Australia in South Africa 2013-14 February 27, 2014

McDermott tackles reverse riddle

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Tentative play from Australia's batsmen contributed to the prodigious reverse swing that brought about their Port Elizabeth downfall almost as much as shrewd handling of the ball by South Africa's bowlers and fielders, Australia's bowling coach Craig McDermott has said.

The sharp old-ball movement gained by Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander has been the subject of much discussion since the end of the Test, including a mischievous claim by David Warner about potential ball-tampering that has been angrily rejected by the South African team management.

However McDermott said Australia's loss of momentum following Warner's dismissal on the fourth afternoon was as pivotal a factor as any. The dead bats of Alex Doolan (five runs in 61 minutes) and the centurion Chris Rogers repeatedly played deliveries into a dry and course wicket square at St George's Park, an ideal surface on which to rough up the ball.

"Day three, four and five are obviously the best days to bowl reverse, you're getting more wear and tear on the ball, the square's drier and even the outfield's drier. But the major contributing factor is the ball not going into the outfield," McDermott told ESPNcricinfo. "While our openers were getting the ball out into the outfield that first partnership after that we got quite bogged down.

"The ball hits the square a hell of a lot, played back down the wicket, not going anywhere, so therefore the ball is able to be kept dry and gets roughed up, resulting in more reverse swing. Hats off to Dale Steyn who's got an unbelievable Test record and is a very good reverse bowler. You can't take anything away from him and we've just got to make sure that we can do the same in our preparations for this Test match."

It was during Doolan's time at the crease that Morkel began swinging the ball both ways, and his dismissal of the No. 3 heralded a collapse of 5 for 14 in 10 overs, all batsmen out to deliveries curling late in their path down the pitch. The lack of any momentum to Australia's innings was an unfamiliar sight during the Darren Lehmann era, and it is likely the batsmen will be more assertive if so challenged in Cape Town.

The ball hits the square a hell of a lot, played back down the wicket, not going anywhere, so therefore the ball is able to be kept dry and gets roughed up, resulting in more reverse swing.
Craig McDermott

Other moments of import to the condition of the ball included Graeme Smith's decision to resort to part-time spin, the use of bounce throws into the wicketkeeper AB de Villiers and perhaps even Steyn's gesture of angrily kicking at the ball once or twice. Combined with Australia's dallying, this created a perfect storm of swing that no-one save for Rogers could find a way to ride out.

Almost as noteworthy as the amount of swing gained by South African was the almost total lack of any equivalent bend for Australia's fast men. Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle have all swung the old ball sharply at times in the past, but in Port Elizabeth their straightness made the hosts' task far easier on a wicket not offering much in the way of pace or bounce.

The discrepancy was a rare question mark against the mentoring of McDermott, who has otherwise built up a highly impressive record as Australia's pace bowling coach over two stints with the Test team. Nevertheless, he was not perturbed by the imbalance, pointing out that South Africa had the better of bowling conditions during the match and that a fresher Australian combination would be capable of more at Newlands in Cape Town.

"We've won a lot of Test matches over the last little bit and we bowled pretty good reverse in Adelaide [during the Ashes], so I'm not too concerned by that," he said. "I'm not certain what we're going to get here, but certainly we'll have a look at that tomorrow when we get to the ground. We spent eight sessions out of 10 in the field, so that's taxing in itself and we'll have six days off until we play in the Test so guys will be fresher and raring to go."

Harris, Siddle and Johnson have all questioned their methods to varying degrees after the Test, having had a run of six consecutive wins overturned by a heavy defeat. McDermott, who has emphasised consistency and unity in his dealings with the pacemen, has counselled them not to over-think things, reminding them of the successes their methods have wrought in recent times.

"A lot of people can do some soul-searching after spending eight sessions out of 10 in the field," he said. "From my point of view I've been there and done that as well, and sometimes you can think about some things you don't really need to bring into your game. They've all been bowling well all summer, we bowled well in the first Test match, and that's only 10 days ago. So no alarm bells from my point of view and we'll see what the wicket shows up for us at Newlands."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 28, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    @Chris Howard: 2 reasons why Reverse Swing is harder to play than Conventional Swing: 1) It occurs very late in the trajectory of the ball. 2)Reverse Swing is subject to Pace, the faster the ball is, the more it will reverse, which is why you will often see Dale Steyn reserving his fast balls for once the ball gets older. He consistently reaches the 145kmph mark with the old ball, while bowling in the late 130s with the new ball.

  • on February 28, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    @Katey Agree with you. The scuffing up of the ball would take place anyways. In fact if the batsman hits it in the outfield would mean he would have to hit the ball much harder than when he merely defends, which would mean even more wear and tear of the ball. Have no idea what MacDermott's saying.

  • DustBowl on February 28, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    McDermott has explained it all with a calm measured approach. Top bloke who hasn't had all the credit he deserved for Oz resurgence? CONTRAST THIS to Warner (numerous) and his coach Lehmann (Broad, SL) spouting off to the detriment of the sport and CA.

  • Katey on February 28, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    I can't agree with MacDermott at all. The ball swings because one side is rougher than the other, so offering different air resistance (drag) and causing the ball to veer off a straight path when in flight. How could a batsman defending, ensure that the ball scuffs up on one side only? Likewise when the ball is thrown back from the outfield. There's no way to control which side of the ball hits the deck. The only way to manipulate the ball's surface is either when bowling or through a fielder rubbing it on one side only.

    There may be other factors influencing swing, but they will all come from the bowler ... wrist position, angle of the seam and speed of delivery, maybe other factors. Not from the batsman or fielders. MacDermott needs to learn some basic physics.

  • ShutTheGate on February 28, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    @ Protears

    I think I speak for the majority of Australian fans in saying that we'd be happy to up the series between our countries to 5 matches. That will only give you an extra 2 matches every 18 months but they will be hard fought exciting matches.

  • ShutTheGate on February 28, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    @ GermanPlayer

    They were the best attack in the world a week ago but the Australian attack was the best in the world the week before that. So I suppose it depends on how long you define as "at the moment".

    My point is there are very close and it depends on each match and there is no obvious stand out.

  • Chris_Howard on February 28, 2014, 1:45 GMT

    Does anyone know why reverse swing (once you are aware of it as the batsman) is harder to play than conventional swing?

  • on February 28, 2014, 0:08 GMT

    This article covers an exercise in analysis paralysis! Cricket, especially Test Cricket, is a highly orthodox game with little room for unorthodoxy! MJ is an unorthodox bowler, a slinger like Malinga. who is now strutting his stuff in that funny format called 'T20'. Given this, MJ will be stunted from time, more often than not! If Australia thinks MJ will bowl them to victory from time to time, McDermott and company need to really re-think. If you look at an orthodox bowler like McGrath, you can see why he was so successful. Newlands will be a slightly different pitch to PE and will once again reward orthodoxy, like PE. Looking forward to a keenly-contested decider! I do however think that it is there for SA to win,, simply looking at the bowling line-ups. Harris seems to be hobbling, Siddle is going through the motions, MJ has serious limitations and Lyon should be Australia's most successful bowler should SA bat last,

  • Greatest_Game on February 27, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    @ NalinWikkey gives his opinion that "McDermott's explanation is not totally logical, if it simply ball wear in the square how come when SA batted for 5 sessions, Aust could not get ball to reverse??"

    Don't ever make the mistake of using 'McDermott' and 'logical' in the same sentence. It all goes downhill from there.

  • Greatest_Game on February 27, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    @ PrasPunter replied in agreement to "@pat_one_back , exactly my thought - each team won and lost only when the conditions suited/not suited them. So where exactly is the difference ?"

    Go back one more test to Perth, 2012. There lies the difference.

  • on February 28, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    @Chris Howard: 2 reasons why Reverse Swing is harder to play than Conventional Swing: 1) It occurs very late in the trajectory of the ball. 2)Reverse Swing is subject to Pace, the faster the ball is, the more it will reverse, which is why you will often see Dale Steyn reserving his fast balls for once the ball gets older. He consistently reaches the 145kmph mark with the old ball, while bowling in the late 130s with the new ball.

  • on February 28, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    @Katey Agree with you. The scuffing up of the ball would take place anyways. In fact if the batsman hits it in the outfield would mean he would have to hit the ball much harder than when he merely defends, which would mean even more wear and tear of the ball. Have no idea what MacDermott's saying.

  • DustBowl on February 28, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    McDermott has explained it all with a calm measured approach. Top bloke who hasn't had all the credit he deserved for Oz resurgence? CONTRAST THIS to Warner (numerous) and his coach Lehmann (Broad, SL) spouting off to the detriment of the sport and CA.

  • Katey on February 28, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    I can't agree with MacDermott at all. The ball swings because one side is rougher than the other, so offering different air resistance (drag) and causing the ball to veer off a straight path when in flight. How could a batsman defending, ensure that the ball scuffs up on one side only? Likewise when the ball is thrown back from the outfield. There's no way to control which side of the ball hits the deck. The only way to manipulate the ball's surface is either when bowling or through a fielder rubbing it on one side only.

    There may be other factors influencing swing, but they will all come from the bowler ... wrist position, angle of the seam and speed of delivery, maybe other factors. Not from the batsman or fielders. MacDermott needs to learn some basic physics.

  • ShutTheGate on February 28, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    @ Protears

    I think I speak for the majority of Australian fans in saying that we'd be happy to up the series between our countries to 5 matches. That will only give you an extra 2 matches every 18 months but they will be hard fought exciting matches.

  • ShutTheGate on February 28, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    @ GermanPlayer

    They were the best attack in the world a week ago but the Australian attack was the best in the world the week before that. So I suppose it depends on how long you define as "at the moment".

    My point is there are very close and it depends on each match and there is no obvious stand out.

  • Chris_Howard on February 28, 2014, 1:45 GMT

    Does anyone know why reverse swing (once you are aware of it as the batsman) is harder to play than conventional swing?

  • on February 28, 2014, 0:08 GMT

    This article covers an exercise in analysis paralysis! Cricket, especially Test Cricket, is a highly orthodox game with little room for unorthodoxy! MJ is an unorthodox bowler, a slinger like Malinga. who is now strutting his stuff in that funny format called 'T20'. Given this, MJ will be stunted from time, more often than not! If Australia thinks MJ will bowl them to victory from time to time, McDermott and company need to really re-think. If you look at an orthodox bowler like McGrath, you can see why he was so successful. Newlands will be a slightly different pitch to PE and will once again reward orthodoxy, like PE. Looking forward to a keenly-contested decider! I do however think that it is there for SA to win,, simply looking at the bowling line-ups. Harris seems to be hobbling, Siddle is going through the motions, MJ has serious limitations and Lyon should be Australia's most successful bowler should SA bat last,

  • Greatest_Game on February 27, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    @ NalinWikkey gives his opinion that "McDermott's explanation is not totally logical, if it simply ball wear in the square how come when SA batted for 5 sessions, Aust could not get ball to reverse??"

    Don't ever make the mistake of using 'McDermott' and 'logical' in the same sentence. It all goes downhill from there.

  • Greatest_Game on February 27, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    @ PrasPunter replied in agreement to "@pat_one_back , exactly my thought - each team won and lost only when the conditions suited/not suited them. So where exactly is the difference ?"

    Go back one more test to Perth, 2012. There lies the difference.

  • ScottStevo on February 27, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    @keralite, unfortunately for Starc it's his selection that's been consistently inconsistent. I'm sure I saw somewhere that he'd played 11 tests and been dropped/not selected 9 times. How does any young bowler gain consistency with that sort of backing from his team's management? On one occassion he was dropped/rested/however you'd like to describe it after he'd single handedly won us a match against SL where a draw was looking the most likely outcome. Inexplicable really...

  • on February 27, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    The PE pitch is what it is - and always will be. Each of SA's grounds have pitches that seem to have their own distinctive peculiarities. PE has always had an abrasive pitch and favored spin. I thought Aus had their selection right with a specialist spinner. Reverse swing is a factor on such a pitch. Wanderers is quick and bouncy. Kingsmead gives movement with the tide. Centurion is uneven bounce. Newlands probably slowish, even two paced. Not a big spinning wicket. Rewards good bowling. There are no "cooked" pitches, there are just local conditions to consider. And quite frankly, Aus lost the game in their first innings, when reverse swing wasn't even much of a factor, so I don't know what the fuss is all about.

  • on February 27, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    If there is anything I am excited about, it's seeing Morne Morkel bowling agressively on a responsive Cape Town pitch. I really hope he doesn't go back to his usual caught behind wicket taking approach. He keeps on bowling like that and he ll be making head lines instead of Steyn.

  • keralite on February 27, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    Starc has the ability to reverse swing the ball and can bowl yorkers. But he is consistently inconsistent. SA batters will feast on him.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 27, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx (post on February 27, 2014, 11:39 GMT): Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't a few players such as Rogers specifically designated "ball carers" in the field for both Ashes series? I'm not making any accusations of ball-tampering at all - the articles I had in mind made it clear it was just things like keeping one side of the ball shiny. Just curious as to why you think "there is [NOT] a lot of emphasis on ball working in our team [Australia] as much as there is in teams like SA and ENG". I'm pretty sure all international teams need to look after the ball in test cricket - especially in swing-friendly conditions like UK and SA.

  • Samdanh on February 27, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    Aus bowlers could try out offcutters or leg cutters in such conditions. I am not sure if they did that. Even such balls tend to swing, and on such wickets balls bowled in such a manner, even grip the surface on contact and move off the pitch.

  • foozball on February 27, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    @SICHO, I tend to agree with your assessment. I think it was telling in another article where Harris said the bowlers probably don't give the batsmen enough old ball practice: that implies they are not doing enough old ball practice themselves!

    As for the 'hype" surrounding Harris, I think it's fair to say that Harris should have gone straight into surgery after the ashes and opted out of this tour. It would have been an incredibly tough call to make, particularly given the form he was in and rare injury-free run.

    Siddle has been slightly disappointing, but I think you also have to consider what any bowling unit would be like after bowling 150 overs. On a lifeless pitch they needed to be much tighter, and they weren't. Not to mention the batsmen couldn't keep the south africans out in the field long enough to inflict similar pain.

    I agree with McDermott's last statement though: these guys have done well of late, and not always on spicy decks. PE may prove a valuable lesson yet!

  • xtrafalgarx on February 27, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    The best reverse swinger we have is surprisingly Mitchell Starc. I thought Harris might be able to get some but either we weren't good enough or we couldn't look after our ball well enough. I'm not sure if there is a lot of emphasis on ball working in our team as much as there is in teams like SA and ENG.

  • GermanPlayer on February 27, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Why is it so difficult or everyone to acknowledge that Steyn and Philander, coupled with Morkel are the best bowling attack in the world and at the moment if there is any attack capable o reversing otherthan Pakistan's, it's SA. Please grow up everyone and accept that fact.

  • heathrf1974 on February 27, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    It is a worry that Australian bowlers can't get the swing that teams like South Africa can.

  • arunsubbu on February 27, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    aussies turn to whining whenever they loose.and now suddenly their batting looks like they are tigers at home much like oher teams..

  • on February 27, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    @TheBigBhooda. Doctored again? How exactly was the pitch doctored in PE? I live in PE and have attended test matches for the past 30 years or so. The track has not changed one bit! The predictions, before this test match, about this pitch were spot on. Not rocket science that though, because it has always been that way! In 20 years time, we will still be saying the same thing about the pitch! Stop making making excuses, your unit was beaten by a better unit over the 4 day period, simple really. If this Protea side and this Aus side both payed at 100%, the Proteas would win every time. The Aussies just cannot play genuine swing bowling (reverse or normal) at pace. Oh yeah, the CT pitch will be the same as it always has been! You can get another excuse lined up long before the event this time around! Sour grapes, dude, not a pretty thing.

  • SICHO on February 27, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    Hang on!!! If playing the ball square makes the ball drier and likely to reverse. SA batted for more than 150 overs and were scoring @ the run rate of 2.6 per over. Surely the ball would've reversed a long way. The simple fact is that the oz bowlers weren't good enough to extract anything on that dry surface. If they can't bowl on anything without much pace and bounce, then they should play in Australia where they are good at!!! I'm bit suprised by Harris and Siddle, they seem to be the exact opposite of what the Aussies hyped them to be, inaccurate and inconsistent. Somewhere between pathetic and ordinary. The only reason Oz won the 1st was because of Johnson. The rest of the attack lacks sting.

  • izzidole on February 27, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    I reckon if Harris is not fully fit to bowl in the crucial third test then Bird should come into the side instead of James Pattinson because South Africa no doubt will prepare a similar wicket to the one in Port Elizabeth to nullify the bowling of Mitchell Johnson. Bird who bowls good line and length very similar to Philander will be a better option than Pattinson who will offer enough opportunities to the South African batsmen to score. Bird also swings the ball and could prove very tricky to the opposition batsmen if the wicket offers uneven bounce. One major concern about the selection of Pattinson or Bird at this juncture is their lack of match practice because they have not played any first class or test cricket since the ashes in England last July when they sustained serious injury. Ryan Harris is one of our best paceman and seems to be struggling for rhythm on this tour which is proving very costly to the team. Hope he will be fit enough to make a big impact in the third test.

  • Protears on February 27, 2014, 10:40 GMT

    We signed over our cricketing fate to the "big 3" which has implications that can go for or against South African cricket. If the benefit is more test match cricket that is something we really need, we play half the number of tests the "big 3" play and the gaps are far apart. The implication that worries me is the "big 3" decide on budgetary allocations to development, this is where the element of bad faith comes into it.

    Someone should inform India that just because they bring money doesn't make them big. Maybe when they can beat New Zealand they can be considered a big team.

  • StarveTheLizard on February 27, 2014, 10:40 GMT

    We Australian fans can say whatever we like about the results. We won't be number one again until we can prosper consistently overseas. We are always going to face home teams hiding behind manipulated pitches.

    We don't have the batsmen to play and win on them. Until we do, we can expect to be runners up.

  • shillingsworth on February 27, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    'The discrepancy was a rare question mark against the mentoring of McDermott' Another ridiculous kneejerk reaction to the result of one test in which, as ever, the primary responsibility lies with the bowlers. Before the Ashes series, this same writer was singing the praises of Saker. If Australia triumph in Cape Town, prepare for another U turn - there will presumably be 'question marks' against Donald.

  • shillingsworth on February 27, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    @ragav999 - You're correct that McGrath's injury had a significant impact but the 'umpiring howlers' excuse is hilarious and the implication that the bowling of Flintoff, Jones and co had no impact equally so.

  • HardyHulley on February 27, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    @First_Drop I'm not sure what your point is; Philander and Steyn (in particular) have been able to extract prodigious reverse-swing on dry wickets for a long time. Steyn has been doing it for years (look at the Youtube video of his seven-wicket spell in India in 2010). The fact that they can do it is due to their skill. That's why they are the number one and two bowlers in the world (daylight is third).

  • SurlyCynic on February 27, 2014, 9:34 GMT

    I'm just hoping for a good match with no whingeing from the Aussies. Don't really care who wins as long as the talking is done on the field rather than moaning to the press.

    In other words, the way Aussies used to play the game.

  • Ragav999 on February 27, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    @ArnoldVDH : Aussies have been shown up only twice. SA have been shown up at home against Aussies since 1990.

  • Ragav999 on February 27, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    I am tired of fans referring to Ashes 2005 whenever Australian batting folds to reverse swing. England managed to win mainly due to McGrath stepping on the ball and umpiring howlers.

  • xtrafalgarx on February 27, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    I want Doolan at no.3. Marsh has shows time and again that the dry patch of runs is just around the corner, Doolan is a better long term prospect, he has only played 2 tests.

  • ArnoldVDH on February 27, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    @pat_one_back

    No you are wrong.

    The Aussies have been shown up time and time again. Among others, like the 3-0 loss in England and the 4-0 loss against India.

    We've had 1 blip in a test so don't compare your bowling attack with ours just because you won an Ashes series.

  • azzaman333 on February 27, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    So glad McDermott is our bowling coach with comments like this. No wonder our bowlers have prospered under his tutelage.

  • Ozcricketwriter on February 27, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    The series is tied 1-1. There is no reason to suggest that this pitch or ground will favour either team. Last time they played here, Australia were miles on top before an extraordinary 3rd innings collapse and a 4th innings comeback handed South Africa an unlikely victory. This match could go either way. I am just hoping for a good, clean match. Don't really care who wins as long as it is fair.

  • on February 27, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    NalinWikkey Australia could not reverse the ball because their ball shiner does not know what he's doing and they don't have the skill to reverse the ball. If there is any reverse steyn will find it.

  • First_Drop on February 27, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    A match between two sides with the 4 best fast bowlers in the world, and suddenly, one side (not one bowler, but 3 fast bowlers from one team!) are able to get significant swing (where the other team was able to achieve almost none)? Steyn, Morkey and Philander suddenly just all got better at the same time?? Really??

  • bijja on February 27, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    What a load of codswallop!

  • PrasPunter on February 27, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    To add, if SA have been able to beat Aus only after a change in the nature of the track, then wondering how tall claims keep floating around !!

  • PrasPunter on February 27, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    @pat_one_back , exactly my thought - each team won and lost only when the conditions suited/not suited them. So where exactly is the difference ?

  • jmcilhinney on February 27, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    I think that it's true that the Australian bowlers could well overthink things here. Even before Australia's success in the Ashes, their bowlers had been performing quite well and it was always the batting that was the main issue. If they didn't do anything specifically different in the last match than they have been doing over their period of relative success then it's just one of those things. If they can identify something that they did differently though, then being able to avoid that in the upcoming game would obviously be a good thing. I think that they just need to think about what they've done well in the past and try to do it again. It's really the batsmen that need to think about trying something a bit new.

  • BradmanBestEver on February 27, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    It is good that some people from strong corporate governance countries are continuing to probe apparent anomalies. It is a pity that the English do not follow some of the Aussie's example.

  • Protears on February 27, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    It goes back to the Ashes in 2005 when Andrew Flintoff ran riot through the australians on that tour. Unlike James Anderson Flintoff like Steyn got extremely late swing at 140km/h or so. Anderson swings from the hand and can easily be read, Steyn and Flintstone swung it very late like the Waqar and Akrams did and it is at times unplayable.

  • on February 27, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Aussies tend to do more talking then practising ..... I hope that they don't become that same aussie team which didnt win a match till the last ashes

  • NalinWikkey on February 27, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    McDermott's explanation is not totally logical, if it simply ball wear in the square how come when SA batted for 5 sessions, Aust could not get ball to reverse??

  • on February 27, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    Its time for Australia to move on. Instead of pondering over the collapse, they should concentrate on Cape Town. In test cricket such collapses against good bowlers / bowling are not new. Even sides with top batsmen have succumbed against top quality bowling. How to play reverse swing (& if batsmen are capable of handling reverse swing) is more important than trying to find out how Steyn or someone else achieves it. (Steyn vs Tendulkar at capeTown 2011 is a classic example). More important so when you have Warner, Rogers, Doolan, Marsh & Smith in first 6 - not exactly the line up that will at least compel opposition to scratch their heads but just a line-up that can is just enough to make test rankings (at least as of today). Last test was also reminder to some of the aussies that test bowling is not only about being over-aggressive or intimidating but its also about (more so) being skillful and being able to sniff & snatch the right opportunity when it comes.

  • pat_one_back on February 27, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    Unmatchable @MalikMuradAli? Funny I recall them being completely outclassed just 2 tests ago, all depends on what surface and how many runs the batsmen chalk up for them to bowl to. These attacks are 1 test a piece with the decider to come, let's be discerning and hold the big statements for now.

  • on February 27, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    you cant keep sa bowlers out of the game.Kindly dont compare the trio with aussies bowlers because sa bowlers are best since last couple of years!

  • Malik_Murad on February 27, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    I agree that Johnson is in his prime form since last few months but the kind of bowling combination SA have in trio of Steyn, Philander and Morkel is unmatchable. This lethal bowling attack has done wonders in the past. So a great last test match ahead between two great teams...

  • on February 27, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    Finally we get word from the Aussie Management. Thanks for been the good sportsmanship in cleating the air that its not the all in the Aussie team who feel no one can play well except themselves.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on February 27, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    Finally we get word from the Aussie Management. Thanks for been the good sportsmanship in cleating the air that its not the all in the Aussie team who feel no one can play well except themselves.

  • Malik_Murad on February 27, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    I agree that Johnson is in his prime form since last few months but the kind of bowling combination SA have in trio of Steyn, Philander and Morkel is unmatchable. This lethal bowling attack has done wonders in the past. So a great last test match ahead between two great teams...

  • on February 27, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    you cant keep sa bowlers out of the game.Kindly dont compare the trio with aussies bowlers because sa bowlers are best since last couple of years!

  • pat_one_back on February 27, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    Unmatchable @MalikMuradAli? Funny I recall them being completely outclassed just 2 tests ago, all depends on what surface and how many runs the batsmen chalk up for them to bowl to. These attacks are 1 test a piece with the decider to come, let's be discerning and hold the big statements for now.

  • on February 27, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    Its time for Australia to move on. Instead of pondering over the collapse, they should concentrate on Cape Town. In test cricket such collapses against good bowlers / bowling are not new. Even sides with top batsmen have succumbed against top quality bowling. How to play reverse swing (& if batsmen are capable of handling reverse swing) is more important than trying to find out how Steyn or someone else achieves it. (Steyn vs Tendulkar at capeTown 2011 is a classic example). More important so when you have Warner, Rogers, Doolan, Marsh & Smith in first 6 - not exactly the line up that will at least compel opposition to scratch their heads but just a line-up that can is just enough to make test rankings (at least as of today). Last test was also reminder to some of the aussies that test bowling is not only about being over-aggressive or intimidating but its also about (more so) being skillful and being able to sniff & snatch the right opportunity when it comes.

  • NalinWikkey on February 27, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    McDermott's explanation is not totally logical, if it simply ball wear in the square how come when SA batted for 5 sessions, Aust could not get ball to reverse??

  • on February 27, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Aussies tend to do more talking then practising ..... I hope that they don't become that same aussie team which didnt win a match till the last ashes

  • Protears on February 27, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    It goes back to the Ashes in 2005 when Andrew Flintoff ran riot through the australians on that tour. Unlike James Anderson Flintoff like Steyn got extremely late swing at 140km/h or so. Anderson swings from the hand and can easily be read, Steyn and Flintstone swung it very late like the Waqar and Akrams did and it is at times unplayable.

  • BradmanBestEver on February 27, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    It is good that some people from strong corporate governance countries are continuing to probe apparent anomalies. It is a pity that the English do not follow some of the Aussie's example.

  • jmcilhinney on February 27, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    I think that it's true that the Australian bowlers could well overthink things here. Even before Australia's success in the Ashes, their bowlers had been performing quite well and it was always the batting that was the main issue. If they didn't do anything specifically different in the last match than they have been doing over their period of relative success then it's just one of those things. If they can identify something that they did differently though, then being able to avoid that in the upcoming game would obviously be a good thing. I think that they just need to think about what they've done well in the past and try to do it again. It's really the batsmen that need to think about trying something a bit new.