South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 4th day February 23, 2014

Australia left with uncomfortable answers

Australia walk away from the Port Elizabeth Test with proof of their vulnerability on surfaces that are less lively than the tracks at home, a theme common to their defeats in India and England
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Even as they applauded the Ashes sweep, Australia and the world have wondered many things about Michael Clarke's team. How might the series in England have been different had Mitchell Johnson played? Would a team coached by Darren Lehmann have fared better on India's slow, low pitches? What will happen when Brad Haddin's river of runs dries up? Could the momentum gathered in Brisbane have been stopped by a better team than England? Can Michael Clarke's tail-off in form be carried for long? Can team spirit stop batting collapses?

Now, in a convenient, rapid and ultimately dramatic manner, all these queries and few else besides have been answered in the space of a single Test match. The previous visit to Port Elizabeth by an Australian Test side revealed the character of Mark Taylor's team who, when cornered, fought their way out to achieve a memorable victory that also buttressed their status as the world's best in all conditions and circumstances. This time, the trip to St George's Park has filled in numerous gaps in the previously incomplete profile of their descendants.

Under Clarke and Lehmann, Australia had enjoyed rich success against England and then first-up against South Africa on a lively track at Centurion. But they can now be seen as still battling many of the issues that bedeviled the regime of the previous coach Mickey Arthur, and even that of his predecessor Tim Nielsen. These are not matters of culture, spirit, identity or approach, and certainly nothing to do with "brand of cricket". Instead they are to do with technique, skill, patience and adaptability, mostly revolving around the team's play on surfaces not offering the pace and bounce with which they are most comfortable.

India, England and South Africa have all now demonstrated that the Australian teams of Clarke are most vulnerable on surfaces far less lively than those of their homeland. None of Chennai, Hyderabad, Mohali, Delhi, Nottingham, Lord's, Durham or Port Elizabeth - the locales of Australia's past eight defeats - offered much in the way of conventional seam, swing or bounce. Reverse swing, spin and, in the case of Morne Morkel, a unique trajectory have all come into play instead.

In the absence of any South African spinners accomplished enough to merit a place, Dale Steyn's wonderfully destructive spells of reverse swing at St George's Park revived memories of numerous other overseas incisions by pacemen of various countries. Zaheer Khan did it to Australia several times in years gone by with assistance from Ishant Sharma; James Anderson and Stuart Broad won a Test match each last year by finding life beyond the new ball. It is a skill Australia's batsmen struggle to counter for the same reason their opponents have been so flummoxed by Johnson recently - few compatriots in the nets have the capacity to replicate it.

It is not a new thing either to find that Johnson's effectiveness is limited by a slower pitch. While Graeme Smith sounded a little churlish when he attributed a 12-wicket haul to Centurion's steep and fickle bounce, his words had some truth to them. When Johnson went wicket-less in Delhi last year he was already well on the way to grooving the method that became so destructive in Australia, but on a Feroz Shah Kotla wicket of no bounce or pace he was negotiated comfortably enough. It is fair now to conclude that his impact in England would have been greater, but not decisive. If he cannot make an impact, neither it seems can Australia.

That India tour also led many to wonder at the wisdom of sending an Australian side to Asia without any real batting expertise on the subject of scoring runs on the subcontinent. The loss of Justin Langer from the coaching staff, accompanied by the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey left the team light on relevant experience, and the new batting mentor Michael Di Venuto had precious little else to offer from a career played near exclusively in Australia and England.

Lehmann ventured to India many times and was known for his bold invention against spin. But it has been clear in Port Elizabeth that Australian batting frailty on slower surfaces - no longer obscured by Haddin's alliances with the lower order - cannot be eradicated purely through his influence on proceedings, nor by the unity and happy spirit he has engendered within the team. The surrender of all 10 wickets for 90 to lose a Test after a century opening stand was a most subcontinental sort of defeat, as batsmen found it increasingly difficult to start their innings. The discomfort shown by Alex Doolan, chosen for his ability on pitches like Centurion, had a cascading effect down the rest of the order.

Caught up in this rush was Clarke himself, who is in the midst of the worst run of scores in his Test career so far. While Clarke has maintained he is striking the ball well, his mien in the middle does not suggest he believes it. When he walked out to bat for the second innings, his team needed a circuit-breaker to disrupt the rhythm of Morkel, Vernon Philander and Steyn with reverse swing. What they saw instead was a timid innings ending with a poor stroke, the sort of loose swish he was associated with at times before he ascended to the captaincy. If batting was difficult, then Clarke should have also been good enough to find a way through it. His average and tally of hundreds stand as proof.

At the other end Chris Rogers was the only man on the final day, and arguably across the entire match, to transcend the limitations of his team. A career run-maker well attuned to notching hundreds no matter where, when or how, Rogers had not enjoyed the happiest of tours, out cheaply in three innings while struggling for the fluency of his latter two Ashes hundreds. He had found his place under question for the third time in 12 Tests, but summoned the sort of solid, unhurried innings that eluded his teammates. Looking on from the dressing room, Australia's other batsmen would do well to remember his soft, low hands and skilful manoeuvring of the ball, plus his knack for locating runs on days when he is not feeling his best.

The rush of wickets in the final session, a deflating nine in all, left Rogers, Clarke and the rest in a state of stunned silence they have not experienced since Durham last year. They have achieved much in between, winning the Ashes and plenty of respect, but must now regather themselves with the sort of swiftness that characterised the team's Johannesburg win in 2011, mere days after being razed for 47 in Cape Town. That brings them to one other question. How will the team of Clarke and Lehmann cope with a vast and unexpected defeat to interrupt their run of victories? The answer will be known at Newlands.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 24, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    Well, SA did really show its character. There isn't anything uncharacteristic about a series in South Africa thus far. A slow start and an expected comeback. And the last match is set up for a fabulous finish indeed. Morkel was the key yesterday. When Doolan started to become clueless about which way the ball was swinging, SA sniffed blood. His struggle in the crease was a precursor what had to follow. Steyn broke the back of Oz by all means but was ably supported by relentless Philander and pumped up Morkel. Overall they maintained the ball well and the result did show in the end. Aussies bowling unit on the other end struggled when conventional swing did not help and the pace on the wicket was not intimidating the opposition. Boof would know that countering moving ball is not Oz batsmen's great strength and will have to infuse enough confidence to get them running for the final hurrah. Two completely contrasting matches indicates enough for what is to unfurl in Capetown.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 25, 2014, 9:34 GMT

    @Mad_Hamish (post on February 25, 2014, 2:22 GMT): "are you really calling Ponting and Clarke grafters?" = yes, I am/would. Neither tend(ed) to come out and play aggressive cricket and try to hit sixes in tests. Instead, these players come/came out and play(ed) steady innings; yes now and again they would up the tempo once they were settled and/or the bowling was poor, but I wouldn't class them as "overly aggressive".

    "Aggressive batsmen outside Australia, such as..." - yes indeed, all great players whom I enjoyed watching in tests - be they played in Australia or not. But read my first sentence of my previous post: a good, balanced test side needs a complimentary balance of both types of players. I've seen many more games where aggressive tactics/shots from an entire team have failed on certain pitches (mainly outside of Australia) than ones where this aggressive/overly-positive intent has paid off. Have Australia got this balance right? Does any team for that matter? I don't know.

  • OneEyedAussie on February 25, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    South Africa successfully removed caught behind the wicket as a mode of dismissal in the first innings by playing with soft hands. They also removed the caught at short cover/midwicket dismissals common on slow wickets by not driving on the up. Australia didn't.

  • din7 on February 25, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    did any1 expected aus to win this series 3-0? if yes then he's fool. 1 loss and suddenly evry1 starts writing articles and comments on how bad aus is? especially my fellow indians who always run a campaign of hate aus because they dont hae anythin to talk as we cant even win a single match agnst no8 side....our side will continue to be pathetic as ever....aus won 1st test by 281 runs and sa wont won 2nd one by 231 runs,,so that can prove which is greater victory....im quite happy aus lose this test and it wasnt draw...had this been draw aus wouldnt have won this series it would had been 1-1 but thankfully now aus can win this series, they have battin problems but i know they can manage it somehow....coon aus its winnin time again...waitin for more comments bashin SA (as always happens) if aus did win this 2-1

  • on February 25, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    Out of the two tests played, all is even and not just the scoreboard. SA won well at PE, they batted well, bowled well and fielded well. It was the opposite in the first game where it was Australia who batted, bowled and fielded well. before people say that the Aussies aren't much good on flat decks, remember that they are in SA against the number one ranled side with the top ranked bowlers. Give the Aussies credit for going into the third test 1-1. A ggod effort for the touring side.

  • Pontiac on February 25, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    It's a bit amusing when people still say "Lyon is probably the worst first choice spinner playing tests at the moment..." in a match where he took 5 in the first innings, in a series where over 2 tests he's going so far at 31.12, and better economy than any other full time Aussie bowler. As many wickets as Harris and Siddle put together. Go back over the Ashes and he's taking wickets at about 30, bowling plenty of overs, providing reliable control of an end, good fielding, and so on.

    Whatever problems Australia have, their spinner is not one of them.

  • vik56in on February 25, 2014, 2:43 GMT

    At the start of the series the debate began with "Mitch vs Steyn", who's better? This last test showed us the answer ? Mitch can be more dangerous over a short period of time, but Steyn is the more consistent over a longer period !

  • Mad_Hamish on February 25, 2014, 2:22 GMT

    R_U_4_REAL_NICK are you really calling Ponting and Clarke grafters? Also as far as aggressive batsmen outside Australia consider Sobers, Pollock, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, ... Lara, Tendulkar, .. Hayden, Gilchrist etc.

  • Mad_Hamish on February 25, 2014, 2:16 GMT

    Gautam N. Shenoy If you think Lyon is the worst front line spinner in the world at the minute you might want to look at http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/272279.html?class=1;template=results;type=bowling;view=series he's not Warne or Murali but he's pretty useful Since his return in India Smith is averaging over 40 with 4 100s and 3 50s and his last 10 tests he's averaging 46 with 4 100s and 1 50. Harris' worst average in a series before the current one is 30.66, his last 2 series he's averaged under 20 with strike rates in the 40s. Siddle's got 188 test wickets @ under 30. The Aus side got outplayed in the 2nd test, it happens and there are things that need to be looked at but you've gone a fair way over the top on the attacks.

  • MrKricket on February 25, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    So what pitch will be prepared for Newlands should be the question everyone is asking. Apparently the captain of the home team can request the pitch he wants in any country apart from Australia. The haters will say Aus does the same but it's never mentioned. The curator is the man in Australia not the captain. In 40 years of following Tests I've never heard of an Aus captain requesting a type of pitch. Remember they still produced those lively belters at the Gabba and the WACA when Aus played the Windies in the first two Tests each series (and got hammered).

    I say prepare a lively pitch for the finale and let's see who is the best.

  • on February 24, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    Well, SA did really show its character. There isn't anything uncharacteristic about a series in South Africa thus far. A slow start and an expected comeback. And the last match is set up for a fabulous finish indeed. Morkel was the key yesterday. When Doolan started to become clueless about which way the ball was swinging, SA sniffed blood. His struggle in the crease was a precursor what had to follow. Steyn broke the back of Oz by all means but was ably supported by relentless Philander and pumped up Morkel. Overall they maintained the ball well and the result did show in the end. Aussies bowling unit on the other end struggled when conventional swing did not help and the pace on the wicket was not intimidating the opposition. Boof would know that countering moving ball is not Oz batsmen's great strength and will have to infuse enough confidence to get them running for the final hurrah. Two completely contrasting matches indicates enough for what is to unfurl in Capetown.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 25, 2014, 9:34 GMT

    @Mad_Hamish (post on February 25, 2014, 2:22 GMT): "are you really calling Ponting and Clarke grafters?" = yes, I am/would. Neither tend(ed) to come out and play aggressive cricket and try to hit sixes in tests. Instead, these players come/came out and play(ed) steady innings; yes now and again they would up the tempo once they were settled and/or the bowling was poor, but I wouldn't class them as "overly aggressive".

    "Aggressive batsmen outside Australia, such as..." - yes indeed, all great players whom I enjoyed watching in tests - be they played in Australia or not. But read my first sentence of my previous post: a good, balanced test side needs a complimentary balance of both types of players. I've seen many more games where aggressive tactics/shots from an entire team have failed on certain pitches (mainly outside of Australia) than ones where this aggressive/overly-positive intent has paid off. Have Australia got this balance right? Does any team for that matter? I don't know.

  • OneEyedAussie on February 25, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    South Africa successfully removed caught behind the wicket as a mode of dismissal in the first innings by playing with soft hands. They also removed the caught at short cover/midwicket dismissals common on slow wickets by not driving on the up. Australia didn't.

  • din7 on February 25, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    did any1 expected aus to win this series 3-0? if yes then he's fool. 1 loss and suddenly evry1 starts writing articles and comments on how bad aus is? especially my fellow indians who always run a campaign of hate aus because they dont hae anythin to talk as we cant even win a single match agnst no8 side....our side will continue to be pathetic as ever....aus won 1st test by 281 runs and sa wont won 2nd one by 231 runs,,so that can prove which is greater victory....im quite happy aus lose this test and it wasnt draw...had this been draw aus wouldnt have won this series it would had been 1-1 but thankfully now aus can win this series, they have battin problems but i know they can manage it somehow....coon aus its winnin time again...waitin for more comments bashin SA (as always happens) if aus did win this 2-1

  • on February 25, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    Out of the two tests played, all is even and not just the scoreboard. SA won well at PE, they batted well, bowled well and fielded well. It was the opposite in the first game where it was Australia who batted, bowled and fielded well. before people say that the Aussies aren't much good on flat decks, remember that they are in SA against the number one ranled side with the top ranked bowlers. Give the Aussies credit for going into the third test 1-1. A ggod effort for the touring side.

  • Pontiac on February 25, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    It's a bit amusing when people still say "Lyon is probably the worst first choice spinner playing tests at the moment..." in a match where he took 5 in the first innings, in a series where over 2 tests he's going so far at 31.12, and better economy than any other full time Aussie bowler. As many wickets as Harris and Siddle put together. Go back over the Ashes and he's taking wickets at about 30, bowling plenty of overs, providing reliable control of an end, good fielding, and so on.

    Whatever problems Australia have, their spinner is not one of them.

  • vik56in on February 25, 2014, 2:43 GMT

    At the start of the series the debate began with "Mitch vs Steyn", who's better? This last test showed us the answer ? Mitch can be more dangerous over a short period of time, but Steyn is the more consistent over a longer period !

  • Mad_Hamish on February 25, 2014, 2:22 GMT

    R_U_4_REAL_NICK are you really calling Ponting and Clarke grafters? Also as far as aggressive batsmen outside Australia consider Sobers, Pollock, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, ... Lara, Tendulkar, .. Hayden, Gilchrist etc.

  • Mad_Hamish on February 25, 2014, 2:16 GMT

    Gautam N. Shenoy If you think Lyon is the worst front line spinner in the world at the minute you might want to look at http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/272279.html?class=1;template=results;type=bowling;view=series he's not Warne or Murali but he's pretty useful Since his return in India Smith is averaging over 40 with 4 100s and 3 50s and his last 10 tests he's averaging 46 with 4 100s and 1 50. Harris' worst average in a series before the current one is 30.66, his last 2 series he's averaged under 20 with strike rates in the 40s. Siddle's got 188 test wickets @ under 30. The Aus side got outplayed in the 2nd test, it happens and there are things that need to be looked at but you've gone a fair way over the top on the attacks.

  • MrKricket on February 25, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    So what pitch will be prepared for Newlands should be the question everyone is asking. Apparently the captain of the home team can request the pitch he wants in any country apart from Australia. The haters will say Aus does the same but it's never mentioned. The curator is the man in Australia not the captain. In 40 years of following Tests I've never heard of an Aus captain requesting a type of pitch. Remember they still produced those lively belters at the Gabba and the WACA when Aus played the Windies in the first two Tests each series (and got hammered).

    I say prepare a lively pitch for the finale and let's see who is the best.

  • on February 24, 2014, 23:21 GMT

    I think keeping Rogers as the permanent opener Watson gets to open with him,Smith as no 3, Warner no 4, Clarke no 5 and Marsh no 6...

  • ofthedeepbluesea on February 24, 2014, 22:55 GMT

    oh, daniel - so fickle :) for those of you who havent't, I suggest going back to his article from 10 days ago - 'australia exceed the hype' - and have another read... the world can go back to spinning again

  • popcorn on February 24, 2014, 21:17 GMT

    The pitch at Newlands is not going to be the docile one as Port Elizabeth so I am confident our quicks will be better than South Africa's.And our batsmen will find the pace and bounce to their liking.

  • on February 24, 2014, 19:52 GMT

    Normalcy has been restored in cricket. SA show everyone why they are the rightful no.1 and why there is a gulf between them and any other test side. Australia played like the average team they have been since 2008, struggling to win away test matches against competitive teams. Johnson's once in a lifetime performance helped them win the ashes and one test match in SA, but it was just a matter of time before he couldn't win them matches on his own and when that happened, aus have struggled to even remain competitive. Siddle and Harris look toothless, Lyon is probably the worst first choice spinner playing tests at the moment, the batting has looked fragile and prone to collapses since Clarke is having a lean run. Rogers and Haddin, who scored most of runs in the ashes are at the twilight of their careers and no good replacements are in sight. Smith is still trying to convince the world he is a batsman after failing as a leg spinner. Mid table rankings look like the norm for a long time.

  • StaalBurgher on February 24, 2014, 19:18 GMT

    @ S.Jagernath - To be fair all teams struggle against quality (1) spin, (2) pace and (3) swing.

  • StaalBurgher on February 24, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    The facts are the same as they were before the series started.

    (1) Both SA and Oz have strong bowling line ups, close enough that it won't always be easy to differentiate and actually becomes pointless about "who is the best".

    (2) Oz have a good spinner and SA don't.

    (3) SA's batting is stronger than that of Oz.

    Anything else about team spirit, attacking mindset, Clarke's captaincy or "the Australian way" is just hubris. Don't get me wrong, team spirit, captaincy etc are important but all that does is allow your players to play to the full extent of their talents, especially when under severe pressure, it cannot take you further. Not to mention that these qualities are not necessarily unique to Australia, although a lot of teams do lack them.

  • Ragav999 on February 24, 2014, 17:18 GMT

    Honestly, how can one side be pathetic and the other team the greatest when both teams have one victory apiece in this series? Especially when the great team is playing at home and won the tosses in both those games. SA players have a far superior team on paper compared to Australia. Yet the SA win in the 2nd Test is treated as if it has been a victory that has not been achieved in the history of the game.

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK: Grafters are successful but it should be kept in mind that majority of the test cricketers in history have been grafters. There have been a few exceptions though like Hayden, Ab de Villiers, Sehwag, Lara who have attacked the bowlers and succeeded. It is up to each batsman to develop his own method.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 24, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    A good, balanced test cricket team needs a mixture of batsmen that play aggressively, attritional, or better still have the skill/personality to adapt to different situations and play either. At home in Australia, the aggressive approach seems to work, and the success of Australia in the recent Ashes showed that. Outside of Australia, this aggressive approach has seldom worked. Yes players like Warner will ride their luck and manage to blast their way to a respectable score now and again, but otherwise I think you'll find throughout history that it's the grafters like Ponting and Clarke that have been key to Australia's victories away from home. You don't have to score off every ball to irk/dominate a bowler.

  • Wefinishthis on February 24, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    It's all very simple - Coming from an Aussie, Dale Steyn is one of the greatest bowlers ever to play the game. No Australian batsman has ever really found a way to play him, he's just too good for anyone we put forward and it sucks. Philander was picked on his amazing stats and is now also a possible future great of the game. De Villiers and Amla are two of the best batsmen in the world. SA's big names stepped up and Australia were beaten fairly by one of the greatest sides ever. Our only hope is Steyn and Philander's retirement which is still scarily about 6 years away at this rate. With Morkel due for wickets too, my money is not on Australia unless we drop Siddle who's departure is long overdue and bring in Pattinson or Bird. As always, if Australia had SA's selectors, O'Keefe would have been our main spinner years ago.

  • Srini_Indian on February 24, 2014, 14:54 GMT

    That was a perfect Sunday. Watching the australians dancing to the tune of reverse swing from Steyn is just priceless. Without lady luck, warner wouldn't have scored more than 10 runs and it would have been a soul crushing embarrassing loss for australia. Hope SA maintains the form and crush aussies. SA 2- 1 aus.

  • S.Jagernath on February 24, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    Why are heavily spinning tracks regarded as 'less lively'?The surfaces is India spun & bounced hugely,to me that means lively!The surfaces used against England recently even afforded some spin to the Australians,I don't believe they were called lively at all.English commentators called them beautiful batting surfaces even,but they struggled mentally against Mitchell Johnson's pace.Dale Steyn exposed the Australian weakness against swing,any swing,that is how England dominated the last few Ashes,this last Ashes offerred very little swing & England got batterred.

  • Rally_Windies on February 24, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Mr. Cozier ,,,, WI shows a lot of promise,,,, 6 players at a time ....

    but WI needs 11 players...

    For example ...

    What is the likely-hood of seeing Holder, Roach,Taylor, Rampaul ... bowling in the same Test match ?

    What is the likelhood of the #1 spin bowler (actually the #1 bowler) in 4-day cricket 5 years in a row , play a Test match ...(when will Miller play a Test) ..

    ?

    The answer is 0% chance ......

    West Indies do have the talent and the players available to be #2 or 3 RIGHT NOW .....

    They are stuck at 7th, cuz the selectors are supposed to play any 4 of this 5 in a Test ,,,, Miller, Taylor, Roach, Holder, Rampaul ...

    Deonarine at 6, is very, very, very good off-spin option .. there is no need to Shillingford or Narine in a test team .....

    You can play 2 pacers and 2 spinners ( from Miller, Narine, Permal) and stick Dwane Bravo at 6 (this means resting Deonarine) ....

    The depth IS THERE ....

    Pick your best 11 ... and then choose your captain from the 11 ....

  • stormy16 on February 24, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    I can imagine everyone getting ready to have ago at the Aussies, especially the English, and me! First thing I would like to point out is I didnt see the aggressive, brash, foul mouthed Aussie which we are told is part of the game? As I have said this Aussie only shows up in wins. Just take a look at the Saffers bowling thunderbolts of inswingers without the uglyness! Despite the Ashes Aus has issues in the batting and if they thought otherwise no doubt they know it now. You cant just bring in guys from the cold and expect to perform day in day out. Sure they may have some the odd success and if Warner hadnt been dropped so many times, the problem would be even worse. The swinging ball troubles most and we will find out how the Saffers play it if the Aussies manage to find any. Good wake up call for Aus ahead of Newlands, it was always unlikley they would simply roll SA over like they did to Eng. They need plug some holes in the batting and fast.

  • Ragav999 on February 24, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx: Australia did well in Adelaide scoring 570 in Ashes. The batting is weak compared to other countries. It just pops up at random intervals irrespective of the pitch. In the last Indian tour of Australia, Australia were 3/4 wickets down almost every innings and Hussey, Ponting and Clarke had to dig the team out of the hole. It is almost the same situation even now. Only two of the top 6 batsmen are generally scoring above 25 and sometimes they go on to score big centuries.The problem is the consistency of the batsmen in general and this is reflected even in Sheffield shield averages.

  • jazzychef on February 24, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    i think i can sum up aussie mentality, 3 months ago i had nothing but complaints about the team.. marsh was second rate, s.smith twiches too much to be a professional, dhoolen looked like guy from wolf creek.. etc.. fast forward 3 months and i actually thought we were ready to take back the test crown. then test 2, SA not only made us look like schoolboys on the field, they also carry themselves with maturity that puts us to shame. If we take nothing else away from this than shame, its leason deserved. SA you have tought us something about pride and humility. much respect from this aussie. cheers all

  • crashed on February 24, 2014, 10:23 GMT

    @Every1 wanting S Africa to change the Cape Town pitch to the PE pitch ... I will be very surprised if SA will change the Newlands pitch to play any differently than the usual Newlands pitch ... reason ... this is philanders happy grounds ...hmm as well as Graeme Smiths home ground as well as Dale Steyns home ground ... did i miss any1 else out?? .... I believe I did ...do your homework Ausies we do not teach pitches to only behave bad when the home team bowl on them ... every1 can use the pitch to their advantage or the other team disadvantage... or are you only fast track bullies that do not know how to read the pitch and pitch conditions when you select the team. have a question I want those that know to answer.... how long does it take to prepare a proper pitch .. and if you are halfway into the preparation and they ask for something else will the effort to change it not make a mess of it all and change to something totally uncalled for ... which may mess up all pre-planning

  • Rahul_78 on February 24, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Common sense has prevailed. Opposing teams against Australia on home turf will be looking to prepare slow pitches henceforth. It is a best remedy to counter rampant Mitch. It provides the batsmen with that fraction of second more and lesser bounce to deal with the missiles hurled by Mitch at their throats. And if you can negotiate Mitch then potency of others reduces by half. Having said that it will be little harsh to criticize Doolan and Marsh who were instrumental in winning the 1st test. It wont be fair on them if at least 5-6 tests are not given to them to show their skills. The real problem with AUS is their no 3 position. It is almost impossible to replace Ricky Ponting but Clarke will have to come up with someone consistent. If they can find reliable no 3 then it will solve lot of problems for them. They have enough fire power in pace department to rest Harris and Siddle. We shouldn't jump to conclusion hastily. 3rd test is just 1 Mitch session away from Australia.

  • PrasPunter on February 24, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    @Petesta , I have absolutely nothing to complain about the wicket. Just that SA's batting and bowling has been outstanding this match !! As much as how our batting and bowling were exceptional in game one !!

  • Tripswitch on February 24, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    Michael Clarke will come good - he has class. I just hope it isnt in time for Cape Town so we can seal the series! I also don't understand people complaints about Mitchell Johnson; if he doesnt take at least 10 wickets in a match then all of a sudden he's no good? If I was Australian I'd be worried about David Warner - he seems to lack to composure required of an opener - those 60s and 70s really should be test hundreds but he appears to lack patience and control to go with his talent.

  • Petesta on February 24, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    Do yourself a favour and go read Brettig's "Australia exceed the hype" article which he wrote after the first test. He doesn't appear to have many enduring opinions.

  • Petesta on February 24, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    @Ozcricketwriter, I'm surprised you aren't making bad wine out of Lyon's inside edge and a million other irrelevant things. You do know PE is always a bit on the slow side by SA standards right? You did see how many Aus and SA batsmen got hit on the shoulder's, gloves, helmets? I reckon there were at least 15 such blows. You did see how the pitch sped up on days 2-3? You did see how it didn't crumble or turn square on day 4? You do realise SA took 20 Aus wickets in 130 overs with an all-pace attack and 2 part time spinners? You do realise it was a perfectly acceptable cricket wicket? Or were you sleeping on the other side of the world during all of this and just looking at the score card each morning?

  • Samdanh on February 24, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    The match lost, but learning should be gained. It is a good exposure which should help Aus plan horses for courses when they move to playing on different surfaces and conditions. All 3 pacemen in the second Test were of "hit the deck type" though Johnson and to some extent Harris could bowl swing too. I doubt if there is any in current squad on tour in SA, has ability to use reverse swing. It may or not be required in Cape Town. But knowing SA, they would prefer to hold their advantage and hence pitch may be similar to one in PE. It is for Aus to plan and make some changes, to extent possible, in team, to bring in that much needed variety. Batting will be a matter of weakness, if pitch in Newlands is prepared similar to the one used in PE. On the whole SA hold the advantage. If Aus put up an improved performance, a good fight, they could be better off from the experience, even if they lose the 3rd Test.

  • Petesta on February 24, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    No.444 you're spot on again regarding Aus bowling attack being a one man show. I know Harris is good (surprised by how poor he's been this series - he's averaging 74! seventy four!) but Siddle is average and so is Lyon (averaging 54 and 31 respectively - no surprise and Lyon would be worse if some SA batsmen hadn't gifted him their wickets). Which all makes the article after the first test "Australia exceed the hype" look rather silly. The writer there claimed that 4 bowlers were plenty when the bowlers are in such good form (when only Johnson had good match stats) and asked who could possibly stop Australia. Um, its awkward how obvious that is only a week later.

  • PrasPunter on February 24, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    Warner will do well not to mouth-off the opponents. It doesn't matter to him whether Philander takes wickets on seaming, spinning or what-ever wickets. He must focus on his game and make sure he contributes to his team's win. A chancy 50 off 70 balls is not going to help things, when playing the world's finest test-cricketers by a mile. We are underdogs and let's punch our weights on the field rather than giving cheap sound-bytes to the media. Just couldn't digest the way we played this match - utterly overconfident, underestimated our mighty opponents, hyping our players beyond limits and finally paid the price !!

    Humility always helps, you know !!

  • Petesta on February 24, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    @No.444 you're spot on... test cricket batting is not PRIMARILY about batting quickly - with 5 days, what's the rush? If the situation allows it or if you have a Warner who plays best when he bats with freedom then go for it, but the primary thing about batting in test cricket is survival because you can't score any runs back in the changeroom. Survival first, then runs.

  • anton1234 on February 24, 2014, 9:01 GMT

    I am worried about Australia. Without Johnson firing, they look ordinary. Some of the Ashes matches would have been a lot closer had it not been for Johnson.

    Another issue I am worried about in test cricket is the toss. It almost feels like a team that wins the toss gets a big advantage. Win the toss, bat, and then you you have the opposition under a lot of pressure. It almost feels like the team batting second are chasing the game frim the very fast ball of the match. In T20 games the toss doesn't really play a part.

  • on February 24, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    @Wellrounded87: amen brother. While I am always concerned about Hughes edging behind, he and North are undoubtedly the form players in Australia. They are also left-handers, against which Steyn is not as effective, although Philander is. There is no doubt that Australian batsmen need to be more patient on slower pitches. The selectors' hunch about Marsh and Doolan looked so good in Centurion. Changes will have to be made for Capetown. The pitch in Centurion wasn't that spiteful, as evidenced by Australia's 3/288 in the 3rd innings. The fact is that each team has convincingly won one test on vastly different surfaces. Australia is as much a chance of rebounding as they did in 2011. Let's wait and see what happens in Capetown. If Australia wins, this win by SAF at PE won't seem so special. And it was defintely a pitch where the toss mattered. Clearly, at Centurion, it didn't.

  • Aspraso on February 24, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    This one match shows that Aussies are all bluff-n-bluster. The Lehman way (or the lemon way) is to let loose bowlers like MJ who till the end of the SA innings were asking the SAffers verbal questions instead of questioning their own wicket-taking abilities. The Aussies were also gloating about Lyon's ability to remain not-out, overlooking the fact that run-scoring win matches and not the ability to remain not-out.

  • No.444 on February 24, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    @Ozcricketwriter: dude, you need to lose with more dignity. Your team is a one man team and the sooner you come to terms with that, the better. Without MJ Aus is very ordinary and MJ has only has 6 really good games. Its not like he's world class or anything. That happens over many years of excellence.

  • on February 24, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    It was amazing to see how confident this team was coming into this test. Fair enough, they have been doing well over the last 6 tests prior to this one, however they are facing a giant of test cricket at the moment. Only one batter averages over 50, and then the next highest average is 42 in this Australian side. Yet they are up against the best attack in world cricket. They are up against a team which has developed a bad habit of starting series slowly; however they become extremely difficult to stop when they are on a roll. No pitch was doctrine, even if it was, why should India prepare pitches that suit the English? Australia will do well not to lose the series. They brought boys to do a men's job.

  • ygkd on February 24, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    The outcome of this Test was hardly surprising. SA have been No1 for good reason. Australia haven't been, also for good reason. Their bowling is okay but the batting is not. Who'll make big tons? Rogers could have, but he's getting on. Clarke can, but not all the time. Haddin's had Ashes success, but keepers struggle with their workload (at least good glovemen do). So what does that leave? Smith and Watson are all-rounders; if they don't bowl why are they there? Warner goes hard, which means he can easily go out. Marsh can make a score, but is more likely to make a duck. Doolan reminds me of the old war-time song "Hang Out Your Washing On the Siegfried Line", only this Test it's been the Philander/Steyn/Morkel/Parnell line. He's been caught keeper in the first dig, then caught at first slip after knicking another two in quick succession. That's a pattern. The South Aussie pair, Hughes & Klinger, have made 41 FC centuries between them, more than Marsh, Warner, Doolan & Smith combined.

  • PrasPunter on February 24, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    @Amol_Ind_SA, you could be right - at-least these mediocre teams went 1-0 up. But a certain team couldn't even go one up in one such test recently when SA was napping. So what to talk about their mediocrity ?

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 24, 2014, 7:21 GMT

    @Ozcricketwriter LOL, sour grapes, typical aussie. That is how the PE pitch plays and always has. Its historically slow and flat. For someone who calls himself Ozcricketwriter, you need to do some more research on venues outside of your borders.

    So many questions for Aus selectors now. Has Harris cooked his goose after bowling a lot of overs for only 1 wicket. Is Siddle nothing more than a medium pace trundler? I think they will get Paterson in for one of them. Lots of questions about batting line up. Surely Phil Hughes needs to feature now.

  • Chris_P on February 24, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Well done to the Boks, that's how top teams should bounce back. Marsh's limitations at the top have been exposed again yet he keeps getting selected. Cricket is very special in as much teams fortunes turn so much around from match to match in all levels. Game on for match 3, it is how it should be or 5 tests really.

  • PrasPunter on February 24, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Why can't we simply accept the fact that we need to improve with our batting and bowling on such wickets, rather than complain about pitch-doctoring ? Unless we improve our skills to counter this sort of conditions, we are expected to lose more often than not.

  • No.444 on February 24, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    This obsession with scoring fast runs and taking the game away from the opposition is killing the Aussies. They didn't win like this in their heyday - Warne and McGrath won the games for them and the demorilised opposition allowed free run scoring. Same with the great WI. Good teams adjust the scoring to suit the pitch. There is no glory in scoring 246 and 216 at 4/over. The glory comes from 400's and the pressure that creates - it this case game over with a day to spare.

  • Amol_Gh on February 24, 2014, 7:03 GMT

    The ONLY problem with this SA side is that they enter any Test series mentally unprepared and sleep-walk through the first Test and thus lose in it and hand out a 1-up to even mediocre opponent teams (like this AUS or SRL or PAK) in a plate. As an SA-fan, that's frustrating and they need to stop that and be ruthless from Ball-One of Test-One, if they are to be considered great in the future.

  • on February 24, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    @ Ozcricketwriter. Actually the pitch was a perfectly normal Port Elizabeth pitch. Had it ultimately been a greentop (as almost happened), then it would have been a "doctored" pitch.

    In the series against India, on two occasions the groundsmen served up pitches to suit India. If those had been normal for the venue, then no problem. But they were not.

    This wicket was normal for PE and both teams would initially have planned for it.

  • on February 24, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    Dont be too hard on Australia. They are just human and will learn. There is nothing special about them so dont ascribe too much to their ability or achievement.

  • akpy on February 24, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    As Divinetouch puts it, when Ian Chappel said he sees no way back for SAF, i knew Aussies fate was sealed. The Chappels should audition for comedy nights

  • on February 24, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    I think Australia have been punching above their weight consistently in the last six test matches. Two things stand out from these successes other than Mitchell Johnson's phenomenal bowling. Haddin and the tail consistently made runs and the opposition opening batsmen and tail were wiped out. I think Australia were confounded by the pitch and did not respond quickly enough . If the Cape town wicket helps the aussie pacemen then we could have a closer game. I remember lots of stuff being writen after day 1 at the Gabba. Watson should return for Doolan and maybe Pattinson for Bird . South Africa are a much better side than Australia but then so too was England. Lets not write off the aussies becuase on a good wicket if they can make 300 South africa will struggle, unless they make another sub continental wicket. Ramanujam sridhar

  • PrasPunter on February 24, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    @214ty, really appalled to see the kind of strokes played by the Aus batsmen !! As if they in a rush to finish something for an appointment with the Head of State. Can't understand why (1) Aus batsmen doesn't show patience (2) Aus bowlers doesn't reverse the ball and appear ineffective when the pitch offers nothing.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on February 24, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    I argued even before this series that Australia have been a pretty strong side in familiar conditions, but struggle to compete when things aren't loaded in their favour. Contrast the whitewashes of India 4-0 and Sri Lanka 3-0 in the last two seasons with 0-4 and 0-3 reverses abroad over the last one year.

  • satishchandar on February 24, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    One game could be thrown as one off.. Let us not discount the collective effort of such a team for last 6 trashings they served.. Nothing much for Aussies to worry endless.. If you are going to discount player for performance in one game, Steyn and Amla would have been discounted for not showing up last game

  • on February 24, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    @Dinesh Kanwar - my thoughts exactly. The last rites were being read for SA after Centurion. This is a good Australian side and they will be back. In my opinion SA teams (cricket and rugby) are prone to over confidence and now with the momentum shift they should win in CT but a hint of over confidence will be fatal. The third test is going to be a cracker. Is there a better game than test cricket?

  • Ozcricketwriter on February 24, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    What would have happened had South Africa not doctored the pitch and made massive last minute changes to their team to suit the pitch that was doctored at the last possible moment? Had South Africa won without pitch doctoring, that would be a different story entirely.

  • keralite on February 24, 2014, 4:30 GMT

    One loss makes them a poor team? If they bounce back in the next test I will say they are on their way up. If they don't they will be ranked 3-4 for a long time. Did not see the whole match but I think Doolan undid everything Warner and Rogers had done. Looked very uncomfortable out there. Had he been able to rotate the strike more story could have been different. But when Steyn us this mood even 200 is a tough chase.

  • JAH123 on February 24, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    @214ty: Australia have not been bowled out for under 200 in their last 8 test matches (including this one), they didn't beat England 5-nil and South Africa at Centurion because they were lucky, and they have declared at some stage in most of their last 8 tests. The only point in your comment that makes sense is about the deficiencies in Australia's batting. I don't think technique is the biggest problem - it's the mindset of the batsmen. They seem so preoccupied with forcing results and scoring fast that they are gifting too many wickets to the opposition with lazy or impatient shots. Positive batting is not always about hitting boundaries. Look for singles, make the bowlers bowl to you. They have the ability but they need to show some grit, like Rogers did in this last innings. @FighterKallis - yes, Aus were bowled out for 50 but SA were also bowled out for 100. That was without Mitch and Clarke scored a century. Then Aus chased 300 to win the next test. Selective memory?

  • Divinetouch on February 24, 2014, 3:33 GMT

    Nothing sweeter in than to see Ian Chappell proven wrong again.

  • Maroubra_Flyer on February 24, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    Australia certainly isn't just Mitchell Johnson, Harris & Siddle are ranked highly too. Johnson bowled well in Adelaide (a slow pitch) but then Harris & Siddle shared wickets later & put on a lot of pressure from the other end. Australia got caught short by batting Doolan & Marsh at 3 & 4. Watson back to 3, but if Aus are adventurous we must bat Smith at 3 and Hughes 6. This was the problem with England too much inexperience at the top end and Aus got momentum against them. Well done SA, the next test will be a beauty, we will see if this brigs out the best in Aus. Don't forget Aus were a bowler done without Watson all Test. We need a 6 test series (3 home & 3 away) to really see who is the best.

  • Rajsrimaan on February 24, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    Pad fictional point. MJ was easily the most influential player on either side. Of his 37 wkts 14 were from the top 5, the remaining 23 from the rest. England failed in their batting, but repeatedly failed to finish off the Aus first innings. Their main bĂȘte noire was Haddin who top scored with an avg over 61. SA on the other hand are able to polish off the Aus lower order. Brisbane. Aus 5/100. 10/295. (Haddin 94 Johnson 64). Eng 5/87 10/136 Adelaide. Aus 5/257 9/570. (Haddin 118). Eng 5/117 10/172 Perth. Aus 5/143. 10/385 (Haddin 55 Johnson 39) Eng 5/190 10/251) Melbourne Eng 5/202. 10/255. Aus. 5/112 10/204 (Haddin 65) Sydney. Aus 5/97 10/326 (Haddin 75) Eng 5/23 10/155)

  • ze_wolf on February 24, 2014, 2:12 GMT

    McWheels point about Australia being exposed without a strong bowling performance goes to the heart of the problem with Australia's selection policy going back to 2009. Mitch was bowling badly, so they dropped Hughes in order to bring Watson in to cover Mitch for a few overs. Hughes has been the primary loser out of this policy (I'm surprised he hasn't required serious therapy as a result of it), but plenty more have suffered. What is required is a top 6 who can bat in all conditions. At the moment, at most, we have 2.5.

  • Practical_person on February 24, 2014, 1:59 GMT

    Australian batting is not as strong as it used to be and still have problems with reverse swing but then again who does not? In saying that I expect Australia to win in Capetown where the pitch is more lively. Batting is a bit light but they compensate with spirit.

  • nareshgb1 on February 24, 2014, 1:57 GMT

    yeah - team spirit;s not gonna solve batting issues - neither is homework.

  • jmcilhinney on February 24, 2014, 1:51 GMT

    I think that this game has shown what most non-Australians believed and even many Australians suspected: while Mitchell Johnson hasn't been exactly carrying Australia lately, he has been doing more than his fair share. I think that he has even made a big difference to the batting because they were able to play with so much more confidence without scoreboard pressure. How much of Johnson's performance here was due to the pitch, how much was due to the SA batsmen playing him better and how much was his having an off game is impossible to say for sure but the vulnerability in the batting that was mercilessly exploited in India seems not to have gone but just been papered over for a while. The Australian bowling is very good and Johnson has been brilliant at times lately, plus they are fantastic in the field. The batting has significant work to do though.

  • on February 24, 2014, 0:57 GMT

    SA lost first test Aussie, then bounce back with BANG! i think this is how they play the test cricket. Trend Analysis says that Most of the time They consider First test as practice match then they get united and integrated as a solid team and any side in the world if they play like a team where everyone is contributing then such result will always prevail. In Fact this fundamental is hold good in every sphere of life. Its very rare to lose after such a gritty performance as unit. SA Test Team is example for everyone esp to India where everyone play in the discreet manner.

  • wellrounded87 on February 24, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    When Marsh scored his hundred in at centurion i was simultaneously pleased and disappointed. Pleased because it played a large role in Australia's victory, disappointed because it meant we're stuck with him for a few more tests.

    He does not deserve his place in the team, his first class form is below mediocre and his first class record is abysmal. Doolan isn't up to the measure of test cricket yet i think. I would have rathered see Hughes or North picked, in fact i think North should be flown out to SA right now and have Hughes and North take the place of Doolan and Marsh. Remarkable how you can have 2 guys piling on domestic runs in Hughes and North (Hughes at 60, north in the 90's) and you instead decide to go with 2 guys averaging mid 30's this year. Argus review has done nothing, selectors have their favourites and neglect results to the detriment of the team.

    Pretty poor test from Aus, 9 batsmen in single figures is embarassing, especially with a 100+ opening stand on the board

  • xtrafalgarx on February 24, 2014, 0:49 GMT

    This proves, beyond all doubt that we can't play on flat pitches. Our batsmen don't have the patience, skill or temperament and our bowlers don't have the skill to be able to utilize reverse swing as much as it pains me to say it. We just weren't good enough and we were beaten by a better team.

    This should serve as a wake up call to all those who say "If we can bat on green tops surely we can bat on flat pitches?" This shows that doesn't ring true. We need some flatter pitches in FC cricket so our bowlers can learn reverse swing and that our batsmen can show some patience and skill for once on flat pitches!

  • thommot on February 23, 2014, 23:19 GMT

    The aussies won the ashes riding on the back of Johnson and Haddin with some help from Rogers and Smith and Warner. Do yourself a favour and check the last two ashes series along with the current series and see how many times in those 3 series that the top 5 have collapsed. Then check the captains scores and you will see that he has never held the side together but has only made runs in the 2nd innings or when batting on roads like the Adelaide oval. His excellent test average is propped up by a lot of runs made under no pressure. No doubt that tactics wise he is a great captain but not suited to trench wars like Steve Waugh.

  • ShutTheGate on February 23, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    @ 214ty

    Do you actually follow test cricket?

    "When was the last time Australia had a decent total for 4 or 5 wickets down and declare! " - last week at Centurian.

    "If any opposition is paying attention, they can easily bowl Australia out for under 200 every time. Just keep the ball on a good length outside off stump and wait."

    Australia hasn't been bowled out for less than 200 since Lords last year which was 7 months ago and 10 test matches ago.

    Perhaps you should consider some facts before speculating.

  • mahjut on February 23, 2014, 22:06 GMT

    Dan, I do owe an apology for two angry/frustrated outbursts/posts aimed at you yesterday - not that you read nor cared about them (i made them for me anyway), regardless I aimed them at you and address the apology to you too (of course, that's for me too!)! However, you do still manage to find 3/4 bowlers who become comparisons with Steyn (Broad, Khan, Sharma...) while find Mitch in a class alone (the 'nets' analogy-no replicant). This, therefore, still begs some questions: how did SA win both their last two series in Australia (Mitch played in SA's win -the only pitch resembling the type you talk of as 'Australian')? As good as Mitch did in the Ashes (and vs a 'rusty' SA who have become notoriously slow starters ... we can all do 'scant praise'!) - and he IS the test bowler with the best form at the moment (as he was in 200...9?) without a doubt - if you need to cut others down in order to elevate your claim, it just may be because the point is not strong enough on its own!?

  • pulkit10 on February 23, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    One defeat doesn't necessarily make Australia a bad team. Neither did the first test defeat make SA a bad one. It's obvious that the questions about Australia's batting strength were always there - the 1st inning collapses in the Ashes say it all. Just that the familiarity with home conditions and a red hot bowling attack allowed them to mask it. They're still a very good team with a fragile batting order, much like India is a very good team with a dull bowling attack. But the Australia of today is much better than the team that toured India under Arthur. These guys don't just fold over - they've just been worked over mercilessly by the best team in the world.

    I think this win is more of a testament to South Africa's class than Australia's problems. Australia are still a good team, it's just that South Africa are a notch away from being a great one. Credit to de Villers, Amla and Steyn for demonstrating that.

  • ygkd on February 23, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    It should be remembered that the Proteas were one bowler down. I think it was Shaun Pollock who said that Parnell may have to bowl ten overs, injured or not. Wasn't needed. A reality check for the Australians - especially those who thought the batting was entirely fixed with the addition of Doolan and Marsh mark II. The bright spot? A fighting ton to Rogers is just what one expected. Good on him. Pity he isn't ten years younger.

  • SAF-Fan-no-1 on February 23, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    Well done SA............Chepple is wrong saying 3 nil white wash from Ausee and you can't compare Styen V/S Michell neighter with Morne. Proteo are the No one Side in the World. Look Hashim I saloot him, when he play play with classical inning.

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    I know many of my fellow Indian fans are fickle in nature and will bring comments like Mitch is fair weather bowler. Understandable. But what brought Brettig to write such article just after one defeat? Didn't everybody knew that Aus batting is still light and things getting worse with Clark form? Even kids would understand that Haddin will not save day in day out. Story is same what it was in Ashes. Smith still getting more & more better with each outing, Clark is class, sooner or later will come good. Warner is well they way he should be and doing his role. Doolan just played 2nd test. So all the questions whatever they were, remains yet. It will take time once #3 & #4 start performing regularly. And bowling is still world class, overall better than SA because Aus have not only a spinner but he also take wickets. Mitch bowled many bad spells in Ashes too, always came back better. He will come back here too. SA are #1 for a reason, no shame losing to dem.

  • 214ty on February 23, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    Well, Australia's have run out of luck. No more tail enders to save them this time. Don't you believe it would finally catch up with them, when the first five or six batsmen cannot stay in the wicket and put up partnerships! When was the last time Australia had a decent total for 4 or 5 wickets down and declare! Yes they've won a few matches, but the issues of Nos 1-6 was never resolved and now it came down to bite them.

    If any opposition is paying attention, they can easily bowl Australia out for under 200 every time. Just keep the ball on a good length outside off stump and wait. They must fish. Poor technique and no discipline in batting. There is no reason why a ball should pass between bat and pad; this is because their body is not behind the line of the ball. So many strokes are played with bat so far away from the body. How many wickets Australia gave away in this match!Where is the batting coach?

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    Oh for a bowler like Dale Steyn for India. I will trade a Kohli or Pujara for him.

  • FighterKallis on February 23, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    Aussie test chokers and also india . Amla and AB , steyn and philander to destroy aus in cape town. Remember last time hmmm

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on February 23, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    The media, as is their wont, will portray both wins and defeats way out of proportion. SA came back hard after a defeat as top teams do and the Aus batting (at 3 and 4 in particular) has talent but is inconsistent and inexperienced at this level.

    So, a convincing win to Aus followed by a convincing win to SA and all to play for in a week's time. It is now up to Aus to rebound just as hard in this excellent series.

  • McWheels on February 23, 2014, 18:53 GMT

    Quote: If he [Johnson] cannot make an impact, neither it seems can Australia. Unquote.

    Been pretty clear to all this is how things are. Any batting side is better for having a strong bowling performance behind them. Without it, Australia exposed.

  • McWheels on February 23, 2014, 18:53 GMT

    Quote: If he [Johnson] cannot make an impact, neither it seems can Australia. Unquote.

    Been pretty clear to all this is how things are. Any batting side is better for having a strong bowling performance behind them. Without it, Australia exposed.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on February 23, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    The media, as is their wont, will portray both wins and defeats way out of proportion. SA came back hard after a defeat as top teams do and the Aus batting (at 3 and 4 in particular) has talent but is inconsistent and inexperienced at this level.

    So, a convincing win to Aus followed by a convincing win to SA and all to play for in a week's time. It is now up to Aus to rebound just as hard in this excellent series.

  • FighterKallis on February 23, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    Aussie test chokers and also india . Amla and AB , steyn and philander to destroy aus in cape town. Remember last time hmmm

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    Oh for a bowler like Dale Steyn for India. I will trade a Kohli or Pujara for him.

  • 214ty on February 23, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    Well, Australia's have run out of luck. No more tail enders to save them this time. Don't you believe it would finally catch up with them, when the first five or six batsmen cannot stay in the wicket and put up partnerships! When was the last time Australia had a decent total for 4 or 5 wickets down and declare! Yes they've won a few matches, but the issues of Nos 1-6 was never resolved and now it came down to bite them.

    If any opposition is paying attention, they can easily bowl Australia out for under 200 every time. Just keep the ball on a good length outside off stump and wait. They must fish. Poor technique and no discipline in batting. There is no reason why a ball should pass between bat and pad; this is because their body is not behind the line of the ball. So many strokes are played with bat so far away from the body. How many wickets Australia gave away in this match!Where is the batting coach?

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    I know many of my fellow Indian fans are fickle in nature and will bring comments like Mitch is fair weather bowler. Understandable. But what brought Brettig to write such article just after one defeat? Didn't everybody knew that Aus batting is still light and things getting worse with Clark form? Even kids would understand that Haddin will not save day in day out. Story is same what it was in Ashes. Smith still getting more & more better with each outing, Clark is class, sooner or later will come good. Warner is well they way he should be and doing his role. Doolan just played 2nd test. So all the questions whatever they were, remains yet. It will take time once #3 & #4 start performing regularly. And bowling is still world class, overall better than SA because Aus have not only a spinner but he also take wickets. Mitch bowled many bad spells in Ashes too, always came back better. He will come back here too. SA are #1 for a reason, no shame losing to dem.

  • SAF-Fan-no-1 on February 23, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    Well done SA............Chepple is wrong saying 3 nil white wash from Ausee and you can't compare Styen V/S Michell neighter with Morne. Proteo are the No one Side in the World. Look Hashim I saloot him, when he play play with classical inning.

  • ygkd on February 23, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    It should be remembered that the Proteas were one bowler down. I think it was Shaun Pollock who said that Parnell may have to bowl ten overs, injured or not. Wasn't needed. A reality check for the Australians - especially those who thought the batting was entirely fixed with the addition of Doolan and Marsh mark II. The bright spot? A fighting ton to Rogers is just what one expected. Good on him. Pity he isn't ten years younger.

  • pulkit10 on February 23, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    One defeat doesn't necessarily make Australia a bad team. Neither did the first test defeat make SA a bad one. It's obvious that the questions about Australia's batting strength were always there - the 1st inning collapses in the Ashes say it all. Just that the familiarity with home conditions and a red hot bowling attack allowed them to mask it. They're still a very good team with a fragile batting order, much like India is a very good team with a dull bowling attack. But the Australia of today is much better than the team that toured India under Arthur. These guys don't just fold over - they've just been worked over mercilessly by the best team in the world.

    I think this win is more of a testament to South Africa's class than Australia's problems. Australia are still a good team, it's just that South Africa are a notch away from being a great one. Credit to de Villers, Amla and Steyn for demonstrating that.

  • mahjut on February 23, 2014, 22:06 GMT

    Dan, I do owe an apology for two angry/frustrated outbursts/posts aimed at you yesterday - not that you read nor cared about them (i made them for me anyway), regardless I aimed them at you and address the apology to you too (of course, that's for me too!)! However, you do still manage to find 3/4 bowlers who become comparisons with Steyn (Broad, Khan, Sharma...) while find Mitch in a class alone (the 'nets' analogy-no replicant). This, therefore, still begs some questions: how did SA win both their last two series in Australia (Mitch played in SA's win -the only pitch resembling the type you talk of as 'Australian')? As good as Mitch did in the Ashes (and vs a 'rusty' SA who have become notoriously slow starters ... we can all do 'scant praise'!) - and he IS the test bowler with the best form at the moment (as he was in 200...9?) without a doubt - if you need to cut others down in order to elevate your claim, it just may be because the point is not strong enough on its own!?