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

'Be prepared to get hurt' - de Villiers

Firdose Moonda at Centurion Park

February 14, 2014

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Johnson removed AB de Villiers for 91, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Centurion Park, 3rd day, February 14, 2014
Mitchell Johnson eventually got the better of AB de Villiers, but South Africa's other batsmen need to follow de Villiers' lead © AFP

AB de Villiers acknowledged it takes more than just sound technique to face Mitchell Johnson with success, it also requires a lot of heart.

"You can't show weakness," he said. "You've got to be prepared to get hurt. Once you don't have that fear of getting hurt, you can play him. Most of the time you get yourself out. He doesn't really bowl you a peach of a delivery, you get yourself out."

De Villiers was the only South Africa batsman who had some measure of Johnson, whose short ball and searing speeds proved too much for the rest. Even though de Villiers also wore one - on the forearm late on the second day - he reminded himself of the basics he needed to apply against Johnson.

"He came hard at all of us. He is an x-factor bowler, like Russell [Domingo] said. I just watched the ball, tried to move quite early and just trusted my instincts from there on there on," he said. "If you're lackadaisical, you are going to get hurt."

What helped de Villiers is that he also faced Johnson when the ball was older and he said as soon as that happens, conditions become easier for run scoring. "I felt comfortable from 35 overs onward."

With that knowledge, de Villiers has a plan for how South Africa can attempt to save the game in the second dig. "Once we get through the new ball, we should find it easier. If we bat well enough we may even get two new balls, so we will have to get through that as well. If we can do that, we can fight back."

Despite the fighting talk, de Villiers admitted South Africa are staring down the barrel, but suggested the hosts have not quite had the rub of the green. "It felt like anything that came off the glove when they were in the field went to hand," he said. "I can't count the times some of their batsmen were hit the gloves and hands and it went over slip. When one team has got confidence, things seem to happen a lot easier for them; the bowlers look more skilful. That's the situation we are in now.

"We're in a bit of trouble obviously. Australia have dominated for pretty much the whole Test match, which is disappointing. But we're not going to give up. There is only one team playing this Test match at the moment. But giving up doesn't exist for us. We know the declaration can't be too far away. We know what we are up against it."

South Africa will draw inspiration from the 148 overs they batted out in Adelaide in November 2012 and the 136 at the Wanderers last year, even though they will probably need to see out more here on a different surface. While Adelaide was flat and the Wanderers got better as the match went on, the Centurion strip has already showed signs of inconsistent bounce, which will have Johnson drooling, and its cracks are opening up.

However, if South Africa are nervous de Villiers didn't show it. "Everything that hit a crack today missed the bat by a long way so that's good for us," he said. "The bounce is the dangerous part. With the cracks, it was just that one or two kicked up. If we can overcome that, we could come close to an upset or saving this Test match."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 15, 2014, 11:30 GMT)

@ ZCFOutcast writes "Don't be surprised to see the likes of Root&Williamson in the end being held in much higher esteem as a result(same goes for Clarke,Bell&Chanders if they don't grow a pair too). In my opinion those 3 along with AB&Hussey will be remembered as cowards who shirked going up the order "

In your opinion, but ONLY in your opinion. Perhaps there may be another cave dweller who shares your ill-informed, bizarre opinions, but that is it. The rest of the world disagrees with you. Perhaps you might consider your own advice and grow a pair - and recognize that your opinions are not shared by the rest of the cricket community, and that repeating them endlessly is not going to change anyone's opinion. Blowing hot air may be your speciality, but this is not a balloon, and nothing will float here.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 15, 2014, 11:29 GMT)

As an England fan, it's a little bit comforting to see SA struggle against Australia on their own turf, suggesting that maybe England weren't quite as bad as they seemed. On the other hand though, it might indicate that Australia are going to dominate again, which is certainly not what any England fan wants. I think it's safe to say that Mitchell Johnson is the major difference between Australia and their opposition at the moment, but that's cold comfort. If he keeps bowling like this then it's going to be tough for anyone to match them. The batting still looks a bit shaky but they have again managed to get one or two people to stand up when needed, which is all you really need when you're bowling the opposition out as quickly as they are right now. Their fielding is also absolutely first class at the moment and that's a major factor. England let themselves down with dropped catches in Adelaide in particular and SA have done so here as well. Australia have grabbed every half-chance.

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (February 15, 2014, 11:25 GMT)

I fully agree with Pradiptamohan Basu. Johnson is so effective because of his slingshot action much like Jeff Thomson used to bowl. Morkel hits the high 145kmph level virtually every ball but has not been getting the wickets that Johnson has been. That apart, at the pace he bowls he also has late swing which is what makes him more lethal.Johnson was always very good but probably got de-motivated because he lost form in England and was often ridiculed. He got his rhythm and self confidence back in the IPL and in the ODI's in India. I think the secret is that he has slowed down his runup and now does the perfect cartwheel which is the essence of fast bowling and weight transfer.Success has given him that confidence.How important confidence is can be seen in the lack of success of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron both of who consistently bowl in the high 145kmphs pace.A good bowling coach who these two understand can make these two absolute match-winners. Apart from a good thinking captain.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 15, 2014, 11:24 GMT)

@ZCFOutkast on (February 15, 2014, 8:18 GMT), I'm not going to offer an opinion one way or another on your stance regarding the #3 position but one thing I will say is that Ian Bell wants to bat at #3. He has said that on more than one occasion. The fact that he didn't bat there in the recent Ashes was because of the selectors decision, not his. I believe the primary motivation was to avoid everyone below #4 being inexperienced or out of form. Whether his batting at #3 would have made any difference is open to debate but it's safe to say that, given the chance, he would have. The last time he filled in for Trott at #3 he did very well and scored at least one hundred.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 15, 2014, 11:24 GMT)

@ ZCFOutkast "I say it everytime, this bloke (de Villiers) wouldn't be so brilliant if he was batting up the order."

The fact that you say it over and over and over does not make it any truer. You can say it a thousand times - it is still rubbish. He came in earlier than any #4 expects to, and mastered the conditions, & Johnson. You are so stuck in your opinions you cannot recognize how absolutely out of touch they are. He comes in as early as any #4 because Alviro barely lasts an over or 2. Alviro is such a waste of space in this team it it is beyond pathetic. He makes AB a #4 batsman almost every innings, yet you rubbish AB at every opportunity and defend Alviro like he is a valuable player, which he is clearly not.

It is impossible to read your comments and not see that they are coloured by prejudice, making their worth questionable very time. AB is the #1 batsman in the world. If SA had 2 decent openers, he could bat at #4 and there would be no difference.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 10:48 GMT)

@NBZ1 It's definitely a bad shot or a bit of movement or whatever, but it misses the stumps more than it hits usually. Just like the... 5? nicks that SA have had in this innings that haven't gone to hand. They're not good shots are they? But if they all went to hand it'd be pretty lucky, you expect a few to take a thick edge and go down to 3rd man, it just happens that way a lot, just the same as you expect a decent percentage of inside edges to go down the leg side or bounce over the top.

@ultimatewarrior Bodyline would be Johnson around the wicket to a left hander with 5 guys making a ring on the leg side behind square and just in front. You can't do bodyline anymore, it's against the rules, you can't have fielders in the spots for it. Not to mention the protective gear and whatnot.

On point, I think Australia bowled pretty poorly. Way too short.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (February 15, 2014, 10:38 GMT)

@NZB1 depends on your opinion of the quality of opening&change seamers plus spinners of both generations.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 10:37 GMT)

I'm not sure if it was intentional, but this title is pure linkbait. My immediate impression was that de Villiers had made some kind of threat, which is obviously not the case.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (February 15, 2014, 9:13 GMT)

@NBZ1, I agree, playing on isn't bad luck, it's a false shot.

Posted by Winsome on (February 15, 2014, 8:34 GMT)

Boucher said pretty much the same thing in an interview. He whinged about the batsmen getting themselves out. If Morkel had bowled bouncers like that, you never would have heard the end of how brilliantly he'd used the short ball.

Posted by NBZ1 on (February 15, 2014, 8:34 GMT)

Minor gripe that I have. Why does everyone here assume that playing on is bad luck? Playing on is usually bad technique, when you try to cut a ball that's not wide enough or short enough. If you play on, in my book you fully deserve to get out, just as with any other standard dismissal.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (February 15, 2014, 8:30 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.

Posted by NBZ1 on (February 15, 2014, 8:30 GMT)

@ZCFOutkast: Sobers, Steve Waugh, Allan Border all batted at 5 or below. Does that make them lesser batsmen? Yes at 3 or 4 you face the music in hostile conditions, but you also get the best opportunity to cash in when the conditions are good.

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

In 1930s everybody hated Bodyline Bowling pioneered by Larwood/Jardine (even was not appreciated in Winners i.e. England).......but this is New Era, New Fans, New Cricketing World....Bodyline pioneered by Johnson/Lehman is getting appreciated everywhere, even by loosing country.....

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (February 15, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

"What helped de Villiers is that he also faced Johnson when the ball was older and he said as soon as that happens, conditions become easier for run scoring. 'I felt comfortable from 35 overs onward'."

I say it everytime, this bloke wouldn't be so brilliant if he was batting up the order. Failed once&never returned! There aren't many top change seamers in world cricket, so in many conditions it's becoming easy for guys to dominate from that position. "Mortals" like Chandimal, Stokes, SteveSmith, Rohit, Matthews&Rahane will all be averaging 50 odd like him.

Don't be surprised to see the likes of Root&Williamson in the end being held in much higher esteem as a result(same goes for Clarke,Bell&Chanders if they don't grow a pair too). In my opinion those 3 along with AB&Hussey will be remembered as cowards who shirked going up the order when the needs of the team clearly demanded that at crucial stages of their respective cricket teams' transition. They can never be rated amongst greats!

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 7:29 GMT)

Even Morkel bowls at an average speed of approx. 145 km/h. But he has a classical action and, hence, is more predictable and less scary. MJ is more scary because of a combination of two factors - tremendous pace and a slinging action that makes it difficult for the batsman to estimate the bounce and direction. Usually one tends not to expect high bounce from a bowler with a slinging action. So the rising ball comes as a surprise.

Posted by scarrule on (February 15, 2014, 7:13 GMT)

To all those who think that Mj is not fast as tait nd lee nd akhtar. Yes u r right bt, bt thing ppl fail to realize is that he is one of those '' feel faster'' bowler. Even though he balls at 143 kmph for a batsman its nothign less of 150 kmph as he hit the deck hard due to which he generate '' heavy ball'' for batsmen to cope with. For exmple, if u have u have seen recent ind-nz odi series indian bowler varun aaron was many times bowling at 150 kmph bt he is not hit the deck bowler so he was easy to play. If u ask a batsman who u think bowling faster adam milme, varun aaron bowling at 150kmph or Mj bowling at 146-147 kmph. I'm pretty sure he'll say Mj.

Posted by nickexplore on (February 15, 2014, 7:09 GMT)

Winning the toss and sending Australia into bat! What was Smith thinking?

Posted by scarrule on (February 15, 2014, 6:58 GMT)

During the ashes, sanjay manjeraker wrote an article '' the difference, Threat of an injury could make ''. He wrote about how Mj brought back the art of raw intimidating the batsmen of early 80's which the generation after glenn mcGrath lost. Many aussie supporters didn't agree. They thought siddle nd harris were also equally well nd not just playing the supporting role. Well we know now that he was right. When there is threat to life, then threat to wicket becomes second priorty. I think this type of bowling can only revive test matches. 5 test macth v/s england now seems seems useless compare to december tour of india to aus. Never been this much excited for a test series. Australia might have just revived test cricket in rest of the test playing nations. Kudos to jhonson.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

@mondotv I think he's just trying to put a dent into Johnson's confidence, knowing that he played Johnson pretty comfortably. The problem is that when the rest of the team has completely collapsed around you and the guy who's confidence you're trying to dent has taken 7 wickets in an innings for not many runs it's pretty unlikely to be effective.

Posted by nickexplore on (February 15, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

Winning the toss and sending Australia into bat! What was Smith thinking?

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (February 15, 2014, 6:42 GMT)

It's pretty simple AB. Johnson understood what length to bowl and Morkel didn't. It's good coaching, good captaincy and solid execution by the bowler/fieldsmen. I don't know how many times I listened to Pollock and Holding say how useless the short ball is without the occasional fuller ball directed at the stumps. Surely Donald knows this and how can Smith not know how to set a field for it after captaining an international cricket team for ten years? Or was Morkel told what to do but could not execute it? The whole "things aren't going our way" excuse is lame.

Posted by mondotv on (February 15, 2014, 6:30 GMT)

Yeah - AB's a great batsman but if doesn't think Johnson bowls the odd peach of a delivery he wasn't watching the Ashes, where it was the swinging full pitched ball that snared him a good percentage of those wickets. The truth is the ball hasn't swung in this test match so Johnson found another way. He pulled his length back and made use of the variable bounce in the track. But when the ball does swing he's perfectly capable of adjusting his length and bowling those searing inswinging yorkers to the right handers. Remember that guy who took 6 -9 against SA in Perth a few years ago - well this is Mitch Mk2 - he's learnt to adapt to conditions.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 6:29 GMT)

i think AB isn`t sure about his bat doing the talking , so he is bragging like that

Posted by Biso on (February 15, 2014, 6:26 GMT)

@roethebro and@chris_howard: Agree with you. MJ's pace is no where in the class of the bowlers you have mentioned. His sling shot action and the new found accuracy is perhaps the reason for the recent successes. The major point is that after Kallis has gone SA have only two batsmen of class in ABD and Amla who can play in all conditions against all kinds of bowling. The others have limitations. The hype generated by MJ gives one the impression that he is a Marshall, Garner, Croft, Holding, Thommo, Roberts.. and the like all rolled into one. He is simply no where in the class of any one of them. Not even in the class of Lee or Akthar.

Posted by Biso on (February 15, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

@Alexk400: MJ has been bowling at the same pace for quite some time. During the last IPL and also during the last Ind-Australia ODI's he bowled at similar pace and quite a few short ones too. The Indians negotiated well and in fact Dhawan got quite a few runs of him. The problem is that the so called non-sub-continental batters who are supposed to be comfortable against express pace and bounce ( as claimed by some media and fans) generally come a cropper when faced with the same stuff. Bowlers like MJ who have express pace do not really need too much help from pitches as they are fast in air. They only have to be accurate for most of the time to run through oppositions. MJ should make merry so long as his new found accuracy persists. Philllander needs a helpful pitch and so does Steyn as his pace is already on the downslide. Steyn will continue to get wickets for some time because of his exceptional skills , but, the strike rate will sure drop very soon.

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

What about in both innings aus opening batsmen chopping on to the stumps from a wide ball. That is unlucky.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 5:04 GMT)

@Chris_Howard Um... Commentators around the world still talk about Lee, Tait and Akhtar's pace, and rightly so. Lee and Akhtar were more of a classical action though, so for a batsman trying to watch it out of the hand is a lot easier. Tait was around 155 at top speed, not a ton faster than Johnson, but has an even more exaggerated slinging action than Johnson making him difficult to pick up. Tait was never really as accurate as Johnson is now over a long period though, he's probably more like Johnson of old kind of accuracy.

I think in this match it's less the pure pace that's an issue, it's the up and down bounce. When it's coming at you at 150 and it's a bit up and down the reaction time to do something about it is severely reduced, and taming your instincts for self preservation is pretty difficult. With the new ball it would be a nightmare. Aus batsmen were having the same problem with Morkel in the 2nd but he bowled the wrong lengths.

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

Lol... there was a survey on who is the most intimidating bowler currently and everyone chose Steyn over Johnson. It was like 80% to 15% or something like that. Looks like lot of those people did not watch the Ashes.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (February 15, 2014, 4:38 GMT)

I agree with De Villiers assessment as he intimidates batsman with his fierce but also unpredictable bowling.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 3:55 GMT)

Dear AB: You're a great batsman but if you were being honest about it the reason lots of those edges and gloves didn't go to hand is because your bowlers didn't look particularly dangerous after lunch on day 1, so the field got spread out. When you have 2 slips and no gully fielders your chances get pretty slim. Australia were playing 3 or 4 slips and 1 or 2 gullies most of the time. If you don't have fielders for it what do you expect?

Of course I'm ignoring all the times that Australia played on, and I'm also pretending that Faf got hit on the gloves when in fact it hit his bat handle, no rub of the green involved there, it was always going where it went, and I'm also pretending that every time MJ hit the gloves it went to hand, even though he hit the gloves plenty of times where it didn't go to hand.

Posted by AussiePhoenix on (February 15, 2014, 2:58 GMT)

I don't think Clarke will be worried about Adelaide. A benign pitch, Ponting was captain, we were a bowler down. SA will hope they can emulate that feat, but you live in the past at your own peril. The moment is now.

Posted by Brett_Johnson on (February 15, 2014, 2:50 GMT)

"He doesn't really bowl you a peach of a delivery, you get yourself out."

What a ridiculous comment. So he's taken 44 wickets in 5 and a half tests because batsmen get themselves out? If you think it's so easy AB why don't you open the batting instead of hiding down at 5? Face the new ball like a man instead of making inferior batsmen like Petersen do it.

Prepare to get bombed in the second innings.

Posted by bjcm12 on (February 15, 2014, 2:44 GMT)

Johnson was outstanding. Amla seems to be very scared of the short ball. He even ducks to the normal height ball. SA needs to do lot of homework if they are to overcome the pace menace Aussies are creating. Alex Doolan another Ricky Ponting in the making very good knock sad to see he missed that debut ton.

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

A showlin monk with cricket skills can handle Johnson.

Posted by Mintsweety on (February 15, 2014, 1:11 GMT)

Ah so de villiers thinks it's just Mitch's pec that causes batsmen to get scared and get themselves out. So either there are no other 150 kh bowlers out there, or everyone that exists will dismantle every batting side every time. His pace hasn't changed since his spell in the wilderness, but so quite clearly something else has, or batsmen nowadays are suddenly scared of 150k deliveries. Ho hum...

Posted by Chris_Howard on (February 15, 2014, 1:09 GMT)

And De Villiers would know! I was there the day Tait (who really did bowl searingly quick), broke AB's hip. To come back from that takes enormous courage.

Facing Johnson would be a doddle after Tait.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (February 15, 2014, 1:06 GMT)

Why is Johnson's pace "searing"? When Broad, Steyn or anyone else bowls as fast, it's just a "quicker one". The ball that got Smith was 143kph. Steyn bowls that all the time. The one that got Faf was 151, but that's not express and most batsmen around the world would have encountered that sort of pace or close enough to it.

Johnson is a trundler compared to Lee (or Tait or Cummins or Akhtar) , but commentators never raved about their speed anywhere near like they do about Johnson.

Posted by __PK on (February 15, 2014, 0:43 GMT)

"He doesn't really bowl you a peach of a delivery, you get yourself out." LOL!. You just keep lying to yourself, AB, and we'll see you in the second dig. Mitch totally bamboozled you with a slower one, but NO, that wasn't him getting you out, was it?

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 15, 2014, 0:40 GMT)

With cracks and variable bounce in the pitch it will take something never before seen to draw the match let alone win it. If SA can get past 350 in their 2nd dig it will have been a strong effort and that's the best they can hope for from here. They could still draw I suppose, especially if the weather turns sour, but a win would be one for the ages.

I expect Siddle and Lyon to take about 5 between them and SA to make 320. That's my one and only prediction so far.

Posted by SHER-A-PANJAB on (February 15, 2014, 0:01 GMT)

There is no place for M.Morkell in any format of cricket in SA . Please make a call for Kyle Abbott or Hendricks ...

Posted by chechong0114 on (February 14, 2014, 23:46 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 Alexk400 on (February 14, 2014, 23:33 GMT)

if MJ bowls at this speed , its bonus for punjab. Indian batsman will find it difficult in IPL against him.

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 14, 2014, 23:17 GMT)

Few modern batsmen will have the ticker for this resurgence of raw intimidatory bowling. SA, in fact batsmen everywhere need to watch some Steve Waugh footage to see what courage entails. The choice between a painful body blow or a risky stroke was never a choice to Steve Waugh, he would simply stare coldly back as if to thank the bowler for the reminder to stay sharp and move early. Aust should romp this series in from here, they are deep in SA heads now, worst fears have come true for SA, it was so evident in their fielding. Harris will come into his own from here as SA attempt to shut up shop to MJ, and get themselves in knots, this is not Adelaide and there is no Kallis, game set match championship Australia.

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 14, 2014, 22:43 GMT)

ABDV is right. You've got to (and I somewhat hate the expression) man up. Sure, there's a threat of injury, hurt or pain. If you can't overcome that, then you are already in Johnson's pocket. Although I don't think that SA are "scarred" or even scared, when facing bowing that fast it's completely instinctive. No matter how brave, tough, courageous you may be, you have a split second to make the right choice and sometimes, when the pill jumps at your head, your first instinct is protection. It's simply basic survival instinct. That's why Johnson is currently winning...and I'm completely loving it. He's not the first, and certainly won't be the last express pace bowler to terrorise batsmen, but at the moment, he's the single most hostile bowler in the world. Steyn tried to compete today and ended up with a hammy strain - and after seeing his stats vs one D Lillee, he's the ONLY still playing great of the game - which was a little comical as he should bowl D Steyn's way...

Posted by roethebro on (February 14, 2014, 22:25 GMT)

While I agree that Johnson is fast and in good form, I don't see what all the hoopla is about. Its not like he's the fastest bowler we have seen. Brett Lee, Akhtar, Tait, Harmison, Flintoff in the recent past were all as fast or even faster than him. I think his bowling action makes him difficult to pick. But there's nothing terrifying in his bowling that I haven't seen before.

In all honesty, I feel that the quality of batting is so low in test cricket right now that he looks like the second coming of Joel Garner, Dennis Lilee and Michael Holding wrapped in one. I have never seen such clueless batting from established players as I am seeing nowadays. T20 cricket has really deteriorated the quality of cricket right now.

But you have to give credit when it is due. In my book, he's definitely the best Test bowler right now. But there is nothing terrifying about his bowling or his speed. Nothing we haven't seen before. Just a lot of mediocre batters

Posted by cloudmess on (February 14, 2014, 22:21 GMT)

Australia's post-Warne/McGrath generation are finally finding some greatness, though it won't last, given that all their key players are well into the 30s. But it does show the effect of having the right coach, after several accident-prone years. Don't write SA off, but so far they're doing little better than England. Hopefully they won't self-destruct in quite the same way.

Posted by on (February 14, 2014, 22:12 GMT)

@ immi2711: U speak as if Johnson is born during last Ashes series... have u seen him bowl previously and how ordinary he was... Yes he is rising force today and that is acknowledged.. but to say steyn is hyped is like people speaking of Tendulkar and Kallis... Man records speak for themselves and specially when u have done it across the world..

Posted by momo55 on (February 14, 2014, 22:11 GMT)

@dabbadubba and australia without mitchell johnson wouldn't even be in the top 5

Posted by inthebag on (February 14, 2014, 22:11 GMT)

Settle down kiddies, this is not The Ashes. We're 3 days into a 3 Test series. If this carnage does continue however......

Posted by CustomKid on (February 14, 2014, 21:23 GMT)

I didn't realise AB was in the comedic game? He doesn't really bowl you a peach?? Ask biff, faf, Peterson, and mclaren what they think of that statement. Need any more evidence ask England, particularly cook and the one he received in adelaide at the end of day 2 which I watched live. AB must struggle with memory recall because in 2009 Johnson had them 3/5 with two retired hurt and that ball was swinging and seaming.

Nice attempt AB and while you might be coping, that will change if CSA request some green wickets in the next two tests. As for the rest of your team mates, they look about as sound as the Englishman did this summer. I expect them to put up more resistance in the next innings but think before you make statements like that, it only makes you look like a fool.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 21:10 GMT)

To all those claiming Australia is the no.1 team, please realize that they are currently a one man (Johnson) show. The batting has shown signs of disintegrating atleast once every test (including Ashes down under) and they were partly bailed out by the lower order. The other bowlers are just doing okay. If (when, rather) Mitch loses this form (it can't continue for more than a couple of months), Australia will be back to becoming the average team that they were before the home ashes.

Posted by warnerbasher on (February 14, 2014, 21:07 GMT)

Of course the deliveries to Smith and Du Plessis played no role in getting them out. It was the batsmen who got themselves out according to De Villiers. Methinks there is further horror to come for the SA boys

Posted by geoffw on (February 14, 2014, 20:35 GMT)

ABDV just had much time compared to the rest of the SA bats. What a great knock. And keeping wickets ! How much though is no Kallis hurting them ? He would have been thrown the ball to deal with Marsh/Smith, and blunted Johnson when in full cry. He wouldn't have grassed any either. Talk about levelling the playing field. Lets see if the Saffers can compete and their big batting guns (Smith, Amla, ABDV again) fire in the 2nd dig. As the pitch deteriorates, I doubt it.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 20:23 GMT)

Hashim Amla needs to get back in form. There are only 2 quality batsmen in south african team right now ABD and Amla... rest of them are just mediocre including graeme smith from last couple of years!! They surely needs their two prime batsmen to score heavily if south africa want to win or even match australia!!!

Posted by My-Dear-Watson on (February 14, 2014, 20:12 GMT)

I believe Australia Should credit to both Yuveraj and Raina for MJ's resurgence

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (February 14, 2014, 20:10 GMT)

So according to de Villiers, all English batsmen and all SA batsmen apart from himself are scared of MJ and that is the reason why MJ gets wickets. Pull the other one mate. What a feeble attempt at psychological warfare.

MJ is a class bowler and that is why he gets wickets.

Posted by swells64 on (February 14, 2014, 20:04 GMT)

"He doesn't really bowl you a peach of a delivery, you get yourself out." We heard this sort of self denial from the English when Mitchel Johnson destroyed them this summer. The longer the Safas keep feeding themselves this tripe, the more MJ will tear them apart.

Posted by immi2711 on (February 14, 2014, 19:54 GMT)

@ anuajm >>> When Steyn in hurt, he cries....MJ does not waste time on bullshit antics...His job is to bowl with terror, and he comes in does his job, he is not waiting for someone to put him on the mantle....Problem is everyone has give Steyn too much credit, yes he is good, but definitely not the best. I even put Vernon in front of Steyn...

Posted by dabbadubba on (February 14, 2014, 19:33 GMT)

Australia is the new No 1 team in the world ! they are a team on the rise, whereas SA without kallis is on a slide.. only ABD is there,.. if they loose ABD too, SA is around 4-5th best in the world.

Posted by steve48 on (February 14, 2014, 19:26 GMT)

MJ is a terror, and I also think South Africa are bound to have a big dip in confidence because of exactly what ABD said; he is getting tons of wickets without much lateral movement! That is the scary thing. Also bound to be a big dip in confidence now Kallis has gone, no team in history would easily move on from that, just like Aussies struggled so badly to move on after Warne. Lose players like that and you would still feel vulnerable if you were allowed to play with 12 men!

Posted by Beertjie on (February 14, 2014, 19:22 GMT)

Watching the wicket from up close and making speculative guesses are quite different. With insufficient time likely to be lost to the weather, SAF's best chance lies in Rhino (no chance of Superman Mitch doing something) getting injured (lightning doesn't strike the same place twice - lol). Agree @swauzzie, Mitch rocks like no other: long may his streak continue. Just consult the archives before posting, @Mihir Khakurel.

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

Yes ABD, rub of the green played a big part, 5 or 6 of Australia wickets have been played on, very unlucky indeed. If not for that Australia would be 700 ahead. Very well batted although your innings is now probably only the 5th best so far in this test. Will need a huge effort to save this test but Australia will have some nagging memories in the back of their minds.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 19:09 GMT)

U might have not given up AB, but your team has certainly showed signs of "preserving energy for the next test". I think this match is going to get over in 4 days unless Smith, Amla and Faf negate the new ball.

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

I think a pin-point accurate bouncer is a peach of a delivery, but what he means, I suppose, is the type of thing that Philander bowls. He's right there, Mitch won't be wobbling it around any time soon.

Posted by anuajm on (February 14, 2014, 18:58 GMT)

This match is gone for SA, how much fight they put, will not be enough. But i expect SA to hit back, their is a reason they are the number one team. Steyn will be hurt, and when he is hurt, he will be very very dangerous. With such powerful bowling attacks, all matches should have a result. SA needs to replace Peterson, they need to understand spin is right now not their forte. Abbot can replace Peterson and it will be a fearsome attack. Duminy needs to contribute more else he might be out of the team. With Johnson at his menacing best, and Harris certain to fire at some point of time, i see a 2-1 victory in favour of Australia.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 18:51 GMT)

Irrespective of what anybody thinks,, South Africa have the potential of chasing down even 550+ but below 600..

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 18:48 GMT)

It will take an incredible effort from SA to save this match from here... i mean every player has to put his hand up to stay at the crease for a prolonged period... ABD and Faf are obviously the key... Smith and Amla need to put in solid contributions at the top... If Petersen can stay put for say 30-40 overs it will be good... Duminy and Mclaren are the weak links in the batting dept. and i guess its time for the Saffers to start grooming Quinton de Kock for the role of wicket keeper batsman which will also allow ABD to play as a pure batsmen... they also need to look at somebody like Chris Morris as an all rounder because he has pace...

Posted by Rajeev129 on (February 14, 2014, 18:35 GMT)

Damage was already done. Get your boys prepared strongly for next test.

Posted by Chris_P on (February 14, 2014, 18:33 GMT)

ABD, You have my respect, a tough fighting knock, full of character. I have to say that, what is the point of praising him up so much, possibly casting doubts in your the ranks of your team? I wouldn't discount Rhino Harris either.

Posted by Rik_Forest on (February 14, 2014, 18:20 GMT)

AB deserved a ton. He batted brilliantly in the face of a typhoon. But he is also whistling in the dark (for his teammates). Any ball on Australian glove was minimal, often in an attack on the ball, while ball on Protea glove was always in desperate self-defense. Players and commentators often say teams playing with confidence get the 'rub of the green' - rubbish, unless here is a higher power doing the scorebooks! The make chances and take chances. No external excuses, AB. Teams play as they feel and SA are in trouble because they are in trouble. Big cracks, variable bounce, Mitchell Johnson - no 2nd innings heroics this time. But keep whistling, AB.

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

Well, that sounds good in theory AB, now lets see you put into practice! I predict the Sffers will score more than they did in the 1st innings, but not a whole lot more!!! Come on MJ you ROCK!

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

Well the man is an optimist, i'll give him that! I'm just not sure if AB saw too many of Cook's dismissals during the Ashes, because I can recall plenty of peaches right there. A well directed bouncer is also a peach in my book! I think most of the balls missing the bat today due to inconsistencies from the pitch were due to SA not bowling straight enough. Aus have been able to let so many deliveries go during this match and I'm just not sure that's the way to bowl at guys like Warner and Smith who reputedly have pretty loose techniques. Smith in particular has benefitted enormously from this fifth/sixth stump line offered up by Vern especially. I would have thought a guy with his skill set would have been at the stumps a whole lot more, today he was trying to bounce the Aussies out, extraordinarily peculiar from the world best seamer.. He bowled more like you'd expect Sreesanth to today.

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