South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 2nd day February 21, 2014

South Africa take charge with twin hundreds

199

'Are South Africa the No. 1 team again?'

Australia 112 for 4 (Warner 65*, Lyon 12*) trail South Africa 423 (Duminy 123, de Villiers 116, Lyon 5-130)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

After two days in the first Test South Africa were all but out of the contest. After two days at St George's Park, they have turned the tables to leave Australia under considerable pressure. Hundreds from AB de Villiers and JP Duminy lifted them to a strong total, but the most significant advances South Africa made came in the final session when they claimed four wickets including two in Wayne Parnell's first over in Test cricket for four years.

Australia's dominance of their recent Tests has been almost absolute and worthy of much admiration, but this was a situation they had not been in for some time: replying to a healthy first-innings by the opposition. Australia had not conceded 400 in an innings since the Mohali Test last March - or spent as long in the field as the 150.4 overs here since Hyderabad, on the same tour - and throughout their run of six consecutive, hefty victories their top order has remained vulnerable.

Once again they stumbled. Chris Rogers survived a review for lbw in Dale Steyn's first over, but could not save himself with the DRS when Vernon Philander straightened one into his pads. However, it was Parnell's introduction in the 10th over that really stung Australia. His first ball angled across Alex Doolan and took a thin edge to de Villiers; on a slow pitch, the first nick off a seamer to have carried behind the wicket in the match. Then, like London buses, there was another two balls later when Shaun Marsh lunged away from his body at a delivery shaping away from the left hander.

Australia were 41 for 3, but David Warner, who had already leapt out of the blocks, and Michael Clarke responded with a flurry of boundaries. Clarke, though, was cut off for 19 when he drove early at Philander and gave a catch to short cover and, again, Australia were four down for under a hundred. They have regularly fought back from such positions, but the difference this time is that the opposition have runs on the board.

And it could have been ever better for South Africa. Morne Morkel bowled a hostile spell, extracting more bounce from the pitch than any other quick, and produced a delivery which climbed at Warner when he had 43. It took the shoulder of the bat, flying through to de Villiers, but the keeper was stood closer to compensate for the low bounce and the ball burst through the gloves above his head. As so often, it was edge-of-the-seat batting from Warner as he moved to a 55-ball half-century. Then to cap a dramatic session, Nathan Lyon survived an edge down the leg side when Graeme Smith was not convinced to review before being dropped by Duminy in the gully in the final over of the day.

When South Africa resumed on 214 for 5, the match was still in Australia's favour after a series of poor shots from the middle order on day one. The hosts desperately needed their last pair of specialist batsmen to form a substantial stand. That is exactly what they delivered as de Villiers and Duminy added 149 for the sixth wicket.

De Villiers already had a world record to his name when he resumed on 51 having made it 12 consecutive Tests with at least a half-century and he converted that into his 19th Test hundred from 202 deliveries as he countered a slow pitch with elegant and, at times, powerful strokeplay.

While de Villiers stood out, his class and brilliance is in no doubt. But he needed some support, which was horribly lacking at Centurion Park. Duminy's innings was equally important from both a personal and team perspective. He is battling to cement a permanent spot in the side and came in for significant criticism for his first-innings shot at Centurion when he lofted Lyon to mid-off.

He dominated the strike in the early overs the day, when play began 20 minutes early due the bad light yesterday, and gave South Africa a punchy start with four boundaries in the first four overs. Three of those came in one Mitchell Johnson over when he clipped two deliveries off his pads then pulled a third through midwicket. By Australia's recent high standards, their use of the new ball, which they took when play began, was disappointing. It was the confidence boost Duminy and South Africa needed.

For the first time in seven innings Duminy passed fifty and in the knowledge that the ball would not be rearing at his throat - even from Johnson - had a far more confident presence at the crease. He employed the sweep regularly against Lyon (as did de Villiers) and was quick onto any error in length as fatigue started to play a part, causing Lyon to offer up the occasional short delivery. It was a sweep, in front of square, that raised his hundred, which Duminy greeted with understated but satisfied acknowledgement.

The contest between de Villiers and Lyon had been fascinating. Back-to-back boundaries, the first a sweep and the second a back-foot drive, showed what makes him a great batsman with impeccable judgement of length and crisp footwork and brought up three figures with another crisp sweep shot. Clarke had taken innovation to a new level in his attempt to conjure a breakthrough. At one stage he had four catchers in the midwicket area, but de Villiers responded in the most brilliant and audacious fashion when he flicked Siddle over the leg side for six.

South Africa may have had designs of accelerating when de Villiers pushed a return catch back to Lyon, who took it well diving to his right. During the morning session, largely due to de Villiers, runs came at more than three an over which was significantly above what had been achieved before. However, his departure seven overs into the afternoon slowed South Africa's progress with Duminy working hard to for his own three-figure score and Clarke, while never abandoning his search for wickets, setting fields to dry up runs.

Philander pottered around for 37 deliveries over six runs before driving a low return catch to Clarke who put his back through a rare bowl among a host of afternoon bowling changes and the final four wickets fell for 45 either side of tea. That, though, ensured South Africa did not get drawn into wasting time for a few extra runs; the value of the damage they were then able to do to Australia was worth much more.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • fair_paly_1 on February 21, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    AB is one of the most entertaining batsman there is. In this one he played according to the match situation. So, his adaptability is commendable. Cynics always have something unpleasant to say if he is not their own player.

    As usual more than often its the third day that would decide where the match is heading. SA definitely in a better position better thus far.

  • Zeshan547 on February 21, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    What thrill, what drama, breath-taking stuff, pace, aggression, swagger, bravado, crazy stuff, all in one session, on a gloomy day, which threatened to be one of most boring days of test cricket. Now doesn't matter who wins, it's test cricket at it's best, long may live test cricket, the real cricket.

  • Thewhizzer on February 23, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    I have an idea SA will win this one I don't like the intimidation by both sides it reminds me of bodyline, ok so they have protection however it's still intimidation by both sides I might add. Smith has not performed at his best either maybe he should think of standing down for the final test in Cape Town. I thought Clarke should have bowled much earlier in the game he seems to wait until all else has failed before he has a bowl heavens knows why, as for Philander I think he's quite a good bowler as are Johnson,Morkel and Steyn. The use of a nightwatchman was ridiculous and scary for Lyon. The only thing that will save Australia is rain I reckon

  • on February 22, 2014, 12:15 GMT

    Its just the rain that can save oz. and at this point its predicted that zero play will be possible on monday

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    @Hussain Kurawadwala This is always how Australia play cricket, it's always hit and miss with the batting, especially on a pitch that doesn't skid onto the bat nicely. We've never known how to, as an entire team, put the brakes on. The upside is it makes for exciting cricket whether it comes off or not, the down side is that we often end up looking completely hopeless. Interested to see how long Smith bats for with the possibility of rain on the last day, as well as how SA decide to bat. Attacking is perilous but surely they'll throw some caution to the wind? Or maybe not.

  • on February 22, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    Those who are calling SA s batting dull this is test cricket you don't have to really whack a four every over like Aus have done in this innings. Only Steve Smith played well. Warner was good too he played his natural game. Its good to have an attacking player in ur test side to try and up the run rate when u are closing in on the lead or have a sufficiently big lead. But when u are trying to overtake a score of 400+ u need to be patient. SA has been the better team here even though as people say they have been dull

  • KabsCricki on February 22, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Aus have jus saved the test by avoiding the follow on i fell, waiting to see if SA prove me wrong.

  • on February 22, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    Hmm poor cricket from Aussie bats going at a run rate of over 4 but loosing too many wickets has cost them. So they have ended up at 220 max they'll reach is 250 which is unlikely .They could have batted slowly and got to 300 odd with a few overs to spare for the day

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    @gdevilliars I don't get why people are trying to convince me of all people that Philander is a good bowler. I've already said he his... a bunch of times. Other people have said the things you're trying to debunk, not me. All I'm saying is that 18 is a ludicrous average to have over a long test career. Somewhere sub 25 is a magnificent career, and I do believe that's about where he'll end up. You don't have to sell it to me, I'm not David Warner in disguise. Promise.

  • gdevilliars on February 22, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    @ModernUmpiresPlz, sure he might not finish on 18 but it will be in the 22-24 region which sits next to such players like Pollock, Steyn, Akram and Mgrath. Siddle is more similar to a Vass or Kahn.

  • fair_paly_1 on February 21, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    AB is one of the most entertaining batsman there is. In this one he played according to the match situation. So, his adaptability is commendable. Cynics always have something unpleasant to say if he is not their own player.

    As usual more than often its the third day that would decide where the match is heading. SA definitely in a better position better thus far.

  • Zeshan547 on February 21, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    What thrill, what drama, breath-taking stuff, pace, aggression, swagger, bravado, crazy stuff, all in one session, on a gloomy day, which threatened to be one of most boring days of test cricket. Now doesn't matter who wins, it's test cricket at it's best, long may live test cricket, the real cricket.

  • Thewhizzer on February 23, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    I have an idea SA will win this one I don't like the intimidation by both sides it reminds me of bodyline, ok so they have protection however it's still intimidation by both sides I might add. Smith has not performed at his best either maybe he should think of standing down for the final test in Cape Town. I thought Clarke should have bowled much earlier in the game he seems to wait until all else has failed before he has a bowl heavens knows why, as for Philander I think he's quite a good bowler as are Johnson,Morkel and Steyn. The use of a nightwatchman was ridiculous and scary for Lyon. The only thing that will save Australia is rain I reckon

  • on February 22, 2014, 12:15 GMT

    Its just the rain that can save oz. and at this point its predicted that zero play will be possible on monday

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    @Hussain Kurawadwala This is always how Australia play cricket, it's always hit and miss with the batting, especially on a pitch that doesn't skid onto the bat nicely. We've never known how to, as an entire team, put the brakes on. The upside is it makes for exciting cricket whether it comes off or not, the down side is that we often end up looking completely hopeless. Interested to see how long Smith bats for with the possibility of rain on the last day, as well as how SA decide to bat. Attacking is perilous but surely they'll throw some caution to the wind? Or maybe not.

  • on February 22, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    Those who are calling SA s batting dull this is test cricket you don't have to really whack a four every over like Aus have done in this innings. Only Steve Smith played well. Warner was good too he played his natural game. Its good to have an attacking player in ur test side to try and up the run rate when u are closing in on the lead or have a sufficiently big lead. But when u are trying to overtake a score of 400+ u need to be patient. SA has been the better team here even though as people say they have been dull

  • KabsCricki on February 22, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Aus have jus saved the test by avoiding the follow on i fell, waiting to see if SA prove me wrong.

  • on February 22, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    Hmm poor cricket from Aussie bats going at a run rate of over 4 but loosing too many wickets has cost them. So they have ended up at 220 max they'll reach is 250 which is unlikely .They could have batted slowly and got to 300 odd with a few overs to spare for the day

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    @gdevilliars I don't get why people are trying to convince me of all people that Philander is a good bowler. I've already said he his... a bunch of times. Other people have said the things you're trying to debunk, not me. All I'm saying is that 18 is a ludicrous average to have over a long test career. Somewhere sub 25 is a magnificent career, and I do believe that's about where he'll end up. You don't have to sell it to me, I'm not David Warner in disguise. Promise.

  • gdevilliars on February 22, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    @ModernUmpiresPlz, sure he might not finish on 18 but it will be in the 22-24 region which sits next to such players like Pollock, Steyn, Akram and Mgrath. Siddle is more similar to a Vass or Kahn.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 22, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha: knew you'd be one of the biggest moaners about the pitch again - it's like the Ashes in England last year all over again, where not one of the pitches was any different to what they're like in County Cricket. Cricket must be played to the pitch and conditions given, not the other way around. Attacking cricket seems to work a treat in Australia, but in other countries like England and certain pitches in South Africa, you die by that sword. If Australia can't adjust to the pitch/conditions and not find the right balance between attack and grind, they do not deserve to be top in tests. Simple as that. That's why I've been such a big critic of Warner - seems to only have one mindset; impressive in Australia, but he will struggle elsewhere. If SA had only held their catches, this innings would already be over.

  • Imran707 on February 22, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    so what the big three going to do Next!!! A free suggestion, should introduce a rule to play in their home turf!! India, who lose the plot outside their country. England, who got bit too depressed in other environments and to be fair to Aussies, they have done compartively well outside their home country but still would be easy and they would feel at home and can have loads of beers ;). Big three would be able to maintain their good ranking!!!

  • amfas on February 22, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    The only difference between Australia in the 2nd Test & South Africa in the 1st is that Australia got to the 200 in 10 less overs. Australia mirroring South Africa's performance in the 1st Test. Should be a cracking 3rd if SA win this one.

  • on February 22, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    @The BigBoodha Centurion is traditionally a quick bouncy pitch and PE slow and low, and that's how they've played in this series. How's that doctoring? Likewise, greentops have been rare in England for twenty years. It's not about winning matches, it's about money. The ECB and the grounds want Tests to run for five days for revenue, but greentops produce three day matches. In the 2013 Ashes, Trent Bridge was a dry turner, but the other four strips were perfectly good seamers' wickets. Look who did the most damage - Harris and Broad. The only person who complained when the SCG was an uncharacteristic greentop during the Ashes was Darren Lehmann - but then Australia won so the pitch can't be 'doctored'.

  • Forza_Scuderia on February 22, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    Pretty poor from Australia here. South Africa bowling well though.

  • xtrafalgarx on February 22, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    Steve Smith is carrying the team these days. Clarke is terribly out of form and hasn't been able to save our bacon since adelaide!

  • BradmanBestEver on February 22, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    The Aussies missed an all rounder in this innings and Marsh is not up to par giving his wicket away like he did

  • on February 22, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    Big break for australia with Parnell injury now only 3 bowlers

  • SuperSharky on February 22, 2014, 10:02 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha. Port Elizabeth has always been known as South Africa's slowest pitch that can deteriorate the fastest. There is no denial in that.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    @Albie Hanekom I said if he's going to average 18 over his career he'll need to bowl on greentops. It's actually not a negative comment because averaging 18 even on greentops still means you're a pretty decent bowler. He and Siddle do bowl very similarly, but I think Siddle has had to bowl to a much more focused batting lineup than Vernon has in this match. Clarke and Warner pretty much gave it away, obviously he had to draw them into the shots they played but they didn't exactly HAVE to play the shots that they did. If he was bowling to SA they would have played a soft handed forward defense and left the ball that got Warner well alone. Steyn is going to knock over Australia for under 200 though now that he's got the ball reversing late. Interested to see if they enforce the follow on with Parnell injured, even with that I think they probably should as they can probably win the match today, bowlers still look pretty fresh. I've said many times I don't expect a series win.

  • disco_bob on February 22, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    Well there's the first twist and turn, with Parnell injured the follow on is out of the question.

  • SuperSharky on February 22, 2014, 9:44 GMT

    I always love a cricket series between Australia & South Africa. Lots of talented cricketers, see-saw battles & fighting. Brilliant entertainment to watch and a good advertisement for Test fans that their Test game still delivers the thrill, time & time again.

  • TheBigBoodha on February 22, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    This track is just perfect for the way SA play cricket. Too many attacking shots from Australia and so edges are carrying to fielders - as opposed the dull drudgery of SA's attritional batting. I wonder if SA can suck the life out of the next pitch at Newlands? I don't know. But I find this very annoying. When we play other teams in Australia we play on standard tracks. We don't radically change surface conditions to suit our team. But every tour abroad these days we are dealt dry turners because they don't suit our batting and bowling. Even in SA and England, where green tops and/or bounce used to rule. This used to be considered a taboo, but nowadays nobody seems to care about this brazen pitch doctoring. And fans who are pretending its not happening are in a serious case of denial. I don't know what is more annoying: the doctoring, or home town fans who try to pretend it isn't happening, even though is as obvious as the nose on your face.

  • on February 22, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    @Modern - agree with the 18 average cause if he finishes with that he'll be considered the greatest ever just laughing at the fact that you guys will always come with the "he can only bowl on greentops etc" nonsense. You even suggested at some point he and Siddle are comparable which is a complete joke Siddle is ordinary where Vern has been deservedly brilliant for 2 years now. Sometimes people need to show respect where its due

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    @Albie Hanekom Philander has bowled well in this innings but he's still not going to average 18 over his career as I expect his career will be at least another 4 years. If you think averaging 18 over 60 test matches is doable it is in fact your cricketing knowledge that is limited. It's an unreasonable average to expect over a long period of time, he's not the best bowler in the history of the game. He's a good bowler, all my comment is saying is that 18 is a bit inflated. Can you genuinely disagree? He took 50 wickets in his first 7 tests, and 56 in his next 14. Still a really good effort, but it's not 18.

  • on February 22, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    Wow this innings is so much more action packed than last one. Aussies scoring tons of boundaries playing fast losing wickets even faster and Morkel bowling even faster! Mitch had an uncharacteristic first innings maybe he'll get inspired by morkel to pick up his game.

  • on February 22, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    Hmm Aussies are scoring at a run rate of 4.2 + they might want to slow it down a touch as they are losing too many wickets.

  • KabsCricki on February 22, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    Forget the mitchell Johnson talk by S.A fans, is all this talk of 'easily recovered by the Aussies' just to annoy the South African fans? Well if you make yourself look silly just to annoy someone, they not gonna be annoyed but thrilled at the comments. The only improvement S.A require is in fielding but they are close to 100% again. I reckon they have Aussies out twice by Tea tomorrow, based on the innings thus far and the fast scoring rate of the Aussies SA may need 120 odd to win this test in the end; day 5 and the back end of day 4

  • on February 22, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    @modernumpireplz... Your comment before the test about Philander read as follows: "He isnt going to average 18 for the whole of his career unless he retires pretty soon, bowls on greentops or faces some pretty bad opposition. Interested to see how much damage Australia end up inflicting on his stats"

    Yeah oz is doing alot of positive damage to his stats. Whats this about only taking wickets on greentops? oh wait that would be the one dimensional oz pace attack who took 2 wickets in 90 odd overs. Vern has 3 in eight already. The more you guys talk the more we laugh at the cricketing knowledge of australians

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    @James Keen I don't understand why people keep talking about Morkel's speed and saying who's Johnson to try and annoy us Aussie supporters. We actually really like Morne Morkel. He's the kind of bowler we highly enjoy, and the vast majority would have nothing against him. We know he's fast, we know he gets extra bounce, and he's actually a nice guy, a lot like Johnson. Much respect to him and AB, I only hate because they aren't on my team. Not because I don't think they're great cricketers.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    Go Lyon go! He didn't get out in the Ashes let's see if he can make a 50. Commentators are saying that he won't want to face too much of that heat but I disagree. I think he loves it.

  • Redbackfan on February 22, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    Great knock by AB and Duminy, 5 for Lion good work for the spinner. Again the Aus top order struggles, Doolan needs time, Marsh shouldn't even be there but hats off to him for his ton in the first test. Clark has been a little inconsistent of late and Rogers has started poorly again but usually finishes well. If you're not going to play Hughes please send him home so he can dominate for the Redbacks, not sure why he doesn't get a start. Cam White and M North deserved to get the nod ahead of Marsh and Doolan and Tom Cooper is also having a great summer with 769 runs at 59.15, yes I know his career ave is only 38 but thats still higher than Marsh. Hopefully day 3 is good batting and we get close to the SA score. Go Aussie

  • on February 22, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    I am deeply impressed with SA professionalism. They first played watchfully by staying on the wickets with the aim to strike afterwards with the ball and they did so. Extremely good work by SA which is the only team which can beat AUS keeping in view he aussies' recent past performances....

  • TNAmarkFromIndia on February 22, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    I think this just proves that Mitchell Johnson is a bouncy track bully. Give him the slow, low subcontinent wickets to bowl on and he would be just another average bowler. Not so menacing after all.

  • disco_bob on February 22, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    What twists and turns will we see today. I tip Australia to get on top then SA to hit back again.

  • on February 22, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    Morkel delivery - 152.7kmh, who is Johnson?

  • Shaggy076 on February 22, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    ModernUmpiresPlz; I think it was Australias intention to shove it up the SOuth Africans, thinking we bat quickly get a lead and make them survive on the last day to save match. This is what cricket should be about I think you should always think win first and glad the Aussies have felt that way. Back your talents to get the draw if needed and with our lower order batting this game is a long way from over and easily recovered by the Aussies.

  • michael.senthil on February 22, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    ab is an absolute freak- he is batting out of his skin at the moment- he is just getting runs for fun- i think another thing that is going unnoticed is clarke's failures in the batting department. he hasn't made many runs since that adelaide test. Also, siddle doesn't seem to be performing as well- he seems to be bowling slower, and he is taking way less wickets. might be time for jimmy pattinson to come in.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    @Batmanian I'm guessing caught by a catching cover/mid wicket. He's not going to stop swinging and when one holds up in the pitch he's toast.

  • Kulaputra on February 22, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    AB has been really a fantastic player for SA and RCB. Good show AB and keep it up

  • Batmanian on February 22, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    @Milani Phil, I don't think RSA are going to clock five an over in the second innings. The pitch is a dog, for bat as well as ball. The only way to collapse is mindless attack with the bat, which RSA can afford to attempt less than Aus.. Some of the Aus XI are capable of mindless attack in any context (the pre-resurrection Haddin was the very worst, but he's disappeared), but I suspect Amla and ABdV will strive to play balls on their merits - most of them won't be threatening, but neither will they be eminently hitable. Can't see a gear change here. Also, am waiting to see what the new, vaguely mature Warner does with his platform...

  • sachin_vvsfan on February 22, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Expecting Steyn to roll over the Aussie middle and tail and gain healthy lead by day3. SA should play some fearless cricket in second innings to make sure the match is not drawn but won.

  • milepost on February 22, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    I'm with you @disco_bob, theres no need to start thinking after one innings and a few wickets SA are suddenly a peerless number 1 side. Their top order failed again, they scored at a snail's rate that can only leave the draw (or SA loss because Australia will play to win) and in case anyone forgot they got comprehensively blown away last week. There's some fickle commenters here that's for sure, probably still lingering from their Ashes devastation, hoping Australia lose.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 22, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    @pat_one_back Yeah, it's the attacking Australian mindset that got them in a bit of trouble here, as it often does. Can't really understand why they went with that mode in this innings though, it clearly was not the way forward on this pitch. They risked losing but I'm not sure they were genuinely giving themselves any sort of realistic chance at winning while they were doing it. Rogers was actually out, Doolan could have left but they probably haven't seen a proper left arm quick for a while and the delivery squared him up and moved away off the seam so I can't blame him for that. Clarke and Marsh on the other hand... pretty terrible. Should really be 2 down for about 75-80 at this point with the ball getting into its less useful phase at this point. Instead it's 112-4 and Australia are going to have to fight for survival. Familiar story.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on February 22, 2014, 6:39 GMT

    Though not ideal situ. for Aus to be 4 down -as 'common' it's been for them recently or more than that ,since the end of their great team and exit of greatest opening pair in hist. of Langer/Haydos - again in a session. the good thing is the best batting is yet to come.And it extends all the way down with this Aus lineup -even upto no.11 with Lyon in early .And with the pitch getting flatter and the ball getting older they only need to cut out the adv. shots and prepared to play dour cricket-by their stds.- as the SA bats showed in getting their 1st inngs. score. Even Lyon was looking quite secure and he will look to stick around with Warner and build on the p'ship. All eyes will be on Warner and he just needs to play the bowling on merit and set himself for a really big 1. Only Morkel has looked some sort of a threat and Aus will look to play him out . All the rest of the SA bowlers will be easy pickings. Only thing is not to give away wkts by way of bad shots like yesterday.

  • on February 22, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    SA should win this one,once again batsmen are creatures of habit,Clarke caught at short cover,Marsh having a flat footed waft outside off & caught at 1st or 2nd slip.It annoys me even more when Watson gets one wide of off stump and has a waft while he's looking to the heavens.Tip for batsmen,watch Michael Hussey or Sachin Tendulkar,put your foot to the ball and head over the ball,then play the ball along the ground,surprise surprise you won't get caught!

  • Primetime21 on February 22, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    As much as Australia could be pleased with the selection calls made after the first test with Doolan & Marsh, my concern was around the depth of bowling. Much as Australia's middle order has covered over a few cracks in their batting at various stages throughout the summer, the importance of a fit Shane Watson & that extra bowling option he creates cannot be ignored, even if that comes in the form of a partnership breaker. Whilst his taking apart of Kevin Pietersen in the last Ashes series is well documented, Peter Siddle's overall returns weren't necessarily that great. Where has that extra 10kms of pace gone from a few years back ? His dietary changes have been well documented, but in a three pronged pace attack we need a 400 metre sprinter, not necessarily a marathon runner ! Mitchell Johnson cannot be expected to take "five for" every time he takes the ball. Australia go into day three with plenty to do. Credit to De Villiers, Duminy, DuPlessis & Elgar for the fight.

  • klsau on February 22, 2014, 6:27 GMT

    @Singh1699 Did you even watch the match?..Morkel was easily their best bowler and looked far more threatening than Johnson was on this this pitch..He was even bowling faster than him at times plus being 6' 5 allowed him to generate bounce no one else was getting..Stats don't tell the complete story..While Morkel could have been more consistent in his career,usually he creates the pressure which allows bowlers such as Steyn and Philander to take all the wickets.Haven't seen Hendricks bowl but Kyle Abbot doesn't have the same pace as morkel which is necessary on this pitch

  • pat_one_back on February 22, 2014, 6:21 GMT

    Since when did Hawkeye become definitive? The referral of Rogers was an ambitious attempt at buying an early wicket, probably cost them Lyon's late in the day. Steyn's delivery looked to be sliding down leg to the naked eye, anyone claiming it's unlucky for Steyn is just being a sook. Averages will be halved if umpires start firing batsmen out for balls maybe just clipping leg. Unlucky is not seeing a single edge carry to slips all innings!! I think the Aussies were playing harder at the ball to progress the game and it cost Marsh, Dools & Clarkie, not so much falling into Smith's lengthily established trap as running fearlessly towards it and with hindsight rather hastily.

  • on February 22, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    Okay I see lots of comment saying this might end up in a draw because SA cant score that quick..... letz bounce back to Perth, SA had a 62 runs lead to the 2nd innings, what did they do scored 569 at 5.11 runs per over, they blasted the life out of the OZ... Smith 85(100), Amla 196 (221) "AB Century D" 169(184).... and won the match with a 309 runs margin

  • disco_bob on February 22, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    @Adam Grech,"SA have shown they are not the NO1 team in tests for nothing".

    Right so SA put on a decent score while batting time and got a few Aussie wickets, with Smith, Haddin and our tail threatening a draw, and that undoes what happened last week when SA were completely and utterly blown away, bashed, concussed and so dazed that even their 12th man came out to drop catches.

  • on February 22, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    Australia still have two batsmen to follow - Smith & Haddin - and if South Africa can get them out at least by lunch then there will be a test for Australia other wise this test will end as a bored draw.

  • on February 22, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    SA must have a lead of 70 to 80 to give themselves a chance to win. scoring around 320 runs will not be easy on this pitch. i think the ball will keep low on the fifth day, so to win SA needs to bowl out AUS before 350 today. then score 250 to 270 tuns in the second inning and give their bowlers a chance.

  • on February 22, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    Just two days before the test I wrote that Aussies have become too overconfident and 7 will be probably a bad number for them. Now they are at the receiving end and probably not know how to cope with it. This morning, I presume South Africa will wrap up the Aussies for less than 200. I think this test will go to SA and will make the final one that much better, a probable ding dong battle for supremacy.

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on February 22, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    SA playing good cricket in this test .Because test cricket is a real class of cricket .But why is Morkell in side .He doesn't take in ODI or test .He is a poor bowler of the side .please drop him or call Hendricks or Kyle Abbott.......thanks

  • supreethnunna on February 22, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    The best Australian Batting is yet to come!!! This match is far from over.

  • TiredEyes on February 22, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    @Ozcricketwriter

    How is Steve O'Keefe the second best first class spin bowler in Australia? He would definitely not 'cream' SA. How is Wayne Parnell a slow bowler? Were you even watching? How was Morkel ineffective? He could easily have taken multiple wickets and was probably the stand out bowler so far for SA.

  • BillyBunter2 on February 22, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    Don't know what all this "Faf" is about but please don't forget Australia still have Warner, Smith, Haddin, Johnson to bat. Australia will still be batting at the end of day 3 with a slender lead. My prediction - Aussie win or a easy draw.

  • Greatest_Game on February 22, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    @ Ozcricketwriter tells us "But the good news for Australia is that Morkel & especially Steyn were ineffective."

    Morkel had Warner, but the catch was dropped. That does not make Morkel ineffective, does it? Aus' ONLY batsman making runs is Warner. Morkel cleaned him up, & you think this is GOOD news?

    Steyn is carrying an injury, but to presume he is ineffective is naive. The first lines of cricinfo's commentary of Aus' innings read: "0.1 Steyn to Rogers, no run, length ball outside off, left alone 0.2 Steyn to Rogers, no run, Steyn gets swing. They appeal for an lbw…"

    If the appeal was given it would have held up on review. Steyn would have had Rogers 2nd ball. I'm glad you think THAT is ineffective. Steyn also took Lyon's wicket - as hotspot showed. (Like Broad he does not walk!)

    Decisions denied Steyn the dismissals, but ineffective he clearly is not. And you think this is GOOD news?

    The REALY good news is that these "ineffective bowlers" will be fresh in the morning.

  • disco_bob on February 22, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy, "...Oh and why didnt Lyon walk? ...", still bitter about being completely humiliated in the Ashes I see. Please explain your reasoning why Lyon should walk for a nick that was so slight that not ABdV, nor Smith heard it. Or are you saying every batsman should walk for every nick if they think they hit it no matter how slight.

    Oh I get it, you're trying to equate it with Broad's disgraceful decision to not walk after one of most egregious and ridiculous howlers by an umpire that it was possible to make. The difference is that Broad knew there were no more reviews left so he didn't care how disgraceful it was, of course he would have walked had Australia a review left. But with Lyon, what was stopping Smith reviewing if it was clearly out?

  • kempvet on February 22, 2014, 3:08 GMT

    This is the traditional SA game plan, try to slowly build a total and then put the opposition under pressure, the problem is, they have no plan B if this does not work. SA normally gets away with this one dimensional plan simply because there are no quality test teams to shift them to a plan B. This is simply the main reason SA has remained number 1. If Australia were to somehow manage to build a total with the remaining wickets, the same thing will happen, once the shine goes, where is the quality spinner and aggressive captaincy needed to implement a plan B, there will be none.

  • Ozcricketwriter on February 22, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    I felt that South Africa were on top at the end of day 1, and they pushed that advantage even further with AB and especially JP getting big centuries. While nobody else did anything much, they scored well over the 300 that was a par score batting first, up into the 400s. Nathan Lyon was a gun but Australia could have done with Steve O'Keefe in the side. Lyon-O'Keefe combo could have creamed South Africa. Let alone if Cameron White was in the side. We saw how even Steve Smith and Michael Clarke took wickets. Yet South Africa's slower bowlers, Philander and Parnell, managed to take wickets too. But the good news for Australia is that Morkel and especially Steyn were ineffective. Much like in the 1st test, this could mean that Australia can fight back. It is going to be tough but if Lyon can get a fighting half century and Warner can go ahead with a century or better yet a double, then Australia could yet escape with a draw.

  • on February 22, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    I think a lot of poms have jumped at the chance to attack Lyon for not walking. But Stuart Broad he definitely isn't! I hope he bats through to lunch just to punish the South Africans for not reviewing.

  • heathrf1974 on February 22, 2014, 2:29 GMT

    Fine fightback by South africa. They extracted good bounce when the Aussies couldn't. I wonder if the wicket will dry and harden up later in the test.

  • Wefinishthis on February 22, 2014, 1:56 GMT

    As I mentioned before the match, I said Johnson's form surely couldn't last. He was due a poor game and he delivered, still Siddle was far worse. 96 runs for 0 is really, really pathetic, on any wicket. Siddle's still inconsistent and very rarely takes the lead in taking wickets. Hopefully he gets dropped for Pattinson or Bird, but leave him in the squad because he's good as a squad bowler. Day 2 really decided this match, it put South Africa in such a dominant position and since Aussie batsmen almost never deliver under pressure, it won't take long for Steyn, Philander and Co. to clean up Australia's remaining 16 wickets over the next 3 days.

  • on February 22, 2014, 1:06 GMT

    SA have shown they are not the NO1 team in tests for nothing. They batted slow, but safely and posted above 400 which always takes some beating.

    What SA must of expected was for AUS to come out and play aggressively, which they did. I have never been a fan of Smith's captaincy, but i thought his change to bring Philander on when Parnell and Morkel were bowling insanely fast was extremely clever, change of pace did Clarke. Well done Smith, and Morkel for that build up of pressure

    Over the years AUS have shown they have absolutely no idea how to play the game but aggressively, failing to adjust to many situations. 20-25 overs before stumps is always tricky, so they should of aimed to get to 60odd with the loss of 1 wicket max. Going at nearly 5 an over is great, but not at 4 down.

    AUS are not out of it, one good partnership will see Smiths poor captaincy come out again, but right now, SA are clearly in front.

  • Batmanian on February 22, 2014, 0:40 GMT

    Realistically, RSA need seven sessions for the second innings of both teams. Provided they can get Australia out in the next two sessions with a 100-150 run lead, they need to set a target by tea on day four. Have they got the gear change in them? I don't think they do, and hence are not plausibly the no. 1 team. Of course, if Australia follow on, I'd be inclined to think that they can't be no. 1, and since India obviously aren't a contender due to pace impotence, maybe RSA are the best of a suspect bunch. The onus is on the Australian rearguard the team has relied on so much, and they can comfortably finish Elgar, ABdV and Duminy's work in killing this match. It's exciting, if grim, cricket, this.

  • Shaggy076 on February 22, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    I havent seen the Aussie innings but must have been the best 0/31 spell of 7 overs in history from Morkel. Just on a side note if Warner goes on to triple figures that would be a man claimed to be the most average test opener gettting 3 tons in 4 games against the proclaimed number 1 attack.

  • VivGilchrist on February 22, 2014, 0:12 GMT

    Good old Marsh does it again. Always starts a series with a bang and then sublimely average to follow. Watsons bowling would've been handy. All things considered though, wickets always seem to fall when a team starts it's innings late in the day. Australia should look to bat out the day and put pressure back on the Saffers to force the game along. Very slow going by them, but it will be justified if Australia collapse.

  • legfinedeep on February 22, 2014, 0:07 GMT

    When someone pulls out the argument that ABD (yes THE ABD) is a boring player, then you know all scope for intelligent debate has gone out the window. As for Morkel - well what more is a bowler to do. If you did not watch the game, the bowling figures would give you no idea about what went on. Philander should credit Morkel for both his wickets, really. Australia can yet steady the ship, but man, what an evening of lively juice extracted from a supposedly docile and doctored pitch.

  • jb633 on February 21, 2014, 23:59 GMT

    Basically Aus have yet to prove themselves on sluggish picthes. They were nilled in ENG/IND and looked toothless here. They do have a very good attack but Mitch will always struggle on these kind of wickets. It will be very difficult for Aus to get anything out of this game but if Warner bats for 3 hours they may have a sniff. He scores at such a rate he can take the game away in a session. It must be pleasing for Aus fans to see him scoring meaningful runs.

  • RednWhiteArmy on February 21, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    Well well well. The self proclaimed "worlds greatest pace attack" just got a bowling lesson from SA. Warner must be the luckiest batsman ive ever seen, its actually funny watching him slash at everything but his luck will run out. With the unbelievable amount of luck he's had in the last 6 months his average should be 150+ not 40. Oh and why didnt Lyon walk? Maybe the saffas should print some T-shirts about it, just as the aussies did when broad did the same.

  • KPWij on February 21, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    I see a lot of people discussing the fact that the pitch and the difference in bowling styles are the primary contributor to SA having an edge in this test. But I feel that strategy is the single largest factor and Clarke's lack of understanding on strategies to get wickets on slow/low pitches. Siddle, Harris and Johnson bowled within themselves or were carrying fatigue from their excessive workloads. If it is fatigue then Clarke is bound to the tactics he used however if they were fully fit some errors in strategy have been made. Australia have some really quick bowlers, but reverting to cutters and slower balls so early on didn't actually test the batsmen out and there was a total reliance on Lyon and part-timers to do a bulk of the work. It was as if the team thought, "oh its a slow wicket, no way we can get wickets, lets keep it tight and frustrate wickets out of them". The reason why they performed so well recently was their aggression which was missing this first innings...

  • AlSmug on February 21, 2014, 23:08 GMT

    Pathetic application from the Australian batsmen , Clarke needs to tighten his fragile little mind and realise he needs to produce runs , his for of late has shown very little respect to opposition bowling attacks

  • Meety on February 21, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    Great fightback by SA. Given batting will be harder as the match wears on, they have the upper hand in thsi game. I have a feeling we might see a tail wag by Oz, but relying on that is a stretch. My predictions before the match were 1. Elgar v MJ is suicide - FAIL, 2. Parnell doesn't have much of a FC record - small fail, 3. Parnell at least is left arm variety - PASS, 4. SA will be competitive - PASS! SA have played the better cricket, am dubious about the extent of the sluggishness of the pitch, but to be the #1 - you have to build a record across all types of pitches. Lot depends on what Oz batsmen do between now & the next new ball.

  • pat_one_back on February 21, 2014, 22:42 GMT

    As is so often the case when a team fields on a lifeless pitch for 2 days, when you come in to bat the opposition find something in it your bowlers couldn't and Aust this time are on the receiving end. Well bowled SA, Aust will be disappointed to have assisted in their top order demise, Clarkie in particular, forcing the pace is risky and I think we'll see a more patient approach tomorrow from the Aust middle order. With an older ball and fresher legs Lyon could play a very big nuisance role tomorrow, SA may yet rue their reluctance to refer a No 11 late last night, silly call from Smith, a wicket is a wicket and he needs 20. Should be compelling watching tomorrow, if Aust see out 2 sessions (as they should easily) I think we have a certain draw though, SA are too slow scoring to force a result.

  • CustomKid on February 21, 2014, 22:05 GMT

    well I think I predicted it yesterday, ZA to make 350+ and Australia to to struggle under the scoreboard pressure. They just don't have the ability to grind.

    Clarkes shot was terrible and both Marsh and Doolan could have left those balls, but score board pressure does funny things. It shall be a very interesting day 3.

  • sama74 on February 21, 2014, 21:26 GMT

    Good to see a battle.Great effort with the bat from SA.This is just what the young Aussie team need a bit of a battle/fight will improve them even more.Great test cricket.Third day will be interesting.

  • on February 21, 2014, 21:14 GMT

    And the Aussies come thumping back to earth! Yes, we knew it was coming but it was fun while it lasted. South Africa had a very good day today, easily winning the first and last sessions.

    Aus has to stand tall with the bat tomorrow, Smith and Warner have proven themselves over the last dozen tests or so to be test match quality cricketers and they won't get a better chance to prove it again than tomorrow. They simply have to stand tall, Aus needs a minimum of 350 runs just to keep themselves in with a chance of a draw in this match and realistically they'd still have to bowl and bat very well the second time around to salvage a draw from there.

    For SA, well Parnell turned this game inside out in one over. I was confused when he was chosen, more so when he batted at 9, as I thought he was playing the allrounder, but he's now a quality quick, much improved bowler, well played that man! Still not convinced SA don't need a spinner, we'll know by tea time tomorrow I guess.

  • TheBigBoodha on February 21, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    I saw enough yesterday to think that SA will struggle to win the game. Lets face it. Luck layed a huge part in their scoring 400+. Batting 11 hours at 2.7 runs an over and not having a single snick go to hand was incredibly fortunate - while Parnell then got two in two balls. I expect Australia will tack up 300 odd here, and Smith won't declare until he is certain he can't lose. Te last session yesterday yet again covered up some very negative leadership.

  • iessua on February 21, 2014, 20:26 GMT

    Great day of test cricket and SA showing why they are No.1. How good is AB's form at the moment! I really like Nathan Lyon's progress as a wicket taker in key moments. He wasn't out all Ashes series, so hopefully he can bat through tomorrow and take Gillespie's Night watchman record.

    AUS to be behind on 1st innings but win test

  • on February 21, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    That's the way it is.....Only way Proteas can compete with Oz is to imitate what Poms done in early summer at home on slow/ low pitches. The aggression of Oz is neutralized by equal & opposite direction that tortoise does. Coz they could fall in aggression only & that's what happened today. I was just thinking about slow RR of SA & possibility of Aus batsmen failure in over attack. 4.48 in 25 overs v/s 2.8 in 150 overs. Was it necessary? Still 311 behind in 1st inning. I wish they (Oz think tank) should cut down the pace here not to think about any & play session by session only. Otherwise it could be cake walk for Proteas as 1st inning lead would be vital for the outcome of this match.

  • mahjut on February 21, 2014, 20:13 GMT

    I do worry the aussies have begun to be fooled by their calculated self-hype...they ARE a decent team with a good bowling unit led by a man on fire (the bowling unit leader - not the team leader. though Clarke is as sufficient a leader as any team has).

    The problem is they look REALLY exposed when Johnson is neutered ... even by a team whose two (of three) most reliable bats are in horrible form.

    One has to pay respects to Lyon not only for his bowling but his watching of the night ... and if Warner can use the lives he's been given he'll have done well. I hope Morne gets the rewards he'll have certainly earned but Steyn needs to step up NOW!!

  • on February 21, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    The pitch has quickened up. The reason SA batted first because they told the curator to shave the grass off for the first day and batted long on it to ensure Australia got a quicker pitch. Proof- the Australians also got a few past the bat today even though they are tired. RSA will have a hard second innings if Aus can bat long enough to give their pacers some rest. But because Aus likes to score quickly they might play into RSA's hand.

  • Vleis on February 21, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    Let's dispel a few myths with some facts: Myth 1. Oz bat more aggressively than SA: In the most recent two tests, SA won one test easily and Oz won one test easily. Over said two tests, Oz scored 1,172 runs at a rate of 3.55 per over and SA scored 1,200 runs at a rate of 3.91. QED Myth 2: SA prepared a plat pitch in PE to neutralise the quicks: SA have lost three of their last four tests in PE because it has ALWAYS been flat and not suited to SA's quicks...albeit today's performance was a turn up for the books!!! QED. Myth 3: Oz dish it out and take it back: Hmmm...they've bleated about the wicket, SA's scoring rate, Philander's form on flat tracks, etc, etc...but as soon as Philander sledges Warner he cries to the umpire. QED

  • on February 21, 2014, 19:41 GMT

    The test is going perfectly according to plan, grind their bowlers into the ground and attack with the ball. Their will be no follow-on in this match, even if SA manage to bowl them out cheaply. Saw MJ spend time on the massage table and can't imagine how Harris and Siddle must be feeling. If everything goes well I expect to see SA batting again tomorrow further grinding the bowlers. Typical SA tactics, that's what I call disintegration, mental and physical.

  • on February 21, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    With players like sachin,dravid,kallis,ponting,,hussey gone this era might well belong to the ABDs and Kohlis Class batting from AB"Century"DeVilliers

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on February 21, 2014, 19:23 GMT

    As expected SA resorts to doctoring pitches to nullify Mitch. This is a dead track and I hope SA can try to win this match. This dead track is their best chance to draw or win. Good luck SA. I have nothing against Australia. But I just don't want a touring team to win.

  • Greatest_Game on February 21, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    @ milepost commented "@greatest game, zzzzzzzzzzzz. All Australia need to do is avoin the follow on and they cant lose. SA scored way too slowly to force a result."

    I don't disagree - Smith is conservative. However, you ignore the subject of my post: pitch doctoring. I made clear that SA's attack was lively enough to put to rest yesterday's rampant accusations of pitch doctoring. Those accusations were unfounded & unwarranted, and are still being posted today, despite the evidence of the last session.

    Were you in the same position, with similar accusations leveled at Aus, I'm sure you would not take kindly to them. This pitch is playing as it does: i slower & lower than SA pitches, but bowlers can, & do, extract pace, bounce & movement off it. It has not been doctored.

    The Adelaide pitch has it's nature, & Aussies took offense at doctoring allegations when SA last played there. They responded strongly to those allegations, as did I to these.

    RE the result: it could still go any way

  • letsgoproteas on February 21, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    Just watched the highlights again... If this pitch is so dead why were the aussie batsmen squirming so much... Clarke was playing Morne with his eyes closed hoping for the best haha. And warner... well not even that guy can believe his own luck in this series...

    PROTEAS!

  • on February 21, 2014, 19:11 GMT

    Now, that is actually Test Cricket at its best!! This is turning out to be a great fight back. South Africans are deservingly the best test team in the world. #Respect

  • ImonG on February 21, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    From a bowling perspective, I want to point out a difference between Mitch & the other South African bowlers. Mitch is more round arm, so when the pitch is offering some bounce, he is more likely to hit a batsman or at least able to rear it up to an uncomfortable height, in comparison to a Morne. Morne & his compatriots have a more high arm action, so the ball will tend to bounce more & sail high above head in similar conditions. Cut to a pitch with low bounce, and a round arm bowlers delivery, will at best go chest height more often, and deliveries from bowlers like morkel & parnell, who have a high arm action will generate more bounce & cause more discomfort. Their deliveries arealso more likely to carry to the slip cordon as well, because of the bounce. South Africans must be credited to have found out the antidote for Mitch. Only if you have 6 foot plenty bowlers with pace, high arm action & ability to hit a good length consistenly unlike Broad, Finn, Rankin etc ...

  • on February 21, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    AB De Villiers is as good a batsman as one gets when he is in form. He is in a class of his own, he knows how to adjust to situations. This was the kind of a pitch where you lost wickets if you tried to increase the run rate, ABDV read the situation well and played accordingly. This is 5 day cricket mate, if you called AB's batting as boring, you are just the average T20 loving spectator. As for the pitch I think SA found the right way to neutralize the Aussies, they ve been dismissing opponents quickly for the past 6 matches and good hard time on the field was just what was required to slow them down. Harris is injury prone and Johnson can't bowl long spells any more, just the perfect test for them I reckon.

  • Aussasinator on February 21, 2014, 18:55 GMT

    Real Points are two . 1. dale Steyn is past his prime and is getting hammered with ease and is giving width balls for hitting. 2. Morne Morkel and parnell should bowl bouncy and high to get warner's and later Haddn's wickets. Aussies cannot play bounce and swing

  • Vleis on February 21, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    I think that Vitruvius is just embarrassed that AB went from 88 to 100 in only three balls at Perth...with...wait for it...three reverse sweeps for four in a row!! Yep, very boring is that AB character!

  • Roshan_P on February 21, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    It's strange how bits-and-pieces players like McLaren or Peterson were even considered before Parnell, a young player with obvious talent. He was almost matching Morkel for pace at times, and Cricinfo has him down as a medium-fast bowler, so he's obviously increased his pace in recent times and will continue to improve if he keeps playing.

  • Expat2 on February 21, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    Good to see the proteas finding some kind of form.Edgar a real surprise package. Jury still out on De Kock Agree Tahir cant field or bat at Test level. Add bowl!Is Mitch Johnson playing? lol

  • thirdmanboundary on February 21, 2014, 18:39 GMT

    Morkel's 7-0-31-0: that must be one of the best wickletless bowling performances in test history. Riveting to watch. SA in with a shot if they pick up their fielding which has dipped. Also, let's hope Steyn comes back firing tomorrow. He seemed a bit flat again today. But I leave this 4-prong seam attack. Parnell adds a lot.

  • on February 21, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    Slow, low bounce, turning pitches is the way to get Australia back down to earth. On a pitch like that, Siddle cannot buy a wicket, and Johnson is rendered far less dangerous. But Lyon, initially thought of as a trundler who was keeping the seat warm till they found the next Warnie, has improved so markedly, that he is now "one of the" best off-spinners in the world. Well done, Lyon.

  • B.C.G on February 21, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    Bundle out OZ quickly tomorrow & then butcher their OVERRATED bowlers all over PE.I'd like to see Lyon especially getting a nice old pummeling.

  • RandyOZ on February 21, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    Shaun Marsh failed. Shock Horror. Where are all the supporters now? This could have been seen a mile off. Surely Hughes has to come in next match.

  • SurlyCynic on February 21, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    What I find disappointing is that after the first test I, and most SA commenters, gave a lot of (deserved) credit to the Aus team on these very pages. Yet now SA have one decent day and suddenly the comments are full of accusations of 'pitch doctoring' and bizarre comments on AB having 'no flair'.

    What happened to all those comments stating that Mitch would destroy SA even on a flat pitch? What happened there?

    Because of the forecast for Monday a draw is probably still favourite but why not give a bit of credit to a team who put a lot of effort in today.

  • JustIPL on February 21, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Aussie bowling today closely matched with indian bowling suddenly they have become ordinary to this extent. Just relying on spin.

  • on February 21, 2014, 18:26 GMT

    So guys...where are those comments about having an out and out spinner blah blah blah. Before the start of play yesterday i said Parnell was a great replacement for RP and it seems he was. There is no way Tahir(who can't bat or field) or RP who never threatens with the ball should get the pick over Parnell ever ever again...regardless of conditions. LOL Also realized today that SA now have three bowlers who car regularly bowl above 140km/h. Any they are all different in style. That is a very envious position to be in. I will reiterate my point that this is the same team that will play the final test. It's perfectly balanced and Oz won't have a single day as dominant as their least dominant day in the first test. Mark my words. End result...unless it rains. 2-1 to SA.

  • on February 21, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    I do enjoy watching an angry Morne bowl.

  • Samdanh on February 21, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    @din7: Whether or not SA win this match, expect a slower pitch in Cape Town. SA is not unknown or unfamiliar to doctoring pitches. Rewind to 2009, After Aus won first 2 Tests on good pitches with good pace 1-3 days, the 3rd Test was played on a strange looking pitch where there was grass in the middle of the pitch and bald stretches from short of length-good length to full in front of batting crease on both sides. They spun Aus out. SA can't complain when they travel to India next :(

  • letsgoproteas on February 21, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    Just shows... every team now knows what to do to take that Mitch guy out a game. Is he much without bounce???? And are the SA bowlers showing real skill is needed on a level track...?

    All the aussies who wrote the Proteas off in the first test are realising(as in all the last test series we've played)... we start slow and come back extremely strong. We are #1 for a reason... and that reason is that we are a bl@ddy good team.

    PROTEAS!

  • on February 21, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    Draw is still likely result from here, SA will be ruing dropping Warner and not refering Lyons caught behind . Got a feeling Warner will go on and score big once the ball gets a bit older, especially with no specialist spinner SA will struggle later in the innings. Also what was up with Steyn yet again he was getting spanked all over the park is he still feeling the effects of that rib injury, the other 3 quicks bowled very well Morkell was very unlucky that was some hostile fast bowling.

  • Samdanh on February 21, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    There is rain forecast for Monday-the fifth day. Chances of Rain - 100%. SA will have to bowl out Aus in next 2 days to win this match

  • gujratwalla on February 21, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    I don't know how many people here are biased or understand the meaning of Test Cricket! Fellows! Test cricket is a five days game and a real test of the teams' patience skill and determination.Get rid of your prejudice and start looking at reality.South Africa batted according to the pitch, meaning they read it better.Steyn,Philander,Morkel and Parnel are no push overs compared to the Australian bowlers in fact they simply bowled better and found the right lengths to make the ball swing and jump.Just like Johnson found his rhythm in the first Test.I have a hunch South Africa will Square the series here.The specialists are out and Smith and Haddin cannot always procuce miracles.Good to see the boot on the other foot for a change.Here is a true Test for the champions.Brace yourself for the battle.

  • Greatest_Game on February 21, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    @ Vitruvius complains "AB De Villiers is extremely boring to watch. Watching his hundred was a torture. His batting doesn't have any flair. Very mechanical Kallis like (back & across foot movement) batting."

    This may come as a shock, but to paraphrase WG Grace, AB de Villiers is not there to entertain you, he is there to contest this cricket match. The circumstances of THIS match dictated his batting in this innings, during which he established a new test batting record: 12 consecutive matches scoring over 50, going past Viv Richards, Sehwag & Gambhir. He hold other, more "flair" type records, like the 11th fastest test century or 2nd highest innings strike rate in the IPL - a league wherein flair, you must agree, is highly valued.

    Most would agree if you don't recognize AB's batting flair, you don't know much about cricket.

    Interestingly, the "very mechanical" Kallis still hold the records for the fastest test 50 (24 balls) and 10th fastest test innings strike rate (25 runs min)

  • stormy16 on February 21, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    If anyone uses AB and boring in the same sentance then I'm afraid you are clueless! SA at its best today and Aus had no answers after starting the day looking to take control. AB is brilliant, nothing new there but JP was the man today. He was playing for his spot and if he exposed the tail to the new ball Aus would have jumped all over. Instead he made a brilliant hundered to keep the rest at bay for this summer atleast. I thought Parnel and Morkel got a lot more than anyone else on this wicket and Aus are lucky to be only 4 down. SA have a chance to put a foot on the throat but Aus have shown in recent past that they dont go down that easy. Tomorrow will be a moving day for the game, unless Aus manage to get to the follow on mark, I dont like their chances on this wicket. SA will be looking to knock them over while Aus will be looking for the follow on mark and keep the game alive. Excisting day of test cricket to look forward to tomorrow.

  • on February 21, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    australia will lose easily . all out for 200 tomorrow

  • quittthewhinging on February 21, 2014, 18:04 GMT

    Seems it's not possible to please some people. SA were 11 for 2 wickets on day one. What did you expect? Swashbuckling batting? Get real.

  • Ragav999 on February 21, 2014, 17:57 GMT

    @PrasPunter, @xtrafalgarx : I watched the match from 41/3 and I think Australia batted well except for those dismissals considering that SA bowlers bowled well and the scoreboard pressure behind them. There were not many plays and misses except by Lyon. Australia just need one or two big partnerships and it will put SA under pressure. As Australian fans, being 5 down in the first innings is not an unfamiliar state by any means. The run rate and the positive intent shown by Warner and Clarke was very refreshing and if it comes off again tomorrow, it will be a tremendous boost to the Aussie juggernaut. Even if Aus end up trailing SA in the 1st innings, when playing against England and SA who are very good sides, conceding a lead once over a period of 7 tests is not disastrous.

    Having said that, the selectors must closely monitor Shaun Marsh's returns as he is the one with a very average record with no clear indication of improvement in the last few years. I think Rogers will come good.

  • page8383 on February 21, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    @Greatest game: You haven't even seen a full session of South African bowling yet. South Africa were 2-11 against a new ball attack and the Australians have just spent over 5 sessions in the field, losing quick wickets in a late session like that is common after a long fielding stint. If the Aussies are good enough to keep the South Africans out there, you too will see the attack wilt and possibly some big partnerships will be piled on once the ball is a bit older. The South Africans did bowl well and created chances, and the Australians got sucked into some bad batting. Morkel was only really making Lyon jump around and in another 30 overs it will look even more like he is bowling on a trampoline. The pitch is placid, I'm not sure how you can deny that.

  • milepost on February 21, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    @greatest game, zzzzzzzzzzzz. All Australia need to do is avoin the follow on and they cant lose. SA scored way too slowly to force a result.

  • Protears on February 21, 2014, 17:43 GMT

    People calling AB boring is as desperate as it gets, AB is nothing short of world class going on to carve a legend for himself, its a slow pitch and the way AB and Duminy marshalled the team to 400 was brilliant and again AB in a league of his own right now with shot selection and flair. Add that its the 8th hundred since taking the gloves and he averages over 65 since keeping probably the best wicket keeper batsmen on pure ability considering he bats 5th when most batted 7th or 8th.

    With the ball there was more venom in the attack that has warner playing shots to survive. I guess there is an anti mitch pitch, the Australian bowlers got grinded for 150 overs over the 69 in the last innings of the last game, Johnson's lack of effectiveness and inability to bowl 6-8 over spells cost Australia and if Harris's knee flairs up that is going to be a blow.

  • KabsCricki on February 21, 2014, 17:34 GMT

    Its the famed S.A backlash. Happened against Sri Lank, Pak and India before so nothing new there but the intensity is lacking. Those dropped catches are inexcusable. As i suspected it had nothing to do with the pressure at Centurion, S.A fielding needs a real wake up call and that could be the difference between a win and a drawn game.

  • Chris_P on February 21, 2014, 17:30 GMT

    @Madan Shivakumar. 2 things here, First of all, you never judge a player on one innings, either successful or not (Elgar's debut springs to mind) & 2), if you had bothered reading any posts, particularly from Australian posters, you may have noticed an overwhelmoing majority of them stating Marsh wasn't up to this level. In fact, nearly alll who posted for his inclusion were Indian IPL supporters. Doolan's 2nd innings in the previous test showed he has what it takes at this level, anyone with an ounce of cricket knowledge would have seen that. As for this test, I said it yesterday, but bears repeating, let's wait until both teams have full innings, shall we? South Africa were 5/214 & made a solid comeback.

  • SurlyCynic on February 21, 2014, 17:26 GMT

    @Vitruvius: Now I've seen it all, AB's batting is 'boring and doesn't have any flair'. He's the best batsman to watch in the world.

    I'm guessing your definition of 'flair' is baseball slogs over cow corner in T20 matches.

  • on February 21, 2014, 17:21 GMT

    Don't get ahead of yourself guys, Aus has been 4 down for not many in the last 8 at bats and ended up 350+. Our best batsmen are yet to come in, our tail won the ashes lol

  • Greatest_Game on February 21, 2014, 17:01 GMT

    Don't judge a pitch before both teams bat & bowl. The pace, bounce & movement SA bowlers extracted show clearly that this pitch was NOT "doctored to death." Because Aussie bowlers can't get anything out of a pitch does NOT mean it is dead!

    The pitch is still low & slow, & yet Morkel made batsmen leap & bob & weave. How, on a dead, pitch, made so to defeat Mitch? Did he bowl better, perhaps?

    Parnell & Philander got dismissals with movement off the pitch, movement that eluded Aus bowlers. How, on this dead, doctored pitch? Better bowling, perhaps?

    SA dismissed Rogers (twice?), Doolan, Marsh, & Clark, had Lyon caught & dropped behind, & Warner dropped after several edges. If SA held their catches Aus would be 6 down. How, on a pitch doctored to death?

    Either the pitch was NOT doctored, or the Aus batsmen are complete rubbish. Warner is flying, riding his luck but clearly NOT rubbish. The pitch doctoring accusations had no basis.

    Men of good conscience would admit error, & apologise.

  • SurlyCynic on February 21, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    Amazing to see all the complaints about the slow pitch from Aussies. When SA fans commented on the flat 'draw' tracks in the first two tests in 2012 every Aussie said 'they are always like this, nothing was changed for this series'.

    Well, PE is always flat and now it is flat again. So sort out your own flat tracks before complaining.

    And 4 wickets in the session for SA is not too bad is it...

  • MeTalHeD69 on February 21, 2014, 16:56 GMT

    @Vitruvius As boring as his batting is, which I disagree with, he has piled on the runs. I believe Hashim Amla's batting isn't exactly full of flair either, but he too is a run machine (Hash is struggling of late, I know but his record is impeccable). Comparing AB to Jaqcues Kallis is also indicative of the fact that as boring as they are, they're successful batsmen. The game did drag on, though, but expecting constant excitement and stimulus in a five day is expecting a bit much. They got the runs, they're taking wickets, and I think that's what counts. A team doesn't have to have flair to win. The result is what matters, no matter how awkward or flamboyant they looked at the crease. I have my suspicions though that it's a typical Protea tactic to bore the opposition to death if they can't run away with the game...

  • InfiniteWhite on February 21, 2014, 16:52 GMT

    If the weather forecast is to be trusted, there's a strong thunderstorm all day on Monday. It means there's only 180 overs left in this match and this eliminates Australia's chance to win. A draw is more likely though because the batting will become easier as the ball gets older.

  • Henry_Crun on February 21, 2014, 16:51 GMT

    Well done AB and Duminy in particular, for making some SA posters here look rather silly. There's no question that on this track, which would provide lovely accommodation of a herd of goats, SA's bowling attack has outperformed ours. The problem that SA has, however, is that if, as seems likely, Australia averts the follow on, Smith then has the problem of when to declare. Judging on the batting of SA's top 4 in the first innings, and Smith's cautious nature, he should be right to put us back in and go hell-for-leather for the win about 25 o'clock next Tuesday week.

  • SurlyCynic on February 21, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    Great to see what SA got out of the pitch in the final session. Could turn out to be a very interesting test. Morkel reaching 152kph and Parnell hitting 147 made all the difference on a sluggish track. Glad SA don't have to bat last on this, the bounce could get a bit unpredictable by day 5.

    Watching Parnell bowl reminded me how angry I was when I saw the team sheet at Centurion. McLaren will not take many test wickets against good batsmen whereas Parnell can be expensive but does produce wicket taking deliveries. His pace and left arm delivery add variety to the attack - there is already Philander as right arm medium!

    Hope Warner's luck runs out tomorrow as he is v dangerous.

  • Speng on February 21, 2014, 16:49 GMT

    Why are Aus going at 4.5 an over? Surely the match situation doesn't warrant such rapid scoring...

  • page8383 on February 21, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    Morkel's bowling is sharp but a bit up and down imo - reminds me of Watson's bowling of old. The only stick he seemed to be troubling was Lyon - A handy No 11 - but a No 11 all the same. Looking forward to day 3 and see if the Aussies can dig themselves out of this one or not.

  • on February 21, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    oh so there goes all the hype!! I wonder how many guys will now call Alex doolan and Shaun marsh special! one innings without any pressure at all and doolan was the next big thing in Aussie cricket! we have seen Maxwell ... we have seen Hughes and we have also seen Watson... these guys can score at will when the bowlers have bundled out the opposition for a paltry total... put a bit of pressure on them and they will crumble like a pack of cards... I hope now people understand that aus has a great bowling attack but not a great side!

  • Dale_Pain on February 21, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    Wow this pitch is lively afterall - Morkel's deliveries were taking off, and Parnell got some movement off the pitch and in the air!

  • din7 on February 21, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    @Hamman Schoonwinkel u seem to be new to cricket....the pitch is slow and low and thats truth....even if aus lose this match its wont change the truth...there are other things in cricket other than pitch...its the runs on the board and confidence thats what makin sa quicks bowl like this...had aus batted first SA would have been in same position..they had 423 on board thats what made them go all out attack...expected this slow wicket from 1st test itself but they underestimate mitch...clarke played really poor shot knowin pitch is not there for such shotmakin he shld habe played patiently but anyways aus can still save this game even if they dont i know aus are goin to win this series in capetown....

  • Vitruvius on February 21, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    AB De Villiers is extremely boring to watch. Watching his hundred was a torture. His batting doesn't have any flair. Very mechanical Kallis like (back & across foot movement) batting.

  • LegSpinBowlr on February 21, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    Somehow Warners edge of seat batting reminds me of sehwag, exciting, daring and if it comes off, a match changing/winning one

  • Yankydoodle on February 21, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    Very good day for SA. despite the drop catches.

  • mmoosa on February 21, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    Morkel infuriates ...he should be of the ilk of Ambrose,Garner and such.Forget about becoming a Mcgrath medium pacer and just bowl quickly.As quick as Mitch and even bouncier with his height,he needs to rediscover the yorker and take charge of the S.A attack. Forza_Scuderia..i beg to differ...when batsmen are fending off their chests,it means the opposition attack is threatening and to a man South Africa are.Obviously you are biased and disappointed given the ease which S.A played Mitch and the corresponding fear the entire Aussie dressing room had when Lyon was battered by Morkel...dont believe it...look at Johnson and the other player's eyes open like saucers when Lyons got hit...And Lyons was out as well a bit later...fending of course.Also Warner should have been in the sheds...fending of course.

  • Aspraso on February 21, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    Aussies have been in similar 4 or 5 down position in several matches-- then comes Smith, Haddin and Johnson for the turnaround -- so the Aussie fans need not despair.

  • Brownly on February 21, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    Of all the South African bowlers I think that Australian fans and even the players have always rated Morkel as the finest of the big South African three. He's always impressed with his aggression, pace and bounce, but Steyn and Philander reap the bigger rewards.

    Either way, this is a place that the Australian team knows well. If anyone has experience climbing out of such a hole, it is them. Lyon to grind out a solid 30 tomorrow and help Warner get to a hundred, then Smith to show why he's suddenly become such an asset to this team.

    Aus gonna trail by 75 after one of their enjoyable tail-end wags.

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

    What a let off for AUstralia, SA have em reeling and didnt nail them down, hope they dont live to rue it. No.1 test cricket in the world that wasnt but what a day for SA

  • on February 21, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    Looking at Lyon's bowling performance over the last few tests - I am wondering if Lyon is bowling so well compared to Ashwin in similar pitches because Clarke's captaincy creates more chances for him ? Or is Lyon superior in ability compared to Ashwin now ?(Mind you, during India tour he wasn't beating batters in the air)

  • on February 21, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    Aussie top order fails YET AGAIN. Is that 7 out of 7 now that they've been 5 or 6 for not many in their first innings? Don't get your hopes up Saffers. You had them in roughly this position in the 1st test and look what happened then. England were level or on top almost every time in the Aussies 1st innings until they were 5 or 6 down. Then Haddin came in to bat. Getting Rogers,Marsh and Doolan out (who I doubt will play more than another 15 tests between them in their career) isn't such a big deal. Well done on getting Pup though - that's a real scalp.

  • on February 21, 2014, 16:11 GMT

    @Senura Timberlake How can you predict that ? .As we know SA are great chokers. They wont be able to qualify for the semis.

  • Forza_Scuderia on February 21, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    This pitch is offering nothing. SA bowling wasn't threatening at all. Wickets were given away by poor shots and Australia got lucky with some terrible fielding by SA once again. They've dropped 2 dollies and didn't want to waste a review against a night watchman.

    Anyway, Aus are evidence that runs can be scored on this pitch at a decent click... SA's negative batting has ruined this test thus far.

    Maybe their bowlers can get them into a winning position but I highly doubt that as I don't think the follow on will be enforced with just over 100 to avoid it... SA's day though.

  • on February 21, 2014, 16:03 GMT

    Well played to nathan lyon, hes got some fight thats for sure, even though he got out and got dropped, man thing is hes still there, he will make a 50 ive got a good feeling, warner needs to carry this innings however, relying on him to make 150 or atleast 100 before he gets out or else we might be in danger.

    The whole tail can bat so we should make at worst 300, aiming for as close to SA total as we can do, which imo we will make tbh. Mitch didnt contribute many wickets, but tbh this is the sort of pitch u need some luck on, i mean look at morne, he has bowled really well for 0 wickets, dale too. Philander has bowled very averagely and has 2 wickets haha

  • on February 21, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    Nathan Lyon is the new definition of alpha male.

    5 for, and he just said to the team "i got this" and walks out to dead bat the saffers.

    Cops a few on the body, fingers, and then a boundary cover drive to dale steyn. He then supposedly got out, but just stayed there and tell the bowler to go back and fu ing bowl.

    That, is alpha male.

    Nathan Lyon, i salute you.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 21, 2014, 16:00 GMT

    For last 2 days I have had to listen to Australian posters telling everyone how flat and dead this wicket is. But when the No.1 Test team with the No.1 bowling attack took the ball they removed Australia's top order and bowled with hostility.

    Morne Morkel bowling faster than Mitch Johnson (who is Mitch?) getting over 152 kph. Warner, showing us the T20 player that he is getting another life at 40 and the night watchman should have been out twice already.

    SA ahead 3 more wickets tomorrow and it gets interesting real fast.

  • AnthonyMD on February 21, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    What a sleepfest the first five sessions of this Test were, then suddenly after tea on day two things got really interesting. As an Australian supporter it was a bit disappointing, but as a cricket fan I loved it.

  • Proteas-13thman on February 21, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    LYON should have walked~!! He knew he hit that and how could the umpire not see that? How could they not review it?

    Additionally how poorly are the South Africans fielding.....Disappointing these little drop catches could cost us the match

  • tests_the_best on February 21, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    AB DeVilliers' consistency is astounding. Seems to play knocks just when his team requires. Justifies the no 1 ranking as test batsman.

  • on February 21, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    Morne Morkel is the unluckiest bowler in world cricket. He has unplayable pace and bounce and always seem to trouble the batsmen, but the stats doesn't reflect that as he doesn't get as much wickets as others

  • on February 21, 2014, 15:23 GMT

    What does Aussies have to say about the "dead" pitch now?

  • PrasPunter on February 21, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    Nothing but rank-bad batting from Aus !! No threatening bowling at all !! How poor the shots played by Marsh and Clarke are !! I have given up for this match !!

  • on February 21, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    Clarke to the rescue.. let's clean up these proteas boys!!!.

  • Biggus on February 21, 2014, 15:13 GMT

    @Hussain Kurawadwala:-Nope, not going anywhere mate. Just sitting here enjoying the contest.

  • SenuraTimberlake on February 21, 2014, 15:07 GMT

    De Villiers's form is threatening for other teams...especially with the World Cup and TwentyTwenty World Cup coming up.

    Predictions for T20 World Cup-Semi finalists--- Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and SA.

    Predictions for WC 2015--sEMI FINALISTS--- Australia,England,Sri Lanka and SA

  • Samdanh on February 21, 2014, 15:05 GMT

    With 3 down under 70, it will be interesting to see how Aus respond to the situation chasing 420 odd in the first innings. This is the first time since beginning of Ashes that Aus is in this situation chasing such a big score in the first innings. That too against a 4 pronged pace attack which is rated no.1 in the World.

  • on February 21, 2014, 15:02 GMT

    why so many comments in the commentary ?? I am losing the craze of reading the comments :/

  • AnthonyMD on February 21, 2014, 14:48 GMT

    With the change of innings, both the batting and particularly the bowling have improved. Fantastic first over from Parnall, sadly from an Australian perspective one could have safely put money on Shaun Marsh failing, he's not got a history of stringing decent scores together.

  • on February 21, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    Now we'll see all the Aussie fans going into hiding and SA fans like Tommy tucker SA (nothing against you mate just using you as an example) coming all guns blazing .Great fun for a neutral fan like me. And it happens with every counrry so neither country's should take offense as its only natural to behave like this.Even though many a times comments on this forum get childish and senseless (a few of mine included) its fun to see fan battles .This is what sport is about .

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 21, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    Well looks like Australia isn't going to make it through the new ball. Good work guys.

  • on February 21, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    watson for rogers was an obvious change imo with the pitch going to be flat and us in need of a 5th bowler, especially considering that rogers has never played in sa so was always gonna struggle, personally i dont rate rogers that highly anyway...

  • xtrafalgarx on February 21, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    Chris Rogers is toeing the line. He's got a few hundreds now, but he too, like Watson seems to get them when they don't matter much. He's in trouble.

  • on February 21, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    De Villiers and Kohli - 2 most exciting batsmen in World cricket today. Both of them play for the v same team in IPL on flat as pancake tracks. Bowlers won't exactly be queuing up to bowl against them!

  • on February 21, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    I know today s figures are nothing to go by but if Clarke did not have a dodgy back he could be the perfect 5 th bowler. Got a six for against India .Also Lyon has proved once again he is a the best spinner for Aussies atm and one of the top ones in the world as well .Of course the latter is because of a lack of quality spinners in the world and even he is work in progress but hell peak by the time he hits 30. .The proteas need a spinner on this pitch.

  • on February 21, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    Well the fact that Jp duminy can make over 10 against us really demonstrates the difference between a flat pitch and one with a bit or a lot in it for the bowlers. Really goes to show that players records don't mean anything when they consistently play on easy batting strips regardless of where they come from . Still regardless of the strip someone needs to score runs I guess so let's hope we can make lots of runs too to inflate some of our flat track bullies averages too. I rkn this is where someone like Steve smith will make nothing, even though he seems a v good player in tougher scenarios

  • Puffin on February 21, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    Looks like a proper spinner is required to bowl a side out here.

  • Biggus on February 21, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    Well done Nathan Lyon, exactly what we needed from you this innings.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 21, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    Goodness Clarke - don't hurt your back with all this bowling mate. Let Lyon, Smith and Warner do the work if there's naught for the seamers...

  • HatsforBats on February 21, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    We can't really comment on the pitch until after the 2nd innings...but, Duminy scored a century. A strange scenario: SA are 0-1 and are still batting with 400+ on the board after tea on day 2. Presuming they want to win the series it makes little sense. Hit out or get out.

  • on February 21, 2014, 13:33 GMT

    its very funny to see how people are whining the way SA are playing. Yes it is a flat wicket, that does not mean it is dead. SA is playing a normal game trying to score a big total to pressure the Aussies. To those who are saying this is dead wicket. Please see the sub-continent wickets especially in Ind and BD. Then you will know what is dead wicket.

    And some of are complaining that it did not create any edges or chance. Its because SA batted very well, and Aussie pacers bowled Ok not great. Thats why.

    Those who are comparing steyn and Mitch. Please wait for a few more years and let Mitch perform like this consistently for a few years and in different conditions. Then do so.

  • xtrafalgarx on February 21, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    @Nikko Chun: That's suicide. Bowling out a team twice on a pitch like this, will leave them for dead for the next test match which is back to back. These are the things a good captain would take into account.

  • SLslider on February 21, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    Imagine this pitch given by any sub continent team. Hell would have broken loose. World's no. 1 team is so afraid by Johnson that they gave the worst pitch ever. That's one way to save yourself from humiliation. Learn to play with spirit. SL offers the most sporting wickets in the world. SA are worst Losers really. Waiting for AUS to come to SL so we can teach AUS a lesson and show to the world that they are not unbeatable.

  • on February 21, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Great catch by Haddin before lunch ..... another catch that would have been dropped by Wade!!

  • on February 21, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    Why does everyone think The Proteas are trying to draw the match? I would have thought batting once - even slowly - and amassing a big total (with a view to not batting again) and then, hopefully, bowling well (which must be done to win anyway), is the text book manner of winning a test match. It may well not occur as pitch too good / flat but Smith and South Africa are still doing it all by the book I would have thought. So, whilst this Kiwi could give two hoots in all fairness, this is still a major clash and I am hoping South Africa can level the series. So, while this might be unlikely on this pitch, that has nothing to do with attitude, tactics or endeavour does it? Half of you need to think more before you press 'post your comments'.

  • on February 21, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    Aus bowlers did everything to be defensive by bowling negatives. They could have leaked some runs to open chances of wicket. Going the defensive way!!

  • TheBigBoodha on February 21, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    Wonder what Michael Holding thinks of this game after the excitement of he first? I doubt he is going to mention anything about life being breathed back into the game by exhilarating fast bowling. Not one catch behind the stumps in 5 sessions. Not even a drop.

  • xtrafalgarx on February 21, 2014, 12:58 GMT

    SA would be lucky to win this game from here, poor cricket i reckon. To score this slowly on a flat pitch, 1-0 down, surely you would want to push the game forward?

    If what we have seen is anything to go by, SA are kidding themselves if they think they can get 20 wickets in three days on this pitch unless the AUS batsmen have an absolute shocker.

  • wanatawu on February 21, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    Can somebody please tell JP to move the total along, please.

  • TheBigBoodha on February 21, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    JimmySA, at least the Aussie bowlers won't go 4/481 as Steyn and co did in Adelaide on one shortened day last series. 5/214 looks a little better, no?

  • VivGilchrist on February 21, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    Why are South Africa playing for a draw? Aren't they 1-0 down?

  • amfas on February 21, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    Posted this ages ago, but it must have been pulled by the posting committee. If we really lucky we may get +-1250 runs and possibly 25 wickets. That will bring the draw statistics between the two sides up to 21 out of 91 tests played?

  • milepost on February 21, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    Mitch is a but quiet in one innings and you guys are saying he's no good? Ask the English cricket team if he's any good. In fact ask South Africa. @Waws, your comment makes no sense. Mitch has great figures bowling in India. SA are already playing for the draw which is disappointing! Actually it's just good bowling and captaincy on a difficult surface.

  • Forza_Scuderia on February 21, 2014, 12:12 GMT

    At this rate SA will have 500 at the end of play today giving Australia 3 days to save the test match...

    Really not impressed by how this match has panned out.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on February 21, 2014, 12:08 GMT

    contd. -A much superior Aus attack rendered ineffective on such a docile pitch SA's bowlers wont find any easier on this slow,low surf. Aus had the quality spin of Lyon to call on,SA dont have. In form Aus bats will post 450+ of their own. Draw beckons.

  • JimmySA on February 21, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    Lets just make this clear. The best bowling attack does not go wicketless with the new ball in hand from the start of play until lunch against batters at no. 5 and no. 7 position on any pitch!!

  • Biggus on February 21, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    I hate to be a killjoy, I really do, but that band is just annoying, and annoying bad as well.

  • Int.Curator on February 21, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    20 wickets from either team would take a near miracle on this pitch!

    Not sure of the SA strategy to draw this match will be popular..

    Probably why the crowds are down.

    Negative cricket equals crowds number.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on February 21, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    Much as AB has-again-got the better of Aussies attack and looked rock solid vs a fantastic Aus attack fact that JP has also been rarely troubled will please the Aussies.The Aus top 8 bats are 'at least' as good as JP and in Pup-who's due-a match for AB.

  • Haleos on February 21, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    Lyon is so good. I am surprised why did CA go out of way to fast track a below average club bowler in the team.

  • on February 21, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    AB looking ominous, isn't he. Poor session with the ball for Aus, failing to build pressure at any time. Need to make SA work hard for their runs and if they are going to hit 500 make sure it takes them all of 2 days to get there. Pitch looks a little better for batting today I reckon with the ball coming on a little better. Patience the key here with bat or ball.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on February 21, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    Good application by AB De and as you would expect of a class player makes a 100 after getting in on a docile pitch. Take no credit from AB but true measure of this pitch can be seen by ease by which mediocre JP is playing the best pace attack.

  • seniorgators on February 21, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    With a potential huge rain front due on Monday I hope Smith will show some aggression for once in his field placing and intent in the remaining batting. 4 days is not a lot of time for a result with this wicket.

  • Waws on February 21, 2014, 11:07 GMT

    Whats MJ figures for this match so far?? O sorry,it must the the pitch that`s keeping him from making a difference...thought that world class bowlers are the ones that can deliver on any surface, like for example in India as well.

  • on February 21, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    easily at the moment the most all round batsman in world cricket! from T20 to Test and in between (ODI), so good

  • on February 21, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    Lets hope they can keep it up and can conjure a favorable result.

  • on February 21, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    What a boring pitch. Definite draw

  • dinosaurus on February 21, 2014, 10:50 GMT

    This is attritional Test cricket served with a pitch preparation sauce to make as certain as possible that the team that wins the toss wins the match. It may well work too. The pitch is so dry that by days 4 and 5 you won't need a spinner (at least that is what the SA brains trust think - possibly know). Then a green monster at Newlands to see if the fabled 47 all out can be repeated. Of that I am less sure. It's sort of a hybrid sport like the Winter Games event that combines rifle shooting with cross country skiing - but here it is cricket together with pitch rolling (and, specifically, NOT watering).

  • AltafPatel on February 21, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    Once again ABD showed his class. Hats off Sobers of modern era.

  • AltafPatel on February 21, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    Once again ABD showed his class. Hats off Sobers of modern era.

  • dinosaurus on February 21, 2014, 10:50 GMT

    This is attritional Test cricket served with a pitch preparation sauce to make as certain as possible that the team that wins the toss wins the match. It may well work too. The pitch is so dry that by days 4 and 5 you won't need a spinner (at least that is what the SA brains trust think - possibly know). Then a green monster at Newlands to see if the fabled 47 all out can be repeated. Of that I am less sure. It's sort of a hybrid sport like the Winter Games event that combines rifle shooting with cross country skiing - but here it is cricket together with pitch rolling (and, specifically, NOT watering).

  • on February 21, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    What a boring pitch. Definite draw

  • on February 21, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    Lets hope they can keep it up and can conjure a favorable result.

  • on February 21, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    easily at the moment the most all round batsman in world cricket! from T20 to Test and in between (ODI), so good

  • Waws on February 21, 2014, 11:07 GMT

    Whats MJ figures for this match so far?? O sorry,it must the the pitch that`s keeping him from making a difference...thought that world class bowlers are the ones that can deliver on any surface, like for example in India as well.

  • seniorgators on February 21, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    With a potential huge rain front due on Monday I hope Smith will show some aggression for once in his field placing and intent in the remaining batting. 4 days is not a lot of time for a result with this wicket.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on February 21, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    Good application by AB De and as you would expect of a class player makes a 100 after getting in on a docile pitch. Take no credit from AB but true measure of this pitch can be seen by ease by which mediocre JP is playing the best pace attack.

  • on February 21, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    AB looking ominous, isn't he. Poor session with the ball for Aus, failing to build pressure at any time. Need to make SA work hard for their runs and if they are going to hit 500 make sure it takes them all of 2 days to get there. Pitch looks a little better for batting today I reckon with the ball coming on a little better. Patience the key here with bat or ball.

  • Haleos on February 21, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    Lyon is so good. I am surprised why did CA go out of way to fast track a below average club bowler in the team.