South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 1st day

Warner and Clarke put Australia on top

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

March 1, 2014

Comments: 215 | Text size: A | A

Australia 331 for 3 (Warner 135, Clarke 92*, Smith 50*) v South Africa
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


David Warner drives through the off side, South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 1st day, March 1, 2014
David Warner was in fine form on the first day in Cape Town © Getty Images
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  • David Warner's 135 is his seventh Test century, but only his second in overseas games, both of which have come in this series.
  • Before this series, Warner's overseas Test average was 25 (and his home average 52). His overseas average is now 36.70.
  • Warner's aggregate in the series is 398; the highest by an Australian opener versus South Africa since their readmission to international cricket is 429, by Matthew Hayden in 2001-02. Phil Hughes had 415 in 2008-09, while Warner is currently in third place, with possibly one more innings to go past Hayden.
  • Of the 135 runs he scored, 80 were made off Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and MorneMorkel, off 87 balls. Overall in his Test career, Warner has scored 399 runs off these three bowlers and been dismissed by them six times, giving him anaverage of 66.50 against them.
  • Michael Clarke's unbeaten 92 is his first score of 25 or more in 12 Test innings. Since scoring 148 in the first innings of the Adelaide Test against England, Clarke's highest in his next 11 innings was 24.
  • The 114-run stand between Clarke and Steven Smith is their second century partnership in 11 Test innings, after the 214 they added against England at Old Trafford last year. In their other nine partnerships, their highest stand is 37.

Ordinarily, a near run-a-ball 135 from David Warner, or the sidelining of Dale Steyn with a rare injury would be the defining moment of a day's play. Both of those certainly contributed to Australia's dominance on the first day of the series decider in Cape Town, but the image that will linger longer was the sight of Morne Morkel tenderising Michael Clarke during a brutal spell of short-pitched bowling. And of Clarke surviving, fighting through it and reaching stumps within sight of a century.

If he should reach it, it will be one of his finest Test hundreds. Not for the class of his strokeplay but for his first-rate bloody-mindedness. The fact that Clarke survived Morkel's assault with his wicket and bone structure intact was a victory for Australia, albeit a painful one, and by stumps the Australians had moved on to 331 for 3 and they had a well-settled Clarke at the crease on 92 alongside Steven Smith on 50.

Their partnership had grown to 114 and although Morkel asked some more questions late in the afternoon with the second new ball, including jarring Clarke on the thumb with another short ball that led to a visit from the physio, South Africa managed no more than one wicket per session. They sorely missed Steyn, who limped off with a hamstring strain after bowling the first ball of his 11th over, and his ability to bowl for the rest of the match remained in doubt.

Steyn's fitness is the stuff of legend - he has missed only one Test in the past five and a half years - but there could hardly be a worse time for him to succumb, with a series on the line. Initially it was he who probed Clarke early in his innings, but then it was Morkel who sustained an around-the-wicket line and peppered him with short deliveries that struck him all over the body.

Much like South Africa's batsmen against Mitchell Johnson in the first Test in Centurion, Clarke knew what was coming but was unable to find a comfortable way of handling it. With no half-centuries in his past 11 innings, Clarke was searching for a purple patch, but not the kind that Morkel caused on his left forerarm after banging in a few short ones that left the Australian captain bruised.

Worse for Clarke was the blow he took on the left jaw after he failed to get out of the way of another 147kph Morkel bouncer that ricocheted off his shoulder and up under the helmet, bringing the physio immediately on to the ground. Clarke remained at the crease, though, although he was lucky to survive the very next ball when another Morkel bumper lobbed off his gloves and narrowly missed the stumps while also evading the short-leg fieldsman.

But for all of that, Morkel did not get his man, and remained wicketless at stumps. Clarke started to find some relief, and some runs, and eventually reached his half-century from his 122nd delivery. Late in the day, Clarke was able to latch on to a couple of short balls from Morkel, pulling and cutting him for boundaries that screamed revenge, and it was a fine way to end a day that began with him winning the toss and choosing to bat at a venue where Australia were last dismissed for 47.

Clarke had strong support from Smith, who struck six fours and one six and reached his fifty from his 91st delivery, upper-cutting Morkel over the cordon for four in the penultimate over of the day. But it was Warner who really set Australia on their path with 135 from 152 balls, his first century in the first innings of a Test since South Africa visited Australia in late 2012. He brought up the milestone from his 104th ball with a pull fine for four off the bowling of Kyle Abbott.

Warner was the dominant partner in all three of his half-century stands, first 65 with Chris Rogers, then 73 with Alex Doolan and finally a 79-run combination with Clarke, who moved back up to No.4 to accommodate Shane Watson at No.6. Despite striking 12 fours and a six, Warner rarely took a silly risk to maintain his high strike-rate.

He began quickly with three fours in the sixth over against Philander - an upper cut and a couple of pulls - although he nearly became overconfident and on the last ball of that over was fortunate to survive a leading edge that lobbed just over the head of cover. Warner was strong when driving, cutting and pulling, and there seemed little South Africa could do to slow his progress as he rotated the strike throughout all his partnerships.

He brought up his half-century from exactly 50 balls with a rare five, when he took a sharp single off Steyn and picked up four overthrows when Philander's throw ricocheted off the stumps and away to the boundary. Before tea, South Africa had to settle for the wickets of Rogers and Doolan, both of whom made starts but failed to go on.

Rogers looked solid in reaching 25 from 41 balls before he edged to slip in the first over of Steyn's second spell, and Doolan had 20 when he pulled a Philander delivery that was too full and skied a catch to mid-on. It became one wicket per session for South Africa when Warner tickled an edge behind off JP Duminy after tea, but Clarke and Smith ensured 217 for 3 did not become five or six down. And in doing so, Clarke gave the spectators something to remember.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 2, 2014, 12:12 GMT)

@poms_have_short_memories (post on March 2, 2014, 11:02 GMT): on yet another limb, where are RandyOZ and Jonesy2? Are they both too busy trolling other countries' threads to realise Australia are actually doing well here as they've always predicted? Maybe both bad-weather fiends...

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 2, 2014, 12:05 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresPlz, generally he's not edgy first up and the ball barely touching the gloves and onto the middle of the bat might have brought a loud appeal and a ridiculous review, but it was his first ball and wasn't a bad stroke. Just seemed chaotic as SA were appealing for nothing. His first over vs Morkel was poor though and was wafting a bit. Again, I think it's because he's trying to be overly aggressive. Uh, there goes Haddin. Looks like we're trying to up the rate here. All a bit silly really...

Posted by disco_bob on (March 2, 2014, 11:26 GMT)

@poms_have_short_memories, the last I heard of FFL he had a breakdown and was making wicker baskets in a psych ward in Blackpool.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 11:25 GMT)

@ScottStevo If the first couple of edges go for boundaries then he usually makes it look fairly comfortable until he gets out. If he starts out tied down though he makes everything look difficult. The first couple of overs he faced today he looked absolutely terrible, slashing wildly and hitting air, getting hit on the gloves by Elgar of all people, and so on.

Posted by poms_have_short_memories on (March 2, 2014, 11:02 GMT)

On a totally unrelated topic, does anyone know what has happened to Front Foot Lunge? Just another pommy fair weathered fan eh? Some Sth African fans said after the 2nd test that if MJ breaks down then that's the end of the Australian attack, well that appears to be the case with Steyn and Sth Africa

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 2, 2014, 10:57 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresPlz, really? Generally he makes it look easy, almost too easy...then gets himself out. My issue is that Watson won't get a chance to play a proper innings here and will try and be too aggressive. Great for the team if he does and does it well, but not great if he gets out trying to slog the spinners (as he almost did the 2nd last ball before tea!)

Posted by disco_bob on (March 2, 2014, 10:55 GMT)

@social_monster09, regarding your comment about dungar.bob, mate you seriously need to understand his reply was sarcastic when he *quoted* Clarke as '2nd tier batsman'.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 10:54 GMT)

I have the good fortune of seeing Clarke bat for a long time at SCG against SA January 2009. initially Aussies found going tough, but he struggled his way through to a 100. By the fsy end Australians were 267/6 and they went on to win the game. Why batting in test match is so difficult over other forms of the game was exemplified.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

@DickCam My guess is they'll up the run rate with the intention of getting past 500 around an hour after lunch and then it'll just be a matter of how much time they want to give SA to bat before tea. I'm guessing they'll want 20-30 minutes at them.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 2, 2014, 10:41 GMT)

I wonder when Clarke will declare? He is renowned for being attacking. He will also know that the pitch seems to be playing ok so even if Aus have to bat again, it wont be terrifying. All eyes on Graeme Smith after declaration to see if he can get runs and lay a solid platform. Best case for SA now is a draw after losing the worlds best bowler after only10 overs on day 1 and what seems to be a fairly docile pitch.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 10:38 GMT)

go Aussie go...show them

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 10:36 GMT)

What a fantastic century by Michael Clarke. I think he will treasure this one somewhere in his top 3. Thats a captain with big match temperament. Seems like a great guy too. He must be feeling like Iron Man at the moment. Australia must be proud. With Haddin still to bat, and even Johnson - this is looking scary. They are making SA look sub standard. Can't believe Elgar has bowled 22 overs - Smith might be losing the plot.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (March 2, 2014, 10:36 GMT)

@ Shaggy076 - I agree. Hopefully Watto, Haddin and MJ come out and increase the run rate so we can be 550 by tea.

Posted by AnthonyMD on (March 2, 2014, 10:35 GMT)

Do not under estimate the innings of Michael Clarke, he was bashed, bruised and beaten however the Saffers couldn't get him out. I have been obsessed with Test cricket since the mid seventies and not since Allan Border standing up to the West Indies at their peak have I been more impressed with an Australian innings, seriously folks, this bloke can play.

Posted by social_monster09 on (March 2, 2014, 10:30 GMT)

@Zaccharia Hilton Abbott-Atchison.. You are absolutely right mate, just ignore him & his comment. Hahaha Michael Clarke a 2nd tier batsman. @dunger.bob are you really watching cricket or just you shows your frustration. Clarke no doubt the best batsman of his era after Ponting. No other batsman play spin bowling even in subcontinent conditions better than him. You are the 1st & last person I think who said Clarke a 2nd Tier Batsman. Wow you are a man with no cricketing brain!!!!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 10:25 GMT)

If Australia ended up scoring 550 with RR 4, than it would be an awesome effort to bring result of this match into the play. I guess Safers will try to score under 3 to try to make it a close game

Posted by DickCam on (March 2, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

@ ShutTheGate, expect a declaration just before, or just after tea. Unless of course SA manage to bowl Oz out before then.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 2, 2014, 10:15 GMT)

@Manni Manni, wow you seem to have changed your tune somewhat, now you are making excuses for South Africa before Australia have even bowled on the pitch.

Don't forget your first post "CLARKE seems to have a SERIOUS PROBLEM against the SHORT BALL" Clarke currently on 127* most batsmen would like to have his serious problems.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 10:13 GMT)

You can always trust Watto to make any pitch look like a minefield.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 2, 2014, 10:11 GMT)

ShutTheGate; Must win game drawn series no good, I would be declaring 30 minutes before tea so the bowlers get a couple of cracks with a new ball.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 2, 2014, 10:09 GMT)

At 3.7RR and 1 wicket per session, Australia will be able to declare at stumps on 666/6

Posted by Henry_Crun on (March 2, 2014, 10:03 GMT)

@terrythai- The average time it's taken selectors to drop Hughes after a big score is..... 3 Tests. if CA is consistent Doolan's unearned time in the spotlight should end about Monday.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 9:55 GMT)

SA and Australia are the 2 tp sides in World Cricket and it has been a good contest in the series so far.Warner, Smith, Johnson have excelled for the Aussies and Devilliers, Amla, Steyn and Duminy have excelled for SA. Coming to this match the series is at 1-1 and the stage is set for a big game. As a true lover of the game I want to see the REAL CONTEST, I have enjoyed some contests like Lillee and Tommo, bowling at Richards, Lloyd and Greenidge, WI quicks bowling at Sunny Gavaskar, Lillee and party against Botham, Tendulkar and Lara vs Mcgrath, Sehwag vs Shoaib Akhtar, Petersen vs Warne and so on.I was looking forward to a fully charged Steyn bowling at Aussies especially Clarke but unfortunately he has been sidelined in this match with injury,lucky for Clarke.I feel the real spice has been taken out of the contest. As for the state of this match Aussies are in a good position but this a dead pitch and I can't see OZ taking 20 wkts,most likely result - a HIGH SCORING DRAW.

Posted by cccrider on (March 2, 2014, 9:55 GMT)

Australia look like they want to bat all day. Good. Those here who want a quick 450 then declare are fools. Use the conditions, make a mountain and give them 3 days to try and save the match on a dry wicket.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (March 2, 2014, 9:52 GMT)

If the Aussies keep going well should they declare later in the day or bat for a whole 2 days?

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 2, 2014, 9:48 GMT)

@terrythai, it was yet another poor innings however you wish to write it up. You say he should be given the same chances as Hughes yet one of these guys came to SA on debut and scored a ton in both innings of the same test match. The other has scratched around and barely made 20 and heaped pressure on his teammates. It's an easy choice to persevere with a player when he's actually achieved something like that. Yet, you also seem to forget, that we didn't persevere with Hughes and have dropped him numerous times. When you put it into perspective that way, I'll be surprised if Doolan lasts 27 tests at all...

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 9:45 GMT)

Instead of bickering on here can't you just enjoy an excellent series of Test cricket? This is such a great endorsement for the long version of the game it makes my heart sing. 2 teams belting each other, like 2 heavyweights in a title fight. mark my words, there is a twist or 2 yet to come here. This series also is a lesson to all the armchair (and actual) pundits against the follies of shortsighted judgement. After the first test, Aus fans were crowing saying SA are over rated, Steyn is average etc. And then after the second, SA fans were saying the exact same thing about Aus.

There was no shame in losing the 2nd Test for Aus, as SA is no. 1 for a reason.

Still, if I were a SA batsmen, I'd be a little nervous to face Johnson and co this afternoon when Clarke sends them in.

Posted by terrythai on (March 2, 2014, 9:42 GMT)

Shaggy076, I do not pick who plays for Aus, up to the selectors, but when they are given a chance should be given a fair chance. BTW Cowan played 18 Tests for Average 31, selectors gave him his chance didn't they?

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 2, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

terrythai; Then Cowan and Cosgrove should be playing they play for Tasmania and have better form than Doolan. They all get an equal chance to make it to the test team its called first class cricket and those that succeed at that level should get the opportunities at test level.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (March 2, 2014, 9:06 GMT)

@Jagger.... your assumptions could very well be right although I still believe there is enough for the bowlers to give Mitch, Rhino and Patto heart, but if it is a slow dry wicket on day1 doctored or not they will still have to face Lyon on days 4 and 5.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

@Alsmug. I can't believe you actually think Aus are the real no 1 side. Is it based on one ashes series victory. The current Aus team is so brittle, capable of collapsing at any time and a bowling attack that is so average the moment the going gets tough. You fully deserve your number 3 status and should look forward to more mid table battles in the years ahead against the English.

Posted by milepost on (March 2, 2014, 8:58 GMT)

SA were batted out of the match yesterday. They will already be planning a draw. It's unlucky to have Steyn out, I love watching him bowl but that's just one of those things that goes with sports.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 8:20 GMT)

And I would just quickly add that Amla has been badged by Johnson a couple of times this series, has he not? He also delivered a nasty blow to Devilliers forearm. Looks like it's not just Clarke that has problems.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 8:20 GMT)

We are on a hiding to nothing at the mo. Aus have a great foundation. Our main strike bowler is out. There is no excuse. If we continue to not perform in big matches like this then we deserve the choker tag. Aus will want to go big on the runs as quickly as possible without having a collapse. I doubt Morkel will be the one to get the breakthroughs because he has lacked innovation. I feel he and Abbot must dry up runs if possible to make it easier for Philander to take the lead role. I dont think we can be conclusive about potential outcomes until SA bat, but currently the chances of an SA victory look less than 10%. If Smith can muster up one of those great scores and be backed up well by Amla, Faf, AB and Duminy then maybe we have a game. I dont expect much from Elgar and Petersen because of the pressure. The Aus bowling attack will be smelling blood and they are very good at going in for the kill.

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 2, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

@ ModernUmps: I'm going in to bat for @ Dipankar Bhattacharya. I don't think he meant any offence but was pointing out that Australia is a bit boom or bust. I kind of agree with him. We are definitely capable of piling on 500+ in one innings and losing 9/100 the next. .. It's one of the things we've got to fix.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

@Manni Manni, you could say the same of Steyn bowling at left handers. Besides that, while Clarke does have his battles against the short ball, he is an exceptional player of spin bowling. Anyway, his 92 not out against your tallest and quickest bowler looks like handing Aus the series, enjoy!

Posted by Jagger on (March 2, 2014, 8:11 GMT)

@ rickyvoncanterbury - I don't think so. TV Commentators are just following the script. My thoughts are SA were more worried about facing the new Aussie line up on a lively first day wicket so eliminated any chance of it. South Africa has proven it doctors its pitches to suit the home side, the 2nd test curator flat out admitted it. It would have looked pretty silly if the so-called number 1 team in the world won the toss and fielded, at home, on the most notable spinning pitch in the country. Quite rightly questions would have been asked with some very embarrassing answers to follow. There was no mistake. They fear Mitch.

Posted by terrythai on (March 2, 2014, 8:10 GMT)

DragonCricketer, the run machine Hughes made 1 and 1 in his last Test, Doolan has done much better than that so far, right? The run machine has played 26 Tests at an average of 32. Doolan is playing in his third Test, do you not think he is entitled to an equal chance that has been provided Hughes.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 7:52 GMT)

@Dipankar Bhattacharya Your comment makes no sense. I consider it a side effect from the recently bygone era of one of the greatest sides every to take a cricket field where expectations on those who follow are far too high. If Australia is going from zeroes to heroes in your mind aren't SA doing exactly the same thing?

Posted by terrythai on (March 2, 2014, 7:42 GMT)

ScottStevo and Mitty2, I hope you both have the good grace to admit you were wrong when Doolan is still in the Aus side in 2 years time, and consistently delivering good scores. You harp on about his FC average of 37, but forget that he, as a Tasmanian, has the hardest ground in Aus to score runs, known and recognized by all. And facing 66 balls and in a partnership of 73 is not really an abject failure for a number 3 if you know anything about cricket at all, depending on the circumstances. He will eventually thrive if confidence is shown in him. I think Lehman will persevere.

Posted by AlSmug on (March 2, 2014, 7:37 GMT)

what an unsporty deck, its clear sth africa are aware Australia are just to good on a sporty fast track. Slow and dull well its the soffs way, i hope it bites them in the batooty!If ever i have seen a wicket for a dull draw, inspire by a scared home side, this it it,regardless of the result, the cricketing world know Australia are no1 test side

Posted by wapuser on (March 2, 2014, 7:35 GMT)

I feel like cartman waiting for the Nintendo wii to come out. Can somebody please fast forward the clock by an hour. Hopefully we will get 2 see SA fight back today.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (March 2, 2014, 7:33 GMT)

Well batted Australia. Good to see Clarke playing a great tough innings. Australia should declare for about 630. Another great 20 buy Doolan. When are they going to get the run machine Hughes in the side?

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

Australia are like Pakistan.... One day hero another day zero

Posted by wapuser on (March 2, 2014, 7:30 GMT)

@ appu dasa, please think b4 u spk.. Aus reaching 450 is a fact but getting all out is something sa will wish for Sa reaching 150/1 is also not possible that to today. Its also something they will wish to achieve...

Posted by JOHNCSPACE on (March 2, 2014, 7:07 GMT)

Effortless, batting by Warner, alot of effort by Clarke grinding back form and the ever confident Smithy the Aussie...batting blunted the mighty Steyn off the field. Morkel is as steady as can be....silly to ready another and another ONE lop sided article by some cricketinfo blogger atout Clarke....get real you clowns...AUSTRALIA is CRICKET goes by the "CA" logo, meaning CRICKET AUSTRALIA and is here to stay. We enjoy the game however its played. So what if SA is ICC's no. 1 not ours go tell that to CA, makes no difference, it matters on the field where there's play. Can't imagine what's going to happen when MJ gets the ball and Lyon starts fingering you all on a 4th day pitch if it lasts that long.

Posted by whofriggincares on (March 2, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

@lyoung@ keep on reliving the past with the 47 blah,blah,blah the thing that most SA supporters seem to forget is that they were bowled out for under a hundred in that match as well. Test cricket just throws up days like that every now and again! I think I will live in the present and the current scoreline is I believe 3/331 mmm in a series deciding match it has a nice ring to it doesn't it. @manni manni, welcome to the club of people that doesn't rate Clarke as top class , you are currently the only member of that particular club. Reminds me of a Pakistan supporter on here the other day saying Sangakarra isn't as good a player as Misbah Ul Haq LOL. Some people are just blinded by loyalty and won't accept things for what they are . A bit sad really.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 2, 2014, 6:59 GMT)

Manni Manni; Clarke is 92 not out against short pitch bowling what is the issue? How can you claim history says he would have got out to Steyn because he is poor at pace bowling, Steyn is not express pace. He looked very tame in the 11 overs he bowled. History says in the last 7 tests against South Africa with Steyn he has scored two double tons and a 150. Yes history shows he has really had troubles with Steyn recently. As for the short pitch bowing he got out to one short ball in the Ashes and yet to get out to a short ball here. He looks awkward but is rarely out in that manner. Clarke is a great, currently struggling with form yet he is 92 not out here. So shut up and be gracious.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 6:56 GMT)

Haha, anybody calling Michael Clarke a second tier batsman clearly knows nothing about cricket. Just ignore it.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 2, 2014, 6:55 GMT)

MikeNQN; Yes straight after South Africa lost 9/47. If history repeats Australia still are going to have an enormous lead to defend in the final innings.

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 2, 2014, 6:11 GMT)

@Manni Manni: The reason Clarke has a self confessed issue with the short ball is because he has 50 yo back in a 30 yo body. It's not because his technique, reflexes or eye is poor but more because his movement is restricted. He knows it, the bowlers know it yet he still manages to knock up single, double and triple centuries at regular intervals. Not too bad for a 2nd tier batter I'd say.

Posted by abiram0812 on (March 2, 2014, 5:30 GMT)

well done aussies....michael clarke you showing your class against speed track and keep your best against world number 1 team. he is leading from front and thats a skipper who always lead from front and back in form....looking so good to you playing and skipper done his job for his team .hopes bowlers will be do this same job for the team ....

AUSSIEssssssssssss go on...........

Posted by ChuckerCarn on (March 2, 2014, 4:52 GMT)

I was trying to get to bed when Clarke was beginning his innings, but it was completely compelling cricket. I went to bed once he was 30. He was a bit fortunate, but this just adds to his stocks. If Aussies didn't already love him, they will now. I couldn't help being reminded of SRW toughing it out in the Caribbean on his way to a double ton. Take note, there will not be a single tear in Australia regarding Clarke's tough treatment, this is test match cricket, between two tough teams that play it the way its meant to be played. Totally brilliant day for Australian cricket.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 4:47 GMT)

Sehwag during their IPL days once said that Warner would make into the test side, so he did & bats in the same way that Sehwag does. Unfortunately the man himself lost his way & is out of the side & doesnt look like he is going to make a come back .Such a dashing opener could easily change the course of the game in a single session or so, hampers the rhythm of even the best of the bowlers!!!!

Posted by sasmit_cricket on (March 2, 2014, 4:45 GMT)

@Joseph: I would not call it a dropped catch, if you are talking about Smith not latching on the ball that came off Clarke's bat (when elgar was bowling).

Posted by valvolux on (March 2, 2014, 4:17 GMT)

The aussies need to go big here, 500+. Its good for batting, but it is only going to get harder so if they can, bat all of tomorrow. At least edges are carrying here...this pitch wont blunt johnson like PE and unlike south africa, australia wont be serving up two part time spinners to feast off. Warner sure knows how to walk the talk, im very much looking forward to smiths promised crtique of him at the end of the match, particulalry if australia win. As mark waugh and co pointed out, AB was once again rubbing the ball between his rough gripped gloves, i wonder what his opinion on that will be - im sure it wont be "warner was right". Sour grapes is being bullied by johnson and blaming the pitch, then doctoring a pitch to blunt him and getting out to him for the 3rd time in 4 innings. Smith is gonna cop it first dig, i wonder if he will show the guts Clarke did....i doubt it.

Posted by bren19 on (March 2, 2014, 3:57 GMT)

Good try Morne - did not work however and I suspect pup might just throw Mitch the ball when you come into bat. Watch your head mate.

Posted by Hammer-time on (March 2, 2014, 3:41 GMT)

Great stuff by the batsman on day 1 , Warner is fast becoming the most feared batsman around , if he continue`s to bat for 70 plus overs Australia will always be dominating on the scoreboard . it doesn`t seem to matter to him what is happening at the around him he just gets on with his own game , showing great mental strength. Clarke must love Cape Town as his best 2 innings he has ever played have been here . Aussies are getting better with every test and will be interesting how SA approach the rest of this test as they tend to get very defensive when it`s not going there way.

Posted by Batmanian on (March 2, 2014, 3:21 GMT)

Really looking forward to Watson's approach. In a sense, it's the pressure of no pressure: a quick fifty would certainly impress and be a genuine contribution to the cause here, whereas his numerous sub-century knocks up the order always left a feeling of underachievement and, often, gratuitous haste.

Posted by CustomKid on (March 2, 2014, 3:11 GMT)

A pretty interesting day of quality test cricket. Rock solid opening with Warner in sublime touch, probably the best ive seen him play. The only chance was a leading edge that cleared cover. Morkle to Clarke was excellent. I don't think I've seen a batsman worked over like that since Walsh and Ambrose. If Clarke makes 3 figures it will be one of his mor satisfying knocks especially with the series on the line. A real shame for Steyn and SA, losing him leaves a gaping hole but the rest must stand up. If australia post 450 or more that puts massive score board pressure on SA regardless of how flat the wicket is, so it will be interesting to see their response. At this stage of the game I'd much rather be in Aussie shoes and let's hope the boys can drive it home. The one thing that does disappoint me is the fact the toss is so crucial. Such flat wickets really do give the team batting first a real leg up, especially if they can cash in like aus have done. 1st session day 2 will be crucial

Posted by Int.Curator on (March 2, 2014, 2:59 GMT)

SA bowling day 1 ?

Physically not up to it. Steyn

Tactically not up to it. Philander

Skilfully not up to it. Elagar , Duminy

Mentally not up to it. Morne.

Inexperienced. Abbot

Posted by line.and.length on (March 2, 2014, 2:58 GMT)

Australia just simply continuing it's domination of the temporary "number 1 team saffas".... In oz they were dominated 2 of the 3 tests and fluked one win , just like this series....except now there's no rain to worry about (gabba) and have a full arsenal of bowlers to choose from. ... normal service about to be restored. ... for all of you ignorant people out there, when oz and windies dominated, they actually really dominated

Posted by RJHB on (March 2, 2014, 2:51 GMT)

Great batting from Clarke, or should I say great resilience. He is playing the short ball terribly and I don't really understand why. He's been playing test cricket for ten years without it really being noted as a significant weakness, but now, he wears a target on his head instead of a baggy green! And while Broad and Morkel are good bowlers, who average 30 I might add, they are NOWHERE near the WI circa 1980s. Maybe the eyes or reflexes are starting to go a little? Maybe the end is a bit closer than we think? And I still don't get why so many people don't like him! What's he gotta do?!

Posted by lyoung on (March 2, 2014, 2:51 GMT)

Feel Australia needs to put on 600 for the 1st innings to safeguard against another 47 all out in the 2nd innings.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 2:47 GMT)

David Warner is a genius. Not just because of his batting. He dared to bring attention to the possibility of dubious ball management by the South Africans. Now, they are not getting the reverse swing they profited from in PE. Coincidence? I can't say for certain. And as for the Australian team's response to Warners's comments - they have to be seen to disagree in public, but privately they love him for what he said.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 2:33 GMT)

The prophesy for today is the Aussies will be bowled out for just over 450. SA batting will be at stumps around 150/1 wicket. The battle will ease on third day and SA will get a small lead over Aussies for about 80 to 100 runs. Then it will be the turn of the bowlers on both sides who will dominate the bat. As i see SA will squeeze through in the end. Amla will be the guy who will shine for SA

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 2, 2014, 2:21 GMT)

A lot can happen in 4 days but an SA win is certainly looking the least likely result in this game. Warner showing why it's so crucial to get him early. Unfortunately for SA, dropping him so many times has given him more time at the crease and just increased his confidence. I didn't see any of the game but, if the pitch is as good for batting as the score could suggest, this might just be a high-scoring draw, which would be unfortunate for the series. Even if it is a good batting pitch though, an injured Steyn and Johnson bowling with runs on the board tips things significantly in Australia's favour. Lots of work for SA to do from here.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (March 2, 2014, 2:09 GMT)

As I said earlier in the week the toss and the start would be crucial and Australia ticked both boxes. They are in a commanding position. The wicket seems to me a bit like Adelaide. Clarke has done the gutsiest innings by an Aussie since Steve Waugh in 1995. The loss of Steyn is massive.

Posted by LooksPlumbFromHere on (March 2, 2014, 2:01 GMT)

Don't give it away yet Cpt Meanster! Pitch looks flat, but who knows? Remember Adelaide - talk of resting Harris because of flat pitch, play for a draw then go to Perth and attack. Then Mitch did what he did (I think it was the afternoon session on Day 2 when batting was at its best) and the series was effectively over. Or if that's too far back to remember, cast your mind all the way back to one week ago when people wrote off the test as a draw after SA batted well. Morkel showed there is something for the bowlers if they have a go. And Mitch will have a go!

Posted by pat_one_back on (March 2, 2014, 2:01 GMT)

I hope Watto is fit, I reckon Clarke will be keeping Mitch & Patto fresh & fast to return some favours in the second innings. Given the part timers got some turn day 1 Lyon should be up for his biggest & best test this series, will be very disappointing for everyone if it's a test played by only 20 players though.

Posted by Mitty2 on (March 2, 2014, 1:40 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx, Doolan is another Watson. Always gets himself out, always gets out in the 20s and 30s and usually gets a meaningless start. He is a 4 or nothing type player with a huge propensity to just lazily hit it to the fielders with no intention of trying to manoeuvre to get singles. He's most definitely not a "grinder" as grinders will eventually cash in. Doolan's the bloke who's talented but can get out in any minute because a) he's lazy, b) doesn't have the temperament and c) he's never settled at the crease. A FC average of 37 says it all really. Totally undeserving of a spot - look forward to seeing plenty of "nice" twenties and thirties that will paper over the whole sub-35 test average. Burns, Maddinson, Silk, Hughes, Lynn, Head and even Khawaja all have higher chances of succeeding at test level.

Posted by MikeNQN on (March 2, 2014, 1:35 GMT)

Not sure about winning the toss being a no brainer. Last time Australia played South Africa at this ground SA won easily batting second, despite losing the series. In the last innings played at this ground, Australia lost 9 for 21, so would have been nervous. Easy to say in hindsight.

Posted by Mitty2 on (March 2, 2014, 1:33 GMT)

Remember when Saffer fans were criticising and belittling our attack as MJ orientated - as in if he doesn't take him no one else will. Well, guess you're looking stupid now. Take the best bowler out of any attack and this is what you get. 3-331. No Steyn, no South Africa. No Johnson, no Australia. No best bowler, no anyone. Am willing to accept apologies for previous comments. "Hey derr, MJ isn't dominating so Australia are dreadful, but Steyn is and so that means SA have the world's best pace attack and Australia's is overrated!!" Logic is great isn't it?

Ah, if I had the time to go through all the comments of the last test and in the build up to this series I would. "Lambs away", "worst batting line up", "only good because England are dreadful"... The list goes on. Oh well, I'll just be content that, despite losing 7-0 not long ago, we're now a good chance to take an away series win against the best team in the world.

Full credit to Warner and Clarke. Both brilliantly 'tough'.

Posted by pick_at_the_seam on (March 2, 2014, 1:13 GMT)

@REDANDWHITEARMY 5-0 wasn't it?

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 1:08 GMT)

Great toss to win, but aren't they all? Still, you've got to be good enough to post first innings runs, which AUS are doing. If Johnson bowls well we are in the box seat, but I'm always a little scared of ABDV. we need to post 500 here.

Posted by BatBowlCatch on (March 2, 2014, 0:51 GMT)

Australia are getting a bit of mongrel back that has been lacking for 3 or 4 years. Players are showing that they can fight back and that they are ashamed of the Port Elizabeth hiding. The established guys like Warner, Clarke and Smith are leading by example. Warner just needs to shut his trap in between his times on the pitch. It's embarrassing for Australian crickets sake. Brilliant persistence by Clarke although Morkel should try getting players out in a cricketing manner rather than playing bodyline style. Its just filthy cricket at times and really degrades him as a world class bowler. I almost hope Johnson gets a chance to have a crack at him in the same manner. Anyone can play dirty. That goes for cricketers the world over really. With Steyn's injury its game over now.

Posted by AussieSam on (March 2, 2014, 0:37 GMT)

Great day of Test Cricket. Morkel vs Clarke was almost as fun to watch as Mitch decimating England. Though the best part was the anticipation of knowing that every ball coming was going to be short and at the body, Michael Holding nailed it on the commentary (as usual) when he said that Morkel needs to learn from Johnson. I don't think I saw Johnson bowl one over in the whole Ashes series where he didn't mix in a couple of full or good length balls in with the bouncers. That was how he got a lot of his wickets. It was strange that Morkel didn't bowl one full ball in his whole spell.

For some reason I had a feeling Warner would go on and make a double. He just looked so untroubled but I guess he got a bit complacent. Brilliant innings anyway. Really put the pressure on SA.

Pattinson selection is a bit of a gamble but having Watson in the side to keep things tight makes it worthwhile. Hopefully he bowls more like he did in India than like he did in the ODIs vs England this year.

Posted by Indiaforever on (March 2, 2014, 0:02 GMT)

Watch out for AB and Amla when they get to bat.

Posted by Chris_P on (March 1, 2014, 23:55 GMT)

@Joseph Langford. Still chewing those sour grapes from England's tour I see. Keep it up, sunshine, I'll let you on a little secret that we cricket players know, no matter how long this great game of ours will be played, dropped catches will always occur!!

Posted by VivGilchrist on (March 1, 2014, 23:48 GMT)

Notice that no Australians are complaining about the short-pitched barrage directed at Clarke? Good aggressive cricket, great battle. It's a shame Steyn is missing as we don't won't to hear excuses after the game. South Africa in the absence of him still have 3 frontline quicks, so it's not quite like the famous DuPlessis Adelaide Test. I have to praise Australia here as there ongoing scoring rates always keep matches alive. They have only played in 2 draws in the last 20 Tests, and that was due to rain. Surely the most ENTERTAINING team in Test cricket.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 23:47 GMT)

Australia have done well when they have had first use of the wicket . Smith put them in the first test and Clarke finally won a toss .i was one of the early admirers of Warner having seen him at the IPL the Aussies generally sneer at the hit and giggle types . But I thought he could be another Michael slater.this is a defining innings for Michael Clarke and I am sure. Mitchell Johnson will give it back. If Australia make 500 then South Africa will play for a draw. I hope pattinson shows us what he is capable of. The pressures should be off for Watson and some quick runs from him and Haddin can close out South Africa First hour crucial

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 23:34 GMT)

Joining the chorus of fans wanting to see five tests between Australia and South Africa.

The problem is we share a summer and Australia will never give up boxing day and new years tests. Three tests played in each country over summer would be epic.

Posted by Macker60 on (March 1, 2014, 23:34 GMT)

be interesting to see how Clark Handle 3 of the Fastest Bowlers in World Cricket, Remembering that Patterson is Faster than Johnston, I believe that Patterson is on in the side because Watson was Fit to allow For Watto 135 to 140 Stock bowling, Patterson when Firing is one of the most dangerous Right Hand Fast Bowlers in the World today, Due to his accuracy combine with late swing with the new and old ball. And by all the reports is back up to speed.

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 1, 2014, 23:30 GMT)

That's a good days batting by any standard. We're not home and hosed by any means but at the very least we've got a solid platform to work from. The first hour or so tomorrow is super important for both teams. From an Aus. perspective we don't want to lose a wicket and the Saffa's will be hoping for 2 or 3 in the first session. I don't care if our guys barely score a run tomorrow morning as long as they don't get out. .. re Doolan. It's too early to ditch him. 3 Tests isn't a long enough examination to come up with a true idea of his ability. Personally I wouldn't have picked him in the first place but since they have I think they need to give him a fair crack at it. I'd take him to the UAE and see how he goes in those conditions. If he fails there then it's probably fair to show him the door then.

Bad luck for SA with the Steyn injury. Very bad luck. . I haven't heard that he's definitely out for the rest of the match and he is undeniably durable and strong so maybe he can shake it.

Posted by Short-Arm-Jab on (March 1, 2014, 23:19 GMT)

I'm sensing a lot of nervous SA supporters commenting on this post. Aren't SA the number #1 team? Oh yes but they also haven't beaten Aus in a series in South Africa since they were readmitted. With Dale Steyn out it will be tough work taking 20 Australian wickets and batting last on this wicket wont be easy. Hopefully Lyon can take the game by the scruff of the neck in the 4th innings. Clarke et al will accelerate the scoring once they are comfortably past 400 and declare with 500+ 30 minutes before tea. MJ with the new ball means SA will be 2 down before tea and it will be game over

Posted by pat_one_back on (March 1, 2014, 23:15 GMT)

A truly gutsy display from Clarke, this is definitely a pitch where 1st innings hundreds will win matches. What is your grievance @Joseph Langford, disingenuous if you're referring to the uncatchable edge that flew past Smith's hand? Some lucky exra bounce from Elgar, lucky I say because he couldn't repeat it. Wasn't even a half chance and it's ugly you feel need to be snide about a cricketer who's risked life & limb giving their all. All batsmen are susceptible early so it's a silly argument to make anyway. On a different note, huge shame about Steyn, I hope he's back for the 3rd innings, I think SA would have picked up Clarke had Steyn been there to back Morkel up with something full, great bowling but poor thinking from Morne, the point of intimidation is to draw the false stroke on a full ball, hopefully MJ show him how, sometime late tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by JWaters on (March 1, 2014, 22:54 GMT)

I would have preferred that Steyn play so if Aus do win, there are no excuses. But thats cricket. They need 500+ now.

Pattinson is the X factor, he is just as aggressive as Mitch and he can get the ball to do a bit if he is consistant.

Posted by Yakka-04 on (March 1, 2014, 22:16 GMT)

the safe's supporters have all of a sudden disappeared, gone quite. South Africa in all is a very good team but they are no where near a champion team worthy of being named alongside the best teams of the last 50 years. They are a team which prefers safety first while a champion team goes all out to win at all cost. All of the teams of today are at best average. The cricket during the pointing and Lara era's were something to behold. South Africa supporters are just big time talkers who have pretty much nothing better to do with their life. go the pakis

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 1, 2014, 22:03 GMT)

After the days play and looking back at Morkels fiery spell, and you look at the figures of 0/69 and you have to question his method. It seems if asked to produce a fiery spell he can certainly make the batsman uncomfortable but lacks the smarts to bowl anything but a short ball when he is clearly on top. As such I dont think he is intelligent enough when it comes to bowling to work out how to get batsman out. Johnson in the first test bowled a lot of intimitading bowling but he got 8 of his 12 wickets with pitched up balls. Morkel never even tried one pitched up ball. Morkel has the athletic attributes to do what Johnson does but there is something missing.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 1, 2014, 21:59 GMT)

Great day for AUstralia however not counting anything out yet. Because of Australias scoring rate it still keeps the game open for South Africa. Its unfortunate that Steyn got injured as it will always change the history of this match. It was early days but it didnt look like Steyn would have made too much of a difference to todays play, its the third innings that Steyn would have had an impact on.

Posted by wapuser on (March 1, 2014, 21:53 GMT)

Warner is srsly turning into a reliable opener. They have batted much better today .

Posted by SnowSnake on (March 1, 2014, 21:41 GMT)

SA is the worst team playing at home. If SA loses this series then it is all over because it will soon be playing in subcontinent soon. There SA bowlers' averages will only double. For last 3 series-- PAK, IND and this one, SA is barely doing enough. Kallis has retired and Steyn only balls well in short spells. Although I will have to wait to be too judgmental because this may well be a flat pitch and Amla might score well here.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 21:26 GMT)

Nice bowling Morne, but just remember boy you have to face Johnson and he will be rather unhappy

Posted by AnthonyMD on (March 1, 2014, 21:26 GMT)

Really impressive by Michael Clarke today, he got a shocking working over from Morne and gutsed his way through it. By doing so he made a big statement both about himself as a cricketer and leader.

Posted by Mervo on (March 1, 2014, 21:09 GMT)

At last Clarke has won a toss! That last one in PE was vital, as here as well. And again Morkel goes wicketless. Seems such a shame, he has pace but can he not bowl at the wickets and not the player? His average of well over 30, shows this lack of ability. I was wondering when Steyn would breakdown. He has been truly remarkable in terms of his fitness. On paper SA have the strong batting team, at this stage, although that will change in coming years. The real problem for SA continues to be their terrible fielding. It is hard to compete when you cant catch.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 20:37 GMT)

@Disco Darren Lehmann and Clarke himself accepts that he has a problem with the short ball. The question you have to answer is that if Steyn was bowling today would Clarke have scored the runs he has. If the answer is no, which I believe is, then Clarke can't be put in the Top Bracket. Don't get me wrong he still remains a good player but not in the same class as Devilliers, Amla and Kohli who all have a complete all round game.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 20:20 GMT)

Once again Clarke proves to be impentitrable after he reaches 35 ..... Once again he needed to be dropped to reach 35.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 20:19 GMT)

Warner is chuckling. reeled the saffers in, they took the bait. warner, despite what the icc thinks, is allowed to express an opinion. The 10% of motivation seems to have flowed the other way.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 20:12 GMT)

magnificent batting from the Australian captain. will go down as one of the finest when he finishes it off tomorrow. Australia win the day thanks to Clarke and Warner. fantastic day for aussie cricket. The only reason morkel is bowling with such venom is that Johnson has shown the way. talk of aussie bowling being one dimensional is ironic considering the flailing of SA attack without Steyn.

Posted by LionsofLanka on (March 1, 2014, 20:11 GMT)

Where is styen gun?? Oh, it is limping & kept in garage now. I believe it was sheer bad luck that AUS lost in 2nd Test. Their aggressive approach did the trick in last test. Even then they didn't their usual trend & that is great sign of class team. Today it was realized in Newlands by seeing the batting of Warner. He probably thought he might be at Gabba. Oz should step up their gears tomorrow & blast them in one & half session with watto to come. MJ, Ryan,Pattinson can crush the SA's 20 in less than 5 sessions.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 20:06 GMT)

@Aliahmed, I too am always for weaker side. I am a SriLankan Aussie for lt 25 years but since Aussies were topdogs and sledgers I was aanti Aussie. But since recently they are underdogs, I am for Aussis. But lst match wanted SA to win. This match I am for Aussies as SA is No 1. I like Smith and Rogers may be why I lean towards A. but angst Clarke nd Watson. I am beginning to like Doolan and its interesting to read contrasting views of Doolan.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 19:47 GMT)

Looking at the uneven bounce and the dry surface, I can say that the Proteas will struggle against Mitch and Lyon..

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 19:38 GMT)

Ordinary bowling by the RSA bowlers, Disappointed big time :(

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 19:33 GMT)

the toss was nb here. probs best toss to win the whole series

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 1, 2014, 19:17 GMT)

Well, am tempted to say a lot of things, but hey, no i won't. That thing scares me - JINX !!! well played Davey Warner though !!

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 19:15 GMT)

I want to say great bowling by Morkel but is it? At the age of almost 30 and after 56 tests he still averages 31 and hovers in the mid teens on the icc rankings table. As usual - its not getting better. This year its 57 going into this test. In his eighth year of test cricket he has only averaged under 30 for a calendar year twice. Hes a fearsome bowler to face and hes certainly more aggressive now than ever before, but i dont think he really understands how to get wickets. I think while some bowlers (McGrath / West Indies legends etc) used their height very well, Morkel's actually seems to work against him. Not sure whats wrong, but continuously bowling well without regular reward probably means youre doing something wrong.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 19:04 GMT)

warner is just like sehwag if he runs then aus wins

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 18:56 GMT)

I hope South africia will pull it back.I supported Australia during Ashes,now i am supporting South africa dont know why my support always goes with the weaker side.Against india i prayed for Bangladesh today i have prayed for Afghnistan.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 1, 2014, 18:32 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx, getting bogged down has nothing to do with mindset! It's clear to see on the scoreboard, mate! It also applies pressure to his teammates to do the scoring, which they shouldn't have to when batting with a #3 batsman who can't hit the ball off the square. You say he has the right temperament, I'd say he obviously doesn't as he grinds away until it gets ridiculous, then plays something stupid and gets out in the 20s. Possibly why his FC average is 30 odd... The fact of the matter is, he's just not good enough to bat at 3. And the scoreboard pressure he creates on our side will only be worsened when it's Warner that goes before Rogers, as we saw in the 4th innings of the last test, where he completely shifted the momentum we had with a dismal batting display. (albeit Marsh aided him with a few naughts.)

Posted by Webba84 on (March 1, 2014, 18:29 GMT)

@CptMeanster Oh yes, such boring drudgery, certain draw. Morkel vs Clarke? yaaaaaaaawn...

Seriously man, were you watching another match or something?

Posted by dalboy12 on (March 1, 2014, 18:29 GMT)

This is game over --- SA lack of intensity in the first 2 hours was terrible. Only hope for SA is that they score 500 + which is unlikely, as they will be batting 4th on a pitch that will fall to bits. The toss determined this one. Really think SA need to look at how they prepare for big tests - as they start series slow and they also seem to start test matches slow. You can't keep coming back from behind.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 18:27 GMT)

Great batting from the Aussies especially Warner , what a fantastic innings. Can't see SA coming back from this especially now that Steyn is injured, Aus. will most likely rack up 550 + and then the SA will be hard pressed getting anywhere near that with scoreboard pressure. Looks like the Aussies unbeaten record in SA will last another 4 years!

Posted by Chris_P on (March 1, 2014, 18:21 GMT)

Say what you want about Warner as a person, he isn't my favourite player either, but he does back up his mouth & walks the talk, & has the capacity to take the game away from you. Solid effort from the Aussies, Smith showing his continuied good form & Pup really gritting it out in what will surely be a defining innings for him. I hope steyn recovers for the 2nd innings, he is good for cricket & I would prefer to be facing the strongest opposition to gauge where we stand. @Capt Meanster, a draw? You do realize both teams don't have the Indian pop gun pace attacks don't you? Draws, unless rain affected, are not in Lehmann's or Clarke's genes. You say test cricket is dead & means nothing to you yet still manage to comment & bag one team or the other. Interesting.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 18:15 GMT)

ausie played well

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 18:14 GMT)

david warner play really very well

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 18:13 GMT)

I will not be surprised if sa comes back and win it as they always do... keep calm and believe in ab

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 1, 2014, 18:12 GMT)

Australia's day for sure; well batted there. Hopefully that innings has done the world of good to Warner and he'll realise that in international cricket it's best to do the talking with the bat (or ball for bowlers). Not much else the SA bowlers could have done really. Steyn out injured is testament enough to how hard they were playing out there, and hats off to Australia - they've made a terrific start. Most relieved player perhaps Clarke; nice to see him back amongst the runs, and he's the type of player that can really rack up a big score once settled in. SA will want him back in hutch pronto tomorrow morning.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 18:10 GMT)

Aus' top order has begun to fire. That's ominous for the rest of the world beginning with the top of the world team. And to herald that Smith has declaimed 'we can handle everything thrown at us'. Talk is cheap. Now got to walk it.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 18:01 GMT)

Big comeback by the Aussies after massacred in the last test.Have they taken the series especially if Steyn is out? Is there another twist in the very tipsy turvy series.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 17:55 GMT)

Really didn't expect such quality batting from my Australian side. Just goes to show important it is to win to toss. The game would appear unloseable for Australia now with their extremely strong tail and Clarke and Smith well-set.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 17:52 GMT)

Capt. Meanster.... " a boring draw to finish the series." Yet again you make a foolish comment. It was day one and with 330 on the board, though I hate to say it, it is about 50% draw, 40% win for Australia and 10% win SA.... stop making absolute comments after day one. All you do is contradict them two days later like you did in the other articles. Be accountable.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 1, 2014, 17:49 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster Calling the definite draw on day 1 eh? I recall a few of my countrymen making that mistake in the last test. Hope you're prepared to eat those words.

Posted by Alexk400 on (March 1, 2014, 17:44 GMT)

Aussies will win this Test. No steyn , no wickets. Morkel kinda look like ishant sharma in my view. Because he does same. bowl fast but kinda clueless. He is not the guy who gets wickets on his own. he needs lucky wickets. He is good 4th bowler. They need one more wicket taking bowler. Philander tricks exposed now , he has nothing to show last 4 tests. SA selectors should be blamed for this debacle

Posted by justsometurkey on (March 1, 2014, 17:39 GMT)

Normally it is the bowlers who use the ice bath after play, but I think Clarke will make use of them to reduce some bruising I think.

Posted by Ashokdmightyindian on (March 1, 2014, 17:34 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresPlz Ah ! of course we do have problem.You see every time he travels India he seems to lost his game and gets himself beaten hard. Funny part though is that he plays too well for money in IPL!! @pisto smith Of course they are not playing against the good batting line up either!!Lucky day for Aus though. Expecting them to be bowled out tomorrow for 25 runs in the morning.Great it would seem to be!!

Posted by Biggus on (March 1, 2014, 17:23 GMT)

Well, as an Aussie you'd have to be happy with today's work. Steyn out, 300 on the board and 7 in the shed. Touch and go with Pup there for a while but nice fighting stuff from the skipper. The Saffers will need to rally tomorrow or it will be a long day, and if we can stretch it out I reckon our tail will rub salt in the wounds and score well as they can when the opposition is down. It all hinges on the morning session, fingers crossed.....

Posted by faffs on (March 1, 2014, 17:13 GMT)

Great fight from Clarke. But had Morne pitched up one or two balls and varied it a bit, I'm sure Clarke would have nibbled or even flashed at one in desperation. It was such predictable short ball bowling. The pitch map was a joke. How can an experienced bowler not know to do this? That's why he never gets the big hauls of wickets, albeit he softens them up and primes them in such a good manner.

Well done Australia. SA you will be punished for not having any quality spin option now and later. As a South African very dissapointed to pretty much 90% have the 'win' option in this match taken away.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 1, 2014, 17:13 GMT)

So the Aussies show some grit. I knew this would be a flat pitch and it's turning out to be just that. Expect a lame draw here. SA have a good batting line up themselves who could rack up big scores. Not the kind of exhibition for test cricket now is it ? A boring draw to seal the series.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 17:12 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresPlz, I wouldn't get so cranky if it didn't happen every time Aus got on top in a test match, or if the umpires did something about it every now and again. @Greatest_Game was telling us all that Aus was bowling for the draw on day three in the last test, despite being well in front of the over rate. So what is this? There was hardly a procession of batsmen back and forward to the pavilion. Take your licks and get through your overs boys.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 17:05 GMT)

Not just brilliant, but exceptional today from Aus. Warner, sensational. Clarke, courageous. Smith, following the lead. With Watto and Haddin to come there could be a lot of leather chasing going on tomorrow. Even better, the bounce and venom extracted by Morkel today shows that Mitch, when his turn comes tomorrow, is going to be a big handful.

Took a lot of guts today from Clarke I reckon, he is not great against the short ball, everyone has seen that, but rather than risk his wicket he put his body on the line and came through the other side, the crowd at one point baying for blood. It took a lot of resolve and may just deliver the series at the end of this match.

Warner once again playing on a different pitch against a different bowling attack to everyone else. I don't care what the critics say he is an incredible talent and he has set this game up in a fashion only he can. He has already bought Aus an extra session of bowling and made the job oh so much easier for his team.

Posted by Bockee on (March 1, 2014, 17:02 GMT)

Morkel v. Clarke is some of the most thrilling cricket I have ever seen. Christ do I love this game!!

Posted by wapuser on (March 1, 2014, 16:59 GMT)

That morkel vs clarke battle was one of the most intense bits of cricket I have ever seen.

Posted by wapuser on (March 1, 2014, 16:55 GMT)

Steve smith is a genuine batsmen now. If he keeps heading this way he will have some very good stats at the end of his career. Same with warner he just looked so good today again in a high stakes match like he did in first 3 tests in last ashes. He loves the big moment and proved again today he is not all talk. He is the real deal now. And he is in prime age for a batsmen. Best thing bout smith and warner is their young still. Also clarke today. Brilliant brutal bowling from morkel. I said before tge match clarke woukd get a fifty but he looked gone from that morkek bowling but refused to backdown. He needed that clarke and I think he knew it too. That was a rocky moment

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 16:42 GMT)

Clarke has shown some serious metal today . Morkel was ferocious for a couple of overs . Reminders of Atherton and Donald many years ago .

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 1, 2014, 16:40 GMT)

Looks like Warner used up all his luck in the first 2 tests, good thing he waited until he had 135 runs in this test before he gave up a chance. Great knock by Pup, hung in there like a champ and still the backbone of the Australian batting lineup. Strange feeling now that Steve Smith walking to the crease now gives me confidence instead of fear. Looking forward to seeing what SA can deliver tomorrow.

@Jono Makim It is indeed quite hard to believe that with 24 overs of spin used SA only managed 88 overs. Still, with 331 runs on the board I don't feel compelled to really complain about it.

Posted by Forza_Scuderia on (March 1, 2014, 16:32 GMT)

Warne shows up, has dinner and a pep talk with Clarke and once again he is well on his way to another ton... Warne really knows how to get the best out of the skipper although he has had to fight for this one.

Is Clarke developing a love affair with Newlands? Last time he played one of the best innings I've ever seen in terms of stroke play on a seaming wicket... Today he was battered and bruised yet still standing.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 16:27 GMT)

what a great effort from these "mighty" Australians. i remember when ponting and his team used to dominate the world..and i am still loving that team. but during 2008-2013 they were at the bottom...but i always had a feeling that only these australians can replace those mighty once... well played australia...`

Posted by siddhartha87 on (March 1, 2014, 16:25 GMT)

respect to Clarke for the patience that he showed today.Hopefully he continues the good work tomorrow and takes Aussie to an unassailable position

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 16:22 GMT)

well the steyn injury not withstanding aus have batted quite well today.SA must remember that they are not playing india where they could have gone easy against a lollypop bowling attack. a good first innings total and With Mitch around its seems to be advantage Aus at the moment.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 16:18 GMT)

I can't believe, on a box office day for SA cricket, under perfect blue skies that we cannot even get 90 overs in the day. Not even with two spinners playing. Unacceptable.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 16:10 GMT)

100 runs away from safety! Test cricket is a funny game, but with a good attack 450+ should be an unloseable position. What a great performance from the boys, we are beggining to show the consistency that good sides need to show. Warner and Smith are begging to emerge as good players alongside their captain. With Rogers a solid opener and Watson the allrounder, things are looking a bit better.

A good start to the Lehmann era overseas for the Australian cricket team. Early days, but we are getting there.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 1, 2014, 16:07 GMT)

Wow, what a gutting toss to lose. This is the least responsive pitch I've seen on the first day at Newlands for a long time, which is really disappointing. Pitch looks flat but will hold off any comment until SA bats. Aussies on track for 550 here. Steyn out is a huge blow, I don't think he will bowl again. SA have to bat well.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 16:07 GMT)

Hats off to Pup.

This inning is right up there in terms of difficulty he faced. I remembered him flew back on New Zealand tour on that Bingle case and and then came back with his head in all sorts of place and scores a difficult hundred. That was when i said, "yup, he is our new skipper".

And today, you cant ask much more bravery than that. Just stand there with arm (probably) broken, cheekbone (probably) broken too, and a bleeding thumb (okay, maybe broken too).

And he is not out. Class.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

Things are begging to click into shape slowly but surely for Australia. We just need to find one more batsman at 3 whether it's Doolan or Hughes or anyone and we will be okay. Warner continues to push his average up to the sorts of numbers that his talent demans. The same is true for Smith, i believe these two will be great players for Australia we just need that last piece of the puzzle and we are looking good.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 1, 2014, 15:48 GMT)

Ironically, it is Clarke who has "...handled the pressure, handled the expectation and handled things been thrown at him."

Posted by prakash_mishra on (March 1, 2014, 15:47 GMT)

C'mon Aussie..This match belongs to you.Proteas are damaged today itself.

C'mon Mitch show us, your fans the magic we want to see. please barrage proteas batsmen with your array of deathly bowls.Break them from inside and entertain us with another Fast-bowling mayhem that you are so well known for.Wish you all the best for this match!! you missed a bit in last test so Compensate for that in Cape-town!!! From an ardent Mitch Fan :)

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 15:28 GMT)

At this rate Australia May get 500+...possibly go for 600 to totally write SA out of the script. If that does happen, I am afraid it will be all over. Philander and Morkel need to dig deep and pull off something phenomenal to keep us in this. Big advantage to Australia and hats off to them.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 1, 2014, 15:24 GMT)

A lot of fast short dangerous bowling from Morkel but no wickets.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 15:22 GMT)

This is the reason why I have always felt SA's attack can be exploited. With no specialist spinner, if you can get on top of them they are pretty much done for. I guess it shows how good their three seamers have been over a long period of time because it's hard to win away from home without a good spinner.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 1, 2014, 15:21 GMT)

@Iqbal Satrio Nindito Well the difference is you aren't going to see any Australians whispering bodyline when someone bowls a spell of short pitched stuff. We enjoy that and now that the boys have helmets we don't care if they get hit. If they get hit it's their fault for not playing it right, unlike back in the 30's where if you got hit you may well die.

I don't think too many Saffa supporters had a problem with Mitch's spell either to be fair, seemed to be mostly Indian supporters from what I could tell. Makes sense really.

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (March 1, 2014, 15:00 GMT)

smith to blame for injured steyn, he has been way overbowled through out this year

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 14:59 GMT)

Definately Clarke deserved that fifty after that dangerous attack from Morkel... Well done Captain... Just Carry on...

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (March 1, 2014, 14:46 GMT)

@ Manni Manni on (March 1, 2014, 14:23 GMT) Although he does seem to have A PROBLEM with the short ball, he has stood up to it and is ATM 50 not out, not many LEADING BATSMAN in the last 5 years has stood up to this attack.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 1, 2014, 14:43 GMT)

@Manni Manni, did you forget that after Broad got him in the first over of the first Ashes innings, he came back took him on and made a big hundred plus another one in the following Test. How many England Ashes batsmen and SA at Centurion couldn't play the short ball. Bottom line is that Clarke is still there at 54 n/o, playing a captain's knock. Clarke has already made 3 times as many runs as G. Smith this series. With only 3 wickets down maybe the greatest Attack on Earth is a bit overrated.

Posted by jb633 on (March 1, 2014, 14:39 GMT)

Warner has been brilliant and taken the game away from SA in just over a session. SA on the other hand have been truly awful. The seamers have sprayed it both sides of the wicket and the spinners have lacked any potency. Aus well in command in this game.

Posted by JOHNCSPACE on (March 1, 2014, 14:34 GMT)

Your as good as your last game...this is it

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 14:27 GMT)

Funny how Johnson was bowling short at the body and many people calling it "not cricket"

Here, Morne doing it and its "what test cricket is about"

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 14:23 GMT)

CLARKE seems to have a SERIOUS PROBLEM against the SHORT BALL. Broad and party caused him plenty of problems during the Ashes and the same story has continued in SA where he has struggled against Steyn and Morkel resulting in a series of low scores.

THIS PROBLEM puts a big QUESTION MARK on his claim as a leading batsman in World Cricket.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 14:06 GMT)

@DylanBrah: Why begrudge a man who is just trying his best to achieve his dreams? You will never know, he might be the right man there whether you like him or not. Also, lets be honest, as good and as promising as Hughes is, he hasn't grasped his chance. 26 tests. Lehmann played 27 tests and finished with a good reputation, Stuart Clarke around the same, but finished with a good reputation. Many a great player has made a mark with the amount of games Hughes has played, he hasn't grabbed his chances.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 14:05 GMT)

Warner is truely great.Have seen very few bat with such authority and abandon as David.Most of the times Australia has clinched the issue decisive in form.No different this time also.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 14:02 GMT)

Clarkey is a fighter, he fights for his country and is a great captain. Hopefully makes a big score and comes back to form!

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (March 1, 2014, 14:00 GMT)

Warner is out now PrasPunter you can give him a well deserved wrap now. :)

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 1, 2014, 13:57 GMT)

Agree ScottStevo - Doolan is not the answer and neither is Marsh - they are Australia A standard at best.

We need to try: Silk, Maddinson at No. 3

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 13:53 GMT)

Now a main strike bowler is out from the start of the innings. Where has this been seen before? As Faf batted for a day to show just how "bad" the Aus bowling was, now Aus will return the favour. As the Australians have been told for the past year or so, no excuses!

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 13:50 GMT)

Well played To Warner. That is really excellent batting and he thoroughly deserves that century. We are up against it here at the moment. The only positive I can see is that the run rate has been bought down. Australia looking strong

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 1, 2014, 13:45 GMT)

Great stuff from Morkel. Has bowled much better than his figures this series. With Steyn down this is not looking good for SA. Will be interesting to see if the pitch changes like it did last series when the weather changes. Not quite the flat track of PE, but still rather flat-ish.

Good to see Pup digging in.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 1, 2014, 13:42 GMT)

@disco_bob, that's ridiculous. You're assuming that Watson would fail whereas Doolan actually, yet again, has failed. His innings in the last innings of the last test was terrible and started the rot and turned all the pressure onto our line up with his plays and misses and edges. He's no number 3. He can't put pressure back onto the opposing bowlers and more to the point, he can't even rotate the strike. The simple fact is - and it's the same reason he averages 30 odd in FC cricket - he's just not good enough. Watson mightn't be the answer, but we've found out that Doolan definitely isn't.

Not sure what Clarke was doing out there against Morkel. A lot of the stuff he got hit with was only just over waist high. Thankfully he survived that as it would've looked very poor for our captain and best batsmen to be worked over trying not to play...also happy that Warner didn't try too much against Morkel to compensate for Clarkes's poor play. A really great innings from him...

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 13:32 GMT)

I would also say that Patto into the team could be an inspired choice bowling last as he bowls very full and fast and when bowling well will reverse it. Bowling last this could be a major bonus, but he does need to bowl well. Everything lining up for Aus here if we can go to stumps no worse than 4 down we will be in a very strong position to win the series.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 13:28 GMT)

What is with Dale Steyn sitting under an umbrella on the boundary and soon as Clarke comes in he wants the ball in hand? I don't think so and thankfully nor did the umpires! That is not acceptable, and I still don't understand how Morkel got straight back on in the first test either. We saw this all the time from Broad during the Ashes and I'm glad the umpires are finally seeing it for what it is.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (March 1, 2014, 13:26 GMT)

@Disco Bob.... it is a good thing that Smith reckons they can handle everything thrown at them, that must mean losing Steyn is not an excuse.

Posted by DylanBrah on (March 1, 2014, 13:25 GMT)

Well done Warner - stick it to the haters! Can't wait until Doolan gets himself out for 20-odd in the 2nd innings, that way we can be done with the guy who should never have been selected in the first place and Hughes will rightfully step in next series.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

Well played Dave, south african bowling looking like ours in last match, threatening at times but bearing little fruit other than bad shots by bats. Should be able to post a big score provided no collapse and dave stays around... No steyn means this should be a lot easier feat too. Go aussies for the 2-1!

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 1, 2014, 13:23 GMT)

@Paul, just don't want to disturb Aus' momentum - hence no comments :-) Warner and Clarke are... oh no, no comments again !! No jinx !!!

Posted by disco_bob on (March 1, 2014, 13:21 GMT)

That was a brutal going over for Clarke, 90% short balls from Morkel with none on a good length or full. Clarke is still there showing great bravery. Exciting stuff.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 13:21 GMT)

Whys steyn off?

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (March 1, 2014, 13:12 GMT)

how good is david warner. oh my here is a guy who actually walks the talk, speaks his heart out and backs it up with on field performance

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

@Pras Like how you comment you're not making a comment :) - but yes it is getting awesome. What a great day of cricket for the supporters there - something to cheer for both sides with great weather in a great location

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

@Disco_bob: Well said, hopefully he gets a good run. It's taken many a good player a few tests to get going. I like Hughes too, i think he is very tough and will score runs at test level soon enough. If Warner reminds me of Hayden then Hughes reminds me of Langer.

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 1, 2014, 12:45 GMT)

As I write this, Clarke is facing a barrage of short ones from Morne. This is turning out to be an awesome contest. Again, no comments, holding them back. More later.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

What a way to back up a mouthful, perform. Congratulations David Warner, he is going to score many more hundreds for Australia. Now, make it a big one, along with the captain. 450 up and bowl well to ensure we can't lose and it's a good start on the road for the Australian team.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 1, 2014, 12:25 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx, Watto would have got out before lunch if he was three, so Doolan did that part right so that Clarke did not have to face a crappy 10 minutes before lunch then start again if he makes it. It was a bit of a strange pull shot it looked like he did want to force the issue. But I think he'll learn from this. Still happy with him at 3. Warner is shaping up to be the next Hayden and now that he's more mature, we'll soon be ready for Hughes but not till Doolan is more settled. To only be two down midway through the second session is still a big improvement so I'm happy.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 1, 2014, 12:20 GMT)

xtrafalgarx; There is no way Warner would have said get on with it, go back over Doolans history has a habit of getting to the 20's and getting out. Thus his very modest first class record, not sure why some people expect this to change now he is playing a higher level again. Id much prefer Hughes coming in at #3, yes he doesnt look pretty but usually makes more runs.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 1, 2014, 12:16 GMT)

Luckily Warner bats as well as he yaps. Wonder how the crowd will receive him if he gets his century?

IMHO, for what it's worth, Warner is regularly hard done by in the press. If you actually look at the interview he was talking about means by which BOTH teams rough up the ball. He was very specific in that. He then said "what we were wondering is whether AB is doing something with shuffling the ball in his gloves." That's it. He didn't say another word. So clearly you have to take the quote out of context or misrepresent it in a headline to turn it into a big issue. But that is what always happens in the media, of course.

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 1, 2014, 12:15 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx , bit annoyed about Doolan throwing a good start. Hey this is test cricket. We got to blunt the attack to submission through a mix of attack and defense. I won't comment on anything else and jinx the good work so far.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (March 1, 2014, 12:14 GMT)

Its like reading an Indian game update, Doolan... looking good, solid, reliable, Doolan.... Rubbish, bring in Hughes.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 1, 2014, 12:12 GMT)

Warner answering his critics in the best possible way. Well done Davo! Keep up the honesty

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (March 1, 2014, 12:05 GMT)

I think Clarke has seen it off. A double hundred and a series victory.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 11:47 GMT)

I have heard comments on Doolan that he finds ways of getting out too much and I am starting to agree.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 11:35 GMT)

Surely the Doolan experiment has finished now, and Hughes will come in next match

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 11:28 GMT)

Doolan has his half Cowan, good on him. Will he go the full Cowan or pick up the tempo? I jest, so long as he stays in and rotates the strike so Warner can fill his boots he can do what he wants.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Looks-Silly-Now on (March 1, 2014, 11:10 GMT)

Cape Town has the most beautiful backdrop setting for any cricket ground in the world. Wish we had something like this in Oz, the mountain scenery is amazing.

Posted by Mindmeld on (March 1, 2014, 11:04 GMT)

@Paul Masters getting the ball to reverse early in the game is pretty much impossible. Generally you have to wait till day three and beyond. Australia are in the box seat here. Winning the toss is very important in these kinds of conditions. But SA do have a great bowling lineup, so you can never write them off. A good spinner would come in handy.

Speaking of spinners, I must say bowling spin before lunch on day 1was very innovative of Smith. He probably knows Rogers chequered history against Swann, and that Warner loves the ball coming onto the bat. It didn't work, but I must say it shifted my opinion of him a bit. He seems not quite as conservative as Cook. Seems to me he's under a lot of pressure, which he shouldn't be given his success as a captain.

Posted by milepost on (March 1, 2014, 10:53 GMT)

@disco_bob I agree mate! I hope Doolan gets a good run, he's the first number 3 we've had in ages that actually looks like one! He played a nice pull shot that looked like Ponting. Australia's ability to score quickly from the get go is what makes them the number one side in cricket. 1 session completed and we already own this test match.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 10:47 GMT)

@disco_bob: Couldn't agree more. He is the first no.3 Australia have had since Ricky Ponting who doesn't exude nervous energy. Hughes, Watson, Khawaja and Marsh are all very talented, but every time i watch them playing i'm always thinking "please don't get out, please don't get out", there's ooh and aahs from the slips and lots of edge and i can't leave the TV.

When Doolan is batting, i feel so much more relaxed. There's more of a knowledge that he WILL go on and have a good career rather than a HOPE like i do with Hughes, Khawaja and co.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 1, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

Not sure why all the commentary is about how flat the pitch is. I saw plenty of balls seaming around there, the ones from Abbott's first over seamed a mile, as well as a few from Morkel and Steyn including the wicket ball. I think the real issue for SA was that their bowling was all over the place, too straight, too wide, too full, too short, it was downright terrible. I expect them to come out with an actual plan after lunch so we'll see how Australia go with that, especially since there was definitely some reverse for Steyn there as well.

Posted by cccrider on (March 1, 2014, 10:19 GMT)

I just hope 'Patto' puts efforts into bowling well, and not in pulling ridiculous faces.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 10:11 GMT)

Nice start for Australia - Steyn being able to get some reverse may be vital. Already feels like a more balanced match, but it is test cricket so expect anything.

Posted by JOHNCSPACE on (March 1, 2014, 10:11 GMT)

This game will be decided today @ 4.85 first session .....gosh, such a beautiful venue, breadth taking setting something like middle earth "NZ"....

Posted by disco_bob on (March 1, 2014, 10:11 GMT)

How much more relaxing is it watching Doolan come in a first drop rather than Watto? Not sure why the commentators were complaining about his slow start, he is exactly what we want 3. Don't throw your wicket away, stay calm and cash in when you've got your eye in. Especially when Warner is going off.

Posted by KabsCricki on (March 1, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

Disco Bob is tryna convince himself of something, really hard.

Great start by Aus was a great toss to win and this has given them the advantage. S.A would need a special spell to wrest control back .

Posted by disco_bob on (March 1, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

@Donovan Bolton, "disco Bob...you really seem to have something personal against Saffas."

If you say so Donavan, not sure if you're trying to convince me or yourself.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 9:49 GMT)

This is why I respect Warner in a way. People say he is vile, rude and what not. But the truth is he says he thinks that everyone else thinks, but are clever enough not to say. It's not necessarily a good thing, but it does take bravery to be openly like that but he continues to back it up, so good on him.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 9:30 GMT)

Well played by Australia so far....going at a very good run rate. SA need to tighten up a bit and build some pressure. @ disco Bob...you really seem to have something personal against Saffas. If you are going to make intimidating comments almost every time you post, then at least do it under your real name.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 9:19 GMT)

Pattinson is going to be the difference. Win us or lose us this test pure talent down on match practise. Hope McDermotts done enuf.

Posted by Thefakebook on (March 1, 2014, 9:05 GMT)

It should been Patto in Harris out.Peter should have stayed but he looks like the escape goat at the moment.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (March 1, 2014, 8:34 GMT)

I'm very pleased the Aussies have won the toss.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 8:31 GMT)

Also, good choice by Boof and the selectors in keeping Doolan at no.3. I don't think It would have been fruitful to move him from there, he has only played a couple of tests but has shown he has the temperament and hunger to succeed.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 1, 2014, 8:30 GMT)

"We can handle pressure, we can handle expectation and we can handle things been thrown at us."

If you say so Graeme, but why would you need to affirm it, unless there is some self doubt. Are you trying to convince us or yourselves.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 8:29 GMT)

Think it's advantage aus, hope they play the aggressive way and lose some wickets quite quickly

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 1, 2014, 8:28 GMT)

Siddle has been down on pace for a while but has the tendancy to nip the ball off the seam making him useful even when down on pace, i think it was Harris' boat to ride but hopefully he performs this test.

Interestingly SA decided to move Hashim Amla down from the all important number 3 position. Elgar looks like a good longer term prospect but i think they must make use of Hashim at no.3 while he is still in his prime, we saw what happened to Ponting after being shifted from his preferred no.3 spot.

Posted by prij on (March 1, 2014, 8:27 GMT)

This is exciting team selection from Australia and South Africa. hoping to see a cracker of the match in next 5 days.(from a neutral fan point of view)

Posted by Big-Dog on (March 1, 2014, 8:19 GMT)

Pattinson hasn't looked like taking a wicket since he came back. Bird would have been a better option.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2014, 8:19 GMT)

at last sa do the obvious thing rather than the politically expedient one - kyle abbott plays. now let's do for perfidious oz

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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