Australia in South Africa 2013-14 February 16, 2014

South Africa attempt to paper cracks

Any changes to the XI for Port Elizabeth are likely to come from within the squad but there are few stand-out replacements
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Cullinan: SA's batting looked out of depth

If cricket was a more knee-jerk sport, members of South Africa's Test team may have reason to worry. The cracks are starting to show and some of them could be at risk of falling through.

One Test defeat should not be enough to merit wholesale changes and South Africa are unlikely make them. But it is sufficient for those with alarm bells ringing to stop hitting the snooze button, get up and start performing to allow South Africa to better see how they can move into the post-Jacques Kallis era.

Without him - and it may be enhanced by the Mitchell Johnson effect - the South Africa batting line-up is missing a certain distinction. While Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla's statures are known and celebrated, the top four seems to have shrunk almost overnight in Kallis' absence.

Just consider how Alviro Petersen looked in this last Test. The shot he played to engineer his own demise in the first innings was so unconvincing it prompted a tweet from his namesake Kevin Pietersen about how raw pace can cause a batsmen to do something he otherwise would not. Petersen swished at a ball he should have left, with leaden feet and an unsure mind, to end a nervy 24-minute stint at the crease in which he only managed to score 2.

He lasted even less time in the second dig, nine minutes, and his feet were nothing more than painted on, though it was a better delivery from Johnson. In barely more than half an hour, Johnson had turned Petersen from someone who is usually very sure of himself into someone who is not.

This is not the first time Petersen has seen or faced Johnson. He was up against him in the tour match in 2011, when he had just been dropped from the Test team, on a pitch with more life in it than the rowdy student town that is Potchesfstroom. Despite the variable bounce and Johnson's five-for, Petersen scored a hundred to let the selectors know they had made a mistake by discarding him and when he was recalled, almost a year later, he responded with a century on comeback.

Petersen is mentally tough but his recent run does not show that. He last scored a century 15 innings ago, in January 2013, and since then has an average of 23.92, including a stretch of 10 innings, eight of which were against Pakistan, in which he did not pas 30.

Someone suffering a similar syndrome, although it affects the middle order, is JP Duminy. He has not scored a half-century in seven innings and has not crossed the 30 mark in that time. With increased responsibility on his bowling, in which he takes on the role of a second spinner and sometimes out-bowls the specialist, the focus seems to have fallen off his batting and his talent, as witnessed in the Melbourne Test six years ago, seems to be getting wasted.

There is an option if South Africa want to replace either Petersen or Duminy. Dean Elgar is the extra batsman in the squad and could bat either at the top - where he is comfortable - or the middle, where he has played the majority of his seven Tests. Elgar has the numbers to justify a chance, with a first-class average of 44.14 and 19 hundreds to his name, but it will depend on whether team management think he has the ability to deal with the pressure. Judging by the dropped catch in Centurion, when he was on as a substitute fielder, maybe not.

The same factor will probably continue to leave Quinton de Kock, who despite his first-class average of 48.87 has only played two matches this summer and scored 11 runs, and Stiaan van Zyl, who led the first-class competition run charts until this weekend, out of contention. As Russell Domingo, South Africa's coach, has made clear, a series against Australia, particularly an Australia on the up, is not the time to blood a youngster.

That reason will also mean Simon Harmer, the spinner considered next in line for the role, will have to wait his turn. Robin Peterson is South Africa's third major worry as he continues to struggle to hold up his end but the only other place they can go is Imran Tahir. The legspinner took seven wickets for the Lions in the weekend's domestic match but whether he has gotten over 0 for 260 and whether South Africa want an attacking tweaker are matters that will need to be considered.

Because South Africa picked a squad of 15 at the beginning of this series, they are unlikely to look for answers outside it. If any changes happen, they will probably come from within the group and in the allrounder department. Although Ryan McLaren did what was expected of him, he did not do anything special and South Africa have seen that it will take something extraordinary to beat Australia.

That could open the door for Wayne Parnell, who has been reaching speeds of 150kph this summer and could be their x-factor. His inconsistency has led to him being expensive, though, which will have to be weighed up against the pace he has. Rory Kleinveldt is the other alternative. Although he is not as quick as Parnell, he gets good bounce and he is capable with the bat. It still leaves them with the problem of too many No.8s but Vernon Philander looks ready to move up a spot.

South Africa's knees do not need jerking just yet. They have all the tools they need to come up with an XI that can seal the cracks and continue building their side. But they need to use them cleverly to ensure their Polyfilla is foolproof.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vindaliew on February 17, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Speed isn't everything - remember Devon Malcolm? Johnson has always been bowling at this pace, but somehow it has just clicked this time around, and he has been hitting the lines and lengths he wants at will and at pace. It'll take more than a 150kph speedster spraying it all over the place to make the Australian batsmen comfortable. If Dale Steyn is being negotiated comfortably, I can't imagine another paceman being the answer.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 16, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    South Africa should not fall into the trap of trying to emulate Australia. There were times when the bowlers (Morkel in particular) looked like they were trying to copy Johnson. That is folly in my opinion, because as good and talented as the likes of Steyn and Morkel are, they cannot simply generate the pace and sublime form of Johnson overnight and should instead focus on what they do best and works for them. Pitch the ball up, and make sure the likes of Warner never get so many lives again. The SA batsmen need to spend some time in the nets against bowling machines cranked up to 100mph+, and take advice/notes from AB. Punish the bad/playable balls; block/leave the good ones. Johnson is formidable, but his energy is not infinite. And do not underestimate any of the other Australian bowlers either; only one may be hogging the limelight, but the others are equally capable.

  • kcric69 on February 19, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    I think a different proteas team will take the field tommorow. The reason we are the number 1 test team in the world is our ability to bounce back and show character (sadly something we lacked in the last test). Parnell will be a good inclusion for mclaren, and duminy has been riding a wave of poor to mediocre peformances for way too long, is he in the team as a spinner these days or is he a batsman? either way he seems out of his depth. Remove duminy and send him back to the cobras to get some much needed practice, put de kok in and let ab give the wickey keeping a break for a while. Johnson bowled fantastically well, but was more aided by poor batting. If the south africans get hold of him i feel he wont have the skills like Steyn to bounce back. Tommorow we will set the record straight and show Aus why we are number 1 and their crowing can stop

  • wickdwitch on February 19, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    I think where MJ works - and this is not just in the way he is managed by Clarke and Lehmann (spells of non than 5 overs and carefully spread) - but in the way Craig McDermott has him bowling. McDermott (some may not know) was picked as a teenager to play Test cricket for Australia - and did so with distinction, taking 291 wickets in 71 tests @ around 28.6 - and started playing in '84 - middle of the West Indies heyday. He has been there, done that at the highest level, and the current crop probably grew up watching him play. As a consequence they LISTEN to him, and he has MJ and the rest of the fast bowling posse pitching up - so they are getting many more bowled, LBW and caught behind the wicket (WK, slips) that you think. Soften them up with short stuff and then take out their off stump with a beauty (this Cook in Adelaide, Perth)

  • kepler22b on February 19, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    Greatest_Game on (February 17, 2014, 21:33 GMT)

    An amazing result for sure (where the hell do they practice?). Unfortunately the Afghanis got spanked by the Bangladeshis by 10 wickets. If the Australians beat Bangladesh today then Afghanistan is unlikely to go through to the next round.

  • on February 18, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    Dale Steyn is the best paceman in the hot set of fast bowlers that Australia and South Africa have showcased in this summer. Speed alone is not the key. Shaun Tait is a bowler who generally bowls faster than Mitchell Johnson and is more accurate than him when he is in full swing. But that purple patch stays for too short a while for Mr. Tait as his consistency always betrays him; simply out of nowhere! In the post-Kallis era, Quinton de Kock might be that x-factor to let the progress of the African Cricket assimilate and accelerate. Graeme Smith, at his best, is a genetically modified Sourav Ganguly to a certain extent. All this build up will eventually culminate into some sort of classic; the fans will take nothing out of the game!

  • Aspraso on February 18, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    The English were making the right (brave) we-shall-overcome noises after every loss/test -- the end result was still the same -- and finally a 5-0 whitewash. History repeating itself in SA vs Aus

  • Matt.au on February 18, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    @ Greatest_Game & SA SCOT In regards to whether Tahir should be picked for the 2nd test.

    After thinking about both your comments and understanding your point of view one thing still bothers me - Smiths' captaincy to spinners.

    Over the years Smith has seemed a captain that has little faith in spinners. He often waits too long to bring them on and gives them poor fields.

    Because of the poor fields they leak runs so he takes them off and you can almost see him thinking to himself - "I knew I shouldn't have bowled him"

    Leg spinners need a captain with the courage to set attacking fields whilst offering a smidgeon of protection.

    If the leggie gets hit over the top early on the captain needs the leggie to keep asking the batsman to keep trying that. Dropping mid on or mid off back to provide an easy single isn't going to cut the mustard nor give the leggie confidence.

    Warne always said he didn't mind getting hit for 6 or 4 for the greater good. Smith can't seem to understand that.

  • Matt.au on February 18, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    @Greatest_Game

    Thanks for your response regarding my quota system question.

    The first thing that came to mind when reading your response was "Ah, I see!" - said the blind man.

    Believe it or not, as muddled as the topic is, I understand it a lot more since your reply.

    I had wondered if players were told they were quota players and if that effected their self esteem once they found out.

    My own personal view is that CSA selectors would pick the best possible man/men for the job. It is not in their best interests to discriminate as they are in the business of selecting sides that win. If sides they select don't win they would, normally, lose their jobs.

    Someone like Tahir being selected makes it look to me there is no discrimination.

    Having said that, I am in no real position to comment as I have never been to SA. All I can say is what I see from an outsiders point of view.

  • dunger.bob on February 18, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    @ Aussasinator: said "target the bodies of the warners and Clarkes, whom we all know cannot play bouncy quick bowling." .. sorry mate, but not everyone knows that. I certainly didn't and I don't think Warner or Clarke do either. .. I've seen statements like that before but I'm not sure where the theory came from. Both have been out to short balls in their careers, that's true, but then again what player hasn't? .. Getting out now and then to a certain delivery doesn't necessarily mean it's a weakness, especially if they score heaps of runs off that delivery in between dismissals. .. Broad recently tried bouncing Clarke out. Got smacked to the fence a few times and gave up within two overs .. Anyway, by all means, just run up and bang it in. Maybe the crowds will be in better catching form than the SA team.

  • Vindaliew on February 17, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Speed isn't everything - remember Devon Malcolm? Johnson has always been bowling at this pace, but somehow it has just clicked this time around, and he has been hitting the lines and lengths he wants at will and at pace. It'll take more than a 150kph speedster spraying it all over the place to make the Australian batsmen comfortable. If Dale Steyn is being negotiated comfortably, I can't imagine another paceman being the answer.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 16, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    South Africa should not fall into the trap of trying to emulate Australia. There were times when the bowlers (Morkel in particular) looked like they were trying to copy Johnson. That is folly in my opinion, because as good and talented as the likes of Steyn and Morkel are, they cannot simply generate the pace and sublime form of Johnson overnight and should instead focus on what they do best and works for them. Pitch the ball up, and make sure the likes of Warner never get so many lives again. The SA batsmen need to spend some time in the nets against bowling machines cranked up to 100mph+, and take advice/notes from AB. Punish the bad/playable balls; block/leave the good ones. Johnson is formidable, but his energy is not infinite. And do not underestimate any of the other Australian bowlers either; only one may be hogging the limelight, but the others are equally capable.

  • kcric69 on February 19, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    I think a different proteas team will take the field tommorow. The reason we are the number 1 test team in the world is our ability to bounce back and show character (sadly something we lacked in the last test). Parnell will be a good inclusion for mclaren, and duminy has been riding a wave of poor to mediocre peformances for way too long, is he in the team as a spinner these days or is he a batsman? either way he seems out of his depth. Remove duminy and send him back to the cobras to get some much needed practice, put de kok in and let ab give the wickey keeping a break for a while. Johnson bowled fantastically well, but was more aided by poor batting. If the south africans get hold of him i feel he wont have the skills like Steyn to bounce back. Tommorow we will set the record straight and show Aus why we are number 1 and their crowing can stop

  • wickdwitch on February 19, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    I think where MJ works - and this is not just in the way he is managed by Clarke and Lehmann (spells of non than 5 overs and carefully spread) - but in the way Craig McDermott has him bowling. McDermott (some may not know) was picked as a teenager to play Test cricket for Australia - and did so with distinction, taking 291 wickets in 71 tests @ around 28.6 - and started playing in '84 - middle of the West Indies heyday. He has been there, done that at the highest level, and the current crop probably grew up watching him play. As a consequence they LISTEN to him, and he has MJ and the rest of the fast bowling posse pitching up - so they are getting many more bowled, LBW and caught behind the wicket (WK, slips) that you think. Soften them up with short stuff and then take out their off stump with a beauty (this Cook in Adelaide, Perth)

  • kepler22b on February 19, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    Greatest_Game on (February 17, 2014, 21:33 GMT)

    An amazing result for sure (where the hell do they practice?). Unfortunately the Afghanis got spanked by the Bangladeshis by 10 wickets. If the Australians beat Bangladesh today then Afghanistan is unlikely to go through to the next round.

  • on February 18, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    Dale Steyn is the best paceman in the hot set of fast bowlers that Australia and South Africa have showcased in this summer. Speed alone is not the key. Shaun Tait is a bowler who generally bowls faster than Mitchell Johnson and is more accurate than him when he is in full swing. But that purple patch stays for too short a while for Mr. Tait as his consistency always betrays him; simply out of nowhere! In the post-Kallis era, Quinton de Kock might be that x-factor to let the progress of the African Cricket assimilate and accelerate. Graeme Smith, at his best, is a genetically modified Sourav Ganguly to a certain extent. All this build up will eventually culminate into some sort of classic; the fans will take nothing out of the game!

  • Aspraso on February 18, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    The English were making the right (brave) we-shall-overcome noises after every loss/test -- the end result was still the same -- and finally a 5-0 whitewash. History repeating itself in SA vs Aus

  • Matt.au on February 18, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    @ Greatest_Game & SA SCOT In regards to whether Tahir should be picked for the 2nd test.

    After thinking about both your comments and understanding your point of view one thing still bothers me - Smiths' captaincy to spinners.

    Over the years Smith has seemed a captain that has little faith in spinners. He often waits too long to bring them on and gives them poor fields.

    Because of the poor fields they leak runs so he takes them off and you can almost see him thinking to himself - "I knew I shouldn't have bowled him"

    Leg spinners need a captain with the courage to set attacking fields whilst offering a smidgeon of protection.

    If the leggie gets hit over the top early on the captain needs the leggie to keep asking the batsman to keep trying that. Dropping mid on or mid off back to provide an easy single isn't going to cut the mustard nor give the leggie confidence.

    Warne always said he didn't mind getting hit for 6 or 4 for the greater good. Smith can't seem to understand that.

  • Matt.au on February 18, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    @Greatest_Game

    Thanks for your response regarding my quota system question.

    The first thing that came to mind when reading your response was "Ah, I see!" - said the blind man.

    Believe it or not, as muddled as the topic is, I understand it a lot more since your reply.

    I had wondered if players were told they were quota players and if that effected their self esteem once they found out.

    My own personal view is that CSA selectors would pick the best possible man/men for the job. It is not in their best interests to discriminate as they are in the business of selecting sides that win. If sides they select don't win they would, normally, lose their jobs.

    Someone like Tahir being selected makes it look to me there is no discrimination.

    Having said that, I am in no real position to comment as I have never been to SA. All I can say is what I see from an outsiders point of view.

  • dunger.bob on February 18, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    @ Aussasinator: said "target the bodies of the warners and Clarkes, whom we all know cannot play bouncy quick bowling." .. sorry mate, but not everyone knows that. I certainly didn't and I don't think Warner or Clarke do either. .. I've seen statements like that before but I'm not sure where the theory came from. Both have been out to short balls in their careers, that's true, but then again what player hasn't? .. Getting out now and then to a certain delivery doesn't necessarily mean it's a weakness, especially if they score heaps of runs off that delivery in between dismissals. .. Broad recently tried bouncing Clarke out. Got smacked to the fence a few times and gave up within two overs .. Anyway, by all means, just run up and bang it in. Maybe the crowds will be in better catching form than the SA team.

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 21:33 GMT

    Eureka! I have seen the future, and it is not Mitchell Johnson. It is not Quinton de Kock. It is not Mitchell Marsh, or any Marsh. It is nor Beuran Hendricks!

    Well then, what is it?

    In the U19 World Cup, the Afghanistan Under19 team BEAT the Australian U19 team by 36 runs. Forget about the SA cupboard. Forget about the Aussie cupboard. What the heck are they putting in the Afghan cupboard?

    And mark these words: some (not me, but someone else certainly will so please don't blame me for pointing this out, I'm simply the bearer of the message) will soon ask how quickly an ECB talent scouting team will be wining & dining the Afghan youngsters? After all, the British did invade Afghanistan, so somebody's grandparent somewhere … they will say.

    In addition, SA's seniors may well be wilting, but we are unbeaten in the U19 World Cup! We do have something to look forward to! (Yes yes, that is a cue for someone to haul out the C word. I'm just making it easy for the random troll.)

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    @ Matt.au commented about SA's "quota", "In response to the "elephant in the room" I would apologise to all SA supporters if my questions are out of order. I wasn't aware that it was a delicate subject, if it is. I had assumed that CSA had a policy that was set in stone and was to be adhered to by the selectors..."

    Matt - no apologies needed. You said nothing out of order. The subject should be clear and in the open, & there is nothing delicate about it at all. There was a quota, but it did not work, notably after a player was dropped & another included to keep the quota, & the quota player found out that he was a quota player & refused to tour! The quota had backfired big time & it was all changed, & there is now supposedly no quota, but there is a sort of quota only to keep happy those who would exploit cricket for political gain.

    If that does not make sense, welcome to SA cricket, where all players truly, out of pride, want to be picked on merit, but the politicians don't care ...

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 20:36 GMT

    @ black_bird added a very positive note to the debate with this comment: "South africa is done. they were too lucky to hold the no. 1 with medicore bowling, wretched batting. india will rise and teach everyone how to play test cricket."

    I'm confused so I need to check: is this the same India that has not won away from home since test no. 1997, dated 20 June, 2011? That I believe is 955 days, give or take the odd leap year.

    Is this the same India that had NZ by the throat at 5/94, 152 runs in the lead with only 5 wickets to get, & are now 325 runs BEHIND still needing another 4 wickets? The same India that conceded the highest 6th wicket partnership in test history, allowing NZ to get from 5/94 to 6/571? The same india that is ranked #2 & being humbled by the #8?

    Will India "teach everyone how to play test cricket" by showing how NOT to play test cricket? By demonstrating how to lose when winning? Inquiring minds are desperate to hear the answer. We are fascinated! Please, tell us.

  • Aussasinator on February 17, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    Poor approach by SA and its captain Smith. SA has the bowlers... they have to bowl fast and bouncy in the right areas to target the bodies of the warners and Clarkes, whom we all know cannot play bouncy quick bowling. the Oz weaknesses are time tested and its funny as to how SA are lacking the aggression to attack the. Isnt Smith a moronic captain? He is... its been too long now.

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    @ Matt.au commented " SA record in recent years has been terrific. I'm not sure the SA selectors will want to dismantle a successful side too much after one bad performance."

    Your observations make sense: seemingly there is over reaction after 1 defeat. However, SA won 2, drew 1, & LOST 2 of their last 5! Only Faf & AB saved a 3rd defeat!

    Many called for change for some time, but success put a sheen over real problems, & allowed selectors to be complacent & maintain a squad with weak players being carried by fantastic performances by AB, Amla, Steyn, Philander et al. With 3 or 4 players averaging over 50, the player averaging 32 sneaks by unnoticed. Remember Tahir & Kleinveldt in Aus? SA were successful, but NOT dominant.

    SA's spinners are a joke. Fielding them achieves nothing (except the UAE.) Rather field better pacers. Batsmen who fail series after series must go, now or later: success merely delayed the inevitable. Now is better than later as it improves SA's series chances.

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    Regarding Kallis' form near the end of his career, this innings encapsulates exactly his value.

    During the 1st test against India in Dec 2013, Morkel - who was by far SA's best bowler in India's 1st innings - 3/34, econ 1.47 - was injured at the beginning of India's 2nd inngs. Kallis took over much of his role, & bowled 20 overs, taking 3/68. His victims were 3 of India's top 5 - Vijay, Pujara & Rohit. Kallis averaged 22.66, EXACTLY the same as Philander, the world's #1 bowler, but at a better SR: 40 to Vern's 56. Vern was more economical, bowling 8 more overs.

    Duminy bowled just 4 more overs, with twice the ave @ 43.5 & SR of 72, & was more expensive. Tahir bowled 4 less overs, averaged much more @ 34.5 & SR of 47, & was more expensive. Steyn did not take a single wicket & was more expensive.

    Those are hard numbers, with no glorification. Don't question Kallis' contribution BEFORE checking the facts. You will look very ignorant in the unforgiving light of the statistical record.

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    RE Kallis' record over the last 2 seasons. Many are questioning his value to the Proteas, so I researched it, & posted it. I am not sure how people miss this information, so I'm re-posting it to ensure the record is clear: KALLIS WAS NOT A PASSENGER.

    Since the last Aus tour in November 2011 Kallis averaged, 44.27 with the bat, scoring 5 centuries. He averaged 36.71 with the ball, and took 21 catches.

    From 1 Dec 2011 the figures for other Proteas players:

    JP Duminy: bat ave 36.81, bowl ave 44. Alviro Petersen: bat ave 39.25. Graeme Smith bat ave 45.48. Dean Elgar: bat ave 30.71, bowl ave 21 (20 balls, 1 wicket, 21 runs.) Rory Kleinveldt: bat ave 9, bowl ave 42.2. Robin Peterson bat ave 27.36, bowl ave 38.29. Ryan McLaren bat ave 7, bowl ave 59.5. Imtan Tahir bat ave 13.5, bowl ave 43.68.

    Kallis was no passenger in the team: stats don't lie! Hash, ave 60, AB, ave 67.09, and Faf, ave 53.53 and Morkel, Steyn & Philander did better, but Kallis was still a major force.

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    @ Shongololo who posted "@Arno Fortuin - thankfully, there's a voice of reason in the Kallis glorification story. You're absolutely right - JHK was a great, great player...but he was ordinary with both bat and ball over the past few seasons."

    In response to Arno Fortuin's question about Kallis, I posted the stats of Kallis & other Proteas since the last Aus tour - a period of just over 2 years. Statistically Kallis did much better than Alviro, JP, Robbie P, Tahir, Elgar, Kleinveldt etc etc. Both with bat and ball the old man had better numbers than ALL of them - a better bowler & a better batsman, & none made the team ahead of him in either discipline. And he was still one of the finest slip fielders in the world.

    It is not glorification. He was not at his best, but he still posted better figures than all except Steyn, Morkel, Philander, ABdV, Amla, Smith & Faf.

    It is hard to deny, but stats don't lie! Kallis left the game before his game left him. Fact.

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 17:22 GMT

    @ ZCFOutkast writes "AUS have 3 lefties in the top four. Both experienced Parnell&Tsotsobe must play! Qdk, van Zyl, Abbott&Hendricks can wait!"

    Playing a few tests & failing is experience only of failure. In 5 tests Tsotsobe averaged 49.77, & Parnell 45.44 in 3 tests. How can that be considered "experience," except experience of FAILURE?

    Similarly, their national game is weaker. Parnell averages 32.94 in 47 1st class games, & Lopsy 26.63 in 57. Beuran Hendricks averages 20.29 in 42. Is the difference not blindingly clear? Parnell is a miserable bowler in comparison. He was pushed into the Proteas setup in the hopes that he was a prodigy. HE IS NOT!

    WHY must Qdk, van Zyl, Abbott & Hendricks wait? Parnell's 3 tests FOUR YEARS ago count as "experience," yet Abbott averaged 7.55 in a test ONE YEAR ago & is not experienced? WHY NOT? Quota?

    Hendricks is in the T20 squad to face Aus, so why can he not face Aua in tests? You want a leftie. He IS a LEFTIE. Did you even know that?

  • on February 17, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    Thank you SA Scot and Matthau for your comments. Re Elgar: He scored 215 test runs in 9 innings (103 not out against NZ) at 30.71. He was dropped by NZ with his score under 35 - simple catch. MJ got him twice in Perth for a king's pair. Tahir: He can cut off the tail as he has done against Aus at Wand. Good test at Lords. In his 0 for 260 at Aidelade he dropped a simple catch from his own bowling, then lost confidence. Should do well in PE. Did well recently against Cobras. Problem: Smith does not like him. No 7: I was at Cent and Philander batted quite nicely. Obviously he should reign in his hook shot. Aussies started to test him there. Fact of the matter is: Alviro is out of form or afraid or whatever and De Kock is not an opener. Duminy has a test average of 31.9. Not good enough for a No 6. Van Zyl: 90 first class matches at 44.08 and is a part time medium pacer. Play anybody, but not Elgar even Albie Morkel at 7. He scored a 50 there against Aus.

  • ZainE111 on February 17, 2014, 15:08 GMT

    @Matt.au - this is a very contentious and controversial topic among SA cricket fans.

    SA used to have a quota system enforced on the national cricket team - the policy was officially removed in 2008, I believe. So, currently there is no official policy or quota system in place regarding the national team. However, CSA has mentioned that diversity and "transformation" needs to take place within SA cricket - this will obviously include making the team more reflective of the demographics of the South African population.

  • mmoosa on February 17, 2014, 15:06 GMT

    S.A had the Aussies at 100/4 as well as cropped crucial chances in both innings...thus they had opportunities and would like to believe that just one or 2 good Protea partnerships could have seen a far better performance.It is possible but the thinking will have to be clear and not over fixated on Johnson...our bowlers went 700/14 and that's a massive worry...we seem to rely totally upon Steyn,hot and cold Vern and inconsistent Morne...it has to improve.Cullinan is correct...Morkel should take the new ball with Steyn with Philander doing the Siddle type job.

  • AltafPatel on February 17, 2014, 14:52 GMT

    SA must include Elgar and Rudolph to increase depth in batting. Relying on part-timers like R Petersen, McLarren, Philander and that too with useless Duminy never can win test match, particularly against challenging opponents.

  • Matt.au on February 17, 2014, 14:43 GMT

    @Johan Kotze I think it would be a mistake to bring in Tahir. Australian batsmen traditionally like playing legspin and attack it with glee. Players like Warner, Clarke, Smith and Haddin will make a mess of Tahir.

    A quick look at Tahirs' performances against Australia already tell a sorry tale. Nearly 5 and a half per over with an average per wicket of over 100.

    @ SA_Scot you said " but crucially, you CANNOT have a Philander or McLaren or Robbie P or Parnell at 7. You just cannot!!"

    You are quite correct and I'm sure the SA selectors know the players you mentioned are not test match No7's and would not select a side with any of them at No 7.

    I can't give any alternatives, I don't know the SA players as you blokes do. My suggestion is if there isn't a quality alrounder to be found, 7 specialist batsmen with AB as 'keeper and 4 specialist bowlers.

    There is no point in throwing in a bloke that isn't up to tests standard batting or bowling at the expense of a specialist.

  • Matt.au on February 17, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    @ SA_Scot you said "Presumably I need 1 more player of colour in there IF there is a quota expectation."

    Firstly, thank you for your reply.

    In response to the "elephant in the room" I would apologise to all SA supporters if my questions are out of order. I wasn't aware that it was a delicate subject, if it is. I had assumed that CSA had a policy that was set in stone and was to be adhered to by the selectors and SA cricket fans knew of the polkicy and how it worked.

    The "IF" in your above sentence makes me realise that perhaps it's not as clear cut as it seems.

    I had wondered how armchair selectors knew whom was a part of the quota system so they could pick a side based on the rules of the quota system.

    Can anyone tell me if there is in fact a quota system and if there is are you able to post a link to it so I can read the rules and gain an understanding of it?

  • creebo777 on February 17, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    Van zyl bats at 3,so obviously he can open,hudson said they might go with 7 batsmen,also russel dimingo on radio said they are not gona put a 20yr old kid against aussies ,

  • SA_Scot on February 17, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    @Johan Kotze

    Nice points, but crucially, you CANNOT have a Philander or McLaren or Robbie P or Parnell at 7. You just cannot!!

    No top flight team has a batsman of that calibre at 7 (and by that I mean, they have far more batsman-mindset players at 7), it is arrogant to assume that the SA top 6 are SOO good that they can accommodate someone who would at best average 25 at number 7. Philander is very talented, but he is not a number 7...and I doubt he would want to be. The fact he bats well now is great, but in the long run he surely is not a number 7.....

    Elgar can't be as bad as you make out...surely. A test match century, and 19 in FC matches. Perhaps not a top order batter, but if given some bowling responsibility perhaps his batting would become more *confident* at 7? If he averaged low-mid 30's consistently at number 7....that's ok considering you'd have Philander and maybe Parnell at 8&9.

    Stiaan as opener is a good shout....but IS he an opener?

  • Sixgun on February 17, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    As a test cricket fan, I think Johnson is great for the game. As a South African fan, I think the selectors need a wake up call. There are far too many hangers on in the team. Players like De villiers, Amla, Smith and Steyn have held this team up on their own for far too long and now against a top quality side the others are being found out.Our administrators also need to schedule us more top quality test cricket. Forget these 2 match series every 3 months. You need to practice and play. Big Wake up call needed. Well done to Johnson though.

  • on February 17, 2014, 13:33 GMT

    If you select Dean Elgar you make a huge huge mistake. He can't bat, he can't field (especially catch - he looked like a primary school boy under the high ball) and he can't bowl despite his one wicket at a crucial time against Pakistan. S. van Zyl would be a better option. In the warm-up game Elgar was out of his depth: while Van Z looked composed and can open. I have lost confidence in Alviro P, even before the warm-up. Parnell got him twice. I agree with one of the viewers, Parnell is not bowling over 143 kmh. But he is a better option than McClaren. I had thought Mc C would do better, but he is obviously better suited to limited overs. Give Hendricks a chance. I would play Tahir, but Smith must give him proper protection. Against India a proper legspin field would have yielded Kohli on the mid-wicket boundary in his first overfirst morning. Team: Smith, Van Zyl, Amla, AB, Faf, Duminy, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, Tahir, Hendricks. PS: Fire Hudson. Domingo out of his league.

  • SA_Scot on February 17, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    @Matt.au, a very salient point. No, I haven't in fact considered that...and yet, the reality of the matter is, we have to consider that there *is* a quota expectation....even if it is the elephant in the room topic of conversation.

    I suppose, from my team selections in previous posts, I have suggested Elgar for Alviro, De Kock for McLaren, Hendricks for Robbie.

    Presumably I need 1 more player of colour in there IF there is a quota expectation.

    But I really don't know how it works.

  • Mitchies2011 on February 17, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    Simple question is: How would the Australians feel about X playing? Robbie P = Delighted (easy runs/no threat) Elgar = Delighted (see his 'record' against Australia) McLaren = Delighted (no threat bowling/no threat batting) A Petersen = Delighted(easy wicket - isn't in any form - not sure who to replace with) Abbott = Unsure (know he is a MUCH better bowler than McLaren - FC bowling av this season - 16.30 / 10 wickets) De Cock = Probably confident but not sure (much better batsmen than McLaren and gives AB focus on batting) Parnel = not too worried (he is not in form although can bowl quick apparently - FC bowling av this season - 12.75 / 7 wickets - 1 match) Hendricks = Unsure (again much better bowler than McLaren - FC bowling av this season - 18.28 / 21 wickets - most in SA this season)

    As has been said by many, why are the selectors ignoring form. It is not as if there are not the bowlers out there of class that can do the job? Hope Abbott or Hendricks gets picked.

  • real_gone_gadd on February 17, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    Having McLaren at number 7 made them look weak. SA need a stronger top order.

    By the way, calling any two consecutive matches "a series" is a joke... why isn't this being played over 5 Tests?

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    Someone made a good point that JP Duminy and Robbie Peterson actually now have similar Batting and Bowling averages. So its good to know that we have 2 equally poor players in the team.

    JP Duminy on two Test centuries in 34 Test innings......that's poor. Robbie Peterson a bowling average of 37 and selected as a specialist spinner - thats a laugh.

  • Matt.au on February 17, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Posted by Greatest_Game +---- SA's cupboard has a lot of surprises hidden in it. You may not yet have seen them all.

    Thanks for the link to the scorecard, it comes up as page not found.

    You mentioned that, essentially, there may be half a cupboard that I haven't seen. I won't argue in any way with that as I don't follow SA domestic cricket all that much.

    I have read your posts about certain players and your logic for their selection seems sound. In the end though it doesn't matter if I, or even you, have seen what is or isn't in the player cupboard. It matters what the SA selectors see.

    Let's face it, SA record in recent years has been terrific. I'm not sure the SA selectors will want to dismantle a successful side too much after one bad performance.

    If SA lose the 2nd test it might be the time to rummage through the cupboard find and give a few youngsters a run to see how they go in the 3rd test.

  • on February 17, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    The no. 4 slot must go to our best batsman and that is AB. Imagine what freedom he would play with if he weren't burdened with the gloves? He is a genius with the bat in hand and I do realize that his average has gone up since taking over the gloves but the fact remains he can never bat any higher than 5 due to the high demands of keeping wicket. Remember he has to kneel for a whole innings before going in to bat and also probably occupies a large amount of time training in his keeping duties also (which could be spent on batting practice). Tsolekile should be brought in, JP should get more responsibility with regard to the holding role and perhaps we should gamble on Parnell's pace. My 11: 1. Smith 2. Peterson 3. Amla 4. AB 5. Faf 6. JP 7. Tsolekile 8. Parnell 9. Philander 10. Steyn 11. Morkel or with AB keeping: 1. Smith 2. Peterson 3. Amla 4. Faf 5. AB 6. Elgar 7. JP 8. Parnell 9. Philander 10. Steyn 11. Morkel

  • AussiePhoenix on February 17, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    Whenever the fans and commentators start talking about multiple player changes you have a problem. When the board, quite rightly, places the first test at a guaranteed stronghold, the opposition has no warmup match, and still convincingly win with bat and ball, there is a serious problem. SA is strong willed, they are going to try to bounce back. Wholesale changes wont be made, because the fear is it makes you look weak and unsettles everybody. So much pressure is now on SA, they HAVE to win at PE to save the series. Their bowlers will improve for sure, and batsmen will find a way to grind out more. But can they improve enough? They needed to score double the runs they did to win at Centurion, that's a huge expectation. What SA fans are forgetting on this comment page is Australia will also improve, as they become more familiar with the conditions. Panic will set in, the task will prove out of reach. Australia already have them in a vice like grip, SA will tap out. Oz 2-0.

  • maverick813us on February 17, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    @creebo777 its unfortunate that he is not in Titan 4 team. But if you look at his physic, he is 6'7, only 23 yrs, old, he is muscular. He reminds me of Andre Nel. His pace is 150+, with his height and muscles, he can produce enough bounce on any surface and create terror for opposition. He can kyle Abott can lead the next generation pace attack for SA.

  • StaalBurgher on February 17, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    @Shongololo - Agreed. Kallis knew his time was up. He had one of his worst years with the bat before the Indian series. He made the right call. Not his fault if the selectors refuse to pick form and talented batsmen over freeloaders like Alviro and (unfortunately, because I do think he is talented) Duminy. If Duminy does not take up the spin role in addition to batting then he does not justify his selection on his batting alone.

  • StaalBurgher on February 17, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    You don't need wholesale changes. You just need two.

    (1) Drop Alviro Petersen who is just not good enough. He did alright but will never average over 40 (FC avg of 39) so why is he playing?

    (2) Given that Duminy is not scoring runs he has to either play as a bat/spin combo or not at all. If you play Robbie Peterson then you drop Duminy but if you want Duminy you have to drop Peterson and select another batsmen.

    You could of course replace McLaren as well with another bowler if you bring in another batsmen.

    These are two changes that should've been on the cards years ago. Often you can improve. Just because a team is winning does mean you have to carry batsmen that average <30 and <40 respectively given the potential talent on the sideline.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    @John Smith "people criticise robin peterson but the fact is that he is making the most of his talent.."

    John, as SA cricket fans we have right to be critical and especially when people are picked who dont warrant being there. Our complaints are not personal, as its not his fault but fault of the selectors for choosing him in the first place. He simply is not good enough to be playing International cricket. Any cricket lover from any country will tell you that.

  • on February 17, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    There must be something i'm missing here, i watched almost every match of the Ram slam T20 and Parnell didn't even bowl 145 kph, now since when has he been bowling 150 kph. i am seriously questioning those numbers. Anyway even if he has that sort of pace, i don't think he has the required bowling skills to consistently trouble the Aussie batsmen. I'd rather go for a more skilled, consistent, economically bowler (Hendricks or Abbott). When Aussie A side was here last time the found going tough against these 2, and that was an A side including Warner, Marsh, Doolan, Finch to name a few and these 2 were very impressive. i also remember Simon Harmer taking 8 wickets in an innings. I say blood them in , these are specialist bowlers not a bit of this and that

  • on February 17, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    duminy continues to be picked because he is 'talented' and a 'useful spinner'. some would argue that he is a better bowler than robin peterson. despite this, he is picked primarily as a batsman. his first innings dismissal was a soft one at a crucial time. he has been living off his talent tag for too long - when last did he deliver when it really counted? elgar deserves a chance and is a like-for-like replacement and will almost certainly show more fight against johnson and company, who will be relishing an opportunity to bowl to mr duminy. alviro needs another chance, who else is there anyway? people criticise robin peterson but the fact is that he is making the most of his talent.

  • twistedseatbelt on February 17, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    Oz dominated the game from day 1 to day 4 with probably only the SA bowlers wrapping up the first innings to show for a miserable match. But it was not Johnson that singlehandedly won the match, rather it was also the splendid application by Marsh, Doolan, Smith and Warner that sealed the deal, helped in no small measure by the countless dropped catches. Without the dropped catches, SA would have been chasing 300 -350 in 4 and a half sessions instead of the 481 in just under 6 sessions. A completely different ball game and one which arguably was still beyond their reach but cricket is a funny game and who knows what could have happened.

  • SA_Scot on February 17, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    @tpjpower.

    Perfect selection. Exactly what I would go for. Elgar and Duminy to provide whatever spin we can use, and 4 pacers with some leftie in there.

    Yes, It looks like a very talented side, with specialists in the right places. Batting to 6, Duminy as All rounder at 7.

    Yes, we don't have *specialist* spinners in there, but we just don't as a nation have a spinner we can trust in a 4 man attack. So 2 part timers is ok in my book outside of the Sub-continent, as long as we have 4 talented pacers ready to bend their backs.

    Abbot is awesome, but he just cannot be put into a 4-man attack if everyone is a rightie...it's just too predictable.

    But, unless Morne starts to pick things up and maybe develop some mongrel in him......Abbot for Morne maybe in future.

  • SA_Scot on February 17, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    @Vukani Quinteen Nzuza

    I'm mostly with you, and yes I completely agree with the stop&thnk approach.

    I'd personally give Elgar a few more bites, as an opener, and have De Kock in at 6 or 7....I think 6.

    In my opinion you could then have a good-looking top 7 (Smith, Elgar, Amla, Faf, AB, De Kock, Duminy) and introduce Hendricks\Parnell.

    4 pacers at 8-11 (Abbot for Morkel potentially in future, unless Morne starts to get some sticks again).

    The big plus of Elgar, who admittedly I'm still unsure of, is that we can have him and Duminy taking over Robbie P's spinning role....I really don't believe this is going to make us weaker...at all. At the end of it, SA is a fast\seamers country, THAT is what we produce. We can hope and hope that we can produce a spinner, but I'd almost never trust a 4-man attack with a South African spinner.

    Tahir is good, but on Sub continent, and Australia are ALREADY in his head anyway. They will destroy his bad balls.

    Elgar, Hendricks, De Kock in.

  • gimme-a-greentop on February 17, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa..that's exactly what I was thinking...

  • React28 on February 17, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    I would drop Robbie P and Rayn McLaren replace them with a batmen men a front line bouler.Why bring Faf up the order he did well at 7.Get a new no 4 batsmen Elgar/ Staain van Zyl the bouler must be Abbott/Hendricks or Parnell.

  • on February 17, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    @Deon Pietersen - 'how come Smith also failing lately never on the chopping block?'

    Dude, are you for real? In his last 10 Test innings, Graeme Smith has an average of 54.00, including a massive double-hundred against Irfan, Junaid, Ajmal and Co. in Dubai.

    Duminy, on the other hand, in his last 10 Test innings has an average of 24.56. The only thing keeping him in the team at this stage is his more-than-useful off-spin bowling.

  • SA-Warriors on February 17, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    Hudson & his team should quit. With their 'selection policy', this has been a long time coming. Except for AB and Faf, there is no inform batsmen in the side. Either JP or Robbie P should be picked, not both (almost identical stats). The last team included 4 allrounders (JP, McLaren, Robbie, Vern). WTF? You can't replace JK period. So pick 'n batsmen and a bowler and get rid of one of the 'spinning' allrounders. Elgar is a waste too. Every punter's opinion before the game was that the best bowler the last couple of seasons, barring Steyn, Vern and Morne, have been Abbott, yet he is not even being looked at. The best spinner over the same period in Harmer. Same thing. I'm also with Mike Holding regarding AB and keeping. His average went up, but the really big scores hasn't happened either. De Kock should get a look in. What about Miller? Can't be worse. Reality is, all of them don't fit into SA's political scene. So just forget about these players playing anytime soon (for SA that is)

  • on February 17, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    its funny how JP always have to prove himself in the test arena how come Smith also failing lately never on the choping block I do believe Alvero is not in form and should maybe have a rest to be hungry to score runs again I think the youthfull flair and self believe in his ability that De Kock bring to the game is needed at the top of the order but our biggest problem is the fact that we lost the first test at the press releases already we need more aggression. and stop being afraid of Australia. come on boys show them the lion of africa. Protea for life

  • on February 17, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    I am one for change but not a major overhaul. People need to understand one thing , you cannot replace an opening batsmen with a keeper/batsmen. De Kock coming is to free up AB of keeping duties, for me only 2 changes are needed at most. Based on the conditions at PE then they can decide whether its full on pace attack of replace Robbie with a spin whose gonna bring some wicket taking options (Tahir), but an extra batsmen or Keeper/batsmen is needed. So for me Alviro Petersen stays for now

  • on February 17, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    Give the devil his due. Mitchell J bowled fast and well. But believe me, this is not where SA lost the game. If Amla had taken a diffucult catch in the gully to dismiss Marsh, another story. They were 98 for 4 at one time and if that catch was taken it would have been for 5 when Clarke departed. Of course Smith's decision to bat first was non-sensical. Where I sat in Bloc D, everybody just groaned when the decision was announced. Easy to wise after the event but when I saw the pitch on the third day I could not believe my eyes! Elgar is not internat standard. To have him on a field for a whole innings would be a disaster. He was really scared of Johnson in Perth. Alviro Petersen is clearly out of form and not score a run in the rest of the series - they will not drop him but should and replace him with Van Zyl.Very few positives: SA bowled with more purpose just after lunch in the Aus second innings but you need support from your fielders. AB at 4 and Faf at 5. Rob P and McC 1 dayers

  • gimme-a-greentop on February 17, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    @jonesy2....are you feeling ok, mate? That was the most balanced, impartial post I have ever read from you. Nice work.

  • on February 17, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 16, 2014, 19:19 GMT) - Featured comment. "South Africa should not fall into the trap of trying to emulate Australia." Your post is one of the best comments ive seen following the 1st test so far. On one more note, for all the glory and attention Johnson justifiably is getting right now, as an Australian follower of game Ii was very impressed with AB de Villiers. Not his talent, which i knew well, or his skill which has been on display for a long while. Not even his temperament and maturity. It was AB's smile as he walked out to bat, with his side 3 down for 20 odd, to face a fired up and rampant Johnson who was firing in one of the most hostile spells of fast bowling seen in an age. This kind of spoiling for a fight, of recognising a rare opportunity, this kind of battle ready attitude is what makes this guy truly special. Thats what test cricket is about: facing up to the test with courage and passion. I liked it as much as the Aussie's play.

  • ZCFOutkast on February 17, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    It makes more sense to move Amla one place up than to bring in Elgar for Alviro. I was very much encouraged by the way he batted second innings & I'm tipping him to have a big impact in the remainder of the series.

    Smith is a sitting duck&captaincy is saving him. He will not win the battle against Johnson. After whitewashing ENG, I'm sensing another round of AUS retirements if they win this series - Harris,Haddin&Rogers despite just coming back. The pressure after Doolan&Marsh impressed, with Watson, Hughes, North, Khawaja&White outside, and Pattinson, Bird, Starc&Cummins all getting fit will force the selectors' hands. Smith might want to consider batting lower as that means there will be no respite for him if Harris is looking to end on a high(or be pushed out).

    Smith(c), Amla, AB, Faf, Duminy(spinner), Bavuma, Tsolekile(wk), Philander, Parnell, Steyn, Tsotsobe

    AUS have 3 lefties in the top four. Both experienced Parnell&Tsotsobe must play! Qdk, van Zyl, Abbott&Hendricks can wait!

  • Int.Curator on February 17, 2014, 8:44 GMT

    This article outlines several SA players with major technical weaknesses.

    Australia have identified. targeted, exposed and completed a bowling plan for the last 6 test matches with full success.

    Yet SA are unlikely to make any changes.

    Go figure.

    This SA team can not beat Australia.

    SA are 6 months behind a cricket destroying machine.

  • on February 17, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    A true number 1 side does not have cracks

  • wanatawu on February 17, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    Bring back Ashwell Prince, SA need a gritty batsman, to many of them wants to be flashy. Prince for JP, Qdk for Alviro and Parnell/Hendricks/Abbott for McLaren(where's De Lange?.And Tahir for Robbie P, St. Georges are spinners friendly.

  • Vaughanographic on February 17, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    I agree with the idea of knee-jerk reactions in some cases - this is one. Will Peterson suddenly go for under 3 an over against Australia? NO. Will Mclaren produce an innings of substance at number 7? NO. So drop them. I am not sure about Alviro Peterson - he can make batting look quite easy when he gets it right so I may be inclined to give him one more chance but I think that McLaren needs to be replaced by a batsman and Peterson needs to go. The current backup batsman is Dean Elgar but he was roughed up by Johnson last time and Stiaan Van Zyl is in such great form I would put him in. With R Peterson-I think the best bet is Beuran Hendricks- give him a go!!! If Alviro still keeps failing I would be tempted to throw de Kock up the order (despite his poor 1st class stats this season) and tell him to try attack Mitch (its a foolhardy idea but not as bad as playing Robin Peterson!)

  • Romanticstud on February 17, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    At The Moment South African batting needs a shake-up ... I would have this order ... 1) De Kock 2) Elgar 3) Amla 4) Du Plessis 5) Smith 6) De Villiers 7) Philander 8) McLaren 9) Steyn 10) Morkel 11) Tahir ... I feel Duminy and Alviro need to be dropped in order for them to regain the hunger to play test cricket ... and Imran, I feel will be more effective in Port Elizabeth than Peterson ... As for Johnson ... I said before the ashes they should pick him ... because he has the ability to turn a game on its head single-handedly ... He did it here in 2009 ... History will repeat itself ... unless the South African batsman can come up with a plan against quality fast bowling ... Steyn and Vernon are still there however and can still do a lot of damage ... Someone needs to get Steyn angry ...

  • creebo777 on February 17, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    M.de lange not even in the titans 4 day team,why hasnt anyone mentioned david miller??? Get him in the test team,

  • TheRedLeb on February 17, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    The problem SA is facing and needs to manage to ensure we don't endure a prolonged slump is exactly the same that this Aus side has had. In loosing JK we have lost a once in a lifetime cricketer like Aus when the lost Warne, Gilchrist, McGrath et al

    However where Aus faltered is they tried to replace like for like (particularly in case of Warne, Smith/McGain were never test quality leggies) you are never going to find a allrounder that can fill JK's role its simply not going to happen in my lifetime anyway. SA need to pick 2 specialist players to replace JK and resort to a 7 batsmen 4 bowler mix (with Keeper being the "allrounder") in AB I dont think SA realise they have a world class allrounder in AB they just need to give him another 2 proper batsmen to bat with.

    The 4 bowler strategy isn't hurting Aus ??? SA need to be bold and drop the 3 bits and pieces cricketers they have in JP/McClaren and Robbie Peitersen and pick 2 batsmen and a bowler ... for me its as simple as that

  • on February 17, 2014, 8:14 GMT

    Without kallis south africa even can not draw a match south african need kallis back in the team still he can play . Generly south african bowling and batting both are weak only styen as a bowler and amla and de liverav as bat sman remaining team has no level

  • on February 17, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    When Morne Morkel's birthday comes in October everybody in our test side will be 30 and above. We are soon going to experience what Aussies experienced when Waugh brothers, Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, Matt Hayden and others retired within few years of each other. Maybe we need to freshen the side while are still shocked.

  • juman123 on February 17, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    Line up for pe in batting order

    smith devilliers amla duminy faf dekok parnell Philander Abbot Steyn Morkel

    All attack. We need to ensure they dont get past 300. I dont see us getting past 300 with everyone in present form.Its a gamble but we need to

  • Petesta on February 17, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    I agree with the comments regarding bits and pieces players and playing to our strength. Robbin Peterson needs to be dropped for a pace bowler. Duminy can get a reprieve due to his ability to provide a spinning option.

    Our batters need to be prepared to wear a few on the body or they need to be dropped for someone who is. Put on an arm guard and chest guard when Johnson bowls if you have to.

    Q de Kock for Alviro. I'm confident the rest of the batters can come through for us. If we can survive Mitch's first 4 over opening spell only one wicket down, we can take the aussies.

    I do think we can come back.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    As Jonsey2 mentions, AB has to bat higher up. He often got stranded with our bits and pieces useless all-rounders (mclaren & robbie peterson) who should be dropped. De Kock then needs to play to add batting strength and take the gloves. Alviro needs to be dropped and replaced by either Elgar or Van Zyl. JP, needs to bowl spin as he clearly cant buy a run.

    I am happy to knee-jerk. As we need serious changes, these weaknesses existed before but were painted over by Kallis and weaker opposition.

    1.Smith 2.Van Zyl 3.Amla 4.AB 5.Faff 6.JP 7.De Kock 8.Vernon 9.Steyn 10.Morkel. 11.Tahir (Abbott)

  • SA_Cric69 on February 17, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    @Greatest Game - I completely agree with your analogy about selection being illogical and on quotas, etc. If Alviro's figures are what Firdose says they are then there is no reason he should be in the team. Same goes for Robbie P in my opinion. I don't really buy this whole premise that putting new faces into a team against "Australia ooohh wow" makes a difference. Firstly we're basically saying that inexperienced players can't handle the Australians in which case we're putting them on a pedestal and secondly, we're one down in the series. Drastic changes need to be made to correct this. Why can't these youngsters get a go when some players haven't performed in an entire year....that's right a year!!! If faf never performed in a year or if Morkel never performed in a year, they'd be dropped. So why isn't the same thing happening with these failures? The only reason de Kock isn't in the team is because of the Tsolikile saga

  • maverick813us on February 17, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Why doesn't SA consider De Lange. He is a strong tear way fast bowler, who has a great future and can match Jhonson. Although Australia to should opt for Pattinson and Cummins in the next match, instead of Ryan and Siddle, who are supporting bowlers.

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    @ Mitchies2011 asked "What would be a better team than this? Smith Petersen Amla Faf De Villiers Miller Dumminy Philander Abbott/Hendricks Left hand fast medium Steyn Morkel. Maybe de Cock instead of Miller and AB bats at 4."

    Better team? One with Kallis in it!!!

    Otherwise, no Alviro Petersen. No JP Duminy. No Robin Peterson. No McLaren. No Parnell. No Tsolokile.

    Put in Beuren Hendricks & Abbott making a 5 man pace attack with Steyn, Morkel & Philander. If SA has no really good spin, go all pace. The Windies did quite well doing that. If we want bad spin Faf can bowl it!

    de Kock - yes AB at #4, yes. 6th batsman is tough. Bavuma, van Zyl, Miller? Maybe Ashwell Prince - his form is good? Elgar maybe, but he can't catch! He could also bowl some bad spin tho!

  • jonesy2 on February 17, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    cricket not knee-jerk? in Australia its as knee jerk as it gets. I see SA right now between a rock and a hard place selection wise and I said this before the series. they have a very large Jacques kallis sized hole gapping and no spinner to chose. so, play to your strengths and away from your weakness I think is the only option. duminy gets one more chance, at number 7. a batsman comes in at 6 and a fast bowler replaces robin Peterson. who takes those places is the tough part. I don't know enough about SA cricket to suggest anyone. alviro Petersen is also a problem and du plessis at 4 is just a lovely opening for Australia to get stuck into de Villiers then run through the middle and lower order. I think de Villiers has to bat at 4 but then theirs the problem of him wicketkeeping so who do you bring in to wicket keep? feed de kock to the wolves? where do you bat him? 7? then duminy stays at 6? so many tough questions. I cant see their batting improving I think its purely up to steyn

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 6:29 GMT

    @ Matt.au wrote "The cupboard looks pretty bare for SA. Prior to the 1st test they played a warm up game against what looked to be their B squad and annihilated them."

    It is worthwhile to note that the "B" squad was chosen from players whose teams were out of the domestic 20/20 competition. It was not the entire cupboard: not even half of it!

    If you look at the scorecard (link below), Quinton de Kock, who scored 3 back to back ODI centuries against India, did score a brisk 50. SA fans want him in the team, but that does not sit well with CSA's current plans/quota/unusual & inexplicable cricket strategies.

    Beuran Hendricks, a prolific wicket taker, had much much better bowling figures than McLaren or Parnell, but is not in the test squad. McLaren & Parnell are SUPPOSED all rounders, so they are. Joke!

    SA's cupboard has a lot of surprises hidden in it. You may not yet have seen them all.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-domestic-2013-14/engine/current/match/714095.htm

  • on February 17, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    johnson is on the roar the proteas must have a definate plan to play him and tire him up and the results will change i think no change needed just a bit of positive thinking and is going to be hardfor the aussies . this is all about pacers from both sides and how theyare approached by the batters still there is every chance of the proteas returning with venegance

  • SixFourOut on February 17, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    They simply played the wrong team. Hendricks is the best bowler in the first class circuit, so why isn't he playing? Elgar is the best batsmen in the domestic circuit, so where was he?

    They played bits and pieces cricketers who can't win matches, when you must play matchwinners.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    Gentlemen, the real burning problem we have at the moment from a team selection point of view is that the current Test squad selected is weak and missing the best players in the country. Lots of people rightly asking for Q. De Kock, Hendricks, Abbott, Van Zyl, etc But the issue is, they are not even in the Test Squad so they can't be selected for the starting eleven!!!

    So for the 2nd Test against Australia, even if we do make changes, the replacements are not the best in the country (Thami, Kleinveld, Parnell). We are looking at 2-0 unless more are introduced into the squad ASAP.

  • TheCricketeer on February 17, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    It would not be a knee jerk reaction to address the batting inadequacies of Peterson and Duminy. Both ahve played more than 20 test matches and neither avergaes 40. Even worse both are on a downward trend.

    SA selectors should be praised with regards to consistency but it can be taken to far and they are so stronly averse to freshening up a winning side that people are allowed sometimes too much leeway. Its not expecting too much to say the top 6 in the batting order of the number 1 side in the world should all be averaging 40+ at least. We have two guys who have not done it and have had an extended opportunity to do so.

    A pointer from the Aussies. They just one a series 5-0 yet a memebr of that starting team was deemed to have performed poorly enough to fall right out of the squad. Not something our slectors would do.

    The balance has to be found. We lean slightly to far to the consistency side at the moment. Unfortunately my guess is Elgar for Mclaren will be the only change!

  • Tausifd on February 17, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    Both the teams have good batting line up. I would say South Africa has a better batting line up than the Australians. This series would be deicided by the pace bowling factor, which at the moment Australia has upper hand. Both the attack has the capabilities to run through any batting line up. The matter is which one will perform on the day when it matters. Australia having drawn the first blood, Saffers needs to give the best to match that intensity of Australian attack.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    I am massive Saffa cricket fan and these changes are not panic or knee-jerk, they have been brewing since the Pakistan tour. The Luxury of Kallis and AB Keeping wicket has allowed us to field sub-par all-rounders and allowed us to maintain sub-par performing players. (Robbie P, A.Petersen, Morkel and JP)

    The current SA squad is full of free-loaders and as Greatest Game would say - half baked part-timers, which is totally accurate. I think Management will make a few minor changes for the 2nd Test based on the current squad but that wont change the outcome. I believe the big changes that are need to be made will only come after we have lost the series to Australia. To be continued.

  • sherishahmir on February 17, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    Australians outplayed the Proteas in first match it does mean the South African(SA) team should be overhauled just due to a one defeat. They are the number one test cricket side and they did not achieve this ranking overnight, there is long journey through which they went and honestly are thoroughly deserve to this honor after the fall of Australia to dominate the cricket in an era Post Oct 99 to 2008-9. SA should go with the same team with the fact they have beated Australia in Australia in last two series and they can do also in their backyard too. Though, Australia is a tough opponent when they are in song as they got the rythem and Mitchel Johnson at the best of his career, but still current Australian cannot be compared with Steve Waugh & Ponting teams and SA can come strongly. It definitely be a top class series, unfortunately consisted on only 3 test matches it should have been of at least 5 matches.

  • Marktc on February 17, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    I see no reason for panic. SA traditionally play poorly in the in first test and come back very strong after that. Maybe it is due to lack of continuous cricket, but it has become a tradition.

  • on February 17, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    Vnott. Look around the comments boards, it's a smorgasbord of comments relating to MJ not being able to replicate this form on sub continent tracks. It's no doubt just sour grapes from a few bad apples and there are plenty of positive comments too but I just noticed the ever present "wait till you get to India" tripe. Honestly I agree with you pal, I don't think it matters what pitch in any country MJ plays in at the moment he is red hot and long may it continue! What it has done has excited many a cricket fan and the cricket boards would be clambering over each other to get an aussie tour happening asap!!!

  • SlipsGlance on February 17, 2014, 5:17 GMT

    Next Test will be a lot closer: - Pitch will not be as up and down. It's hard enough to face an express bowler in the form MJ's currently in. When you also have to worry whether the next short of a length ball is going to shoot through and hit your shin or take off towards your throat... - SA must surely field better. Aus are unlikely to catch so many blinders. - De Villiers looks in a class of his own but can't do it all on his own. Amla or one of the others will stick with him, soaking up some overs, which will force Johnson to have longer spells. A lot will depend on how comfortable SA are against Lyon. If they take him on Clarke may be forced to rotate through the seamers more than he would like.

    Can't wait - go Aussies.

  • Mitchies2011 on February 17, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    The way forward for SA is as follows I believe: First of all they have to show that they can bat against Johnson. I think knowing his spells are short they should just wait him out and play only what they need to. But then it is VITAL that they don't let Siddle bowl economically, they have to put pressure on Australia through him. He is the weak link of the three pacemen. So if they can do that the result will be: Australia at the moment have no pressure on them because all they feel they have to do is pitch up. They need to feel pressure. Then we will see how they do. Without Johnson taking wickets at will it is a different game. But if they don't attack one of the bowlers as the Australians do our spinner, the SA batsmen will just be sitting ducks. Australia will feel comfortable and it will be same old, same old.

  • Mitchies2011 on February 17, 2014, 5:08 GMT

    What would be a better team than this? Smith Petersen Amla Faf De Villiers Miller Dumminy Philander Abbott/Hendricks Left hand fast medium Steyn Morkel

    Maybe de Cock instead of Miller and AB bats at 4.

  • on February 17, 2014, 4:35 GMT

    I wonder where is Ashwell Prince??

  • Vnott on February 17, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    Randall Foxx: Not true that Sub Continent fans are belittling Mitchells form. There is a genuine sense of amazement at what he has achieved....Surely he is on way to being the most feared bowler in this decade. Ironically it is the mud tracks in India in the supposedly inconsequential One day series against India that he hit real rhythm and sent first signals of things to come. In the process he has almost finished off Yuvrajs career. As long as he stays in rhythm, he would be a threat irrespective of where Aus play....

  • Sir_Ivor on February 17, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    I think South Africa will come back. I have always believed that they play better abroad than at home, I think the will get back this time. I would want De Kock Parnell and Tahir in the side in place of Peterson,McLaren and Peterson. With the slower wicket at Port Elizabeth coming into play, I am not sure how successful Johnson will be. IF the wicket is like the Indian ones. Johnson may not be such a threat. Australia were very lucky in the last game. The Hindus believe that good luck is a circle and that Australia is still in the Ashes one. So it is just a matter of time before normalcy is restored !

  • on February 17, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    I wonder where is Ashwell Prince??

  • SHK1 on February 17, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    @black_bird Seriously?!!!!!!

  • andrew-schulz on February 17, 2014, 4:27 GMT

    Oh dear, Indian and Sri Lankan followers talking big when they have nothing to talk big about. Sri Lanka rules? You couldn't even beat New Zealand at home. Sanga's achievements in Australia? What, getting smashed by Johnson early in the series and put out for the rest of the series. And blackbird, a bad time to talk about India rising on the day they ensure their 14 th consecutive away Test without a single win. A joke.

  • on February 17, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    Johnson can decimate any team at any place even in the subcontinent !

  • on February 17, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    So so many sub continent cricket fans trying to undermine Mitchell Johnson's achievements. Who cares how he bowls on the mud tracks over there in a year from now? The series he's playing now is the big series! Pace is exciting, India and Sri Lanka don't have proper Pace bowlers, I'm guessing that's why their fans are consistently belittling MJs amazing form. Try enjoying guys it's a spectacle to behold.

  • Anil_Koshy on February 17, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    Australia always do better in South Africa and South Africa does better in Australia, Johnson is the only player who stands out, we can say Australian batsmen applied themselves better than their counter parts.

  • black_bird on February 17, 2014, 3:47 GMT

    South africa is done. they were too lucky to hold the no. 1 with medicore bowling, wretched batting. india will rise and teach everyone how to play test cricket.

  • Shaggy076 on February 17, 2014, 3:01 GMT

    Seems to be a lot of knee jerk reactions to Mitch Johnson pace from South Africa. Same with England there bowlers wanted to try and bruise the Aussies as well because of Johnsons impact. South Africas strengths are the innering accuracy, swing and seam of Steyn and Philander and the bounce of Morkel. Bringing in erratic 150k/hr bowlers take away from the strength that has made you the worlds best. The holes are in the batting and spin department but I think the pace attack is not an issue.

  • Srilanka-rules on February 17, 2014, 2:32 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson has pace. No doubt he will be effective in green tracks. But his numbers are overwhelming is because of the failure of English batsmen. And everybody knows how SA badly chokes when they is any pressure. All batsmen of their were under pressure when Johnson bowled except AB. They were scarred to the hilt. Especially the captain.

    But once Johnson tours Srilanka, everything will become normal. Sanga and Co knows how to handle pressure. Sanga's achievements in Australia against Johnson validates that fact. And Chandimal already has the reputation of playing big against great bowlers in true pitches. Moreover, Srilankan pitches won't suit his style of bowling but invites scoring opportunities in plenty. Food for thought.

  • on February 17, 2014, 0:54 GMT

    @Greatest_Game ... there were quite a few people saying similar things about the selection of Marsh and Doolan for Australia. Both have inferior state cricket records to Hughes who also has his own solid history playing tests against South Africa. The selectors had their detractors at first, I was one of them, but the decisions have worked out pretty bloody well. It's not always guaranteed to be the right choice to just pick the guys who are currently playing well at a national level. Sometimes you do actually need to pick a player based on more than recent stats, you need to have that indication that they can also deliver at the top level.

    Duminy is not just someone who's played a few tests, he's had exceptional test form for long periods of time. I think he should be afforded some continued support, he's just too talented to discard.

  • IAS2009 on February 17, 2014, 0:36 GMT

    If SA do not have plan against Johnson, they will loose series, England could not tackle Johnson and lost 5-0, even when Johnson do not take wickets he creates so much pressure, other guys take wicket on other end on very ordinary balls, there were so many soft dismissals of England in Ashes, SA also bowled poorly to give 400 Plus runs to Oz. I am surprised by the margin of victory, SA wakeup. it is very poor from SA. hope they come back hard. It is not about Kallis any more, SA have good players to replace Kallis, they need to deliver.

  • xtrafalgarx on February 17, 2014, 0:32 GMT

    Really? Wow. If there are few stand-out replacements then it SA better get cracking and find some because a lot of yor players are in their 30's +.

  • on February 17, 2014, 0:23 GMT

    They have no answers. 3-0

  • Zahidsaltin on February 17, 2014, 0:15 GMT

    A. Petersen, Mclaren, and R. Petersen need to be replaced by Quinten de Kock, Parnell and Tahir.

  • on February 17, 2014, 0:11 GMT

    Its so funny how Indian cricket 'team' fans brings in Indian cricketers in almost every Cricinfo article.... Indian cricketers are flat track bullies who are overrated to the core....it so funny to read comments protecting Indian team's performance even when they are close to world's worst cricket team in tests abroad.....instead of praising the class oh Johnson people are commenting on how Indians played him in subcontinent wickets....

  • tpjpower on February 16, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    Parnell must have gained 10kms of pace since I last saw him bowl. It's not a bad idea to get him into the team instead of Robbie. Also, what happened to de Lange? Is he injured? RSA should go back to playing Duminy at 7, using him as the sole spinner and encouraging him to play a role similar to that he managed in England (batting steadily with the tail). Nothing wrong with getting either de Kock or Elgar in to replace Alviro, either. I'd be inclined to select de Kock, if only because younger, attacking batsmen seem best equipped to deal with Johnson's pace (think Stokes during the Ashes). Smith, de Kock, Amla, AB, Faf, Elgar, Duminy, Parnell, Philander, Steyn, Morkel.

  • dunger.bob on February 16, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    I'm not a Saffa so I don't any knowledge of the way things work there and can only speak in general terms. What I'm seeing from afar is a fair bit of knee-jerking from the media and fans so far. The two Petersons and McClaren seem to be the primary targets for elimination while Duminy, Faf and even Philander have been mentioned - that's half the team guys !! .. Sometimes it is time for a change, that's a fact of life, but sometimes it's better to show some faith in the players you've got and back them through the inevitable lean times. .. What happens if you dump 3 or 4 blokes, rock up to the next Test only to see the replacements do just at badly as the players you just booted? .. chaos is what you'll get because suddenly you've got 2 sets of wounded players who aren't sure if their positions are safe.

    Look, it's only been one loss. You picked the team in the belief it was capable of beating us so why not give them a fair chance to prove it.

  • Greatest_Game on February 16, 2014, 22:47 GMT

    Simple questions & answers.

    Q. Will Johnson mentally scar Quinton de Kock for life, or is de Kock young & naturally talented enough to read & deal with Johnson's pace? A. de Kock is remarkably athletic, & is not known to be fearful or have short ball problems. Apparantly, he dispatches most to the boundary. He's played pace for years.

    Q. Is de Kock big, lumbering, & slow on his feet, or short, lithe & quick? A. Not a Buffel, or Biffel - more a Meerkat.

    Q. Has de Kock played cricket above his "age group?" A. In 2008, at 15, he played for Gauteng U19s. He played U19 cricket from 2008 to 2012! At 16 he hit 98 off 74 balls to win Old Eds the 09 premier league.

    Q. Is de Kock viewed internationally as a top class cricketer? A. IPL: In 2013 Sunrisers Hyderabad bought de Kock for $20 000. In 2014 Delhi Daredevils bought him for $560,000 the highest bid non-Indian keeper. His value went up 28 times in 1 year.

    Q. How old was Smith when he became skipper? A. 22 - just month older than QdK

  • Shongololo on February 16, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    @Arno Fortuin - thankfully, there's a voice of reason in the Kallis glorification story. You're absolutely right - JHK was a great, great player...but he was ordinary with both bat and ball over the past few seasons. In short, he was over the hill, he made the right call to retire and had he not, chances are he'd have done no better than the rest of the at Centurion. That's the reality, let's accept it and move on - oh, and start picking form players, in the team and in the squad.

  • Shongololo on February 16, 2014, 22:32 GMT

    This is South African cricket's biggest shortcoming - a plethora of freeloaders in the squad, there to appease the politicians and social engineers, to the detriment of the game. Surely, when you have worthy squad members, genuinely pushing for places in the starting XI, it keeps those in the team on their toes and when injury or form slumps arise, there are worthy replacements - not ordinary wannabe Test players like Kleinveldt and Tsolekile...and even McLaren and Parnell.

  • on February 16, 2014, 22:08 GMT

    I'm an AUS supporter, but I honestly think SA should stick and pick and it make the mistake England made and force an unease in the dressing room as players began to play for themselves (not to get dropped) and not the team. Give them a chance to come back strong. Smith, Amla, ABDV all have the potential to turn this series upside down. It'll be tough against mighty MoJo

  • on February 16, 2014, 22:07 GMT

    @Arno Fortuin, actually between Jan 01 2012 and Retirement JK averaged 48 with the bat and 31 with the ball. I don't think these numbers need elaboration.

  • Matt.au on February 16, 2014, 22:04 GMT

    The cupboard looks pretty bare for SA. Prior to the 1st test they played a warm up game against what looked to be their B squad and annihilated them.

    It is going to be difficult to turn to players that were hammered by their own and have confidence they will do well against Australia.

    I think the scary thing for SA is that whilst their warm up game went peachy, Australias' was washed out. For that reason, I thought Australia may have been underdone for the 1st test.

    I think it did hamper the preparations of Ryan Harris whom, I am sure, will be a much harder opponent to face in the 2nd test with the 1st test run under his belt. He is pure quality.

    Quite a few Australian batters got a good look and hit out against the SA attack for the first time in the 1st test. That should stand them in very good stead for the 2nd test.

    I do expect the SA bowlers to bounce back somewhat but I fear for the batters.

  • alipk52 on February 16, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    It's funny to see not too long ago, SA were so easily chasing world record chase...batsman seems like on ease while chasing against India, with lots of batsman chiping in with handy scores, and India from losing position managed to draw it because of 1 run out, it shows the character of SA team, they're lacking self confidence big time with Kallis retirement revolving around their minds, they need to get out from this, they have great players, don't know what happened to them after they came into this series having india bamboozled with their cricket in all departments.

  • sifter132 on February 16, 2014, 21:40 GMT

    "A series against Australia...is not the time to blood a youngster." I will argue against this every day of the week. Cricket wisdom suggests we should only pick young players when they have the best chance to succeed. Rubbish! Picking de Kock vs a weaker team just gives him false confidence and papers over faults in his game. Picking him vs Australia shows him the level he has to play at to succeed. He might fall on his face, but he'll be much wiser for the experience (If he can't handle that trauma mentally, then it's arguable that he's not cut out for top level cricket anyway). And if he does succeed vs Australia, happy days! He's just proven he can play one of the better sides, and he'll be keen to conquer the world. Why wait to find out if your young players can mix it vs the best? Find out NOW if he can, or what he needs to work on. He's just treading water otherwise.

  • Doolman on February 16, 2014, 21:25 GMT

    Aus is on fire, we have to just break that psychological curse when we play them. Whole changes is needed, tahir in for Peterson, Parnell in for maclaren , dekok in for Peterson or smith , keep wkts. Ab move to no 4 for Sa , faf at six, keep dumminy, Elgar is equally poor. Markel and Parnell open the attack. Smith needs to be more attacking like his counterpart is from ball one. Stop playing behind 8 ball..

  • creebo777 on February 16, 2014, 21:17 GMT

    I didnt know parnell can bowl at 150kph. he"s faster then steyn but thats a lie

  • on February 16, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    I would replace Alviro with De Cock JP with Van Zyl and Robbie P and McLaren with Hendricks / Abbott and maybe get in Harmer in there he looks like a promising spinner. No tahir and Klienveltd pls

  • Greatest_Game on February 16, 2014, 20:54 GMT

    @ Arno Fortuin asked "Does anyone even know what Kallis average has been the last two seasons, under twenty i think."

    Since the last Aus tour in November 2011 Kallis averaged, 44.27 with the bat, scoring 5 centuries. He averaged 36.71 with the ball, and took 21 catches.

    From 1 Dec 2011 the figures for other Proteas players:

    JP Duminy: bat ave 36.81, bowl ave 44. Alviro Petersen: bat ave 39.25. Graeme Smith bat ave 45.48. Dean Elgar: bat ave 30.71, bowl ave 21 (20 balls, 1 wicket, 21 runs.) Rory Kleinveldt: bat ave 9, bowl ave 42.2. Robin Peterson bat ave 27.36, bowl ave 38.29. Ryan McLaren bat ave 7, bowl ave 59.5. Imtan Tahir bat ave 13.5, bowl ave 43.68.

    and … Kyle Abbott bat ave 13, bowl ave 7.55

    Kallis was by no means a passenger in the team: stats don't lie! Hash, ave 60, AB, ave 67.09, and Faf, ave 53.53 and Morkel, Steyn & Philander did better, but Kallis was a major force, and not a drag on the team. Not like Alviro, JP, Robbie P, Kleinveldt, Elgar, Tahir, McLaren ...

  • on February 16, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    SA will bounce back. Their a champion side. Ozs were lucky that Mitch did so well & the batsmen clicked.

  • heathrf1974 on February 16, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    I think spin might play a factor in the next test. I hope Lyon can get some turn.

  • Greatest_Game on February 16, 2014, 20:06 GMT

    Forget papering over cracks. The cracks are canyons - no paper can do the job. Replacing poorly performing players is not a knee jerk reaction, but a long overdue necessity. Alviro Petersen, Robbie Peterson, & JP Duminy have not performed in a very long time. McLaren does not have the skills for test cricket. Replacing them with Parnell, Elgar, & Kleinveldt will improve nothing. They are paper. What is needed is concrete.

    Quinton de Kock, Beuran Hendricks, Stiaan van Zyl & Kyle Abbot have consistently outperformed them at the national level. If they are consistently better 1st class players THERE IS NO REASON WHY THEY WILL NOT BE BETTER TEST PLAYERS. Presuming that they WILL fail at test level is devoid of ANY sense. Players who are already performing poorly at the national level are LESS likely to shine in a test. Simply because they have previously played in, and failed, in a handful of tests DOES NOT MEAN they are more qualified than those who have not yet played test cricket.

  • SamWintson92 on February 16, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    Forgot to add, another thing I just hope SOU doesn't loss the series because of the policy of not blooding the youngsters (i.e. De Kock). It's very funny. Didn't Aus debut Doolan in front of no 1 fast bowler of the world Dale Steyn along with Philander & M Morkel ? Did Doolan fail, no scored a century. That's a very weak logic.

  • SamWintson92 on February 16, 2014, 18:29 GMT

    Continued 5. R Peterson is very ordinary spinner & one of the most over-rated players. I don't understand why SOU always persists with him. I'll replace him with Tahir. Tahir has been more effective in the ODIs/T20s & hasn't had much success in the tests. But I'm eager to give him a crack in test level again. Believe me, he's an excellent leg spinner & special player. I just hope he gets his line & length right unlike bowling full tosses like he did against Ind & Aus. 6. If not Tahir, Harmer will also do.

    My SOU XI for 2nd test: 1 De Kock (WK) 2 Smith (C) 3 Amla 4 De Villiers 5 Du Plessis 6 Elgar 7 McLaren 8 Philander 9 M Morkel 10 Steyn 11 Tahir

  • SamWintson92 on February 16, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    1. I wanted Kallis to continue tests. But people were after him so much like calling for him to get dropped, no place for him, pushing him at 6/7 to play as a bowling all rounder and lots. Not the kind of treatment you deserve after delivering so much for the team. I know he was going through a bad phase but it was a matter of time for him to get back and score a big one & he did it but alas it was his last. He was finding form from the 1st test vs Ind. It's sad to see how folks react when time is bad that to one of greatest when age is on the wrong side. 2. De Kock should replace A Peterson. A Peterson hasn't been good enough. De Kock has 48+ FC ave & hitting 3 consecutive ODI 100s isn't so easy. What more does SOU want ? 3. Duminy's form is also on the decline. Elgar for him. 4. Parnell isn't apt for no 7 nor do Philander. Both are no 8s. Parnell averges 22 in FC with the bat. It's exciting he's clocking 150+ kph. But no place for him until SOU decides to leave out the spinner.

  • on February 16, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    i think Faf should move back to his normal position instead of no4. they should move AB up at 4 and then FAF or JP.

  • SaraJahanSeAchha on February 16, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    It's not too soon when Australia will regain Number 1 Test ranking. South Africa without Kallis has a big void and in bowling only Stern is threatening. South Africa nearly lost the first test against India. India was unlucky in second test with a few decisions go against their way. I am surprised how Mitchell Johnson has gradually become a threatening bowler. I agree with what De Villiers said, that batsmen themselves get out to him rather than his quality of bowling which is sheer pace. In earlier tours (not the recent) by India to Australia, Sehwag, Dravid and Tendulkar used to score big against him. I believe we don't have quality of batsmen like Ponting, Kallis, Tendulkar, Dravid these days in any of the test teams and that kind of glorifies Johnson.

  • on February 16, 2014, 17:23 GMT

    Does anyone even know what Kallis average has been the last two seasons, under twenty i think. The team has been carrying him, thats why i think he retired. As SA fans we should acknowledge the effect that MJ has had on the Aus team. He has transformed a decent team into a very good team. And in SA, top fast bowling will be rewarded. The question is for how long can the Aussies ride on the MJ wave.

  • ZkAneela on February 16, 2014, 17:21 GMT

    I think Mclaren should be replaced with parnell and A.peterson with de kock.

  • on February 16, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    Kallis is irreplaceable but, wow, what a huge hole he's left. Just one player makes the SA batting look very fragile against real pace. Don't forget that Harris is a class act and quick also and Siddle unerringly acurate with that abiity to nudge the ball in off the seam.

    The Aussies have a quality bowling attack but in this match the real worry was the ineffectgive SA bowling. One would have thought the teams even on that score.

    Duminy is ordinary, McLaren slighty less than that so the class in the side really boils down to Smith, Amla and De-Villiers and top quality batting is the only level that will overcome this Australian attack. However, if SA get them out the targets are always going to be less and then achievable so it's the bowling that needs to fire.

    There is enough inconsistency in the Australian batting to claw back this series but it's going to be tough to score more than 400 against them. Pace really sorts out the wheat from the chaff.

  • MianMoosa on February 16, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    For next test RSA should drop both alviro & robin petersen & aslo ryan mclaren,,include dekock elgar & parnell in team, duminy should play as a spinner,,,The pace battery of morkel, steyn & parnell should answer the aussies in Mitvhell johnson way & i know they can do it.thats the only way left for them, For batsman AB Devilliers statement should be enough,,BE PREPARE TO GET HIT & HURT,don,t be afraid of MJ,,,THe only way to neglect him will be to counter attack him

  • on February 16, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    only aus team can fight in all over the world smith can't hold bat against johnson and if one wicket goes means all are march fast to pavillion

  • creebo777 on February 16, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    Im not sure about playing a all rounder,we need 7 specialist batsmen with abdv not keeping,shaun von berg or tahir my picks as spinners

  • SA_FAN315 on February 16, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    i believe morkel should be more aggressive in the second test....he is the fastest bowler in the line up and his height helps to get that extra bounce..... Parnell should be included if he can hit up to 150kph.. A.Peterson should be replaced coz he was the only batsmen who looked intimidated in both the innings...when opening batsmen don't fight it out then that sends a negative impact in the dressing room

  • foursandsixes on February 16, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    A sub-par Indian team first demonstrated the cracks in the SA lineup last year. This was bound to happen, the Aussies are just widening the cracks!

  • on February 16, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    For me the major issue is our premier batsman having to do dual duties.I have no doubt he is capable of doing both(keeping and batting), but if South Africa is to move forward and sort of fill the gap left by JH Kallis, AB will have to bat no.4. That would leave the line as follows for me : 1.Smith 2.Peterson 3.Amla 4.de Villiers 5.du Plessis 6.Duminy 7.Tsolekile/De Kock 8.Philander 9.Steyn 10. Morkel 11. Hendricks/Abbot. That will give AB more time to make runs, JP takes over the Allrounder spot and Hendricks brings in the left arm with swing option (the boy is really good). for future spinners we can have Harmer(off break), Shaun von Berg(leggy) as under studies. It does not help the team playing mediocre spinners or player that are a bit of this and that

  • Akhter786 on February 16, 2014, 15:48 GMT

    SA batsmen inability to come to the terms against Mitch, Ordinary bowling, Embarrassing fielding, Senseless captaincy (view toss) all withstanding, i would still trust This Side to come back though bruised n battered, scarred and scared, down and dusted, defeated and humiliated, they are playing their first test after almost two decades without a Wall , literally they are down from 12 man playing to 10 (R Peterson, J Duminy & McClern should count two only)!!!!. It is the first test and unfortunately it happened against Rejuvenated Aussie lot lead by The Moustache Man.

    Hope they come back, they have to, for the sack of the cricket. We have seen too much of Aussie domination last time. Please let them wait a little longerrr...

  • creebo777 on February 16, 2014, 15:44 GMT

    Players like duminy,alviro,robbieP,kleinveldt,elgar,thami, shouldnt been pick in the first place,fans wanted de kock , van zyl,abbott,beuran hendricks in the sqaud so its not knee jerking

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 16, 2014, 15:43 GMT

    "and it may be enhanced by the Mitchell Johnson effect"

    That made me laugh.

  • on February 16, 2014, 15:41 GMT

    De Kock to open, Alviro Peterson out. Duminy as spinner, batting at 7. McLaren out, Albie Morkel in, batting at 6. Parnell is for Robin Petersen. Morne Morkel out, Abbott in. Philander out, De Lange in. Parnell, De Lange both hitting 150 plus Steyn & Abbott+ Duminy & Albie---that's a good attack.

  • on February 16, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    Look, PE is likely to be a flat pitch with turn. (Like Adelaide). Meaning Peterson will have to do the job. But he fails to land the ball in one area consistently and he has no tools to work with except flight and turn. He doesn't spin the ball enough to get bounce like Lyon. Therefore SA will need to get a new spinner soon because both Peterson and Tahir are inconsistent and have major flaws that can lose them test matches. Batting wise, Duminy is on his last chance and Alviro is close to losing his spot as well. They are in serious need of runs but I don't think they are going to get any this series. Instead of going with an all rounder to replace Kallis, SA should replace him with two specialists. A bowler and a specialist batsman. The question is, who should they pick? I would pick Hendricks or Abbot (Ideally De Lange) in for Mclaren and either De Kock or Elgar for Peterson. Duminy can take the spinning duites, he is more consistent than peterson.

  • on February 16, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    Look, PE is likely to be a flat pitch with turn. (Like Adelaide). Meaning Peterson will have to do the job. But he fails to land the ball in one area consistently and he has no tools to work with except flight and turn. He doesn't spin the ball enough to get bounce like Lyon. Therefore SA will need to get a new spinner soon because both Peterson and Tahir are inconsistent and have major flaws that can lose them test matches. Batting wise, Duminy is on his last chance and Alviro is close to losing his spot as well. They are in serious need of runs but I don't think they are going to get any this series. Instead of going with an all rounder to replace Kallis, SA should replace him with two specialists. A bowler and a specialist batsman. The question is, who should they pick? I would pick Hendricks or Abbot (Ideally De Lange) in for Mclaren and either De Kock or Elgar for Peterson. Duminy can take the spinning duites, he is more consistent than peterson.

  • on February 16, 2014, 15:41 GMT

    De Kock to open, Alviro Peterson out. Duminy as spinner, batting at 7. McLaren out, Albie Morkel in, batting at 6. Parnell is for Robin Petersen. Morne Morkel out, Abbott in. Philander out, De Lange in. Parnell, De Lange both hitting 150 plus Steyn & Abbott+ Duminy & Albie---that's a good attack.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 16, 2014, 15:43 GMT

    "and it may be enhanced by the Mitchell Johnson effect"

    That made me laugh.

  • creebo777 on February 16, 2014, 15:44 GMT

    Players like duminy,alviro,robbieP,kleinveldt,elgar,thami, shouldnt been pick in the first place,fans wanted de kock , van zyl,abbott,beuran hendricks in the sqaud so its not knee jerking

  • Akhter786 on February 16, 2014, 15:48 GMT

    SA batsmen inability to come to the terms against Mitch, Ordinary bowling, Embarrassing fielding, Senseless captaincy (view toss) all withstanding, i would still trust This Side to come back though bruised n battered, scarred and scared, down and dusted, defeated and humiliated, they are playing their first test after almost two decades without a Wall , literally they are down from 12 man playing to 10 (R Peterson, J Duminy & McClern should count two only)!!!!. It is the first test and unfortunately it happened against Rejuvenated Aussie lot lead by The Moustache Man.

    Hope they come back, they have to, for the sack of the cricket. We have seen too much of Aussie domination last time. Please let them wait a little longerrr...

  • on February 16, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    For me the major issue is our premier batsman having to do dual duties.I have no doubt he is capable of doing both(keeping and batting), but if South Africa is to move forward and sort of fill the gap left by JH Kallis, AB will have to bat no.4. That would leave the line as follows for me : 1.Smith 2.Peterson 3.Amla 4.de Villiers 5.du Plessis 6.Duminy 7.Tsolekile/De Kock 8.Philander 9.Steyn 10. Morkel 11. Hendricks/Abbot. That will give AB more time to make runs, JP takes over the Allrounder spot and Hendricks brings in the left arm with swing option (the boy is really good). for future spinners we can have Harmer(off break), Shaun von Berg(leggy) as under studies. It does not help the team playing mediocre spinners or player that are a bit of this and that

  • foursandsixes on February 16, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    A sub-par Indian team first demonstrated the cracks in the SA lineup last year. This was bound to happen, the Aussies are just widening the cracks!

  • SA_FAN315 on February 16, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    i believe morkel should be more aggressive in the second test....he is the fastest bowler in the line up and his height helps to get that extra bounce..... Parnell should be included if he can hit up to 150kph.. A.Peterson should be replaced coz he was the only batsmen who looked intimidated in both the innings...when opening batsmen don't fight it out then that sends a negative impact in the dressing room

  • creebo777 on February 16, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    Im not sure about playing a all rounder,we need 7 specialist batsmen with abdv not keeping,shaun von berg or tahir my picks as spinners

  • on February 16, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    only aus team can fight in all over the world smith can't hold bat against johnson and if one wicket goes means all are march fast to pavillion