 agee with you completely. However the good news is that if SAf maintain this insipid brand of cricket the Aus quicks won't need a rest any time soon.

Posted by shot274 on (February 14, 2014, 20:29 GMT)

@Scott Stevo. Agree. I think it will be Doolan who misses out. Technically he is probably better than Marsh but he was brought in for Watson and Marsh for Bailey. Tactically it would be right to get Watson back in but its still hard on whichever individual is left out. Can i also say that what i have seen in the last 3 days has been 'brilliant' from Australia. If the definition of brilliance is that it needs to be sustained than we can only use it retrospectively and frankly i dont give a toss about the semantics of it! This brand of cricket from Australia is exciting and compelling and deserves credit irrespective of which country you originate from!

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 20:17 GMT)

South Africa are a real joke compared to this Australian team. Go join England in the nets and come back when your ready

Posted by Chris_P on (February 14, 2014, 19:59 GMT)

@CM1000 Thanks, but I'll still acknowledge Steyn & Co & the Boks as the rightful #1, as these guys have been performing over a sustained period. They are still a very, very good side, witnessed by their efforts against India & us last season. They'll miss Kallis, for sure, & his legacy will still be able to afford them the #1 rank for a while yet. We are on a purple patch & we have to enjoy the ride while it's full on!

Posted by Cricsnake on (February 14, 2014, 19:51 GMT)

@Wasim_Wasamadroota, Hah very funny mate. A captain must be mentally strong. He should face immense risk and go for the kill. A Ranatunga was was such positive & fighting captain for SL.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 19:50 GMT)

@Jono. I agree with what you said. Give prase where prase is due. well done Aussies.

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 14, 2014, 19:47 GMT)

@shot274, the unfortunate thing is that one of Doolan or Marsh will most likely get dropped for Watson. I think we've done well here with 4 bowlers and thankfully we haven't had to bowl an excessive amount of overs - yet. That said, we want to use Johnson in short, sharp bursts and to manage that and Harris, I can understand why Watson will be preferred. I suppose a lot will depend on how long SA can keep us bowling over the next 2 days. If it were on batting alone, I think Watson would be sitting out the next test after the batting display from Marsh and Doolan. Few words also about S Marsh who is also on 44* and is playing another fine innings...

Posted by CM1000 on (February 14, 2014, 19:38 GMT)

@Chris_P love your post from 18:03 GMT - I couldn't believe all those poor judges saying Clarke was full of it saying Australia's attack was better than SA's. To any decent judge who watched the Ashes in detail it was completely obvious that on current form Australia's attack is unmatched. No disrespect to Steyn and Morkel who are great bowlers, but Johnson's current form is in a different league to anything seen since the great West Indians, and the rest of the Australia attack never let the pressure off. On current form there is no comparison.

Posted by Wasim_Wasamadroota on (February 14, 2014, 19:36 GMT)

If Angelo Matthews was captain of Australia he would be playing for the draw right now.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 19:34 GMT)

@swauzzy. when your team is in that position and manage to draw the match, then I think it is wonderful. going for a win I agree, but you have priorities and those are to make your country proud by not loosing. a draw is better than loosing.

Posted by shot274 on (February 14, 2014, 19:21 GMT)

89 on debut against the no.1 team and so few words about Doolan. Something about him reminds me of Damien Martyn. What a travesty if he is dropped because Watson is fit for the second test.Could happen if Aus need to reduce the workload on their pacers.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 19:17 GMT)

The shout from Aussie fans to SA is "Are you England in disguise?"

Once the confidence is shot, it looked like a very familiar story Morkel and Steyn look like bowlers. Johnson looks like some kind of primed cricketing dynamite - and the batsmen are flinching at every ball he bowls.

SA look really poor in the field. Not just the dropped catches, the comedy throwing the ball away (Duminy) , falling over while fielding (Morkel) ball straight under the body (Amla) overthrows (various) and that's just in the 3 hours I watched!

Not sure I've seen any team field with as many comedy errors as SA today.

"Ordinary" is an over used phrase often used inappropriately - SA were not "ordinary" - they were "rubbish".

Except DeVilliers - who batted brilliantly, kept wonderfully - I feel sad for him because he is probably the best batsman on either team. Without Kallis and with Smith looking a spent force - surrounded by bits and pieces all-rounders, his task is looking harder by day.

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 14, 2014, 19:16 GMT)

@jb633, well, maybe you should, as I've not mentioned anything about the team being brilliant, merely stating that this team performance has been brilliant. Considering we were sent in to bat, made near 400, then rolled the #1 team in their backyard for 200 odd and now lead by 479 runs with 2 days to play - I'd say that's brilliant. Are you disagreeing? You argue that Greatest_Game's point was clearly made and decipher that rabble to indicate that the Aus team aren't brilliant. I'd agree. However, I won't agree that nothing that Aus, barring Johnson, has done in this test has been brilliant, as only the most biased and one eyed supporter wouldn't say that Smith and Marsh's innings and partnership wasn't.

@Cpt.Meanster, I've not said anything like that. I'm sure there are plenty saying it, however, at #3 in the rankings, and without even winning this test, let alone series, I'd say their ridiculous. It's fair that all supporters are OTT at times, I mean, Ind think they can win away!

Posted by page8383 on (February 14, 2014, 19:10 GMT)

Greatest Game: The Aussies are up by nearly 500 with 7 still in the shed. If you think this is only good, and not "brilliant", then the South Africans must be worried about when the Aussies really do hit their straps. It'll be an innings + defeat

Posted by swauzzie on (February 14, 2014, 19:05 GMT)

@IndiaRulesEverybody Hear hear! I totally agree! Just because a team is expert at drawing tests & boring fans to tears doesn't mean they should be no 1! The no 1 team in the World should be know for their ability to WIN matches! Not to bore the living bla bla bla out of cricket lovers! I love test cricket & I can admit the Steve Waugh era was my absolute favorite (80's Viv Richards no 2) But this was because they Always went for the win. Do or die was the war cry! Thats what cricket is all about - none of this so called "Faf heroics" rubbish of holding on for a draw! There's nothing heroic about drawing a test at all, it's sad! Go Aussie, put the Saffers out of their missery!!!

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (February 14, 2014, 19:02 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster, '...they continue to win games for India'...! Kohli and Pujara have not won a single test for India in Eng, SA and Aus. Performing in India cannot be given the weight one assigns for performances in Eng, SA and Aus; they are the fair and sporting stages for cricket; not India or Pakistan. Just open your eyes and see; Warner, Doolan, Marsh, Smith and seniors; all are comfortable with bounce on SA wickets. If Tendulkar or Kohli handle it well it is news; for Australians it is routine. Then how would you discuss about 'The finest batsman' without comparing? Your 'everyone brings something' is just a denial; face it to win it; doesn't matter if you lose now. Either your mind lack passion or you are just doing what all Indian fans do; denying!

Posted by Roshan_P on (February 14, 2014, 18:50 GMT)

It seems that SA have many bits and pieces players in their team. I think Robin Peterson and Ryan McLaren are average bowlers who can bat a bit. I think SA have to push the boat out a bit and bring in someone like Kyle Abbott or Marchant de Lange and then a proper spinner as well. Someone, like Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, whose pace can match up to Mitch's and a genuine spinner who can actually turn the ball a lot and is accurate. SA have to be a bit more confident in their batting line up and not feel they have to bring in players who can bat a bit at the expense of their bowling. Philander is good enough to play an all-rounder role, and batsmen such as du Plessis, de Villers and Amla are among the best in the world.

Posted by shot274 on (February 14, 2014, 18:40 GMT)

Many comments about Johnson not being the only difference. Cannot disagree ;there have been 3 centurions already for Australia. But MJs performance is beyond the outcome of this match. Yes Back-Foot-Cringe-stupendous just about describes it. He came on tour with all this hype and needed 17 overs to deliver it. What an exhibition of aggression and control. He didnt just upstage Steyn, no other fast bowler was even in the frame. Early days but it appears that he is once again doing exactly what he did against England; not just win a match but force a lack of belief and mental disintegration within the opponent.

Posted by IndiaRulesEverybody on (February 14, 2014, 18:35 GMT)

SA being put in it's rightful place. World No.1?? Hardly.

Posted by Chris_P on (February 14, 2014, 18:25 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster. Talk about selective memory recall. One thing here, no-one, & I mean no-one cowers at spin bowling. They cower at extreme pace. The Indian series, as stated by many Aussies included many players who were not up to scratch. This is a very different team, You also stated Australia was a poor team prior to both the last Ashes & this series & would get humbled, praising the South Africans for their determination to grind Australia out of it, now you have turned on them? Yes, Australia have performed well in South Africa, & it's an away game. This game always changes, almost nothing is constant. South Africa is still a very good team & deserve #1 for their consistent efforts over the past few years. Try posting positive posts got a change.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 18:19 GMT)

Let's be honest SAF has been carrying cricketers. Kallis,Amla,Steyn,AbdV and Smith were pulling all the weight of the team and when the most important cog has gone away they all look deer in headlights.Lets be honest Duminy and Elgar are pathetic players considering Stiaan Van Zyl is been left out.Petersen opening looks to be playing out of his league.Not sure what Maclaren is Philander and Peterson are pompous, not sure they can afford to be ,not surely Robbie P.Robin Peterson is probably the most arrogant cricketer on the field considering the sort of performances he delivers.

Posted by Forza_Scuderia on (February 14, 2014, 18:18 GMT)

@Rob Lyness, I find it quite strange that you classify the entire Australian team second rate bar Johnson... They have a captain who is second to none and whom alongside Amla have set the standard quite high for test batsmen over the last few years. Then you have Warner and Smith who are starting to flourish as test cricketers... On top of that you have Siddle a reliable workhorse with a bowling average better than Morkel, Harris who if not for injury could have been one of the best and then the all conquering Johnson who if used properly and doesn't self destruct is probably the most fearsome fast bowler today. Hell, even the "second rate" Lyon is a good deal better than the spinners the Proteas have.

I'm not sure of Rogers place in the Aussie line-up and Doolan has only now been introduced but I like what I see apart from the lack of intent to score quickly.

On balance, I think Australian side have the beating of the Proteas. It's even worse if you consider the talent sitting out

Posted by valvolux on (February 14, 2014, 18:13 GMT)

Um, a bit rich saying oz relies on a few. Of the top 6, 4 have scored 100s in the last two tests, doolan 80 odd and Clarke....Clarke is the failure. Over 10 tests against england, apparently a magic batting order, they never posted 400. Australia have been masters of getting into winning positions or at least first innings leads..,,for a long time, whether it was against England in england, India in India or south Africa in south Africa. Now australia has learnt how to dominate in the second innings, its looked down upon. The obvious thing to fix, for 5 years...was...play out 5 days. Now we are....we are second innings bullies. Remember, sa sent us in here...and we batted second the last two ashes tests. This team might not have the greatest batsmen....but they can now make enough runs over 2 innings and the bowlers are unparalleled. Oz is no. 1, second is daylight. Bring India in India.

Posted by wapuser on (February 14, 2014, 18:09 GMT)

Sa will lose this test series 3-0 this is exactly what England thought, but this mj is here to stay and in current form is probably one of the best quicks of all time... Aus have always been the best cricketing nation, sa were just lucky to peak at opposite times to everyone else as their team is pretty bad, especially without Kallis who really held the team together as we see now. Funny how sa supporters are the most arrogant yet they have never won anything of note really??

Posted by Chris_P on (February 14, 2014, 18:03 GMT)

Someone asked for it, here are pre game comments about Johnson;Some quotes when Johnson & the Aussie pace attack was labelled as the best by Clarke & McDermott, @Andre117, "Don't expect our batsmen to roll over and play dead like England did.". @ Lakshmanan Ramanathan "The fact of the matter is SA have at least 2 better bowlers than MJ in Steyn and Philander and I would be surprised if Philander ends up with lesser wickets than MJ this series.." (Are you surprised now?)@ pjd_Howzat "The reality is that SA has 3 bowlers that are all better than Johnson" (they should pick them then, shouldn't they? , @ Jibber-Jabber - "wait until Morkel at 6ft6 gets to bowl ... then you'll see ducking and hopping. Series is SA's to take." (Got to admit, Morne doesn't duck too well either), @ Martin Nosworthy "Sorry Mr McDermott - the facts just don't back you up!! Another Aussie just mouthing off", (Ever heard of walking the talk?).

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 17:57 GMT)

Plenty being said here about Johnson being the big difference and yep, sure, he is to a large extent, but it's not he and he alone. At the same time we've had the coming again of Dave Warner, the coming of age of Steve Smith, Ryan Harris breaking through the injury barrier and the golden twilight of Brad Haddin. Chris Rogers has also lent solidity and Lyon's now extended run is starting to reap a fine harvest. All of this could be seen at the back end of the first leg of the ashes, it was in our case sadly washed away with the rain and one great nut from Bres to knock over Warner at Durham when he had us screaming at the finish line. Replace these guys for a moment, if you will, with Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaj,Phil Hughes, Ben Hilfenhaus and Matty Wade. Things are not looking so rosy now, are they? Chuck in the tyrannical Micky Arthurs and things are looking even stormier. We are just lucky that Clarke wasn't pushed aside as captain too. So yes, Johnson has been great, but not alone!

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 17:55 GMT)

I think it was an Ozzie fan who said a while back that the Petersons, Duminy and Faf were average. I would agree that the Petersons and McLaren are very average. Amla's lack of form is also hurting us badly right now but he'll be back. Replacing Kallis with McLaren was a bad move IMHO. We would have been better served by another quick and a specialist batsman at the expense of Peterson. Rather have 1 player who can bowl at the top level and one who can bat there, than 2 who can do both but not at the top level. As usual SA cricket not aggressive enough. Well played Oz - but SA - time to pull the finger out.

Posted by gladiatorgannicus on (February 14, 2014, 17:48 GMT)

some are already questioning SA's no 1 status.they did not turn no 1 in a day or a year.they r not t no 1 without a reason.at the same time Aus did alright in Eng but did not win.but since the ashes down under they have been terrific.seems like they r gonna reclaim t no1 spot soon.a team has got 2 win consistently to be no1 which SA has done so untill now and if Aus do t same they will be t no1.Rankings dont lie.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 17:46 GMT)

Johnson is just having a purple patch as for the rest the Aussies are second rate.On most occasions the bowlers and wicket keeper pull them out of the dwang.Johnson is still brittle mentally and it will not surprise to see him fall apart and start bowling his usual cartload or succumb to the all popular hammie .Australian cricketers love to talk themselves up and it was only a short while ago this same team were the whipping boy.SA need Amla to find some form and show a little more fight than the poms. SA will win the series 2-0.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 17:44 GMT)

@Greatest_Game, semantics won't help much at this point mate. For most Aussies, having suffered with our team through a quite horrible period last year, this sort of performance can only be seen as brilliant, extraordinary, sublime, put it however you will, the fact is we imploded under Micky Arthur and now our men are blooming under Darren Lehmann. Day 1 belonged to Marsh, day 2 to Johnson, day 3 to Warner. You couldn't have made that storyline up last june. Why should we not indulge ourselves a little in this performance? Do you see any regulars here talking trash about SA? No. We can and will enjoy it, both as team and fans, we've come to SA and absolutely steamrolled our way through the first 3 days play against the undisputed world champions. That can only be brilliant, can it not? It doesn't matter how poor you think SA have been, they are not THAT poor, they didn't get to no.1 by being inconsistent, they're a great team and we've done brilliantly to push them back!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 14, 2014, 17:42 GMT)

@ Scott_Stevo: I am happy for Australia doing well but to think this is a the beginning of another era of dominance in world cricket is absolutely premature. I would say the same thing for any team. If people simply downplay Aussie achievements then that's plain stupidity. I think Australia are HOT at the moment and are playing fabulous cricket overall. I would give them 2 more years to continue such performances before tagging them as world beaters. Then again, everybody is entitled to his/her opinion in a public debate. The reality of the matter is neither you nor me plays the cricket out there, it's the players.

Posted by Back-Foot-Cringe on (February 14, 2014, 17:38 GMT)

Okay, with this post the adjective *brilliant* & its derivatives brilliance & brilliantly are officially retired & may not be used henceforth on this thread.

Kindly consult your friendly online thesaurus for synonymous alternative terminology.

BTW, in case no one has said so hitherto, I shall: *stupendous* bowling effort from Mitch Johnson.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 14, 2014, 17:35 GMT)

@ MaruthDelft: I would be a little circumspect if I were you. You demand credit and respect from others when you yourself fail to give it back. Pujara and Kohli are world class players who have proven themselves in all conditions. They don't have to prove anything to anyone as long as they continue to win games for India, which they have done many times in the past. I think it's foolish to compare players because every player brings something different to the table. Obviously, AB and Clarke are seniors in terms of age and experience compared to Pujara and Kohli. So your argument lacks credibility when you say 'all' Indian batsmen are not as good as Aussie or SA batsmen in general. The fact is Aussie and SA batsmen fail most of the time in Indian conditions. A well informed cricket fan would acknowledge those facts as well irrespective of which country they support.

Posted by IndCrab on (February 14, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

Next year Harbajan Singh will sink Australian cricket team . Aussie fear Genuine Fast from Umesh , Varun , Anwar , Shami and Ishanth. We will win the series 3 - 1 sans umpire bucknor

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (February 14, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge-Looks-Silly-Now Marsh was the worst batsman in that 2011-12 Ind vs Aus tour in Aus. He fared much worse than Indian batters (against Indian bowlers) I thought his test career was all but over and was a bit surprised to see Marsh in this test but he seems to have rediscovered himself like Jhonson.

Back to the game, Aus wont play more than a session tomorrow so that leaves SA 5 sessions to chase around 520-550 which is next to impossible against this attack. SA's best bet is a draw (that too if rain permits and Mitch doesn't bowl much) but i have always said even a draw has to be earned. Let us wait and see how Amla, Faf, and AB perform. The Rest just make up the numbers(and only good at bullying Indian bowlers)

Posted by StarveTheLizard on (February 14, 2014, 17:28 GMT)

There are a few posts recalling SA's amazing fight backs. Those occurred when the team was at its best. That was against less well-balanced attacks than this one. I will be very surprized if Australia do not win this one. It was when SA displayed a whole lot more self-belief. This team are playing as if they have already lost.

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 14, 2014, 17:26 GMT)

There is always something scary about SA pulling out miracles - the 434 chase, the one in Perth, the escapes in Jo'burg, Adelaide etc. Hope we get over the line this time. Another 10 wickets this innings please , Mitch and Co !!!

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (February 14, 2014, 17:22 GMT)

so Australian bowlers got way more from this pitch than SA bowlers. Steyn has been way over bowled in last few tests and signs are there for everyone to see

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 17:22 GMT)

After first days play , South Africa got unlucky with the toss as they should have batted first. After second days play, It's only day 2 and still South Africa are in the game. After today , it's only the beginning of the series and South Africa are slow starters.

Conclusion: South Africa has led to their own down fall.

My reaction: Lol , for the so called No 1 team in tests and to say they are slow starters at home is inexplicable. I loved the way doolan bats reminds me of greg blewett. All in all Australia have trounced South africa for 3 days , Is the team finally settling ?? . Looking forward to towards play.. Aussie Aussie Go GO GO

Posted by blunderbus on (February 14, 2014, 17:21 GMT)

Looks like Faf and AB will have to stand for 4+ sessions with the rest chipping in some overs. At least they've been there. Doing my rain-dance nevertheless ...

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (February 14, 2014, 17:19 GMT)

Surely Kallis would have helped but it is not only about who plays for a team. South Africans are determined fighters unlike say Indians who get cowed down in no time when they come out of the comforts of their home. And Johnson can't bowl like this all the time. First test is gone but SA are capable of staging a fight back in the second.

Posted by AussiePhoenix on (February 14, 2014, 17:18 GMT)

@ Kharni Too late, Kallis already has. He is an extremely intuitive cricketer. The writing was on the wall. SA team knew it, underneath, now their fears are being realised.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 14, 2014, 17:16 GMT)

@ MaruthuDelft: We all saw how the Aussie batsmen were cowering in fear to good spin bowling in India where they were dismantled 4-0 by a superior team. Can your players even play spin bowling ? No matter how many times they try, they will always fail in India. If this Aussie team toured India now, they will be smashed to bits. So you are calling Pujara and Kohli as 'work in progress' and Alex Doolan as an accomplished player ? If you are, then you seriously need a crash course in statistics. Pujara and Kohli are one of the best already and they don't need to prove anything to anyone as long as they continue to win games for India, which they have done many times already. Australia and SA batsmen all struggle in the sub continent and there is nothing so rosy about that. There is always 2 sides to a coin my friend.

Posted by Ragav999 on (February 14, 2014, 17:16 GMT)

@ScottStevo: Very well said. The Ashes was a nightmare tour for any England supporter with their team disintegrated within 100 days which the 3 Ashes wins in a row could not achieve. The shell shocked fans need something to cling on to comfort themselves that the Aussies are not "brilliant".

Posted by Blackholesun on (February 14, 2014, 17:13 GMT)

Wow ! Just 3 days and three centuries by Aussies, great going !! Is this the start of new era in Australian cricket ?

Anyways still 2 full days are remaining. it will be really tough for SA to save this match.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 17:08 GMT)

Would be interesting to see the playing XI of the 2nd test. Imperative that Doolan sticks around the squad and the selectors show faith in him for a sustained period of time. The defence looks solid and played the famed South African attack with ease as well to prove his mettle!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 14, 2014, 17:07 GMT)

I hope all SA fans accept the fact that they are no more the best test team. Their bowlers are treated as if they are club level by the Aussie batsmen and Mitchell Johnson has exposed the frailties in their batting left wide open after Kallis' retirement. It's only one game but I still feel Australia will go on to win this series because on current form, they are the BEST team in the world. SA fans will need to cling on to their past records and hope that their team comes out this hole, which is a crater actually. Can't see SA save this match from here. I am only speaking as a neutral and I always do speak my mind out. I think SA will lose this test badly. As always, the team that wins the first test usually goes on to win the series. Well done Australia !

Posted by gladiatorgannicus on (February 14, 2014, 17:07 GMT)

right now Mitch seems to be the best bowler.contiuing his form from ashes.seems like its all over 4 SA this test.SA could still draw it cos they hav done it before but with ball keepin low and Mitch very difficult.Warner superb 2day.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 17:03 GMT)

Dear All Batsmen M/s Mitchell Dennis Lillee Johnson is going to hound you all now with very painful attack both in terms of blistering pace like fire and that infamous firey look and talk of the late seventies !

Posted by binojpeter on (February 14, 2014, 17:03 GMT)

Australia is in a good position in this Test. They just need to bat another 10 overs next day, add on 40 more runs and then declare. That will give SA a target of 519 runs to score from 170 overs.

Posted by jb633 on (February 14, 2014, 17:01 GMT)

@Scott_Stevo, I don't think I will and your point comes across poorly. Greatest game is making the correct point that Aus as a side are not brilliant but very good. It is far from killing me either. I think Johnson is brilliant for the game of cricket and a strong Aussie side is good for the game too. I just think the ultra nationalistic Aussie fans are letting their minds drift to delusions of "grandeur" as you put it. Aus are playing good cricket I am not denying this. To call this the second coming of utter dominance is a bit premature though. You have your opinions and I have mine, I don't think you need to be 'spared' though.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 17:00 GMT)

Let's not forget what this team has achieved against these same Aussies, what will I do not to forget Perth 2008, Adelaide 2012, Johannesburg 2005, Johannesburg 2013 v India - this SA team can come back from impossible situations. I hope this weekend they pull out another record match saving effort. SA did not get to number 1 through dominating the opposition but through outplaying them. Check what happens to these fighting Aussies when they have used up all their strength trying to bowl SA out this weekend with no success. It will clip the wind off their sail, then it will be advantage SA. So I say, bring it on!

Posted by TheBowlerHoldingTheBatsmansWilley on (February 14, 2014, 16:56 GMT)

@altafpatel - in the last 3 instances of Australia batting 2nd inn and then posting a declaration has been when the match lead is well above 500 in total. Clarke will think long and hard before declaring short.

Great ton by Warner and unlucky for Doolan falling short.

Two days still to play and SA has pedigree in test chases

Posted by woody3 on (February 14, 2014, 16:48 GMT)

This is getting horribly familiar. Aus stuffed England, are stuffing SA, and SA were clearly superior to India. I really hope not another era of Aus domination.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 14, 2014, 16:42 GMT)

Is it just that SA are playing poorly or is it that Australia have forced them to play poorly? Just as an example - when we play gully cricket, we can score a 50 or a 70. Then you play against a quality university team, you play, poke and miss and make an ugly looking poor score of 10 - looks like poor batting. But what has happened in reality is that you are not up to scratch to counter that quality university team's onslaught. The same thing applies here, IMO. It's not that SA is playing poorly. It's all they got against Australia. Australia is playing brilliant cricket at this time and when you confront them, you look poor. Credit where it is due. It is the brilliance of Australia that is making SA look poor and play poorly - batting, bowling and fielding too. SA's bowling is anyway weak to start with. That isn't helping them either. This Australia team is nowhere close to the Aussies of 90s/2000s. And still SA is struggling against them. Just shows the standard of cricket is down.

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 14, 2014, 16:40 GMT)

@Greatest_Game, did I say anything about the team being brilliant? It was a brilliant innings from Marsh, just as ABDV's was.

@jb633, if you, or your mate Greatest_Game were so articulate, you'd know the meaning of brilliant and the difference between it and the word he's actually trying to use, which is outstanding.

Look, I know it's difficult for you guys to watch us killing you, but spare us with your downgrading and downplaying of our achievements; or worse still, your delusions of grandeur and intellect.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (February 14, 2014, 16:38 GMT)

Ah Ha! The hilarious @Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist is back. You are the one kept on writing 'Pujara the best in the world' when batsmen like AB and Clarke were around!!! Now you call 'SA bowling weak' which actually helped SA beat Australia in Australia; can India ever do that? You hailed Pujara as world's best for that century in SA; could you now see all the Australian batsmen play SA well? Pujara and Kohli are better among Indians but don't hurry to call them world class; they have to do a lot more before being compared to Australian and South African batsmen.

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 14, 2014, 16:36 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx , got to hand it to you - Doolan looks the perfect No 3 !! played really well in both the innings but fell to poor shots. No hints of nervousness, fishing outside the off-stump and all the stuff !! Now, where would that leave Watto ? Without a 5th bowler, it will be too much of a load for the pacers !! Best solution is to have Smith bowl some of his leggies !!! Then we are done with Watto as a test batsman for-ever !!

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 14, 2014, 16:33 GMT)

Max. 10 overs in the morning tomorrow - score as much as we can and make the call. Expecting the target to be around 550+. Can we do it ? Can we take those prized 10 wickets of the No 1 test team again ?

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (February 14, 2014, 16:33 GMT)

Every one talking about Johnson but it is more about Australian batting which has shown supurb performance otherwise people will expect South African bowling to get Australians out for under 300. Steyn, Philander and Morkel all of them looked some mediocre bowlers. South Africa should have included Tahir.

Posted by rahsun on (February 14, 2014, 16:30 GMT)

A team in cricket cannot be number 1 for long with individual brilliances. Everyone needs to step up. It is a team sport. Kallis gone and SA no way looks the force they once were. Remove ABD and Steyn and any team can compete against SA and top 3 teams can beat them at any ground in any conditions, hands down. enough said, time to hand over the No.1 mantle.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 16:27 GMT)

Australia have South Africa by the throat, & are shaking them like a terrier shakes a rat! At this point the only possible POSITIVE outcomes for SA are:

1. An incredible 2nd innings batting performance that earns SA a draw. Possible - not likely. 2. An even more incredible 2nd innings batting performance that earns SA the all time 4th innings chase record they came so close to against India. Possible - even less likely. 3. The South African selectors FINALLY accept the need to bring a REAL bowler & a REAL batsman into the team, instead of so-called all rounders who have neither of the skills needed. Beuran Hendricks & Quinton de Kock stand far ahead of the rest, & deserve selection. Really really unfortunately, this is the least likely of all outcomes. Underperforming players will be retained. Before this series many predicted the poor performances we have seen from Duminy, Robbie P, & McLaren. (Questions surround Alviro & Faf too.) Its not really rocket science is it. They must go.

Posted by AltafPatel on (February 14, 2014, 16:20 GMT)

It will be exaggerated to conclude match or series at that stage despite lethal blow from Aus. They had same position when SA toured them in 2012 when they completely dominated first 2 tests and half of the third test before final 196 punch from Amla knocked them down! So let's wait and watch...

Posted by AltafPatel on (February 14, 2014, 16:15 GMT)

Normally Aus declare when target pass 400, but not this time, because they know they are playing team of master in chasing. They will first ensure draw before declaring innings, as India did in first test.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 16:10 GMT)

@Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist Clarke won't do that, he always goes with declaration that gives a short horrible 10 over period for the openers to negotiate just before a break. That said, they're going to attack in the morning, they'll probably still get the lead to ~550 anyway. That's more than enough.

Posted by jb633 on (February 14, 2014, 16:10 GMT)

@Greatest_Game, I think you may be wasting your well articulated, very valid point on the cricinfo fans. I agree with you 100 % though. Johnson has been brilliant. This is a fact. Marsh and Smith put together an excellent partnership. This Aussie side is not brilliant but very good. To be brilliant (like Aus in the 90's) all conditions must be conquered. Despite what all Aussies will say, Lyon got murdered in India and would most probably do again. I do not think he is rubbish at all, he is a good solid bowler, but still don't think he will win them test matches on turning decks against top players of spin. Sectors of the Aussie fans, like all to be fair (inc myself at times), get carried away when their team wins or loses. Even if SA lose this test, the Aussie batting line up has a a collapse in them. The key will be if the SA batsmen can face up to Mitch to capitalise when it does happen.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 16:07 GMT)

I never supported the big three proposal but I am glad its out there with the new FTP. It ll mean Pakistan won't play MJ and I wouldn't want another below 50 total for our team. England and South Africa have been the better players of pace along with Australia and New Zealand. I doubt there is a team in the world which can face him at his best. If he can continuosly perform, it won't be long before he gains the title of No.1 bowler. That being said I am slightly disappointed with Steyn tactics, he is no MJ and has his own style of taking wickets. Why try to emulate him, why change something that has been working for you for so long? He got a 4 wicket haul in the previous innings and he wasnt even at his best (slow and slightly wide). Surely he could have improvised and in his own unique way. I hope the team management points to out to him at the end of the day's play. The match is already won by the Aussies.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 14, 2014, 16:04 GMT)

I don't think SA has the bowling to take 20 Aussie wickets in this whole series. Australia is now effectively 479/3. Brilliance from Australia and in a completely commanding position. Play until lunch tomorrow for a lead of around 600 and that's game over for SA. I expected SA will at least win at home. From the looks of it, it doesn't seem to be happening. Unless rain saves them, there is no way they can draw this match.

Posted by Kharnie on (February 14, 2014, 16:04 GMT)

Ok so I'd like to apologise to all the Australian supporters, I now acknowledge that this side of there's is most probably the best in the world, was hard to believe when I saw them against england but now that i have seen this i think we are in big trouble just hope our team isnt left in tatters like England was after the series, and that no one retires because of this........ :(

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 15:58 GMT)

What a fine player Doolan is. He reminds me of Dough Walters. The same stance and eagerness to score runs. It seems he will be the next shining star of international cricket

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 15:51 GMT)

@ ScottStevo. I guess we have differing criteria for brilliant. For me, brilliant is beyond the norm, beyond extraordinary, absolutely memorable. I would reserve brilliant for Clarke's innings in Brisbane & Adelaide. If you think that Marsh's innings was as good, well, we all have opinions.

If Aussies really want to call this current team, & it's performance, brilliant, I don't really care. It is not that important. But, pretty soon they will have to resort to extra brilliant, mega brilliant, hyper brilliant, super brilliant, etc, to describe better performances, which this team is capable of. Where does it stop? How many adjectives do Aussies need to get over their last few years of mediocrity? After a few years down, suddenly everything about this team is "brilliant." Really?

If this team is brilliant, how do you describe the Waugh/Ponting teams? They were better than this team, were they not? Or do Aussies believe this team to be their best ever? Their "most brilliant?"

Posted by Home_Highway_Tigers on (February 14, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

Aussies beating the heck outta Saffas...Great sight...It will be more delightful for a neutral if Saffas beat the heck outta Aussies too, when they come to bat. Lets see.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 14, 2014, 15:37 GMT)

Australia should bat until lunch tomorrow, put up a lead of around 600 and unleash the Aussie pacers to exploit SA batsmen's weakness against pace. I really hope SA doesn't lose at home. You can't go into a test match with such weak bowling as SA did in this test match. SA bowlers make Indian bowlers look like world beaters. Philander is such a benign trundler and McLaren is a joke. Steyn isn't the same force he once used to be. As I type this post, he is bowling an ugly negative line outside the leg-stump.

Posted by steve48 on (February 14, 2014, 15:35 GMT)

Are South Africa England in disguise? I could see the Aussies improving during the English leg of the ashes, but this really is steamroller cricket, these last 6 tests they look like the West Indies of the 80s! An amazing turn around under Lehman, with Johnson the talisman. As an Englishman i am not looking forward to the next ashes, cos if they get all their quicks fit then even the loss of Harris could be overcome, if he does start to struggle for fitness that is. Question marks still over their top order, but we aren't exactly teeming with bowlers able to exploit this. Poor old ABD will be knackered unless the top order find a way to negotiate 150kmph balls aimed at their armpits! I know he is a top athlete, but are his runs too valuable to compromise behind the stumps?

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (February 14, 2014, 15:29 GMT)

Never been an Australian supporter; but always have admired the way they approach their cricket (sledging excepted, as uncivilised) - their aggressiveness, their never-let-die approach, and persistently coming at the opposition even when they lose. Without doubt, SA and Australia are the best cricket teams in the world. As a Pakistan supporter, I am supporting South Africa in this series, and know that they shall eventually overcome Australia - SA just needs more mental strength as they have every thing else.

Posted by Iceman29 on (February 14, 2014, 15:27 GMT)

Full credit to Aus...at first I thought Aussies would be hammered...i have been completely wrong...could this be the return of the Aussie dominance...love reading comments from tommytuckasaffa......SA better prepare dead pitches or else johnson will continue to butcher you guys....

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 14, 2014, 15:20 GMT)

SA are now on the back foot once again just like they were against India in the first test. They were lucky to get away against us. Doesn't look like they will get lucky this time around. Proteas should also remember that India beat this Australia team 4-0 not too long ago when they toured India. Now, don't start complaining about food, umpires, hotels, pitches, Sun, wind etc. They were the same for both the teams.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 15:13 GMT)

Wow the Robbie pies previously served right under the bat are now served in a different way. Pity they are too wide to trouble or I should say help the batsmen pile on more and more runs

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 14, 2014, 15:13 GMT)

@Greatest_Game, credit where it's due. Undoubtedly SA haven't played their best cricket and their fielding, especially in the afternoon session, has been a shambles, however, the Austrlian counter attack and both the innings of Marsh and Smith were brilliant innings. Johnson's bowling was brilliant too. And, regardless of how poor SA have been, the Warner/Doolan 200 run partnership was brilliant. So, you can write it up in your head however you'd like to, the rest of those who remain sane and lucid will call it a brilliant performance. (SO FAR). This isn't won yet....

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 15:10 GMT)

Imagine if Midge had been bowling in the early eighties. With the limited protection batsmen used to have those days.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Looks-Silly-Now on (February 14, 2014, 15:10 GMT)

Where are all the Doolan and Marsh haters now? I am ashamed of some of my fellow aussies and the venom they spewed towards them before the game.

Posted by DylanBrah on (February 14, 2014, 15:04 GMT)

What Boof Lehmann has done for this Australian team is nothing short of remarkable. Just goes to show how quickly things can turn around with the right people around and the belief! Who would have thought not so long ago when we were the laughing stock of world cricket on that nightmare tour of India... the Mickey Arthur homework saga... Watson being suspended one game, then brought back the very next match as captain!... that we would win the Ashes 5-0 and then dominate South Africa in South Africa. I know it's a 3-match series, but this is really impressive stuff so far and may set the tone for the series just like against England. After supporting Australia through all the bad times it is so so sweet to be supporting them in these good times. Long may it continue...

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

@2929paul If Australia vs England could have English and Australian umpires there would barely be a need for DRS. We all know it, all the best umpires come from our 2 countries. Unfortunately they're not allowed to umpire in the Ashes.

@PrasPunter I'm almost certain that's what Clarke has in mind. Bat 15 overs in the morning with a blitz and get it to 500, then have 10 overs before lunch and 10 overs after lunch with completely fresh bowlers and a new cherry. If we can't get them out with 2 cracks of a new ball on this pitch and Lyon after 140 overs then SA deserve a draw. And that's assuming there'll be a thunderstorm or 2 late afternoon.

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

@Greatest_Game, if you are going to say SA were unlucky that Steyn was "ill", then you'd have to say that SA were very lucky that the match at the WACA wasn't a dead rubber due to the rain saving them at the GABBA and Patinson unable to bowl in Perth, notwithstanding Fof's magic bus which he left parked in front of the wicket.

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

Also crushing India in the Durban test and the ODI whitewash over them wasn't a great achievement when looking at what NZ are doing to them.

Posted by Gt500 on (February 14, 2014, 14:47 GMT)

South Africa are embarrassing - attack soft with no intensity , venom or intimidation - I wrote on this same site a month ago after Kallis retired - RSA poor Preparation and picking players on merit was needed - I'd bowl & bat better then Peterson - both of them .. PS. Is DeLange injured ?

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

It is rather obvious which test cricket team has the best pace attack in the world.

It is rather obvious who is the best fast bowler in the world.

It is rather obvious that Australia is fast becoming a force in test cricket.

It is not so obvious how weak SA are at the moment.

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

@Shaggy076

I guess you didn't watch the South Africa series versus Pak and then India. Quite brilliant? I think not, SA have been lacking that extra intensity for a while. The no.1 ranking for 18 months seems to have instilled a complacency flavoured softness. Especially when none performers had no threat on their places in the team. Australia are playing really good, but we have to admit S.A are not helping themselves. Also, I don't see how Johnson affects our fielding performance and causes dropped catches?

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

SA deserve to be number 1 ranking, they've played really well over the past couple of years. Australia are getting better, simple as that. It's also their style, going for the win. Not thinking about it, or only if it's not a risk, or accepting a draw as long as means not losing. But pushing with absolutely everything. It is an intense drive, and that builds pressure opponents cannot cope with. Can't help feeling Saffa's who explain this away as SA start slow are fooling themselves. Oz team is going to keep up the pressure, the intensity will frustrate and overwhelm SA throughout the series.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 14:36 GMT)

I would seriously advocate the inclusion of Harmer. If he could hold down one end that'll be gr8 or get a 4 the seamer maybe.He

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 14:34 GMT)

@ Shaggy076. Yesterday I posted "Well done to Australia who have done exactly what they needed to do. Bat sensibly, bowl aggressively, & seize their chances." Is that backhanded?

I also agree that "The South African state of mind at the moment can be attributed to Australias play…" No question about that.

I however don't agree that Aus have been brilliant. I think Johnson has been brilliant. The rest outplayed SA, but on the scale of "brilliance," are they up there? They have been good, but brilliant?

Similarly, SA were unlucky that Steyn was ill & that Morkel picked up a slight injury. But, that does not mean they played well. They have been awful - except for AB. No excuses for dropping Warner 3 times - the 1st one a sitter! Except AB, they look like they are waiting to be rescued from their own incompetence. Smith is clueless. Aus pressured them into incompetence, but does that make Aus brilliant?

Warner was just dismissed by Peterson. The ball was not brilliant, was it?

Posted by 2929paul on (February 14, 2014, 14:34 GMT)

Warner just nicked it to first slip off the spinner and didn't walk. Outrageous. Boof, tell the world he's a cheat and make the Aussie crowds boo him.

Oh, that's right, it's ok not to walk if you're an Aussie, it's an English umpire who gets the decision right and actually, you nicked it to the keeper and it deflected off his gloves to slip.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 14:34 GMT)

Johnson certainly looks scary ! I thought he was just bullying around with a battered eng team in the ashes but he s just pummeled a powerful SA batting line up as if they were amateurs...well done Mitch...looks like his new brand of intimidating bowling is here to stay :)

Posted by Great_Lion on (February 14, 2014, 14:34 GMT)

It's 5 years that world cricket survive with aussies.not any more, they are back to dominate the world.All the countries should have proper plan aginst them unlike south africans and england.

Posted by rahsun on (February 14, 2014, 14:32 GMT)

Looks like the SA team has accepted defeat even without fighting. They are tagged chokers for no reason. They don't deserve the number 1 ranking. Being humiliated at their own backyard. Number 1 team at least shows fight. This team is nothing save for Steyn and ABD

Posted by shot274 on (February 14, 2014, 14:30 GMT)

When one team has twice had 200+ partnerships and the other one got an innings score of 206, its a foregone conclusion isnt it? Must be great if your Aussie but us neutrals are getting a bit tired of one sided contests which have been billed by the media to be the greatest show on Earth!!

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

SA was too overrated,,,the aussies is goin back to their original ranks to be number one,,get use to it yu haters,,,,

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

When are the S.A. bowlers going to bowl using Johnson"s tactics? I don"t think that he will be batting again in this match, so it's too late to serve up some of to his own medicine; toe-crushing yorkers, rather than the hand-breaking bouncers to Smith! Seriously though, S.A. haven't tried fast accurate bouncers aimed at the Aussie batsmen's body between chest and head height.

Posted by vallavarayar on (February 14, 2014, 14:24 GMT)

Ok. SA were number one because they were the best of the rest. Now that they are faced with a single brilliant bowler, they are like marsh mellow. Ryan mclaren and robin Peterson don't cut it at test level. Just beg Kallis to defer his retirement for a year.

Posted by Cricmaths123 on (February 14, 2014, 14:24 GMT)

Now all the people who said that SA's bowling attack is the best better think twice. This so called best attack is not able to get the wickets of Aus's fragile top order. Pakistan's bowling attack is the best followed by Australia's. But Australia batted quite well against this good attack and are in a position to win the match by a huge margin.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 14:24 GMT)

Dear SAfrica, Kindly rethink your decision of laying a bit of grass for the pitches of Port Elizabeth & Cape Town . Make them look flat like Subcontinent wickets and bring on your best spinners like Imran Tahir,Paul Harris etc. coz by the end of the series, you may have half your players injured or even spoil their careers like Englishmen (KP & Andy Flower). These Aussies are much more lethal than Yours in the Pace Department and this will backfire you.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 14, 2014, 14:14 GMT)

First test is gone. We have been thoroughly outplayed and the lack of intensity from the SA team is really concerning. Massive changes need to be made for 2nd Test. Based on this performance alone Australia is a better team but we need changes to this team and quickly.

I would like to see changes made to this team that I wanted made before a ball was bowled. That is the dropping of both Petersons and no McLaren or Parnell. Inclusion of Hendricks and Abbott and a 7th batsman. (Elgar, Van Zyl)

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

I am becoming depressed seeing how hopeless SA are,they are get a hammering from a very confident and excellent team.The aussies are getting into their old ways and they will soon steal the no1 spot from SA.I see it very hard for SA to come back in this series and the scars that will be left ,just as england feel right now.The worst thing that can happen to a team is to be beaten in their backward.They loose all confidence against even the weaker team and that can only mean they will be all downhill.The SA I once knew ,pull themselves out of very difficult situation.If they cannot in this series and they never will in future series

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

Are you England in disguise? England played dreadfully in the last Ashes series, whilst Australia played extremely well. I did think South Africa would have put up a better fight though. South Africa are much better than England but it appears Australia are back! I speak as an Englishman.

Posted by jb633 on (February 14, 2014, 14:00 GMT)

It is scary for world cricket just how much this game is mirroring the whole Ashes series. Bowling in these second innings after a huge deficit is a thankless and no win task. Warner is great at pummeling an opponent when they are down. If he can score first innings runs he will rocket up the ratings too.

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

I am going be truly honest as a South African fan. We have been outclassed in every aspect of this game (except for AB). How is that one man can stand up and clearly prove what is capable on this pitch but all the other batters falter. There is really no excuse. That said, the Australians have been ruthless. I honestly believe that Morkel, Duminy, both Petersons and to some extent Smith have been riding there luck and no longer justify there selection (not even as captain), not keen on Faf either tbh. Not sure why they chose to bat first... absolutely beyond me. Bad decision regardless of past results at this ground. Think that really just set the tone for the game....

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

Am not going to count it as done until it actually is. SA has done bigger things in the past. I would like to see Pup setting a target of 500 to play it safe. Lot of time left in the game !! Score another 100 today, a few overs of blast tomorrow and then the call !!

Posted by Puffin on (February 14, 2014, 13:37 GMT)

The last thing SA needed to be doing is dropping catches, especially from decent batsmen. Those bowlers appreciate a bit of support in the field. Aus have really got their act together in recent times, it is impressive.

I expect a big victory target tommorow.

Posted by Blakey on (February 14, 2014, 13:37 GMT)

Anyone else getting sick of the excessive SA appealing with no beleif in their appeals? Why don't they refer if they think it is out? If you don't think it is out, DON"T appeal! Also, great to see the other 50 SA supporters turn up to watch today.

Posted by x3rx3s on (February 14, 2014, 13:28 GMT)

The brutality and the consistency of this attack has shown what many of us have believed for some time - that there are passengers in the SA team, who have benefited from singular performances from certain other members, not least of all Jacques Kallis, who is no longer there to shore up the many gaps. And then you have a convener of selectors who is quite simply afraid to take the necessary steps and risk to ensure the sustainable growth of the team. The result: This. And is has been a long time coming, for those who have seen.

Posted by ThePacifist10 on (February 14, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

Aussies already looking to gun down the Saffers. Humble pie going around, I see. They're gonna have their targets on India next. After the drubbing we handed them last year, they'll be raring to get back at us Down Under. I hope Dhoni's Devils are ready for this!!

Posted by glance_to_leg on (February 14, 2014, 13:18 GMT)

Rather puts the lie to all the South African supporters' boasting. It does, however, look as though this really is rather a good Australian team, albeit it one full of late blooming Australian flora. It makes one wonder what would have happened had Clarke taken over from Ponting as captain rather earlier, as some of what is occurring must surely be down to excellent and intelligent leadership rather than personnel. What is really impressive is the way the Australians have clearly got to England and South Africa psychologically. Neither the English nor the Saffers have become bad players over-night, yet they are being made to look really rather hopeless. Hats off to the land of my birth ... I hope the English management can learn from the example.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 13:15 GMT)

So good to see aus punishing no 1 team on their home soil .. SA is luking helpless Its very pleasent . They were too overjoyed after beating india recently now this series will show their true character.. Because its seems that SA doesnt have quality to beat AUS

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

You'd have to say that if someone new to cricket based a decision on the relative playing merits of SA and Aus based on the first 2 and a half days of this test - They would probably come to the conclusion that the Aussies were a very long way the better team. The SA fielding has been really poor. Dropped catches and really bad ground fielding of the kind you'd struggle to see at amateur league level. Bowling? The nagging lines of Siddle and Harris backing up Johnson replaced by the scatterguns of Morkel and Steyn with Philander being by far the best bowler the Saffers have. Philander and DeVilliers have looked in the same class as most of the Aussies - no-one else really has. Scratch that - no other Saffer has even come close, Aussies so far ahead in quality it's almost an unfair competition

Posted by disco_bob on (February 14, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

As bad as Peterson is he's not bad enough to match Steyn's 5.86 an over.

Posted by yvivekcb on (February 14, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

Against India this S A team was lucky & also helped by Umpiring decisions, remember the light issue at the end of day one of 2nd test... But now their originality is exposed by Australia. SA doesn't deserve Number 1 status... They r gonna lose this test series..

Posted by heathrf1974 on (February 14, 2014, 12:54 GMT)

One thing I must say SA do bring out the best in Australia.

Posted by Biggus on (February 14, 2014, 12:52 GMT)

I can't help but notice how often Warner's left hand is coming off the bat as he plays his strokes. Tends to suggest he's really trying to tame his bottom hand. Have to laugh, at the very moment I write this he sticks McLaren back over his head for six. Watch the sunburn on the back of the mouth Ryan! Lucky it's cloudy. Can't afford to drop catches SA, lil' Davy should be back in the pavilion already. This game is fast receding from the home side.

Posted by 2929paul on (February 14, 2014, 12:50 GMT)

If this was a football match in England, the Aussie supporters would be chanting "are you England in disguise?" Bombed by Mitch, dropped catches, mis fields, over throws...and a team full of South Africans. It is England.

Can't see SAF coming back in this test but can they do better than England and pick themselves up after this? I hope so otherwise the Aussie gloating will be even more unbearable than normal. And, regrettably, justified.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 14, 2014, 12:49 GMT)

I think Australia has found it's no.3. Doolan doesn't exude the nervous energy that Khawaja and Hughes do, even though they have better records. he looks mentally tough and organised at the crease and at an age of 28, it's a good mix of experience and youth.

You have to remember that not every good batsman starts off well. Doolan was averaging in the high twenties in FC cricket until a few seasons ago. To get the average up from the mid twenties to where it is now shows imrpovement, he is better than his record suggests.

Posted by kpisa---- on (February 14, 2014, 12:49 GMT)

For three days now I keep turning the tv on to watch the much anticipated test series between South Africa and Australia, but all they are showing is reruns of the Ashes!!!!!!

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 12:45 GMT)

I am from India and my second favorite team is Aus. Specially since the re-birth of Mitch. He is simply unplayable! There is nothing wrong with the SA's batting. Its just the class of the man with a Mo which has made the difference. I am really confused now about our prospect of facing him in Nov-Dec. Should I be happy to see world class bowler charging in at 150 kay every ball to Pujara and Kohli or should be scared with the fate of rest of the team! And the irony is, SA are being murdered on the day of love!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 14, 2014, 12:41 GMT)

Warner dropped 3 times. Peterson bowling pies and going for 10 an over. Sloppy fielding from SA The wheels are off Aus 1-0

Posted by GoCho on (February 14, 2014, 12:36 GMT)

@tom120 to understand a typical Indian fan's comment on this forum, you need to understand our situation. We are pummelled on away tours but our memory is short-lived as the focus has already moved on to IPL auctions. Trust me, by the time our cricketers come back from NZ, we would have forgotten the winless tours to SA, NZ (unless we win this current test). But when our SA, Aus, Eng fans remind us of our disastrous record, we have an answer ready for each - to an aussie fan we say you cant win in the SC (inspite of the impressive records in one of the toughest places to tour - Sri Lanka), to an English fan we remind him of the Ashes debacle and by the looks of it, to an SA fan we will say 'atleast we defeated the aussies at home :P'!

Posted by Biggus on (February 14, 2014, 12:35 GMT)

I don't really like to judge players too harshly, after all who of us has played test cricket? However.......Robin Petersen just isn't up to it at this level. Though I'd always be disinclined to go into a game without a spinner if you don't have one of the requisite quality then you should really go in with 4 quicks and let Duminy have a few if you feel the need to roll the dice, much as the Windies used to. They didn't give Roger Harper all that many tests and just relied on part timers instead.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

Greatest Game; The Marsh drop catch was tough. Then the second innings its like most teams who are well behind in the game there fielding drops off and this is what happened to England. The South African state of mind at the moment can be attributed to Australias play and more importantly the psychological effect that Johnson has on teams. You only play as good as your opposition let you and Australia have now been outstanding as a team for the last 5 1/2 matches. Yet mostly, what we here is England were poor and now the SOuth Africa are playing poorly. Both teams were quite brilliant before we played these last couple of series and more credit should be given to Australia rather than your back handed compliment.

Posted by KabsCricki on (February 14, 2014, 12:27 GMT)

Have SA dropped more catches? I saw the headline but the link comes here. Anyway if thats the case then they really being put in their place by AUS. South Africa needed to have a spark after Clarkes comments about the bowling and , at home, against the old enemy, should have been fired up even more so to the level of intensity that AUS rolled out for England at the ashes. Seems S.A are just a collection of very talented players and thats why they shot up the rankings; they were just a level ahead of everyone else. Now we have a team that has bowling and batting weaponry to match us and we wilt. This was always going to be a battle of intensity as I don't believe this AUS team are better than S.A, man for man, so S.A better buck up of face, dare I even mention it, white wash outcomes...

Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (February 14, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

Chris Rogers... I reckon he'd be a cert. on slower pitches or against less pace, but I have concerns about him against the likes of Steyn.

Mitchell Johnson... you get all or nothing don't you? Back to the purple patch he had around the last time he faced South Africa in South Africa. What's round the corner? He's a more experienced than last time and I reckon he'll handle the pressure better.

David Warner is a much better batsman than he's given credit for. If you play that way you'll experience embarrassing dismissals when it goes wrong. He's never going to be a captain (I've always suspected not much up top) but he can take a game away from the opposition before they've even noticed. He's consistently underrated and it does him no harm to keep it that way.

There! made it through a whole post without insulting Jade Dernbach. Doesn't matter what the subject is, it's tradition.

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

I really do get the impression that the South African top order wasn't adequately prepared for facing a 150 kmph bowler and someone needs to take responsibility for this because they've had almost two months before the start of this test. SA have pulled matches like this one out of the fire before, but as a SA fan I think Australia deserves to take this match and should take the series if they continue to play this consistent high quality brand of cricket

Posted by Sultan2007 on (February 14, 2014, 12:02 GMT)

South Africa are missing King Kallis big time. Not only with bat and ball but also in the slips!

Posted by dr_guru on (February 14, 2014, 12:01 GMT)

Even target 300 would be very difficult for SA, they are always helpless against Johnson. It is seemed that SA are not well capable playing in either fast pitch against real fast bowler or slow pitch against spinner. AB De Villiers is seemed to be only one top batsman of SA after retirement of Kalis. A big defeat is waiting for SA, and I am confident that Australia will whitewash them.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 11:54 GMT)

@ PFEL complains that "I love it how no one wants to give credit to Australia. During the Ashes it was all about how England were terrible, no one wanted to admit that Australia were brilliant. Now the same thing is happening here."

Australia are playing brilliantly. There - feel better now?

Warner brilliantly offered up 2 catches that the Saffas did not take. Brilliant Warner. Rogers lasted 1 ball against Steyn after lasting one ball against Morkel in the 1st inns.. Brilliant Rogers.

The brilliance has been from Johnson. The rest of the Aus team have not exactly been brilliant. They have been good, some very good. But brilliant is not quite right. Marsh, the big scorer was dropped in the teens. Brilliant? Naa.

SA, apart from de Villiers, have been average to plain awful. Dropped catches, weak batting, tired bowling. Their 2nd inns bowling has been better - if they could hold the catches.

de Villiers - brilliant. Johnson - brilliant. Aus - good. SA, below bog average.

Posted by daisy1 on (February 14, 2014, 11:53 GMT)

ABD is an amazing bat. Watched him for years, and he just gets better, with keeping responsibilities thrown in.

Posted by tom120 on (February 14, 2014, 11:50 GMT)

I don't understand why indian fans have to comment about Mitch is not a good bowler? They should watch India vs Nz match. First time they had something to cheer about after NZ were dismissed on 192 and a good start by India. Last year Mumbai Indians won IPL because of Mitch's good bowling throughout the IPL season. Mitch was so ferocious that his exit was one of the biggest reasons that India won that series against Australia. India couldn't win an away game in a long time, and they have the audacity to call people names. It was just one bad year for Australia, but for India, its been much more than just a year's drought of performing better abroad

Posted by SuperSharky on (February 14, 2014, 11:50 GMT)

Why is Sybrandt Engelbrecht not The Proteas permanent number 12? That guy is the best fielder at the moment. He's a lot like Jonty Rhodes. Two Tests ago in Cape Town, against the Auzzies, Sybrand fielded for a few moments and got a fielding wicket. It will be comforting for the team to know they have an extraordinary fielder at number 12. Graeme Smith clearly took the wrong decision after winning the toss.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 11:49 GMT)

When are we going to have an end to the snide remarks coming out of India its getting rather pathetic. Is it you can no longer talk your team up so you have to put every other team down? Test cricket is a tough game, no matter how bouncy the pitches are his last 5.5 tests 44 wickets @ 13.3 you cant argue with those stats. However, it appears some cricket fans lacking knowledge want to put this down.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 14, 2014, 11:37 GMT)

Doolan and Warner doing their best to get out but SA just won't let them.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 14, 2014, 11:36 GMT)

Apart from needing a 200 run partnership from the sixth wicket, and haddin getting nufin, this first test match is deja vu for the Aussies at the GABBA, JOHNSON IS DOMINATING. runs, catches and the occasional wicket.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 14, 2014, 11:35 GMT)

Are SA missing Kallis? Warner dropped once is bad. Dropped the 2nd time at 2nd slip, where Kallis would have snapped it up with his usual efficiency, yes, SA are missing Kallis! For sure.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 14, 2014, 11:35 GMT)

Warner after pasting Steyn in the second innings is then dropped twice. South Africa is England in disguise. (Someone had to say it)

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 14, 2014, 11:26 GMT)

With the cracks widening I would have thought 300 will be hard to chase. However, with the amount of time left AUstralia will be trying to set them 500. I agree on the AB Devilliers call, he looked in a different class in this game.

Posted by Hello13 on (February 14, 2014, 11:26 GMT)

Oh please, everybody raving about Johnson, he's bowled well on pitches designed for him. Struggled a lot more when he played Tests in India. Bully in home conditions

Posted by amfas on (February 14, 2014, 11:18 GMT)

@biggus. Regarding AB I have to agree with you mate. The poor bugger has been out in the centre for all but about 80 minutes of the 840 minutes of play and still manages to play a stellar innings, great behind the wicket and deserves his position at the top!!! 400+ and nothing less me thinks...

Posted by 2929paul on (February 14, 2014, 11:09 GMT)

I find myself in the unusual position of enjoying watching Australia blowing away their opponents. It is comforting to know that despite all England's failings, we did at least disintegrate against a bowler at the peak of his powers. And isn't AB fantastic to watch. Much classier than another South African I could mention who's been in the limelight recently.

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

44 wickets in 6 tests and counting.. Great feat by a any paceman..

Unlucky that ABD missed on his ton..

SA are still in this..

Posted by disco_bob on (February 14, 2014, 11:03 GMT)

@Grant King, KP also showed that Johnson can be played, problem is England only had one KP and SA only have one ABD. When you have about a third of a second to work out how to play a ball that is going to take your head off, it's not a matter of the coach saying "look AB showed how it's done, get out there and copy him".

Warner looks like he's determine to see off the new ball in the second innings and cash in when he knows the moment is ripe. I think it's important we keep SA bowling as long as possible to take full advantage of the 3 days between tests.

Posted by PFEL on (February 14, 2014, 11:01 GMT)

I love it how no one wants to give credit to Australia. During the Ashes it was all about how England were terrible, no one wanted to admit that Australia were brilliant. Now the same thing is happening here.

Posted by Biggus on (February 14, 2014, 10:58 GMT)

What a pleasure watching AB De Villiers bat. Clearly the best batsman in the world in my opinion, equally capable in tests and short forms I have no issue whatsoever with his ranking, he's the one. With regard to the match position I think SA need to roll us for under 200. YES, I know SA are capable of large second innings scores but there's some very dodgy bounce in this track and there's also the little matter of that left arm quick. 400 will be a big, big ask. I hope the weather doesn't interfere.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 10:57 GMT)

MJ becomes just the 6th bowler to take 6+ wickets in 6 consecutive tests. Three 6's - I guess the Saffers would see this as the number of the beast :)

Posted by cccrider on (February 14, 2014, 10:56 GMT)

Smiffy must be looking forward to facing Johnson in the second innings!

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 10:53 GMT)

With all respect to Rogers I think when he retires /is dropped (not likely) then Hughes should open with warner

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (February 14, 2014, 10:52 GMT)

Mitchel Johnson, You are an inspiration to us all. I hope people in our part of the world, especially in India, start believing in 'Passion and Hard Training' rather than 'Denial and Tricks'.

Posted by GoCho on (February 14, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

I would love to copy paste comments on this site from the Mcdermott interview when he claimed Mitch was no1. But dont see the point as the likes of Tommytuckersaffa would be avoiding the comments section anyway :P

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

Well done Mitch! The success of the Aussies against the Poms wasn't just one man, it was everyone contributing. There were times England had Aus against the ropes, but there was always a couple of guys to put their hands up. Haddin and Jonson stood up time and again, but you can't ignore the support they got from the whole team, and the willingness to fight. This will be a great series! SA wont lie down at home, they may be shocked and reeling now, but they will come back and push the Aussies. SA are too good a side and too much pride to quit, and they're not pampered nancys like the pommies, who crumbled when they needed to stay strong. Go Aussies! A clean sweep is not so likely here boys...

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 14, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

Anyone who thinks Johnson isn't the best bowler in the world at the moment is kidding themselves.

Posted by JayPeg on (February 14, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

This is quite pathetic SA. There is little excuse for being under prepared both mentally and physically. Or is it that all this time you were just imposters to the #1 spot. The SA players are continually rested, yet all seem to some degree to either have no stomach for the fight or are not fit. How is that possible given the respective work loads of the two teams over the last 6 months?

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 10:41 GMT)

He got most of his wickets with the short ball. AB showed that he can be played and the other batsmen should work on how to cope with his short ball. If that happens (easier said than done) SA should play better. Well bowled Johnson. Enjoy the accolades coming your way.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 10:39 GMT)

@IJJANI Indian bowling is not as poor as it looks .Yes a few performances were horrible .But JP and Robbie P have to be dropped .Why not try Simon harmer

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (February 14, 2014, 10:38 GMT)

So what is a match winning lead?? remember this batting lineup nearly scored a world record run chase of over 500 against the Indian attack .. so I think 350 to 400 .

Posted by amfas on (February 14, 2014, 10:35 GMT)

MJ's Latest Stats in 5.5 Tests. 44 Wickets@13.29.

Posted by Mervo on (February 14, 2014, 10:25 GMT)

7 for 67, Johnson has made his point. Any more doubters?

Posted by IJJANI on (February 14, 2014, 10:23 GMT)

I am a great fan of J.P. Duminy, but, of late he is not performing well at international level.I feel that he should be dropped from the SA side. He even failed against a lowly ranked India. The Indian bowling is so poor that any player can score against India even if blindfolded. J. P Duminy needs rest to reorganize his game.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

fighting knock by AB... good work Mich

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

south africa need to skittle aussie for -150 or this test is done

Posted by JOHNCSPACE on (February 14, 2014, 10:13 GMT)

And so it begins!! Any doubters

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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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South Africa v Australia at Centurion - Mar 14, 2014
Australia won by 6 wickets (with 30 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Durban - Mar 12, 2014
Australia won by 5 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Port Elizabeth - Mar 9, 2014
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
South Africa v Australia at Cape Town - Mar 1-5, 2014
Australia won by 245 runs
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