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

South Africa show the stuff of champions

Missing a frontline bowler, against an in-form team, racing against time, Graeme Smith's side underlined their No. 1 status in the final session
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Champion teams do not hesitate. They make decisions based on supreme belief in their own abilities and nothing else.

That's why there was some scepticism when Graeme Smith let Hashim Amla bat for 90 minutes this morning despite starting the day with a lead of 369 and a scoring rate at under four an over for the first 10 overs. Surely he thought South Africa had enough and backed his pack to do the job?

Champion bowlers do not need green tops to perform. South Africa's attack already proved that in the first innings. On a surface that even Mitchell Johnson could not extract anything from, Morne Morkel bowled one of the most aggressive spells of his career.

But even champions sometimes look ordinary. We don't even have to go all the way back to Centurion to see it. The first 30-odd overs of the Australian second innings was enough to show that.

Dale Steyn searched for swing unsuccessfully and ending up overpitching in his first mini-spell of two overs. Vernon Philander got seam movement but David Warner's good fortune hadn't gone anywhere and the edges didn't carry. Morkel's bouncers could be ducked under and then hit away. Warner smacked a quartet of boundaries in succession to make Australia look more than comfortable.

Without a fourth seamer, because of Wayne Parnell's injury, and two part-time spinners to do the tweaking job, South Africa looked in trouble. Add to that their increasing fumbles in the field - Warner was put down for a fifth time in this series when Duminy failed to collect off his own bowling - and it seemed South Africa were in a for a dose of their own Adelaide-laced medicine.

Then, even their own instincts deserted them when they appealed for a catch against Chris Rogers, who went fishing after a Steyn wide ball. It was turned down and South Africa opted to not review the decision. Both Hot Spot and Snicko confirmed the nick. South Africa would not have enjoyed a pleasant tea-time and more went wrong for them straight afterwards when Alex Doolan edged Philander to AB de Villiers but extensive replays determined the ball bounced just before ricocheting off the gloves.

After a collection of moments like that is when champion teams separate themselves from the rest. Champion teams find a way. South Africa's was in reverse swing. They worked on one side and used the part-time spinner early, from the 13th over, to age the ball as quickly as possible.

The signs came early when Morkel got the first reverse swing. The ball moved away from Rogers, who was drawn into a tentative push. South Africa had something they could use. But they didn't even need it against Doolan.

He made himself a target with laziness outside the offstump. Philander zoned in on it first, inducing an edge which did not carry to Graeme Smith at first slip. Smith moved himself forward a step. The next Doolan pushed casually, off Morkel, Smith was in the right position to take the catch.

An astute judgment call created the opening and then it was up to the attack to make use of the tools at their disposal to deepen it. They responded to the call immediately. Philander swung one in to Marsh, who looked to play square and missed it. Lbw. Another duck at St George's for the Centurion centurion.

That should probably have been the wicket that brought Steyn back on but with Morkel and Philander causing enough trouble and an out-of-form opposition captain, Smith kept them on. Clarke edged the first ball he faced, well short, but he edged nonetheless. Although Clarke said after the third day's play that he felt in great touch, he did not look it in the middle. He was uncertain against Philander, he was beaten, and when Smith saw Morkel was taking the ball too far away for Clarke to bother with, he played his strongest hand.

Steyn came back on and greeted Clarke with inswinger. Then he went the other way Clarke played at it, edged it and Faf du Plessis collected it. Steyn's eyes were dancing. The next ball was the inswinger again and it had Steve Smith pinned in his crease and struck straight in front. The chainsaw came out and it was as though it had been set on fire. Steyn fist-pumped like a mad man. There was a sense he knew this match would end today.

Day four seemed like day five because South Africa were not just hunting Australia's line-up, they were also chasing the weather. Rain is forecast for all of Monday with some predicting 10mm and others over 50mm. It was not a chance South Africa was willing to take. They wanted it over today.

Steyn ensured it would be when he beat Brad Haddin in the same way he had in the first innings. The late swing snuck past the inside edge and snapped middle stump in two. Hearts stopped. Goosebumps sprouted. Emotions swelled and jaws dropped. Steyn opened the door for South Africa to finish on their own terms.

He added one more to his tally when Ryan Harris was given out lbw to complete his web of damage. He had threatened through the outside edge, the stumps and the pads, as Jason Gillespie put it, but in fading light, he could not threaten for much longer.

The umpires decided on the extra half-an-hour because they thought a result was possible this evening. South Africa had to rely on Duminy and Elgar to do the rest. It was only fitting that the area of their game that was letting them down, stood up. Alviro Petersen, the man who was too ill to play this match, was standing at mid-off when Rogers decided to try and put Peter Siddle on strike against the spinner. He ran Rogers out so South Africa only needed one more.

Then, Dean Elgar the man whose central contract must surely be under consideration, gave South Africa a series-levelling win. In hindsight, he shouldn't have had it because Nathan Lyon had hit the ball. In hindsight, if the marginal call had gone Harris' way instead of Steyn's, this match may be going into a fifth.

Champion teams don't do hindsight either. The jury may still be out on whether South Africa have done enough to be listed among the all-time champion teams. But there can be no debate that the way they bowled after tea was the work of a champion attack.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ScottStevo on February 27, 2014, 19:58 GMT

    @thozar, India haven't been unlucky, they've been getting stomped on. Losing 4-0 in two 4 test series isn't bad luck - that's ridiculously poor. Even with poor decisions, that's a hammering. They are a young side, and they just got beaten in NZ. I can't see them doing well in England and I doubt they'll win a test, with the same fate later in the year in Aus and a slide down the rankings to 4 if not 5...

  • thozar on February 26, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    @BillyCC, you are the one who don't seem to get it. I clearly said that we have been unlucky in away tests for a while. That is me acknowledging that we haven't done well in away tests since the Eng tour last time. Yes I know that we have not won any away tests in that period. But check the number of tests we were close to winning. We have a young side and they are still learning. Once they get the taste of winning one away test, they will win more. You say Oz won here and there, we also won in the WI. Beating WI and Sri Lanka is no big deal. We do that all the time. In fact we are tired of beating SRL.

    @Kingman75, there is no guarantee but considering the talent and form of both teams, I think India will win. Last time we were beset by injuries to key players and also reprieving Ian Bell in the second test cost us the test, momentum, and the series eventually. We were also unlucky to receive several poor decisions. England also played well. This time it will be different.

  • Kingman75 on February 26, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    @thozar, are you guaranteeing you will beat England. What happened last time?

  • Shaggy076 on February 25, 2014, 23:56 GMT

    AP_88; As it was proved in the first test. So yes I agree with you bowling win matches.

  • Shaggy076 on February 25, 2014, 23:54 GMT

    Keith Le Roux; I will admit we lost to the better side in this test? If only you could admit you lost to the better side in the first test. Or can you not see the hypocrisy in your post. "At least be sporting or is that not possible for an Aussie supporter? " - Is it possible for a South African supporter to sporting. I have shown it is as an Australian supporter your turn to step up to the plate.

  • Shaggy076 on February 25, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    Muneeb_Dawood; I can turn around your comment, how poor were Morkel and Philander in the first test. Thats shocking for such highly rated bowlers, call them the best bowling attack in the world when they cant even use helpful pitches. Truth is your bowling attack has won one game (helped by some in my opinion undisciplined batting), our bowlers have won one. You have won the most recent as we can tell from all these comments, I knew this generation had poor attention spans but geez that first test was played only 2 weeks ago. I at least know with our bowling attack our captain wont be speaking to any Australian curators to ask them what to do with the pitch.

  • Shaggy076 on February 25, 2014, 23:36 GMT

    Greatest_Game; I reckon there was a lot of hesitating facing Johnson in the first test. Pretty sure AB Devilliers admitted this in the media. The difference one test makes is astronomical especially in the comments section. "Champions win games & series. Chumps & losers chase petty records! " - Imagine making this comment 5 days ago. Anyway series is still level, hopefully Smith phone is working and he gets to chat to the next groundsman so he they can prepare the pitch for him. Looking forward to the last match and hope that previous comment doesnt come back to haunt you.

  • BillyCC on February 25, 2014, 22:00 GMT

    @thozar, since you don't seem to get it, let me spell out the cold hard facts. Since the 4-nil thrashing in England, India have won zero away tests. Zero. In this period, Australia has won an away series in Sri Lanka, won an away series in the West Indies, drawn an away series in South Africa. With (as you say) a poor batting lineup and green track bullies but at least they have won. India have won no series and not even a single test with (as you say) a superior batting lineup. By the time England comes around, that's more than 3 years of waiting. And there's no guarantee you'll win any tests in England either. The best bet is an away series in Zimbabwe.

  • thozar on February 25, 2014, 18:42 GMT

    @BillyCC, wait till we play England this summer. We are a young team on the rise. But, even if we beat England convincingly, people like you will say that we beat a poor side. Why were the Aussies unable to beat England in England then? Beating any team in their home is difficult. India has been unlucky for quite a long time in away tests. That will change this summer. For teams like Oz and NZ, try winning a test in India and then we will talk. Or at least try not losing a test convincingly first.

    "Bad umpiring decisions that no other team ever gets."

    This is something everyone would agree no matter which team they support unless you wear one of those blinkers. Can anyone deny that we were in the receiving end of several poor decisions in every one of our away tours? I mean not just recently but right from Steve Waugh's last series. The worst was in 2007-2008 in Oz.

  • BillyCC on February 25, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    @thozar, my heart goes out for you. No success in away tests for so long. Choking in winning situations. Losing eight consecutive away tests. Bad umpiring decisions that no other team ever gets. Why don't you write back when India actually win an away test match? Oh wait, could be a while though. Maybe get that powerful BCCI to organise a tour of Zimbabwe. I mean, everyone wants to see India play Zimbabwe rather than NZ play RSA, right.

  • ScottStevo on February 27, 2014, 19:58 GMT

    @thozar, India haven't been unlucky, they've been getting stomped on. Losing 4-0 in two 4 test series isn't bad luck - that's ridiculously poor. Even with poor decisions, that's a hammering. They are a young side, and they just got beaten in NZ. I can't see them doing well in England and I doubt they'll win a test, with the same fate later in the year in Aus and a slide down the rankings to 4 if not 5...

  • thozar on February 26, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    @BillyCC, you are the one who don't seem to get it. I clearly said that we have been unlucky in away tests for a while. That is me acknowledging that we haven't done well in away tests since the Eng tour last time. Yes I know that we have not won any away tests in that period. But check the number of tests we were close to winning. We have a young side and they are still learning. Once they get the taste of winning one away test, they will win more. You say Oz won here and there, we also won in the WI. Beating WI and Sri Lanka is no big deal. We do that all the time. In fact we are tired of beating SRL.

    @Kingman75, there is no guarantee but considering the talent and form of both teams, I think India will win. Last time we were beset by injuries to key players and also reprieving Ian Bell in the second test cost us the test, momentum, and the series eventually. We were also unlucky to receive several poor decisions. England also played well. This time it will be different.

  • Kingman75 on February 26, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    @thozar, are you guaranteeing you will beat England. What happened last time?

  • Shaggy076 on February 25, 2014, 23:56 GMT

    AP_88; As it was proved in the first test. So yes I agree with you bowling win matches.

  • Shaggy076 on February 25, 2014, 23:54 GMT

    Keith Le Roux; I will admit we lost to the better side in this test? If only you could admit you lost to the better side in the first test. Or can you not see the hypocrisy in your post. "At least be sporting or is that not possible for an Aussie supporter? " - Is it possible for a South African supporter to sporting. I have shown it is as an Australian supporter your turn to step up to the plate.

  • Shaggy076 on February 25, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    Muneeb_Dawood; I can turn around your comment, how poor were Morkel and Philander in the first test. Thats shocking for such highly rated bowlers, call them the best bowling attack in the world when they cant even use helpful pitches. Truth is your bowling attack has won one game (helped by some in my opinion undisciplined batting), our bowlers have won one. You have won the most recent as we can tell from all these comments, I knew this generation had poor attention spans but geez that first test was played only 2 weeks ago. I at least know with our bowling attack our captain wont be speaking to any Australian curators to ask them what to do with the pitch.

  • Shaggy076 on February 25, 2014, 23:36 GMT

    Greatest_Game; I reckon there was a lot of hesitating facing Johnson in the first test. Pretty sure AB Devilliers admitted this in the media. The difference one test makes is astronomical especially in the comments section. "Champions win games & series. Chumps & losers chase petty records! " - Imagine making this comment 5 days ago. Anyway series is still level, hopefully Smith phone is working and he gets to chat to the next groundsman so he they can prepare the pitch for him. Looking forward to the last match and hope that previous comment doesnt come back to haunt you.

  • BillyCC on February 25, 2014, 22:00 GMT

    @thozar, since you don't seem to get it, let me spell out the cold hard facts. Since the 4-nil thrashing in England, India have won zero away tests. Zero. In this period, Australia has won an away series in Sri Lanka, won an away series in the West Indies, drawn an away series in South Africa. With (as you say) a poor batting lineup and green track bullies but at least they have won. India have won no series and not even a single test with (as you say) a superior batting lineup. By the time England comes around, that's more than 3 years of waiting. And there's no guarantee you'll win any tests in England either. The best bet is an away series in Zimbabwe.

  • thozar on February 25, 2014, 18:42 GMT

    @BillyCC, wait till we play England this summer. We are a young team on the rise. But, even if we beat England convincingly, people like you will say that we beat a poor side. Why were the Aussies unable to beat England in England then? Beating any team in their home is difficult. India has been unlucky for quite a long time in away tests. That will change this summer. For teams like Oz and NZ, try winning a test in India and then we will talk. Or at least try not losing a test convincingly first.

    "Bad umpiring decisions that no other team ever gets."

    This is something everyone would agree no matter which team they support unless you wear one of those blinkers. Can anyone deny that we were in the receiving end of several poor decisions in every one of our away tours? I mean not just recently but right from Steve Waugh's last series. The worst was in 2007-2008 in Oz.

  • BillyCC on February 25, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    @thozar, my heart goes out for you. No success in away tests for so long. Choking in winning situations. Losing eight consecutive away tests. Bad umpiring decisions that no other team ever gets. Why don't you write back when India actually win an away test match? Oh wait, could be a while though. Maybe get that powerful BCCI to organise a tour of Zimbabwe. I mean, everyone wants to see India play Zimbabwe rather than NZ play RSA, right.

  • milepost on February 25, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    "Champion teams do not hesitate". What was going on against Indian then when they could easily have one the match but instead 'hesitated' and were rightly booed off the field by their own supporters? I've read a few pretty weak defences of that here but there aren't any, they disrespected their fans and ruined a very good game of cricket. Don't believe the ICC rankings if they don't account for moment like that when teams give up.

  • on February 25, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    @LillianThomson. Quite the bold statement you are making. You know that these low scores were accomplished by a new ball and in no way could reverse swing contribute to these scores. Rather make comments that make sense!!!

  • Greatest_Game on February 25, 2014, 2:14 GMT

    @ ARad quotes Firdose Moonda's lines "Champion teams do not hesitate. They make decisions based on supreme belief in their own abilities and nothing else."

    @ ARad then adds his/her opinion "Except when they had a chance to win a Test match against India a few weeks ago??"

    Steyn & Philander were batting. To come were Morne Morkel, injured, & unable to walk, & Imran "walking wicket" Tahir. Steyn & Philander are champion bowlers, but not specialist batsmen. They made the decision to NOT LOSE, to not mindlessly risk the game & the series, BASED ON THEIR BELIEF IN THEIR ABILITIES AS BATSMEN.

    They were in the middle. It was their reasoned, & vindicated decision. SA already has the 2nd highest chase record of 414/4 - 4 runs behind the WI 418/7. A single record of 4 more runs is NOT worth a series. Champions KNOW that!SA drew the game & won the series, remaining undefeated in a series since 2008 - still Champions.

    Champions win games & series. Chumps & losers chase petty records!

  • on February 25, 2014, 2:05 GMT

    I am a bit disappointed that Morkel didn't do more in that first test with his bounce and pace. It was perfect for the short pitch stuff but instead he bowled length. could've been series over now.

  • Proteas-13thman on February 25, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    Well done to Pakistan U-19

    Dont you guys wish there was a forumn or a place to chat? I love discussing/arguing/speculating about cricket??? COME ESPNCRICINFO give your followers a platform to be heard ;-)

  • TheBigBoodha on February 24, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    My last comment on this issue as it does nothing to change the problem. I'll be more specific than the cryptic posts I made before. The Saffas scuffed up the ball by continually feigning bad throwing, and in particular by throwing it hard into the pitch area. Other actions including Steyn kicking the ball in mock disgust and players pushing it into the ground when fielding. I cannot believe that I am the only one who saw this. It was just so obvious, and was the key aspect of the sudden and unprecedented amount of reverse swing that SA was getting. But it is not for me to police the game and to clean up the increasing amount of manipulation of "conditions" that has become a blight on the game. It is up to administrators.

  • Greatest_Game on February 24, 2014, 22:13 GMT

    @ The Big Boo Hoo again makes unsubstantiated claims. He writes "It was all dependent on winning the toss and batting first. The whole thing was set up before a ball was bowled, and anyone can see that."

    That makes NO sense. What if SA lost the toss, & Aus batted first? The game & series would have been handed to Aus - on a silver platter. Anyone can see that!

    Do you truly believe that SA would conceptualise, design, & implement a complex plan reliant on a COIN TOSS. SA's ONLY possible guarantee, in your conspiracy theory, is if the coin toss was fixed.

    Are you alleging that the umpires rigged the coin toss? That is a very serious allegation of corruption. Have you reported this to CA & the ICC? Then again, if, as you claim, "anyone can see that," they would have not been fooled, would they? They would know, & take action.

    The simple, sensible explanation is that SA batted & bowled better - exactly as Michael Clarke stated. I'll take his word over yours. He is a very honest man.

  • AB_DeVilliers on February 24, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    How mediocre were Harris and Siddle?? In fact, Siddle has been bad this whole series in my opinion. Not penetrative at all. Harris took 1 wicket in the game - that's shocking for such a highly rated bowler. What happened to the best attack in the world?? Can't take wickets on flat tracks? Then why call urself the best? Typical Aussie bravado. 9 wickets in a session smells more like the best to me. Shame, poor blokes all talk, esp Siddle.

  • ShutTheGate on February 24, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK - well put.

    Too many of the Aussie batsmen want to dominate the attack and dictate terms. I think it's because the current crop of batsmen grew up watching their Aussie batting heroes during our golden era and that's what they emulate. I think a bit of versatility would do them good.

  • thozar on February 24, 2014, 21:14 GMT

    Here is the difference between Dale Steyn and green track bully (GTB) Johnson.

    In India, Dale Steyn - 5 matches, 26 wickets @ 20.23, 2-5 wkt hauls, 1-10 wkt haul.

    GTB - 7 tests, 21 wickets @ 40.09, 1-5 wkt haul, no 10 wkt hauls.

    Even at home, GTB averages 23.54 which is worse than Steyn's average in India. GTB also averages over 50 in SRL, lol.

    The other GTB, Ryan Harris, is so scared to play in India that he feigns some injury every team Oz tour India. Also he averages 46.14 in 3 matches in RSA which is a fast bowler's paradise, ha ha ha.

    Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon average 37 in India, rotfl. And Oz fans call their attack the best in the world? How? You dont become best in the world by playing well only against England who are probably the worst side in the world now.

  • thozar on February 24, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    @fair_paly_1, you are another deluded Oz or NZL fan. We all know that "what if"s can apply in all situations but in India's case it was genuine. We all know that every teams gets bad decisions every now and then but in India's case it is standard. Almost every match India plays, we get several bad decisions that alter the course of the match. Remember Oz 2007/2008, SA 2010/2011, Eng 2011. Even in our last tour down under, we got several bad decisions.

    @polo69, who wants to watch NZL play RSA? NZL will be thrashed. Cricket survives mainly because of India. If you are not interested in watching England India series, then don't. No one is forcing you. Who said India is not interested? I am not going to say we will be exacting revenge for our defeat last time because every one knows that if not for injuries and a reprieve for Ian Bell, we would have done very well in that series, maybe even won it. But, that series will mark the resurgence of India.

  • polo69 on February 24, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    Pakistan u/19s make final of World Cup, SA reaffirm their talent and number one status, NZ pummel India. Meanwhile England are in disarray and India are 20/20 clones, primarily focused on Bollywood contracts and auctions. The ICC dishes out 5 tests of England vs India while the world number one side have one test vs Zimbabwe until November. The world deserves to see this great side and their number one and two ranked batters and bowlers more often than that judging by these posts. Unfortunately the greedy 3 aren't promoting this notion and lining their pockets in the interest of what they believe is bums on seats, endless Ashes series and tours to each other, irrespective of quality of play. I for one would rather watch NZ vs SA right now and be clamoring to play these guys to get our players exposed to this level than watching a defeated England play five tests against an uninterested India. Greed doesn't belong in cricket ... ICC should hang their heads in shame

  • fair_paly_1 on February 24, 2014, 20:10 GMT

    thozar

    India has good batting. No one denies it but it still doesn't make them win matches overseas. About the wrong decisions, it affects every team; not just India. Blame BCCI instead for refusing to accept DRS.

    I mentioned 'what if' scenario applies in every situation but it seems to have gone over your head. What if Dhoni had lost all tosses and what if the other team had held their catches...so on and so forth?

  • thozar on February 24, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    @fair_paly_1, everyone knows that India is a way better team than NZL. Even NZL fans admitted that much. To win against a better team, you need to play out of your skin and have that extra luck factor too. That is what NZL did and had. I agree that McCullum, Watling, and their new player Neesham played very well but if Rahane was not given out wrongly, India would have definitely won the first test and NZL would have been down and out of the series that their 2nd innings rearguard in the 2nd test would have never happened. We were totally unlucky to not win the series but we proved that it is very difficult to beat us as the Proteas also found out. India has the best batting lineup in the world probably only rivalled by RSA. Most teams would kill to have batsmen like Kohli, Pujara, Dhawan, and Rahane.

  • jayray999 on February 24, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    To those of you who are saying the pitch did not play a part: it did. Here's how. Australia's not so secret weapon Mitchell Johnson (and the terrifying effects of his raw pace) was completely neutralized in the second test. This allowed South Africans to breathe again and resume their game. THey could handle spin, normal pace, swing, seam but not the psychological effects of Johnson. There is nothing wrong with any of this and the Saffers won it fair and square but they did blunt the Ozzie spearhead with a woolly pitch first. Luckily for SA they are not India and everyone (except angry Aussies) likes them and won't call them pitch doctors.

  • fair_paly_1 on February 24, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    thozar

    Not just Du Plessis rearguard that denied your team victory. What about NZ rearguard after they were effectively 6 for 5.

    A loss is a loss even if it is by one run. Is it better NOT to win a single match on tours or better to win something at least as Aus just did? Had NZ won lottery of a toss instead in the 2nd test, they would have won that match too. 'What IF' scenario applies in every game but never mind, fans like you will keep deluding.

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

    @TheBigBoodha, Aussie cricketers and fans cannot talk about "spirit of the game". Remember Sydney 2008? If you do, you will realize that Oz fans can never talk about playing the game in the right spirit. What was supposed to be a historic victory for India turned into the most disgraceful "victory" for Oz.

  • thozar on February 24, 2014, 18:39 GMT

    RSA are a champion side, no doubt. This result should also put in perspective how well India played against them. The only team to give any sort of competition to champions RSA was India. We almost defeated them and with some luck we would have won the series. Unfortunately Du Plessis hung on for one of his great rearguards. They were also so scared to go for the win in the 1st test even though they came close. In the 2nd test, it was King Kallis who stood between us and victory. To all the people doubting India's #2 ranking, there you go. Now some Aussie or Pakistani or Sri Lankan fan will talk about our defeat to NZL conveniently forgetting that if not for that bad decision against Rahane and those dropped catches, we would have won that series 2-0. After the England and Oz tours, hopefully BCCI will organize a tour of SA to India. That would be a great series.

  • on February 24, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    @ru4real nick...excellent and thought provoking writing with a good dose of common sense. Your observations about why SA would not purposefully prepare a spin friendly pitch is an excellent argument. Australia gave us a hiding in game one..they completely deserved the win, Proteas returned the favor in the second. The Proteas are known for a weak opening round and a good counter punch. No conspiracies as you said, just scintillating cricket. And as far as I could see, most clear thinking Saffas are not expecting a walk in the park in CT. It's going to be war of the best kind...well let's hope it's at least a good battle. That's all everybody wants isn't it?

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 24, 2014, 16:11 GMT

    @TheBigBooHoo: Swing is brought about by atmospheric conditions, + skill by the bowlers (e.g. wrist position; speed to bowl at; seam position of the ball, and which side (shiny or rough) is where; etc.). The pitch has absolutely nothing to do with it, other than perhaps what wearing affect it has on the ball (but this cannot be reliably controlled by human beings). You say "spin-friendly/pace-unfriendly pitches seem to follow Australia everywhere they play these days?" If that's true, why on Earth are the likes of Lyon and Siddle (who almost everyone, Australian fans or not, admit are great bowlers) not taking advantage of this conspiracy? Why would a country infamously renowned at being inept at playing spin (= England) do that, & STILL win convincingly? Australia played the much better game in Game 1; South Africa played the much better game in Game 2! That seems like great test cricket to me, minus ANY conspiracies. Too many Australian batsmen have only 1 mindset; that is problem.

  • fair_paly_1 on February 24, 2014, 15:41 GMT

    CricIndia208

    If you think your team's bowlers can better 'swing' then good for you.

  • TSJ07 on February 24, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    The match starts at about 2.30pm Indian time and yesterday I did not watch it after AUS was around 115 for no loss.I cam back rushing from job at 4pm and switched on TV hoping for some exciting play going on but to my disappointment the channel was showing Tennis match.Then I checked on cricinfo and I was stunned to see the outcome. SA always had the upper hand in this match and they were clearly the better team. It also proved my earlier fear that AUS were able to smash ENG coz of MJ and due of Haddin/Warner. Haddin has gone out of form suddenly and MJ did not fire here.Warner alone can not do much.But for AUS biggest worry is MJ's form,if it continues like this they will have tough time with other bowlers who are just support bowlers. SA will walk over over AUS in next match.

  • underdogs_11 on February 24, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    I would say I am lucky to have watched this game at the right time. Every SA bowler bowled at the batsmen with their heart out. But, failed to produce desired result. Someway, because they could'nt capitalize on half chances they are offered with & somebecause of the stubborn batting from the Aus counterparts. With batsmen going after the likes of Steyn, Philander, Morkel, SA looked clue less. There came the bowler from nowhere, who has no reputation of bowling in ODI's, far to think of him bowling in tests. But this guy straightaway made the impression in the mind of the batsman and started questioning the umpires right from his first delivery. Good captains catch bright moments quickly and cash on them, Smith was one among them. He, re-introduced Duminy back. Who applied the initial break getting rid of Dangerous looking Warner and that start was enough for Steyn to re-script Fiery style.Last wkt by Elgar represents his contribution as initial spark and the pull curtian strings

  • No.444 on February 24, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    @ TheBigBoodha: SA started spin from early on to help prepare the ball for reversing. That, combined with a dry pitch and a lot of skill was the difference. See, clever play, not just bash it in as hard as you can. Most of the Aussie fans have been gracious in defeat but not you. The Aus team was far inferior in this test. That is why they lost, simple as that. No conspiracy theories.

    PS, I heard that the earthworms at Newlands are due for a meeting before the game with Graeme Smith. I wonder what they might be discussing - possibly altering the outfield speed depending on who fields...I'm sure you will tell us after the game.

  • JimmySA on February 24, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha, did Aus not have a chance to bat 1st if they had won the toss? Is it not in the opinion of the home teams how they want the pitch to feel? did Aus not do the same in their Country even if it isn't in the so called 'spirit of the game' that you mention. Nothing was in favour of one team more than the other in this match. And SA had to bowl on a pitch that more suited the batman with a bowler injured. We also had to face the self-proclaimed best bowling attack. Can you stop looking for pathetic excuses and congratulate the opposition for a convincing win! Where were these excuses after the 1st test, nowhere!

  • liz1558 on February 24, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    So if that's what marks a great side out, England at least were a great side for the way they won the Chester le Street Test when Stuart Broad induced a collapse from a similar position. Both results tell more about Aus than their opponents. Expose MJs limitations (an inability to place successive deliveries on the same side of the wicket) and Aus can't win Is the evidence of this Test. Of both the evidence is fragile morale. Aus confidence is all bravado. Should get hammered in the next game. Would be pleasantly surprised if they don't, however, and muster a compelling fight-back. Odds are against it though.

  • DeckChairand6pack on February 24, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    Congratulations to the Aussies for putting up a hell of a scrap. But it was always going to be a long shot batting last and chasing such a big target. As it turned out, Biff's declaration was spot on, with the match finishing 2 balls before the close (with the extra 1/2 hour). A stern test awaits the visitors in Cape Town. I'm sure it will be a compelling match.

  • TheBigBoodha on February 24, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    Keith Le Roux, if technical superiority was the key why were the SA bowlers unable to reverse swing the ball for the previous 20+ sessions of the series? The answer lies in the conditions they deliberately lay down after getting thrashed by 280 runs in the first test. Go back and look at some of the day one comments from this test. Several posters had already seen this quite clearly, including the reverse swing coming into play late in the game. It was all dependent on winning the toss and batting first. The whole thing was set up before a ball was bowled, and anyone can see that. Well executed, but not in the spirit of the game, IMHO.

  • letsgoproteas on February 24, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    LillianThomson - haha missed you. Another desperate post. Thanks for the laugh.

    ShutTheGate - how many years back was it that the Proteas lost a test series? I think you'll find a champion stat right there.

    The Proteas did really well. We must not under estimate the Aussies though. They are always the ultimate challenge for us. I think as a nation we hold them higher than any other. That's respect.

    Looking forward to the next test. Abbot will be a fresh injection for us.

  • on February 24, 2014, 12:59 GMT

    Funny how many Poms are on this page jumping on an Aussie loss like it was them that caused it... like the small kid who looks over the fence on a soapbox, wanting to play with the big boys. Just go away and let the men be men! Anyway, now I've wound them up, what a great Test match, conducted in the right spirit, with civility and no quarter asked for or given. It was especially good to see the Aussies NOT require new helmets or gloves (except when Rogers actually got sconed in the head) and not ---- about with the light. One may also note the generally civilised way in which the Saffa fans have celebrated, most unlike the ENGLISH, who would go to the opening of an envelope if an Aussie cut their finger doing so. I applaud both captains for their sense of spirit, especially Smith calling Rogers back after he ran himself out to shake his hand for his 107. And that is the way it should be played.

  • on February 24, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    Great test match Next match will be more thrilling

  • Shamshad05 on February 24, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    SA played superb cricket throughout specially on day 4.Only thing Smith did not do was to ask his batters to go for the jugular after Hashim completed his customary century and thus give SA bowlers more runs in the same time. Hashim and de Villiers batted superbly.Also Johnson magic did not work this time. If you have countered Johnson,you have won half the battle. One more thing, SA's catching needs to improve.

  • stormy16 on February 24, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    Yes got to agree with the write and Saffers were nothing short of sensational and showed us all why they are the best side in the world. Steyn was absolutely stunning and his indippers at pace to Smith and Haddin were probably the best deliveries one could ever hope for. Swining in late at speed you bascially have two possibilities (1) get the pad in front - LBW - Smith (2) late in getting the bat down - bowled - Haddin! There is no way in the wide world many batters would have done much with those two deliveries. The other notable fiactor for me was Vernon swinging the old ball which I dont beleive he was able to do before. He was, the past devastating with the new ball but not so with the old ball, but I thought I saw him swinging the old ball so look out, here comes big trouble in the form of Steyn and Philander. Aus didnt get a look in to the game and despite the Ashes, this is what I expected in this series as its a fair reflection of where the two teams are - yes there is a gap.

  • on February 24, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    @thebigbuddha. Here is your answer: The Saffer bowlers are technically superior to the Aussies. You lost to the better side, plain and simple. This is not the English (they may sound like Saffers, considering their numbers in the eng side) but the Saffers will not capitulate like the SA A side did against your lot. The days of Aus "having one over SA" are long gone. You lost, so what? At least be sporting or is that not possible for an Aussie supporter?

  • JFAB on February 24, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    @The Cricketeer. yes the umpires were proven right with tail batting in fading light, having thought they had survived, under more pressure than they'd have been next morning so it was definitely a SA advantage and not a 'swap for swap' of 8 overs. Also they granted 8 overs to get 3 wickets when the last 8 overs prior to that decision had been played for NO wickets. I also don't understand why it is 8 overs when no side in the world bowls at 16 an hour! They were going to get about 45 extra mins! Normally, even if behind on overs, play stops at 6 pm, 30 mins after scheduled close. If a side wants an extra half hour they should be OK to play till 6 pm, even if they have bowled their overs for the day. If not, that is their own problem. Nonetheless great win to SA and no side deserves to not win because of rain. Firdose, Elgar only bowled the last over - Steyn bowled in the extra half hour too and did damage. SA took 9 wickets in the last session - they did - but it was 3 hours , not 2

  • Jostian on February 24, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    @ The BigBoodha, not sure what you are trying to insinuate, but I thought it was quite obvious, SA just bowled better, Steyn is the best reverse swing bowler in the world, so its no surprise he got some reverse swing... PhD not needed dude, just obvious observation, SA outplayed Oz by a mile, making insinuations about what may have lead to the reverse swing is only for you to contemplate, for everyone else its plain and simple... reverse swing is not this 'thing' that necessitates some 'evil' precondition, its pretty normal and Steyn is the best exponent of it, so if its on offer he'll be the man to maximize it...

  • on February 24, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    The only time I actually enjoy a test series is when it is one involving Aus v. SA. Watching the most recent test at PE proved it once again. Never in my life would I have expected Australia to have capitulated as they did at PE after a good opening stand. Cape Town is hot and dry. It will be a PE-ish pitch, with with less variable bounce. No rain for 5 days an almost dead certainty! So I expect a thrilling encounter. Game breakers I expect to be MJ for Aus and ABdV and Steyn for SA. My prediction is a close result with SA as winners!

  • on February 24, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    @Lillian Thomson. You obviously need a hug (or something). Try..just try to lose graciously. With all the technology and footage, if there was any tampering we would / will know about it. Faf was out of line in the one scenario you have raised and he got punished - deservedly so. But if we are all going to nitpick on every bit of dishonesty then we should start with our own teams and you can start by looking at how many times the Aussies did not walk in this test match alone after making a huge issue out of it when the played England. Ok?

  • TheBigBoodha on February 24, 2014, 10:28 GMT

    NALINWIJ, all of Australia's bowlers can reverse swing. Siddle, Harris, Johnson and Watson can all do it, as we have clearly seen in recent times. But for some bizarre reason the ball only swung for one team in one session the entire test. I wonder why that was? I will leave it up to you to consider the possibilities.

  • RednWhiteArmy on February 24, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    Well well well. What happened? I thought the aussies kept saying they are the best team ever? This doesnt make any sense.

  • on February 24, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    Great bowling by SA. WHAT A TEST MATCH IT WAS. Will it bring Australia s ranking down (given new law says big 3 will remain on top of test ranking)

  • creebo777 on February 24, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    Proteas vs aussies always entertaining,uhhh newlands gona pay tribute to kallis enough motivation for the boys,come out of retirement for on more match king kallis

  • AP_88 on February 24, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    What a bowling performance. The old adage that bowling wins you test matches was illustrated in this match. No matter how many runs you score you still have to take 20 wickets to win the game.

    @CricIndia208 - If I were you I wouldn't worry about Pakistan's bowling resources, I think you have enough problems of yourself

  • MaruthuDelft on February 24, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    @No.444, it is enough if a team plays well in Eng, Aus and SA. Not necessary to prove in India. India pitches don't encourage exciting cricket which must include fast and swing bowling because cricket primarily is a physical game unlike say chess where the patience and intelligence are the test. Australia are the number 2 side followed by England and Pakistan. Pakistan might loose to India in a confrontation but they always play good cricket with exciting fast bowlers. India don't seem to have any bowling talent. Umesh is happy for hurling it at 140.

  • smalishah84 on February 24, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    Awesome test match delivered on the back of a Steyn special. Absolutely love the cricket played by these 2 teams. Arguably the most competitive of matches in all of cricket.

  • NALINWIJ on February 24, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    Great turnaround by South Africa showing Australia"s technical flaws at reverse swing and their inability to produce reverse swing and at last we have a third test as a decider unlike the previous series of 2 tests. Australia-SA series has turned into top of the table clash of titans. Perhaps this deserves a 5-6 test series played across the 2 countries every 4 years. I heard a SA commentator suggesting KALLIS-PONTING trophy as the name. However I feel TRUMPER to POLLACKs trophy would do justice to the players past and present from Australian domination beginning with TRUMPER to The thrashing BY SA in mid 60s to 1970 featuring 2 Polocks to the emergence of a competitive SA post apartheid featuring Shaun Pollock to the fight for world test crown.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 24, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    Can someone please get Dale Steyns spell on youtube immediately. Thanks

  • on February 24, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    @masoodali150:the real inventor of Reverse Swing is Sarfraz Nawaz,again a Pakistani.

  • tripple-Digits on February 24, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    EXCEPTIONAL BOWLING by the entire Protea outfit and such a apt response of the abuse of the first test at Centurion. The way they played at St Georges is what we as South Africans (proud South Africans) love to see. Of course a wicket will always inspire any team and I am pleased Steyn finally came to the party as I personally was a little sceptical about his performance in the 1st innings as well as in Centurion. Call it maybe lack of playing time or whatever the reason, Im glad Steyn is back on song. Also great call by Graeme Smith to bat first - he obviously learnt to not to always go with past performances and track history, but to MAKE history. Im so chuffed specifically at how we slapped the Ausies after they took too much advantage of the hospitality of our country. Even if Austrial bounce back, our Proteas will be there to rebound them well back down under. Champions yes, that's what we showed in PE, let it long continue!!

  • CricIndia208 on February 24, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    Pity pakistani bowlers can neither do reverse or conventional swing now. LOL!

  • Maroubra_Flyer on February 24, 2014, 7:13 GMT

    Interesting comment Lillian n Thompson. Could well be true based on the second innings!!!

  • on February 24, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    Steyn to Mitch .. Class is permanent and form is temporary .. Hail Dayle !!

  • TheCricketeer on February 24, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    Uhmmm - those few moaners about the extra 30 being allowed. a) Professional sport is a business focussed on entertating - the umpires need to consider that. b) SA took 3 top order wickets earlier in the day inside 30 minutes. So why not the last 3. c) its entirely at the umpires discretion as to whether a result may be possible. Guess what - it was - the umpires were right. Stop complaining. For a change it was clearly a decision in the best interest of the game.

    I said before the series this was going to be a case of SA vs Mitch Johnson as the rest of this Aussie attack are a bunch of overrated journeyman. So far I have been proved correct. Mitch didnt turn up in PE and the Aussies looked like they couldnt have beaten Zimbabwe or Bangladesh on this track. Lets hope Mitch turns up at Newlands so we have a good decider! If he does - it could still go either way!

  • on February 24, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    i fell asleep at 100/0 thinking id wake up to 200+ for at max 5 down and aussie at least getting a draw out of the game. Good on you Saffers gunna make one hell of a decider!

  • No.444 on February 24, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    @Practical_person: Aus No1/2 team? maybe at home. Have you watched Aus in the last year? In the rest of the world (bar Centurion) Aus is probably about 5. They are a 1 man team and he is average on all but 6 grounds in the world. You need to win outside your comfort zone to get to No1/2.

  • masoodali150 on February 24, 2014, 6:34 GMT

    After Doosra an Inventor by Pakistan Saqlain, Great Invention to the cricket that is Revers Swing which give most of the bowlers benefit to enhance their bowling quality. Thanks for Imran and 02 W - Wasim / Waqar.

  • Capey on February 24, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    Australia will not become the No.1 team simply by beating SA in Cape Town. There is much more to reaching No.1 than winning one match, or even one series so anyone suggesting that obviously does not understand the game. Anyway, last time SA bowled them out for 47 at Newlands, which also happens to be the home ground for Steyn, Smith, Duminy and Philander.

  • heathrf1974 on February 24, 2014, 5:54 GMT

    I haven't seen that much reverse swing since Waqar Younis hay days. The Aussies had no chance.

  • Diaz54 on February 24, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    Sadly I am beginning to hear from certain quarters about ball tampering...and the amount of reverse swing SA got after 37 overs? Please loose with dignity.,his what happens when so called big 2 or 3 are subjected to thrashing. Pakistan bowlers were subjected to this allegations until others notably English bowlers learnt to reverse swing! Then it became acceptable. Also when Steyn got 8 wickets for 6 against nobody talked about ball tampering. This is the I consistencies we have! Personally I am happy with SA bowlers...so please grow up! Pakistan supporter,

  • ArnoldVDH on February 24, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    @ ARad

    I suggest you worry about the limited abilities of your beloved Indian team.

    After all, when you can't bowl out a team that is effectively 6 for 5, than you know you have real issues.

    Bowling continuously bouncers to Steyn at the Wanderers shows how scared your team really was.

    After all, who wants to be the team that concedes 458 runs on the 4th innings to lose a test match.

    The fact SA got so close shows what a champion team they really are.

    I suggest you take note.

  • Diaz54 on February 24, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    Tremendous win , what a performance by the team. Steyn, philander ,Amla, Dumminy Aussie and Indian supporters were having a go at! What a response, so pleased for SA. Please don't take the foot of the accelerator. Keep, De Kock in the side and perhaps get Marchant De Langa in the side if fit . Shame about Parnell. Finally well my brother Amla!

  • FlyingWicket on February 24, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    SA and IND are best teams on flat tracks ever :),steyn proved that flat tracks suits him well and johnson is only a nightmare on greentops.Still feel that AUs are a bowler short,watson could be useful at capetown(if available).

  • Marktc on February 24, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    I said this before on this site, never judge SA by their first test of a series. They always play badly..from then on, it changes. They convincingly won the test, with a front line bowler down, two part time spinners and more dropped catches than you will at a nursery school game...yet they still fought out a out a major win. There were times it looked headed for a draw. So I think SA deserves all the credit coming their way ad as we head for CT for the final and match deciding test, I wish both teams the best.

  • ASIFIQBALBHAT on February 24, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    It was expected from the camps... they will fight back. What A test match we had thanks south africa keep it up and best of luck from the rest of series.

  • BDHUNTER on February 24, 2014, 5:21 GMT

    To Dale Steyn : It's one second amazing display of lethal pace bowling........

  • on February 24, 2014, 5:03 GMT

    SA have proved all their doubters wrong (once again)... They have been the only team that have performed well in all conditions over the last few years. And this team looks a genuine all time great side. A pursit mght point to lack of a genuine spinner. But, who cares when the speedsters are proving good in all conditions... And SA are a great side minus the brashness. Go SA go... you are a team worth emulating...

  • on February 24, 2014, 4:50 GMT

    Thanks to Pakistan for bringing a revolution like "Reverse swing" to the game..

  • on February 24, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    great performance great captaincy by smith i doubted dat dis sa team is also like one of d recent no 1 teams winning wen comfortable and just torn apart wen under pressure but aftr recent performances ol my doubts r cleared aftr d myty aussie team dey r d only team wich deserves to b called as no 1 test team in d world great cricket proteas

  • on February 24, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    Really its pity. Start given by warner and rogers was. awesome. It was like they are in planning of hunting down the south African target. after wicket of warner, wickets failed like a pack of cards.

  • Humdingers on February 24, 2014, 2:47 GMT

    Good team yes. Great - not a chance. A couple of greats in the team (Kallis and Steyn) yes. You want examples of Great - then look at Steve Waugh's team and the West Indies of old. It needs to replicate in attitude - they dominated with bat and ball yes - but they also dictated terms of the match. This team does not do that. Yes they can win and bounce back which is why they are /should be (and rightly so) undisputed no.1. But not great. Yet.

  • SAMMYT76 on February 24, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    Why people going about about the extra time played, at one point or another every team gets the decision going their way, no-one complains about it then. It is the rule, the teams don't make the decesion so get over it. SA played amazingly just like we have come to expect fromt he best team in the world. What will be interesting is how will Australia bounce back. Maybe a tip should be less mouthing off at players and focus more on their cricket, that might help them!

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

    I still believe Australia will bounce back to win the third test. Its a tough call between the no1 and no2 team but I believe Australia will prove that they are the number 1 team.

  • cornered_again on February 24, 2014, 1:37 GMT

    Thanks to the Pakistani for giving this invaluable gift to the fast bowler around the world i.e. reverse swing

  • on February 24, 2014, 1:32 GMT

    wow..wat a series going on !! congrates to CSA for this string comeback..note that they have played vd only 3 bowlers

  • Chris_henry on February 24, 2014, 1:31 GMT

    Oh so lovely cricket...the winner "Test Cricket" still proves that the oldest form of the game is the best....a 'Test' of patience, skill, tactics...the plan to get Haddin on strike to face Steyn was fascinating...so absorbing and gratifying....well done South Africa you deserved victory for making it happen!!

  • ARad on February 24, 2014, 1:08 GMT

    @StaalBurgher and @klsau: You may want to re-read what I wrote more carefully. I was merely disagreeing with the statement SA does not make choices based "on supreme belief in their own abilities and nothing else" as Moonda said. IOW, when SA did not take chances against India, other calculations went into making that choice...

  • LillianThomson on February 24, 2014, 0:51 GMT

    We should not ignore the elephant in the room here.

    South Africa's quicks were on an unprecedented wave of success until late last year when FAF du Plessis was convicted of ball-tampering and embarrassing footage of Philander "working the ball" was aired. They blew Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan out for very low scores prior to that incident.

    They have since had a relative struggle to bowl out first India and then Australia.

    Now, suddenly, they found themselves 1-0 down to their nemesis Australia. And suddenly the ball started reversing round corners.

    It was great to watch, but anyone who has not had pangs of suspicion must be a very trusting soul.

  • on February 24, 2014, 0:07 GMT

    It was shocking to see Australi's batting in both innings. It definitely was not inspirational batting in the first innings. It was inspirational bowling by Steyn in the second innings but com'n 10 wickets for 90 runs?? on a Road like pitch with two spinners of the calibre of Duminy and Elgar? I don't quite get it. Seems like the glue that held batting for Australia -Haddin- is not able perform in the face of some good fast bowling away from home. Anyways, congratulations to South Africa. I expected South Africa in a sea of trouble going into the test without a genuine spinner - of course there are no spinners in SA but - but Petersen is better than Duminy and Elgar. And South AFrica's batting on the first day did not make any sense. It is Australia who loosened their grip on the match with their performance on the Second day and South Africa snatched it out with the help of that Dynamo Steyn. Hope cricket fans have a great third Test.

  • iceaxe on February 23, 2014, 23:52 GMT

    Nice one SA! Great to see Steyn back in the wicket taking.

    A great comeback from the last test.

  • on February 23, 2014, 22:35 GMT

    Firdose, your writing is fantastic, you really have immense talent. And thank you, this article was exactly what I needed after (sadly) having to miss that final session.

  • SeanoN on February 23, 2014, 22:33 GMT

    Firdose confuses me.. I'm not sure whether she is for or against the Proteas.. she went on and on about how hopeless and horrible SA when we lost now all that doom and gloom has been replaced... fickle... no wonder most in the SA team despise her...nevertheless SA played awesomely...

  • massefpour on February 23, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    That was a phenomenal display of fast bowling from Dale Steyn, but the implication that Johnson has relied on green tops for his recent success is patently wrong. Adelaide anyone?

  • ShutTheGate on February 23, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    Congratulations SA, you out played us and we didn't deserve the draw if it rained out day 5.

    However, I think it's a bit optimistic to label them a champion team. They've only been world number one for two years and got right royally thumped a week ago.

    Become a dominant side for at least 5 years and then become a champion team.

  • on February 23, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    Congratulations SA from a Pakistani fan. Great comeback and some fantastic bowling by Steyn. Will look forward to a cracker of a decider, because Australia are a class side.

  • RaviNarla on February 23, 2014, 21:06 GMT

    Sure SA is a Champion team but they didn't give it a shot when 16 was required of 10 against India.

  • mmoosa on February 23, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    Similar to Ntini,Steyn needs to bowl a lot to get his groove..his pedigree is undoubted.Today was the 1st time in his 6th match of the season that he started looking around 60-70% peak form..Similarly Vern has shown signs of improvement with both new and old ball.They will be primed for a peak assault at Newlands with Morkel and hopefully Kyle Abbott who will provide S.A with potentially their strongest pace attack for many years and reminiscent of the English in 2005.

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

    @klsau - Exactly. It is amazing how the opposition always complain that SA don't play a certain way, when that certain way would actually favour them. SA had lost their last batsmen on a very tricky pitch where wickets were falling in clumps.

    SA were underdogs to save the Test. India had all their fielders on the boundary and bowling shoulder height at Steyn. Tail enders like Steyn Morkel can hit nicely down the ground. They can't hook and pull you for boundaries with fielders waiting for a catch.

    SA did the right thing and went on to win the series, instead of playing for a draw in the final. Smart cricket and the reason why we are no.1.

  • haq33 on February 23, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    You can keep your googlies, doosras and switch hits...even a crisp cover drive stirs a good few emotions and well aimed bouncers get the adrenaline pumping and result in some picturesque evasive contortions....but for me, the ONLY thing that undoubtedly makes the spine tingle is a session of reverse swinging madness.

  • klsau on February 23, 2014, 20:17 GMT

    @ARad Expecting tailenders scoring boundaries with fielders scattered everywhere(and risk going to a series 0-1 down) is different from having the belief that the bowlers have the ability to take all 20 wickets..SA had no business winning or even drawing against India that much but their belief got them so close..Only after Faf and AB got dismissed did it become too much to ask from the tailend batsmen

  • on February 23, 2014, 20:05 GMT

    @Shweta Lavania

    Dude what are you talking about? No one in Australia for a second thinks we have an elite batting lineup. You're seriously talking out of your ass. We only have 2 batsmen that average above 40!!

    And secondly do you think every ground in the Ashes was a green top, like you say Johnson needs to perform? I can tell you most were not at all, like Adelaide which was a road like PE and he was brilliant.

    You are displaying a lack of Cricket smarts with that ignorant comment.

  • ARad on February 23, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    Moonda: "Champion teams do not hesitate. They make decisions based on supreme belief in their own abilities and nothing else."

    Except when they had a chance to win a Test match against India a few weeks ago??

    That said, fine fightback by SA! Congrats.

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:52 GMT

    Congratulations to south Africa. West Indies loves you

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    South Africa clearly showed what true Champs are made of.Coming back from hopeless situations is the true hallmark of great Champions, and this team has showed that tendency. Remember Australia were really on a High and it would have been very difficult for any other side to stop them, but SA managed to overcome them and showed who the true Champions are. I bet SA will be number1 for a very long time.

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:44 GMT

    When these two teams play.. Its test cricket at its best... But the extra half an hour to be awarded to South Africa when Australia still had 3 wickets left is questionable..

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    simply wow!!!!what a spell from steyn gun that was,if you ask all the greats in the world to bat against steyn with old ball in his hand is a great task for them to handle him.its delight to see steyn and morne bowling like this way.undoubtfully sa is the champion team.absolute the champion team in test matches.

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:20 GMT

    There was too much of unnecessary criticism of the SA team after last match. Johnson was absolutely brilliant and SA could not match up to it. But you always lose in sports apart from winning, its about the ability to bounce back. I had predicted Australia will be run over by an angry Steyn in this match, and here he was, though i expected more wickets from him. I can see him still angry, and i am sure SA will defeat Australia in a close match in the 3rd test, long live test cricket. And a message for fans and cricket writers alike, don't over criticize too much especially based on one odd match here and there..

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:18 GMT

    A lot of people criticized Biff when he said that Johnson did well in Centurion because of the assistance offered by the pitch in the form of steep and variable bounce. But he has been proven right here and how! Champion bowlers do not need green top wickets to produce magic, they just use their heads and adapt to the challenge just like what Steyn did today when he knew focussed on reverse swing, when the early morning session offered no assistance to his bowling…and if Morkel's audacious spell in the first innings didn't expose the lack of application in Aussie bowling department then I might as well point out that the Proteas had only 3 pace and 2 part- time spinners to break the back of the famed Aussie batting line up.( a myth perpetrated by the Aussie media based on their super Ashes showing alone!). I am pretty sure not many in the media will say this but Well Done Kapi Biff for leading these fine Protean gladiators to be the No. 1 team.

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

    Here we go with the hyperbole again...

  • nareshgb1 on February 23, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    Gawd - chapmion team, champion team, champion team. Can we please go a little easy on the mushiness here? Sure great performance and I loved it - but saying one thing over and over and over completely negates the taste.

    Anyway, Johson's hunger and freshness must be suitably dented. That should be that.

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

    Great display proteas. Aus talk and aggression was weak. We showed off marina magic today. Well done guys. No need at this stage to hire fielding coach but rather incentivize players for winning key moments like completing the test in 4 days.

  • on February 23, 2014, 18:42 GMT

    what a magical,great win.loved the way game progressed.

  • on February 23, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    awesome bowling unit. great depth in batting. deserving no. 1 team lead by extro ordinary and cool captain. salute to team SA

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  • on February 23, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    awesome bowling unit. great depth in batting. deserving no. 1 team lead by extro ordinary and cool captain. salute to team SA

  • on February 23, 2014, 18:42 GMT

    what a magical,great win.loved the way game progressed.

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

    Great display proteas. Aus talk and aggression was weak. We showed off marina magic today. Well done guys. No need at this stage to hire fielding coach but rather incentivize players for winning key moments like completing the test in 4 days.

  • nareshgb1 on February 23, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    Gawd - chapmion team, champion team, champion team. Can we please go a little easy on the mushiness here? Sure great performance and I loved it - but saying one thing over and over and over completely negates the taste.

    Anyway, Johson's hunger and freshness must be suitably dented. That should be that.

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

    Here we go with the hyperbole again...

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:18 GMT

    A lot of people criticized Biff when he said that Johnson did well in Centurion because of the assistance offered by the pitch in the form of steep and variable bounce. But he has been proven right here and how! Champion bowlers do not need green top wickets to produce magic, they just use their heads and adapt to the challenge just like what Steyn did today when he knew focussed on reverse swing, when the early morning session offered no assistance to his bowling…and if Morkel's audacious spell in the first innings didn't expose the lack of application in Aussie bowling department then I might as well point out that the Proteas had only 3 pace and 2 part- time spinners to break the back of the famed Aussie batting line up.( a myth perpetrated by the Aussie media based on their super Ashes showing alone!). I am pretty sure not many in the media will say this but Well Done Kapi Biff for leading these fine Protean gladiators to be the No. 1 team.

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:20 GMT

    There was too much of unnecessary criticism of the SA team after last match. Johnson was absolutely brilliant and SA could not match up to it. But you always lose in sports apart from winning, its about the ability to bounce back. I had predicted Australia will be run over by an angry Steyn in this match, and here he was, though i expected more wickets from him. I can see him still angry, and i am sure SA will defeat Australia in a close match in the 3rd test, long live test cricket. And a message for fans and cricket writers alike, don't over criticize too much especially based on one odd match here and there..

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    simply wow!!!!what a spell from steyn gun that was,if you ask all the greats in the world to bat against steyn with old ball in his hand is a great task for them to handle him.its delight to see steyn and morne bowling like this way.undoubtfully sa is the champion team.absolute the champion team in test matches.

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:44 GMT

    When these two teams play.. Its test cricket at its best... But the extra half an hour to be awarded to South Africa when Australia still had 3 wickets left is questionable..

  • on February 23, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    South Africa clearly showed what true Champs are made of.Coming back from hopeless situations is the true hallmark of great Champions, and this team has showed that tendency. Remember Australia were really on a High and it would have been very difficult for any other side to stop them, but SA managed to overcome them and showed who the true Champions are. I bet SA will be number1 for a very long time.