South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 2nd day

Rain intervenes after Clarke passes 150

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

March 2, 2014

Comments: 168 | Text size: A | A
Kimber: And then came the rain

Australia 494 for 7 (Clarke 161*, Warner 135, Smith 84, Duminy 4-73) v South Africa
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Michael Clarke celebrates a hard-fought hundred, South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 2nd day, March 2, 2014
Michael Clarke scored his 27th Test century © Getty Images
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  • Michael Clarke's unbeaten 161 is his second Test hundred in Cape Town - this is the only overseas venue where he has more than one Test hundred.
  • This is Clarke's 10th 150-plus score in Tests; among Australians, only Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh have more.
  • Clarke has scored 13 Test centuries as captain, which is as many as Greg Chappell got when he was leading Australia. Four Australians - Ponting, Allan Border, Waugh and Bradman - have scored more hundreds as captain.
  • The 184-run stand between Clarke and Steven Smith is the third-best for the fourth wicket in Cape Town. It's also Australia's best for the fourth wicket in South Africa.
  • For only the sixth time in their Test history, there were 50-plus partnerships for each of Australia's top five wickets.
  • JP Duminy's 4 for 73 are his best bowling figures in a Test innings; his previous-best was 3 for 67 against Pakistan in Dubai last year.
  • Only once has South Africa won a Test after the opposition has scored 475 or more in their first innings. It happened against Australia in Melbourne in 1953, when South Africa won by six wickets despite conceding 520 in the first innings.

On day one it was a test of the body, on day two of the mind. Michael Clarke brought up a hard-fought century after spending 24 balls stuck on 99, but rain halved the second day's play in Cape Town and left Australia wondering how they could make their hefty first innings a winning score with only three days still to play and South Africa yet to bat.

When the tablecloth billowed out over the mountain and brought rain an hour into the second session, the players ran off the field with Australia at 494 for 7. Clarke was unbeaten on 161, Ryan Harris was on 4 and JP Duminy was improbably on a hat-trick after claiming three wickets in the session. But the likelihood of a rain-induced declaration meant he would probably have to wait until the second innings for his chance.

Australia's best hope of victory might be to avoid even requiring a second innings. But on a pitch that remained good for batting the odds of a draw, and thus a drawn series, shortened with the loss of three hours of play. Before the weather intervened, Clarke moved past 150 for the tenth time in his Test career, Steven Smith missed the chance for a fifth Test hundred and South Africa continued to struggle without the injured Dale Steyn.

Duminy finished the day with 4 for 73, including three wickets after lunch as the Australians sought to lift their run-rate following the strong start provided by the top order. For the first time since the Boxing Day Test of 2009 against Pakistan, Australia began a Test innings with five consecutive partnerships of 50-plus as South Africa initially continued their unwanted trend of managing only one wicket per session.

In his first innings of the series, Shane Watson made his intentions clear by striking three sixes in a 32-ball 40 but he departed when he tried to go over the top once too often, holing out to long-off from the bowling of Duminy. Brad Haddin (13) also chipped a catch to mid-off off Duminy and next ball Mitchell Johnson was out on review when South Africa asked for a replay and found he had tickled a catch down leg side.

However, that was the last ball of Duminy's over and the rain arrived before he had the chance to push for a hat-trick, leaving him wondering whether he could become only the second South African after Geoff Griffin in 1960 to achieve the feat. Duminy's wickets were too late to have any real impact, though, and the morning was all about Clarke and his desire to reach triple figures after surviving a bouncer barrage from Morne Morkel on Saturday.

Clarke began the morning on 92 but took nearly 50 minutes to reach his hundred as Kyle Abbott tied him down with disciplined bowling after he moved with one run of the milestone. On 99, Clarke faced 23 deliveries from Abbott and one from Philander before he finally brought up his century with a drive to the cover boundary when Philander over-pitched, ending a nervous period that featured a few aborted run attempts - and near run-outs - and a couple of edgy wafts.

There was also a leave to an Abbott delivery that fizzed just over the top of the stumps; having not scored a hundred since the Adelaide Ashes Test, Clarke seemed as nervy as a man trying for his first, not his 27th. After he reached the hundred the runs started to come a little more freely and he played a couple of superb cover-drives off Abbott, and moved past 150 with another boundary pulled through midwicket off Abbott.

It was Smith who had done most of the scoring while Clarke was in the nervous nineties. Of particular note was Smith's aerial driving down the ground against the fast men - he cleared the boundary off both Philander and Morkel but there was little risk involved in the strokes as he struck the ball cleanly and followed through perfectly down the line. His 184-run stand with Clarke ended when he played on to a skiddy ball from Dean Elgar on 84.

That Elgar and Duminy, both part-time spinners, were South Africa's only wicket takers on the second day, was notable. Hamstrung by Steyn's hamstring strain, Graeme Smith had to rotate through the bowlers as best he could but their spearhead was sorely missed. Steyn did not take the field at all on day two, although he was considered an outside chance of bowling in Australia's second innings. South Africa just have to make sure there is one.

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

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Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 10:59 GMT)

Obviously it is all Australia. SA's may have decided to go with an attacking strategy up front - didnt work. Doesnt matter how entertaining some of the batting was - 4 are back in the shed. Ball is starting to reverse swing....and we have a long tail Unless JP, Faf and AB do some solid batting, we may be sent in again a second time today. That would be really bad form for the No.1 team at what is supposed to be a 'happy hunting ground'. Go back to Warners century (and the surrounding partnerships) and you realise even more what an important and great innings that was in creating the foundation from which Australia could work from.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 3, 2014, 10:56 GMT)

Scott Davey; Think you jumped the gun there after one shot, now your comment is logged for everyone to see your stupidity. Harris showing why he averages 23 in test cricket and absolute class act. Im not going to make any predictions on who is the best attack but it is funny the South African outrage at Australia being labelled the best attack in the world after the second test because they didnt have the ability to bowl on all surfaces looks a bit funny now. Both bowling attacks are great and I don't blame Mcdermott and Siddle for having the confidence in our attack to label it the best. At the moment there comment doesn't look to be that silly.

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 3, 2014, 10:44 GMT)

That's lunch. 4/121. Australia on top. Amla gone. AB still standing. .. Couldn't be tenser.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

Amla treating Harris like a bowling machine AGAIN

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 3, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

Harris finally showing his class, there it is. What a bowler.

Posted by Biggus on (March 3, 2014, 10:15 GMT)

Compelling cricket, Amla and ABDeV look wonderful and apart from Harris our guys are all over the shop.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 10:06 GMT)

why is Graeme Smith still in this squad, he hasn't scored in yearsneeds to deserve his spot not just be given it

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 3, 2014, 10:01 GMT)

Graeme Smith is not a patch on Clarke as a batsman and as a captain.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 3, 2014, 9:45 GMT)

@RednWhingeArmy, think you'd best look back to see who exactly was whinging here...think you'll find it was you, mate. Once again, you call my argument weak withoutever posting any real rebuttal to my points...that, my friend, is uber weakness.

Posted by Int.Curator on (March 3, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

Australia bowling at the stumps.

Giving a few runs.

Forcing SA to play strokes.

Interesting to see which team gives up the win first.

Posted by wanatawu on (March 3, 2014, 9:30 GMT)

Petersen is batting nicely.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (March 3, 2014, 9:06 GMT)

I can understand the risks of a being an opening batsman but Graeme Smith has become somewhat of a walking-talking wicket upfront and somewhat of a liability. It's no use scoring a double-century against mediocre PAK bowlers in UAE or a century against not-too-great IND bowlers if he struggles to get into two-digits against the better AUS bowlers.

Posted by BailsRgo on (March 3, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

Now! This is what you call cricket!!! England v West Indies is dire rubbish

Posted by JOHNCSPACE on (March 3, 2014, 8:42 GMT)

Here we go again, Clarkes dec was becaus he has MJ & Lyon in his camp. Can see the the bats already jumping out of lway, so far the response is good and its going to be a good game allround.Smith was set up with a beauty....This Aussis unit is a class and well balanced.

Posted by JimmySA on (March 3, 2014, 8:27 GMT)

Smith goes early, how many times have we seen that one before!

Posted by Biggus on (March 3, 2014, 8:25 GMT)

Harris you little beauty! Love to watch this guy bowl when he gets a sniff.

Posted by cccrider on (March 3, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

Another dud declaration by Clarke.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 8:22 GMT)

@ dunger.bob Thanks man. Sometimes I have to swallow the pride before I do it if you know what I mean :). Enjoying your comments too. Looks like this Aussie team isstarting to show the character that was inherent in Steve Waughs great team (I have his autobiography - really good stuff). My knowledge is limited of the current Aus side, but there seems to be a good mix of experienced guys with new talent coming through. if Australia kick on from here the chances of them having a vacuum as I think there was for a period is unlikely. And then with guys like Boof and Warne(when he is in the mood) to guide the mentoring process, it looks like Aus may be onto creating a sustainable winning culture again. I am just hoping for SA to at least show some fight for the rest of this test.

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 3, 2014, 8:22 GMT)

Yeah, @Greatest_Game. Buckle up and keep safe buddy. .. You've made my blood boil a couple of times but then you come out and say something brilliant. Damn you. lol.

Posted by Mervo on (March 3, 2014, 8:08 GMT)

Its a mistake. They could have strangled SA and made them bat out 2.5 days. Completely taken the game away from them. STill this way they have to really play. Come-on Mitch!

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 3, 2014, 7:56 GMT)

Since Brisbane, Aus have been bowled out only twice - Sydney and PE. 5 declarations !! Clarke has as well write a book on the Art of Declaration !!

Posted by lyoung on (March 3, 2014, 7:55 GMT)

Bold move by Aus. Surely the ghost of 47 all out must linger in the mind of Clarke? If SA bat 2 days and get parity with Australia's first innings or a lead, the pressure would be on Australia on the final day not to collapse.

Posted by Chris_P on (March 3, 2014, 7:53 GMT)

@Greatest_Game , Cheers to you over there. I know about the cricket over there, & actually played a couple of games in NY state many years ago, although never experienced winter. Good for you sticking by your team, even during these rare blips & I can't really argue against passionate lovers of the game. The SA/Aust games have nearly always had some element of memorable recall, good or bad & the fact both teams give each other hammer on the field but get on so well off it is a credit to their mutual respect. I got a little knowledge of how you guys love your cricket playing with a combined British/Sth African club in Thailand when I lived there for a few years.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 3, 2014, 7:48 GMT)

An interesting and brave declaration by Clarke. SA all out for 156 and following on will be 2 for 109 at stumps

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 3, 2014, 7:46 GMT)

@ gimme-a-greentop: You make some very good points. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure I made wrote some 'inappropriate material' after the pounding you gave us in PE. Not too many of my posts made it past the mods. .. Just on that note there is a hardcore of cricket fans from all countries who stick with it through thick and thin and they're the one's I take most notice of. Most of the rest I scan and discard once I get the general gist. .. Those hardcore guys though, bloody hell they say some good stuff.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 7:42 GMT)

@Greatest_Game, fair enough, hope you don't cop any damage in those storms!

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 3, 2014, 7:32 GMT)

@ Donovan Bolton: Respect to you to. It's great to see a true cricket man. By that I mean someone who can give credit where it's due, even if it is an opposition player.

Posted by one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on (March 3, 2014, 7:27 GMT)

@Grant King and Brydon Coverdale, at the moment there are still three and a half days left, if weather and light permits, given that all the lost time can be made up over the remaining sessions.

Posted by Dirk_L on (March 3, 2014, 7:21 GMT)

Oops, Bryce, not Firdose.

Posted by Meety on (March 3, 2014, 7:21 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy on (March 2, 2014, 15:17 GMT) - learn your facts boy, Bad Light has been taken out of the hands of the players for about 5 years! == == == The way they make up time will lesson the impact of 3 hrs lost. So many people predicting a draw - but the reality is, as Oz scored their runs fairly quickly, all 3 results are still possible. I would imagine it would be hard to lose from 7/494 - but given we lost our last 10 wickets in the 2nd test for about 80 - means that we are not home & hosed. I like our chances with Lyon bowling on this pitch for much of the next 3 days. Oz on top, if the pitch has any wear in it - it will be hard for SA to salvage from here. IF SA can also get 500 at a decent clip - (say 150 overs), we will have a very tense final 4 sessions - people saying a draw is the most likely are full of it. Oz v SA have a history of fluctuations - I can't see a tame draw.

Posted by Dirk_L on (March 3, 2014, 7:18 GMT)

"Hamstrung by Steyn's hamstring strain." Ha, ha. Somebody was going to say that, and Firdose got there first. Ha, ha.

Posted by Hammer-time on (March 3, 2014, 7:14 GMT)

A lot of Aussie-bashers commenting and although this side is not the team of a decade ago , this team still better than the teams running around at the moment with more upside in them than any other team in world cricket. A lot made by our Indian friends of our tour there last year but that side is nothing like the one playing today, getting rid of Arthur was best decision made , he just like all the anti-Australia brigade on this site did not and do not understand Australian`s way of cricket nor the mentality of Australians in general. You may call it arrogance but really it`s just confidence and belief in yourself and those around you. We don`t live in the past and dwell on past glories like England and Indian players and supporters , we look to future glories and victories and the future is looking good for us Aussie supporters. History shows Aussie cricket is never down for long .

Posted by stone-mason on (March 3, 2014, 7:12 GMT)

Very refreshing comments going on indeed, Duncan W Craig may I please explain the dynamics of a :bowling unit" as opposed to a bowler. There are specific roles allocated and this to be executed in a particular manner. When an attacking bowler goes at it, he might get the wicket, which often happens, but if not, this attacking line is supported by either disciplined line & length execution from the other end and or spin, who more often then not are the recipients of wickets created by pressure balanced with attack. Saying that the Saffa's are toothless is not completely correct, they surely have lost a key component to the the"bowling attack". On the other it'll be more respectful to note that any team would suffer having lost not their nr1 bowler, but the world's nr1 bowler - I trust this should provide you with a more balanced context. As for PrasPunter, you might be surprised by the fact that the Proteas team has got absolutely no say in how wickets are prepared, just how it is in SA

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 3, 2014, 7:11 GMT)

I suspect Clarke will declare immediately. He will realise that what stands between Australia and a series victory is 20 SA wickets. And that means AUS has to be bowling when conditions a best for bowlers. And after the rain, this morning will be exactly that. If AUS can take 3-4 wickets in the morning session they will be well on their way to winning the test. If SA lose no more than one, then the will be well on their way to saving it. Hard to see AUS losing unless they are batting for quick runs at the end of day 5.

Posted by Awesomedude1111111 on (March 3, 2014, 7:08 GMT)

finally clarke score 100 maybe 200 maybe 300 (depend if Michael delcares!!!!!)

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:58 GMT)

apart from his great skill, Michael Clarke demonstrated incredible courage. One of the greats in current test cricket.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

Well batted by Clarke. He reminded me of that match where Donald peppered the Waugh brothers on a flat pitch in Australia and they still scored heavily. Hope SA can show the same fight when Johnson comes to bowl. SA should get close to their score to force Australia to bat again. 3 days left.

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 3, 2014, 6:39 GMT)

@AnthonyMD , spot-on. Clarke has already won enough accolades by regaining the Ashes after 6 long years. If this innings can't convince his detractors, then nothing else will. A series victory here will be the ice-on-top-of-cake moment. Let's hope things go that way. As an aside, don't know what we have done to upset the Rain Gods. When-ever we are in a dominant position, the Gods bless us with lot of rain.

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (March 3, 2014, 6:37 GMT)

Not exactly sure why supporters of the team that is in the stronger position have to start with the gloating "where have all the opposition supporters gone etc." Those are usually the rah-rah fair-weather fans anyway, who everyone should be glad to be rid of. As far as I can tell, most of the SA supporters who have been commenting on the cricket are still commenting, and that is because we enjoy cricket, win or lose. The ones who go away are the "SA will win 3-0 because OZ suck" fans. People should also remember that a large amount of posts don't make it past the moderators, possibly that is why the losing side's supporters seem to be disappearing: their posts have more 'inappropriate' material in them :)

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 3, 2014, 6:35 GMT)

@OneEyedAussie, if day 3 ends as you indicated, it would sum up the way SA has approached this game - prepare a flat track to play it safe .

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:09 GMT)

day 3 will decide the test series, if south africa bat better they can draw the series

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:05 GMT)

South Africa look pretty toothless without Steyn, and hey I am a Kiwi neutral.

Morkel is a good performer but how many wickets has he got this series?

Kallis gone, could be the start of a decline for South Africa. Other teams, NEW ZEALAND (sorry), Pakistan, Sri Lanka, has better young talent coming through...

Posted by heathrf1974 on (March 3, 2014, 5:43 GMT)

It's good batting wicket at the moment but it will be interesting if/when factors like the moisture in the wicket, variable bounce and spin play a role when SA are batting. Losing Steyn was a big blow as he can get a break-through and get wickets in bunches.

Posted by shovwar on (March 3, 2014, 5:35 GMT)

This Test looks like a draw even if it did not rain I dont see SA collapse in this pitch. SA Batting line up are stronger than OZs. SA would be still undefeated....Australia did a good job but not enough to show that they are better than Saffers. They lost the last series in Aus in 2012 and looks like drawing this one... SA are still ahead both in RECENT head to head and Rankings. To even up with Saffers Aus must win this SERIES. But in rankings and playing in all conditions SA are still undefeated around the World and the Best....SA would be no1 for a long time. Good for the OZs that Steyn is injured. Congratulations to Clarke on his century...now its time for BIFF: Its Time for AFRICA...Congratz U 19 team...The Jinx has been broken. Its Time For AFRICA.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (March 3, 2014, 5:29 GMT)

Like I said, no pressure. Especially not with Warner going about at break neck speed. 200 was bar patting first on this pitch and Australia have enough now to win by an innings. The question is how much Australia wants to go for that innings victory. If Australia have to bat again then a draw is probable.

Posted by Dr.Scott on (March 3, 2014, 5:26 GMT)

This test is looking like a draw unless the pitch deteriorates or SA do not score many runs for some reason. SA can only win if they get a big score and Australia collapse in the second innings or Clarke gives them a generous chase, both quite unlikely in my view.

SA and Australia have the best groups of fast bowlers going around. Steyn is clearly the best bowler in the world and Johnson is the most in form bowler in the world. Harris, Philander, Morkel and Pattinson are all very good bowlers as well. The difference in the attacks is Australia have a test quality spinner while SA do not. For that reason I think the Australian attack is slightly better in that it is better suited to more conditions that the SA attack

Some one commented that Philander is too slow to be an opening bowler. I think that is nonsense, Glen McGrath was the best bowler in the world for alot of his career and he was not that quick. Being quicker is obviously a good thing but a bowler needs more than just pace

Posted by dinosaurus on (March 3, 2014, 5:23 GMT)

When you consider how Australia were performing at the time of "homework gate" it is amazing how they have come on. I know they lost Ashes Mark 1 3-0 but, with the benefit of hindsight, the claim by many judges that the series was not the one-sided romp that 3-0 suggests seems to have been at least partially vindicated. The 5-0 result on Ashes Mark 2 confirmed an upswing, but there was more than a twinge of uncertainty, in this Aussie fan at least, about what would happen in SA. A series win looked like a hard ask, and even avoiding a 3-0 defeat might have been tough. I was hopeful of a least a fighting defeat and, maybe, a drawn series, continuing the record of never having been defeated in SA since readmission (keeping that record intact is a very significant achievement). Still a tendency for the batting to fold a la Cape Town last time, and Lords and Durham in England, and also in PE - but this innings shows hopeful signs. Excellent cricket from both teams.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 5:12 GMT)

At the moment Australia are outplaying us completely. RESPECT. Still amazed by the brilliant way in which Clarke has stood up in this test. It will be very difficult for SA to work for the draw -probably all they can hope for. They will need to muster up all the mental toughness they can. I think all the Aussie bowlers will be able to have a go here including young Pattinson - expect the unexpected from him. Obviously Lyon will be far more threatening than Duminy, he is a true spin bowler. In fact Lyon might be the main difference that ensures SA cant pull off a draw. By the end of today we should know if a result is possible.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (March 3, 2014, 5:09 GMT)

@Marcio on (March 2, 2014, 23:53 GMT) : Agree regarding pitch preparation. The problem with these types of surfaces is that the team batting first gets the best batting conditions (1st innings) and best bowling conditions (4th innings - esp. with a good spinner). Also, the team batting second has to come in and bat usually after spending a long time in the field with significant scoreboard pressure. A bit of grass in the surface really would have negated the influence of the toss over this match.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 3, 2014, 4:38 GMT)

@wellrounded87 Just as you say Duminy's wickets aren't a gauge for how Lyon will go as he was being attacked, Duminy is also not a gauge for Lyon because he doesn't really spin the ball at all. On the same surface Lyon will always turn the ball significantly more than Duminy so you can't be sure what's going to happen when Lyon bowls on it. I'm not saying Lyon will go out and take 7 wickets in the first innings but they are not in the same class of spin bowler.

Posted by inefekt on (March 3, 2014, 3:51 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter Clarke made his runs under no pressure? Are you serious? It's the first innings of a series deciding test, he's been battered and bruised by some vicious fast bowling, his team has a propensity for huge collapses so it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility that they could still turn 2-138, when he came to the crease, to all out for 200 odd. They did exactly that in the second test. He was under immense pressure. And I didn't even mention the 25 balls he spent on 99 due to the probing line that Abbott was bowling.......so even more pressure there. I seriously hope you aren't actually a cricket writer with comments like that.

Posted by Albert_cambell on (March 3, 2014, 3:16 GMT)

Its time for us to find some back up fast bowlers. If Steyn gets injured then the whole bowling unit fails. Where is Merchant De Lange. He had a great debut game and after that he is not considered for selection.

Posted by Gabbagod on (March 3, 2014, 2:52 GMT)

Time for Nathan Lyon to exorcise the Adelaide demons. Johnson to take 5 for in the first and Lyon 6 for in the second for Australia to win by 9 wickets.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 2:27 GMT)

All the South African fans are being extremely defensive now that South Africa's weaknesses have been exposed. As for Australia, they are a team on the rise. I am not saying they are the best, but they are an extremely difficult team to beat at the moment.

Posted by Practical_person on (March 3, 2014, 2:12 GMT)

I expected Australia to dominate the third test. I think MJ will be a much greater threat on this wicket especially with overcast conditions and given that it is a quick unlike PE.

Clarke played a wonderful innings. I hope Aussies have enough time to bowl SA out.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (March 3, 2014, 2:07 GMT)

A few people are reading too much into Duminy's wickets. Aside from Warner he got his wickets against players who were looking to attack and score quick runs. Hardly a commerable performance and certainly not any kind of indicator of what Lyon will do.

This test is looking like a draw, SA are specialists at saving draws so I don't really see Australia ripping them apart like they did in Centurion (after all they play every game for the draw first and win second)

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 1:38 GMT)

Interesting remarks by Ozcricketwriter that Michael Clarkes ton was under no pressure.I wonder what he means by that?

Posted by bren19 on (March 3, 2014, 1:33 GMT)

@rednwhitearmy - Rather than criticize Clarke for putting his team in a winning position why don't you have a look at your team who are barely able to win against the Windies! I think you have bigger things to worry about right now.

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 3, 2014, 0:57 GMT)

All I'm prepared to say is that we (Aus) shouldn't lose from here. It'll take something special from the Saffa's for them to force a win. Not impossible, just extremely unlikely I'd say. The pressure is on the hosts to match our batting and while they definitely have it in them I think our bowling is good enough to test them out thoroughly. .. My money is on a draw with an outside chance of an Aussie victory. We'll see I guess.

@ ModernUmps: It just doesn't pay to be too subtle on these boards. Most people here just don't do subtle. I enjoyed your post though so it wasn't a total write off.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (March 3, 2014, 0:56 GMT)

@Greatest_Game - Hey your the biggest "chirper of them all" . But thats OK I'm a big chirper for the Aussies. I was also a great chirper in the gully. I used to cop it when I went out to bat though. A bit like you copping it when SA are down. :-)

Posted by disco_bob on (March 3, 2014, 0:35 GMT)

@Manni Manni, Why don't we wait and see how SA bat and MJ and Patto bowl before you call it a dead pitch, didn't look very dead when Clarke was getting bounced, and it's carrying fine through to the keeper just fine. Yes I saw your previous post and I do note the way your tone changes from gracious to bombastic depending on SA's position. Your angst is palpable. So many Saffers seem to falling into the "Adelaide fallacy", you know the one where it's a nailed on draw...until it isn't.

Too bad Steyn was injured and it rained, otherwise we'd still be 500 but all out instead. But injured or not, SA still has to bat and we'll get to see how they manage that. At the moment it looks like without Dale, SA is über ordinary.

Posted by landl47 on (March 3, 2014, 0:18 GMT)

It looks as though this game is headed for a rain-affected draw. That's a pity, because the series has been epic and deserves more than that.

England supporter though I am, I have to say that the England-WI ODIs have been pretty sorry stuff compared with the cricket played here. The battle between Clarke and Morkel yesterday was thrilling stuff and Warner is developing into a top-class batsman. Some great play on both sides.

Posted by Marcio on (March 2, 2014, 23:53 GMT)

Given its the last game of the series, Clarke might just bat on to get as many runs as possible, & hope to enforce a follow on. There's no need to worry about backing up for another test

What we are seeing is the backfiring of the pitch preparation policy for Smith & co. Given that we have seen 2 dried pitches in a row after what we saw in the 1st test with Johnson, can we just dispense with the silly pretense that this is not deliberate? We all know what is going on here. Unfortunately when you kill the track the team winning the toss bat first and have a huge advantage. It really is not a sporting way to set down conditions for a test match. Just play the game in standard conditions! If you lose, tough! That's sport!

Can't believe Cullinan's comment that Aus will settle for a draw. Clarke tries to win even when all looks lost. Why would he settle for a draw after posting 500 against a team a bowler down, the track deteriorating!? Bizarre! You mean you HOPE he settles for a draw!

Posted by Rowayton on (March 2, 2014, 23:31 GMT)

Ozcricketwriter said 'great effort by South African bolwers to keep going when 1 bowler down'. Yeah well, what else where they going to do? Go surfing? In fact the three other quickies have taken about 1 for 290, which might get A for effort but not much else. I agree about not declaring though. I'd try and get 550 plus - this is the one time where he should seriously be thinking about follow on figures. South Africa's only real chance in this game is to have Australia bat third and give SA a target.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 2, 2014, 23:27 GMT)

@ Jono Makim, Chris_P et al. Not much time to post today - preparing for ANOTHER rain→ice→snow storm, & very low temps. Every time we get these we lose power. Where I live, (USA) power lines are strung on poles. Ice & snow breaks tree limbs/cause trees to fall, & the power lines go down. Had to get more propane, petrol & diesel, service my small generator, fill up snowblower, & tractor....etc etc.

And on top of it all, they don't even play serious cricket here!

Posted by Biggus on (March 2, 2014, 23:22 GMT)

Shame about the rain, but we still have to see how the Saffers will bat after a couple of days in the field. If we get more rain it's hard to see a result unless they really fall in a heap.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (March 2, 2014, 22:56 GMT)

I don't know why people are claiming it is easy to bat on and a draw is easy. The ball was rearing up, taking edges galore and hitting the body nicely. Those sounds like the kind of conditions that will see a team bowled out for 47 and 94 and lose by an innings. Australia got as many runs as they did because South Africa's fielding wasn't particularly good. It was not easy to bat on at all. I think an innings defeat for South Africa is very much on the cards here. They will have to bat very well to avoid it.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (March 2, 2014, 22:45 GMT)

The weather for the next three days looks good, so there are somewhere near 300 overs still left in this match. A result is very possible.

Fantastic batting from Australia but it will be put into context by SA's first innings. If SA are 3/250 or similar by the end of day 3 then we will know that this is not a result pitch.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (March 2, 2014, 22:26 GMT)

@Greatest_Game - Hey your the biggest "chirper of them all" . But thats OK I'm a big chirper for the Aussies. I was also a great chirper in the gully. I used to cop it when I went out to bat though. A bit like you copping it when SA are down. :-)

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (March 2, 2014, 22:23 GMT)

@scottwhingeo What are you on about? Whinging about England slightly delaying the final over of the day? Is that all you got? Your as weak as your arguement.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (March 2, 2014, 22:22 GMT)

Don't tell me SA are going to escape due to the weather. Australia almost escaped (by 2 balls) in 2nd test. That would hv been disappointing as SA derseved to win, even though I am an Aussie.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 2, 2014, 21:49 GMT)

I agree with Jono Makin, an overnight declaration to try and take advantage of an earlier start is the way to go. We only have to give the South Africans 10 minutes notice before the start of play.

Posted by Moppa on (March 2, 2014, 21:33 GMT)

@WheresTheEmpire, well said. It's just a pity this series isn't over five matches. Oh well, I'm sure the World T20 will be just as fascinating!

Posted by Jaffa79 on (March 2, 2014, 21:19 GMT)

@ ScottStevo, your final line really embarrasses you. Sneering and obnoxious comments like that complete ridicule your otherwise worthwhile views. It is hard to take anyone seriously that hands out such childish and basic comments.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 2, 2014, 21:14 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter, what are you on about? Under no pressure? For starters, when has there ever been an innings played under no pressure? This is test match cricket, or have I forgotten something? Nope, it's you...With a pivotal series on the line and short of runs personally, Clarke's innings couldn't be anything farther from lacking pressure. Also, I disagree. We need to assess the conditions tomorrow before making any decisions and I see absolutely no point in declaring after 5 overs. That would mean the deck gets rolled, then rolled again. If it's not flat now, I can't imagine it being great after a double rolling. We may bat on in hope of only being required to bat once, but looking at this pitch, we'll have to bowl exceptionally well to dismiss SA in a day.

Posted by Henry_Crun on (March 2, 2014, 21:13 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter - I seem to spend more time arguing with fellow Aussies than with Saffers, because for some reason most of the truly idiotic comments seem to come from our side of the Indian Ocean. Yours re Clarke's ton being made "under no pressure" rates an 11 on the idiot scale. No, mate, no pressure at all. If Clarke had got out early then of course Aus. wouldn't have folded again, and all of those bruises courtesy of Morkel just prove he's too old and too slow.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 2, 2014, 21:12 GMT)

@ GregorBoundy appears to have a selective memory. He writes "I remember Shane Watson having 5 for 17 at Newlands .He bowls faster than Philander.The wicket has changed but how much?"

In the same match, Philander took 5 for 15. He also took 3 for 63, giving him match figures of 8 for 78. Watson took 0 for 44 in SA's 2nd inngs, giving him match figures of 5 for 61.

The match you refer to was in early summer. Newland dries out dramatically by late summer.

Posted by Mervo on (March 2, 2014, 21:04 GMT)

I do feel for SA. Because of their fear of Johnson after the first test, they have had to make two uncharacteristically dry, slow wickets - and these did not suit their own bowlers either. So Lyon gets 5 in PE and now Duminy almost as well. How amazing to see wickets in SA like those in the sib-continent! All because of their angst about Johnson. I hope Australia, with its better balanced attack, goes on now to finish the job, and knock them off again.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 2, 2014, 20:52 GMT)

@ Samdanh wrote "I can understand with every one claiming PE pitch was true to its traditional characteristics, and so was not doctored. How about this one?

Cape Town has winter rainfall, & a dry, windy summer. In early summer the water table is high, & the pitch lively, but by late summer the water table it is at it's lowest. Even if watered, as the curator said he did do the evening before the game, the hot, dry Berg wind (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berg_wind ) blowing, as it was day before the game, sucks the moisture out of the pitch. The curator stated that he is disappointed that on the 1st day it was behaving like a 2nd day pitch.

Listed below are links to the last two SA vs Aus games played at Newlands. The results were hugely different. The 2011 game was in November & the 2009 game in March.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-australia-2011/engine/match/514029.html

http://www.espncricinfo.com/rsavaus2009/engine/match/350474.html

Hopefully this info helps.

Posted by Chris_P on (March 2, 2014, 20:49 GMT)

@@RednWhingeArmy. Remember this. 5-0! Cheers old boy.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (March 2, 2014, 20:23 GMT)

Great effort by South Africa's bowlers to continue going with 1 bowler down, and that being their best bowler Dale Steyn. The fact that it was left to JP Duminy to take most of the bowlers says a lot about how ineffective the 3 main strike bowlers were. Morne Morkel was able to hurt Clarke but that is about it. Well done to Clarke for getting a good score for a change, but, much like Hashim Amla's 2nd innings century in the 2nd test, it was under no pressure. From here, Australia cannot lose (barring silly declarations). There are now only 2 possible results - a draw and an Australian victory. Australia should not declare overnight at all. They should give themselves maybe 5 overs, then declare, then see what their bowlers can do. This is a situation where, if South Africa get a low enough score, the follow on should be enforced. Fingers crossed Pattinson can come good.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Looks-Silly-Now on (March 2, 2014, 20:14 GMT)

South Africa deserve to be the number 1 team in the world but they won't be remembered as one of the greats. At least when Australia dominated from 1995 - 2008 they beat every team in a series both home and abroad. They also won 16 test matches in a row not once but twice! During their so called 'reign' since 2006, South Africa haven't won an away series against Sri Lanka or India and haven't beaten Australia or England in a home series. A team that mostly plays for draws to preserve it's record is a team that will not be remembered as legendary.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 2, 2014, 20:09 GMT)

@RednWhingeArmy, firstly, commendable originality, old boy! Also, the use of haha appears very similar to the use of "fact" in that, generally the preceding comments are neither funny nor factual! In your case, generally both. Back to the cricket, watching Eng in limited overs stuff, I'm not sure you'd have made 10 off 5 and more likely would manage to find a way to lose! So you should be thankful that Clarke, once again, decided to give you a chance. Again, I notice that you aren't displeased that Cook and Eng wasted all that time the day beforehand. If only they'd knew then that the rains would once again save their collective bacon and that Clarke was willing to throw caution to the wind to force a result out of what would no doubt have been a rather boring draw. When I see an Eng cap take such a risk, which I doubt has ever occurred, then I'll listen to your rose-tinted view on events. I'll wait patiently as courage isn't part of your genetic make-up, as we all witnessed. FIVE -NIL

Posted by Chris_P on (March 2, 2014, 19:36 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresPlz. I must have missed a few of your earlier posts as I've never picked up on your sarcasm, knew you were an Aussie, but really thought you were impressed with that effort from JP! Got it. Still, I reckon these guys are tough cookies to roll over, there are never easy games against them.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 19:25 GMT)

@Chris_P Ok I'll spell it out for the last time.

Firstly, the comment about Duminy is a new invention in the English language known as sarcasm. I was making a joke because his wickets were completely meaningless in the context of the game other than the wicket of Warner. The wickets of Watson, Johnson and Haddin required absolutely no toil on his behalf, nor were they earned from any sort of special bowling, nor did they have any measurable effect on the match itself. Not to mention that he got more or less no turn whatsoever. I guess I got ahead of myself thinking that those were completely obvious facts and thus my comment would be easily identifiable as being of a sarcastic nature.

Secondly, I'm Australian.

Thirdly, I'm a fan of Lyon who I have spoken positively about here during the Ashes, before this series against SA, and many times during it.

Does it make sense now?

Posted by Chris_P on (March 2, 2014, 19:22 GMT)

@Jono Makim. This is the reason Test Cricket will thrive, the ebbs, flows, every day brings new opportunities. Despite the rain, I know which side of the fence I would rather be on if given a choice. Pup is a class act, having added that gritty edge he never used to have, reminded me a lot of the way Steve Waugh used to take it, then cash in. We have both always said Warner was a must select for home & Sth African pitches & Steve Smith is coming along nicely. Pattinson is ready to step up, this is his opportunity to deliver on his potential, watch out for Rhino to deliver, he is going under the knife soon, so can give everything.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 18:57 GMT)

@Greatest_Game, you may as well have, not much had to say other than that you are still here!

Looking forward to tomorrow I think that Clarke will declare overnight and look to benefit from the early start, you'd think if ever there was going to be a little movement through the air in this match then it will be first thing tomorrow.

I'm sure that Aus has the firepower with the ball to win this. The pitch is good, it's flat but it's not slow, not like day 1 at PE. I think it will also help a lot to have 500 odd on the board and the extra firepower that Patto brings to the table. I was a little nervous at seeing him on the teamsheet but with runs on the board those concerns evaporate and I'm loooking forward now to seeing him rip in and bowl fast. If Duminy can take four then Lyon is in the hunt and this pitch has decent bounce which will help him a lot, Smith too. I think all our bowlers are in the hunt here and huge scoreboard pressure will help a lot. Game on tomorrow!

Posted by Chris_P on (March 2, 2014, 18:52 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresPlz. So glad you 're impressed with the turn Duminy is getting, you do realize we have Lyon and bowling last, don't you?

Posted by Chris_P on (March 2, 2014, 18:47 GMT)

@Ridwaan West, Wow you have nailed cricket. That's the answer, there is luck involved in winning the toss!,I guess Smith shouldn't have won the toss in the first test either. Great insight from you, thanks for clearing up all our confusion about cricket. I am still stunned that Clarke, Smith, Warner , MJ et al have been so lucky for so long. It has to run out some time, doesn't it? Unbelievable.....

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 18:38 GMT)

RandyOZ....Where did that come from? Why the hostility? I admit our fans don't support us as well as they do the Springboks, but no need to say that. We respect Australia and the fans. As far as this game goes, I think that there could have been a declaration with 5 - 10 overs to spare and a chance to go at Smith to test him with some intense pressure from Johnson. After your comments I truly hope we draw this (As we can't realistically win this) and we keep our lead at the top. Espero que te perden pero de hecho no vamos a hacerlo. Much love from Mexico.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 18:35 GMT)

hats off clarke..superb efforts..

Posted by Attractivue on (March 2, 2014, 18:35 GMT)

Ridwaan West How is South Africa is better team? Your team is struggling to take Aussie wickets, your so called best bowling attack is leaking centuries to Australian batsmen

You guys are pathetic realy!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 18:28 GMT)

Lol complaints about the toss and blah blah blah.. South africa had prepared such a docile wicket to negate Johnson and it is not Australia's fault that they are completely dominating this one dimensional attack

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

Hilarious seeing the saffer supporters, probably only up there with England as the worst supporters in cricket. We are on top here. I hope Clarke declares overnight and jono rips them apart tomorrow.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 18:13 GMT)

Aussies were lucky to win toss,this is a batsmans wicket. Had SA won the toss.....who knows?????? Ultimately SA is the better team

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 17:59 GMT)

@Chris_P The only notable one I can really remember is Albie. Wondering if we'll be seeing him again, he sure had a lot to say before the first test and during/after the second test but not much else. He really attacked my comment about how much Philander's stats would be damaged by the end of this series after that second test. Guess the fat lady has sung on that one.

Posted by wapuser on (March 2, 2014, 17:55 GMT)

This is what real cricket is about, unlike here in the subcontinent where they can only win on their own soil...

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 2, 2014, 17:45 GMT)

Fantastic knock by Clarke. Pity the weather seems to be a factor in determining where exactly these 2 teams are relative to one another. I get the feeling that the winner of the toss in SA conditions has a significantly larger advantage than the winner of the toss in Aussie conditions...

Posted by Chris_P on (March 2, 2014, 17:40 GMT)

@Greatest_Game. True you haven't gone away, but plenty have. That's ok, I'll be reviewing some of their posts at test end. What he should have said was "plenty" not "all". I agree, let's wait until both sides bat, but it would appear that there are only 2 results left (draw or Australian victory) barring an improbable collapse. The variable bounce still in the pitch is probably going to be the only factor to be aware of.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 2, 2014, 17:38 GMT)

My goodness, gracious me has not the SA attack been exposed this innings?

They are devoid of ideas and lack variation. They desperately need a spinner and fast bowlers who can move the ball.

Posted by nikhil_indian_fan on (March 2, 2014, 17:28 GMT)

@robbiebrighton....wow i am guessing you are and English fan. i think its the ashes feelings speaking !why are we over analyzing his innings and criticizing every micro bit of it. at the end he scored 150 aus are at 500 (494/7) and there is no way S.A can win this match, at best they can get a draw so overall very good performance from Australia as they cant loose and all the pressure on S.A to save this match

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 17:20 GMT)

Don't know why this SAf supporters go Ga..Ga....at the Aus Batting lineup. SAf is no doubt No.1 on any surface. But,If there's 1 team which has troubled u in your own Den, which the Subcontinent teams,NZ or WI haven't done,it is Aus.If u analyze properly,most of the SA-Aus series since apartheid have been dominated more by Aus, even the current series, Aus dominated all the 4 Days of Centurion Test except the 1st Day mrng session.At PE, 1st Day belonged to Aus with 5 wkts,SAf batted well and at one time on the 4th Day, it looked like Aus would threaten the target at 140-no loss till that horrific afternoon session where they collapsed under Steyn. Most people think the Aus batting is weak at the Top, it's becoz they are attacking strokemakers who can take the game away from the opposition quickly or else crumble in 1 session,scoring at>4.0 r/o.If only they could Graft & Bat like the way they did at Newlands,they would be the Best Team in Test cricket just to match their One-Day Rating.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 17:16 GMT)

@Robbie Brighton Obviously you didn't watch the test the last time Aus played SA at Newlands...

Posted by nikhil_indian_fan on (March 2, 2014, 17:02 GMT)

@Daniel Powell.. i disagree with you calling Australia 3rd grade team. i am no aussie fan but we must recognize talent and brilliance no matter what the colour of their kit. i consider this aussie team to be great with lots of talent and spirit. we had all written the aussies off after waugh,warne,mcgrath et al retired but they have manged to bounce back. in my opinion this team is favorites to lift the t20 cup and the bigger 50 over cup, although i hope India win them both but the aussies are definite favorites.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 16:52 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy I can't remember England ever not marching off for bad light even when it would be advantageous for them to have stayed on and gotten further ahead in the game. And yes, he did declare a give England a chance with his declaration in that match, but if he had a way to not lose don't you think it would have been pretty stupid not to take it at the end? "To show my grit and determination I shall now lose this match instead of taking a draw." I don't get it...

Posted by SydCrickt on (March 2, 2014, 16:51 GMT)

Premature to write off the Saffers. They are a good balanced team - someone or other will produce & fight. Hope Smith to get's some luck like Clarke and plays himself in. Let's not forget in form HA & ABdV + FAF & JD backups Speaking as a cric watcher - what an innings from Clarke he reached into himself and delivered. He lived up to his Arabic calligraphy tattoo - The Pain of Discipline/Training is nothing compared to the Pain of Defeat (think that's teh approximate translation)! D Warner played a scintillating innings but with Clarke adding to his 130 Assies wouldn't have been in such a commanding position. So while DW may be overshadowed in history but he did lay the foundation.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 16:43 GMT)

I expect to see Clarke declare over night. With Steyn injured and the pitch deteriorating Aust probably has the better chance if taking the 20 wickets to win. Smith would probably be happy with a draw, its not ideal, but after losing the toss on a flat deck and his strike bowler out, he'd take a 1-1 result at this point.

Posted by Samdanh on (March 2, 2014, 16:42 GMT)

I can empathise with India fans who are venting their frustrations here either on SA or Aus. Pity, they have been watching their own team losing (besides the losses in Test series) all of their recent ODIs overseas , except the one against Bangladesh in the ongoing Asia Cup. Let us bear with their vitriol

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 16:42 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy Seeing as the umpires now decide bad light your comment is obviously irrelevant to any situation in current world cricket. But let's pretend it is relevant. Instead of taking the bad light immediately as England always do, Clarke decided to bowl 2 spinners, Lyon and Smith, at PE on day 1. This was when the new ball was available and he obviously wanted to take it. After a while of that he decided he'd rather not bowl anymore if he couldn't use his quicks and the new ball, so he asked for it and the umpires took them off. See how what you say is irrelevant even if it was relevant? I'm guessing your newfound chirp is based on England just bowling out the WI cheaply in an ODI nobody cares about. Too bad you lost the first ODI and you're actually playing the WI who aren't exactly a world powerhouse. Everybody around here really regards your opinion as being of the highest order so we really appreciate your return.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (March 2, 2014, 16:33 GMT)

@ScottWhingeo Oh, that was very very nice of clarke to give England a chance (haha!) by declaring, only to change his mind & get the game called off for bad light (as the feilding side!) when England needed 10 runs of 5 overs. Yep very, very brave stuff there to say "we'll go for the win but if it goes wrong, i'll get the game called off".

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (March 2, 2014, 16:32 GMT)

@Greatest_game..don't waste your time on BradmanBestever. He and his buddy ozcricketwriter have nothing useful to say here. His previous post was about how SA got to No.1 by luck and home conditions favoring the fast men, which shows he has little idea of what he is talking about. Regarding the cricket, Australia have the game in their hands if the weather doesn't interfere. That was a brave knock by Clarke, and some delightful stroke-play by Smith. SA still have to bat, but it's harder on a flat pitch when the opposition already have 500 on the board. I see the Australian supporters are not predicting a draw this time :)

Posted by Samdanh on (March 2, 2014, 16:26 GMT)

I can understand with every one claiming PE pitch was true to its traditional characteristics, and so was not doctored. How about this one? Even an SA fan has expressed his surprise at the nature of the pitch over the first 2 days. If the pitch remains so flat, and with rain having reduced the match thus far to a 4.5 days' match, this one moving in the direction of a draw, except if there is no further rain.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 16:24 GMT)

Australia are a third rate team with perhaps 2 decent players in Clarke and Johnson (when he's not utterly terrible.) Enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 2, 2014, 16:02 GMT)

@RednWhingeArmy, much in the same way Cook had already robbed Clarke of an early declaration the day beforehand by deciding he couldn't bowl spin because he wanted to ensure his team didn't lose. If only he and team Eng weren't spending so much time doing their shoelaces and comparing meaningless tattoos of numerous lions on shoulders on those that are now desperately wishing weren't emblazoned with such filth, they may just have got the victory they would never have been close to;l given that Clarke was sporting enough to declare in such an aggressive and constructive way. Funny how you aren't blaming Cook for stopping play when you surely could've bowled us out, right? Oh, that's right, you were getting humped until Clarke declared and gave you a chance.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 2, 2014, 16:02 GMT)

@ DylanBrah asks "Sigh... where are all of the SA fans chirping about how great they are? At least England fans didn't disappear until AFTER they were demolished."

I'm still here. I won't disappear, and I don't partake in the chirping you wrote of, or the chirping you are guilty of with that comment.

Posted by letsgoproteas on (March 2, 2014, 16:01 GMT)

An aussie batsmen scores a few runs on a batting pitch...

HAHA

Clarke has been due a score. It's brilliant. Lets see what the big guns in the Protea team can do.

I see all the aussie fans have found their voice again. Works both ways...

PROTEAS!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 2, 2014, 15:54 GMT)

@ BradmanBestEver makes yet another uninformed comment:"SA have the best bowling attack in the world? 7 for 494 suggests otherwise

1. Don't judge a pitch until both sides have batted on it. Anyone who knows test cricket, knows that! 2. SA are again a bowler down, missing their main strike bowler, leader of their attack, & the man accepted by unbiased cricket followers, pundits, commentators and the ICC as the best bowler in the world. 3. Aus have made 494. In the previous test Aus made 462 in 2 innings, and SA had a bowler down too.

Given the above factors, some of on which you have previously commented, I can only conclude that you know little to nothing about this game, or seek only to denigrate SA's bowlers.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 2, 2014, 15:51 GMT)

Shame about the rain. Great little battles going on out there today, and Clarke has played superbly. Be interesting to see what Clarke does tomorrow: continue on and maybe rack up another double ton, or declare early and start bowling at the South African lineup. Australia firmly in the driving seat here, and I know South Africa haven't batted yet but it's becoming increasingly harder to envisage them pulling off something amazing from here. Slow, lifeless pitch or not, scoreboard pressure can do funny things to the best of batsmen! Unlike South Africa, Australia also have four fully-fit frontline bowlers, and no less than four part-time options as well. Curse this three-match series nonesense; bring in a five-match minimum law now! Love these test series.

Posted by Jimmyrob83 on (March 2, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

What a spell by Duminy LOL.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (March 2, 2014, 15:17 GMT)

So let me get this straight, Clarke is a positive captain who is usually willing to declare the 2nd innings early in order to push for a win. But (like at the kia oval 2013) if the other team bats better than he expected and looks likely to win, he will complain of bad light and rob the opposition of their chance to win. Credit where its due though, he has batted very well in this test so far.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 2, 2014, 15:13 GMT)

SA have the best bowling attack in the world? 7 for 494 suggests otherwise

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 15:08 GMT)

@ Forza_Scuderia You get them back when you get the new ball.

Posted by tinkertinker on (March 2, 2014, 15:04 GMT)

Frustrating that nearly every recent test heavily influenced by weather has been when we were on top.

Posted by Forza_Scuderia on (March 2, 2014, 14:43 GMT)

I didn't watch much cricket today but have I missed something? Who reviewed that Johnson catch?

South Africa used up their 2 reviews prior to that...

Posted by Leggie on (March 2, 2014, 14:43 GMT)

South Africa's fear of facing M.Johnson on a lively wicket is hurting them. None of their fast bowlers have been effective on these flat conditions and they're paying a heavy price already!

Posted by David_Bofinger on (March 2, 2014, 14:27 GMT)

Henry_Crun, when a part-time bowler takes wickets with bad balls maybe "reeking havoc" is a good description. (Though some of Duminy's wickets, at least, were quite good deliveries.)

Posted by AnthonyMD on (March 2, 2014, 14:27 GMT)

TO @Henry-Crun, I will happily admit to using the term 'reeking" out of context a couple of times when I should have used 'wreaking', and I love the pun about it being on the nose (ioh! so clever), do you have anything constructive to add to the state of affairs regarding how either side is currently positioned. or are you content with just arguing semantics?

Posted by GregorBoundy on (March 2, 2014, 14:23 GMT)

I remember Shane Watson having 5 for 17 at Newlands .He bowls faster than Philander.The wicket has changed but how much? Enough for Australia to get 500 at better than 3.5 an over rather than 47 but can SA do better? If I was Smith or Amla I'd wear all the protective gear the laws allow and hope that Johnson does a hammy too

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 14:18 GMT)

Australia win one series against England and now think they are the #1 team in the world. Relax you jokes, let's not forget, "0-1 @ Home Vs SA, 0-4 in India, 0-3 in England" Australia are 2-3 in there last 5 test series, not including this tour and they think there at the top log.. HA, far from it. Luxury of playing on pitches that suit you the last 2 tests series. Would love to see this "great aussie team" back in UAE/India.. When Australia go undefeated away from home for 4/5 years straight, then come make arrogant comments.. and I honestly believe Philander is a better all rounder then that joke Watson..the best ability is availablility and Shane gets injured nearly every tour with some very suspect batting... Let SA bat then have a chirp

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 14:04 GMT)

@dylan there is a little drop down menu on the right hand side of your screen. If you click it you will see ther is an option to select "all comments". Go there and you will see a number of comments of some of us honoring Clarke and your team for the way they have played. Now dry your eyes. Attaboy.

Posted by GermanPlayer on (March 2, 2014, 13:51 GMT)

@mike_b Philander's two in two set up Dale Steyn's bowling spell in the last game. Maybe as an Aussie you are used to replying on one bowler like MJ but the SA attack works in partnerships which is why Morkel, who seems the most threatening, goes wicketless while others reap the fruits of his hardwork. Philander may be the most overrated bowler ever, but he is a big part o this SA attack. call it lack o depth or whatever but thats the truth and he does the job better than most in the world.

Posted by Henry_Crun on (March 2, 2014, 13:46 GMT)

@AnthonyMD - There is a subtle difference between REEKING havoc and WREAKING havoc. I know I shouldn't be so pedantic, but using reeking twice in two posts really got up my nose.

Posted by GermanPlayer on (March 2, 2014, 13:37 GMT)

@DylanBrah All the SA ans are here. We haven't run away. But I am disappointed that all the Aussie are back again at it with their arrogant talks! Australia have outplayed so far and we accept that. let's see how our batting responds...

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 2, 2014, 13:36 GMT)

@DylanBrah Right here Dylan. And you wouldn't be spouting too much if Smith had won the toss and batted on this track.

Posted by mike_b on (March 2, 2014, 13:32 GMT)

Everybody's talking about SA losing Steyn yet,according to the rankings Smith still has the world's best bowler at his disposal!What a joke.Vernon is the most overrated bowler since...well, Jimmy Anderson to be honest.Both become medium pace trundlers unless the wicket is to their liking.The fact that the rankings place Vernon ahead of Steyn is a farce. Ask Smith who he'd rather have fit & well or the Aussies who they'd rather NOT face.It's a no-brainer. Vernon wouldn't make the Aussie team. Steyn would of course & maybe Morkel (ahead of Siddle on present form but NOT ahead of Harris Pattinson or Cummins). Vernon opening the bowling at 132km is embarrassing for SA.Even Indians bowl faster! If he were a true allrounder who could bat at 6 or 7 & average 30 or 35 then that would be a different story. SA need to find a half decent spinner & quickly. Their bowling attack is too one dimensional. They've only ever had 1 world class spinner - Hugh Tayfield and that was way back in the 1950s

Posted by AnthonyMD on (March 2, 2014, 13:28 GMT)

To @Henry-Crun. god forbid that I be an actual MD. it wouldn't be right that someone like myself should be handing out drugs to the general population. Nonetheless what is it that I post on cricinfo that you have a problem with?

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 2, 2014, 13:27 GMT)

@AnthonyMD: Yes, i took it out of context. I realised after i read modern's comments, my fault.

Posted by _IndiaRocks on (March 2, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

This wicket is made for match to Draw. I don't think SA want to risk much against Aus. I am sure both teams will be happy to have series end 1-1.

Posted by DylanBrah on (March 2, 2014, 13:20 GMT)

Sigh... where are all of the SA fans chirping about how great they are? At least England fans didn't disappear until AFTER they were demolished.

Posted by AnthonyMD on (March 2, 2014, 13:11 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx, I think you have missed the point. I am an Aussie supporter and was being sarcastic when I suggested Duminy was reeking havoc, hence me referring to the comments being facetious. Duminy is no more a devastating spin bowler than I am a Rocket scientist.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 2, 2014, 13:11 GMT)

@TTS: It was a selfless innings and what was required for the team. At no.6, if he comes in with a good base already set, he can't be criticised too harshly if he plays in this fashion.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 2, 2014, 12:59 GMT)

With the cloud around it would actually be a pretty good time to declare.

The one way SA have to win this game is if they get reasonably close to Australia's score and take a longtime getting there - then Clarke pushes for quick runs and a quick declaration that gives SA an outside chance of a win. He's not the kind of captain to settle for a daw.

Posted by Henry_Crun on (March 2, 2014, 12:59 GMT)

@JOHNCSPACE - Sorry, wrong poster, My comment should have been directed at ANTHONYMD. I hope he isn't really an MD, I'd hate to try to read his prescriptions.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (March 2, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

wow Watto was practising big hitting for world t20?

Posted by AnthonyMD on (March 2, 2014, 12:55 GMT)

In response @Scott Stevo, do not for one minute think that I am trying to detract from the significance of Steve Waugh's inniings in '95, it was amazing and career defining, it is just that this innings from Clarke may well be regarded in the similar breath, I have been following Test cricket since 1974, and this is seriously a good innings.

Posted by Henry_Crun on (March 2, 2014, 12:54 GMT)

@JOHNCSPACE - Mate, if you are going to post here representing Aus, please check your post before you send it off. It's wreaking havoc, not reeking. Reeking means extremely smelly, much like your spelling.

Posted by Henry_Crun on (March 2, 2014, 12:49 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresPlz - So glad that you think 7/494 is a "modest" total. It is already the highest innings total in the series by 70 runs, with more to come unless Clarke declares after the rain, which is probable. I assume you live in a 'modest' mansion and own a few 'modest' Ferraris and Lamborghinis. The bad news is that so far in this Test Aust. own a few more Ferraris than SA.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 2, 2014, 12:44 GMT)

@AnthonyMD: Havoc? The damage has already been done, his wickets have come from Australia pushing for a declaration, absolutely nothing to write home about. He is not a frontline spinner and his figures flatter him, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 12:44 GMT)

@JOHNCSPACE Was that comment aimed at me? If so... I can't believe I got a bite.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 2, 2014, 12:43 GMT)

I think ModernUmps was being sarcastic....

Posted by AnthonyMD on (March 2, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

@Modern Umpire Plz could you be anymore facetious, If Duminy is reeking this much havoc, one can only hope that Lyon lives up to his hype and gets some wickets as the pitch deteriorates.

Posted by JOHNCSPACE on (March 2, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

You commentors are unreal, "modest total" you say, yeah right, specially when you have to get to that modest toatl...through MJ, Now patterson, Lyon and the likes good luck. By the way that;s not the target yet....yap yap yap yap yarpies.....get tready to smell leather

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 2, 2014, 12:25 GMT)

@AnthonyMD, many consider that Waugh innings to be the changing of the guard. It was a manificent innings...

Posted by Riz000 on (March 2, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

Without Dale styen South africa's bowling attack is same as Indians. I believe Australia are not as good as people think they are wait till they face Pakistan in UAE it will be Australlia's nightmare tour.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 2, 2014, 12:10 GMT)

Duminy with career best figures! Supreme bowling effort, really earned those wickets by extracting sharp turn and extra bounce. Really held the Australians down and kept them to a very modest total. Well bowled.

Posted by AnthonyMD on (March 2, 2014, 11:59 GMT)

I agree @Jono Makim. negligent of me not to include Steve Waugh giving it to Ambrose in '95. it is just that I considered Waugh's side to be more balanced than this current team, Nonetheless in hindsight I guess both are/were making their way in the big scheme of things.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 2, 2014, 11:58 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa, a bit harsh. You could see that he'd been asked to up the ante. Like I said on a previous thread, he was always going to be overly aggressive and get himself out. Still, 40 off 32 isn't a bad knock at this stage of the match. Looks like Haddin will take over his role here and Clarke will play the anchor role.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 2, 2014, 11:58 GMT)

As expected the Aussie rise up the test cricket ranks is on display this match. A minor lapse last game but it is the general trend that is important.

The top ranked team are powerless.

Posted by Thegreataussiequick on (March 2, 2014, 11:50 GMT)

I think Border had more heart than Clarke... generally, but agree with AnthonyMD - this innings had been Gutsy, and AB would have been happy to have this innings in his kit ! Well done MC - another 150!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 2, 2014, 11:36 GMT)

Another solid 40 runs from Watson. Pretty much what we come to expect really. SA in free-fall here. Just waiting for Clarke to declare and see if they can match the batting but pressure will be on.

Posted by Roshan_P on (March 2, 2014, 11:34 GMT)

@ Maroubra_Flyer: Well yes. As an Indian cricket fan I must say that I am not toally convinced by the Indian team and would probably expect the Aussies to win.

Great stuff from Clarke. It is clear that he has had many problems recently against the short ball, and Morne Morkel really roughed him up in the last match and in this one too. It is a testament to his strength and quality that he has pulled through and scored a ton. Smith too looks really good - I feel sorry that I ever doubted him!!!! Doolan doesn't seem too convincing at 3 and Watson seems in a destructive mode at 6. It would make sense to keep Watto at 6 where he can play his natural attacking game. His only good innings at 3 has been in low-pressure situations, and he will definitely be under less pressure at 6 than at 3. Bring Hughes in at 3 - everyone who posts comments on Cricinfo wants him to play! We should sign a petition really!!!!!!!!

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

@Disco It seems you missed my last post.

Curator has gone for a dead pitch, cant see a result in this match.

Posted by KabsCricki on (March 2, 2014, 11:24 GMT)

Clarke is captain amazing. He has taken this test away from South Africa and they cannot lose the series now. Australia's amazing record will stand for a few more years(no series loss for 44years in SA). Well done to the aussies it must be said. Graeme Smith's conservative approach has not worked, again....

Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 11:16 GMT)

550 and get into the field boys! Watto batting where he always should have here can cash in big time!

@AnthonyMD, It reminded me of Steve Waugh's 200 against WI circa 94 at St.Johns I think against a fired up Ambrose, that was the fiercest battle I can recall. Going up against the world champs in their own backyard is a great opportunity to play a great innings and Clarke has delivered just that. A series win here, if we can get it doesn't make us champs but it puts SA and everyone else on notice that we are gunning for the mace.

Posted by Maroubra_Flyer on (March 2, 2014, 11:06 GMT)

It's a shame a first/second day wicket is so dead. It would have been a good contest with a little "juice" in it. As it was the team batting first got a big advantage. Too big, the third time this series. There needs to be even bounce, be a little movement on the first day, a good batting day on the 2nd & 3rd and then breaking up for a bit of spin. Where's Kevin Mitchell (Adelaide curator) when you need him? Still great effort Aus, you can only take what you have been given and you've made us proud, from Warner's ton that turned the momentum our way and Clarke's gutsy effort. Would move Smith to 3 and put Hughes at 5 (remember Mike Hussey was an opener) to get him ready to take over from Rogers. We may not be No1 after this test, but I would back our boys to beat anyone anywhere (& yes that means India in India with THIS lineup)

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

Just have to say, excellent batting by Smith this morning; kept the foot down, and eased the pressure off Clarke with some selfless batting. He deserved 100 and will be pretty dirty with that dismissal but he's helped put his team in a dominant position.

Perfect conditions for Watson & Haddin to add quick runs and put SA under pressure this evening.

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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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