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

Harris, Johnson tighten Australia's grip

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

March 3, 2014

Comments: 237 | Text size: A | A
Jarrod Kimber's match report

Australia 494 for 7 dec and 27 for 0 (Warner 25*, Rogers 1*) lead South Africa 287 (du Plessis 67, Petersen 53, Johnson 4-42, Harris 3-63) by 234 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Ryan Harris appeals for the wicket of Graeme Smith, South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 3rd day, March 3, 2014
Ryan Harris was relentless as Australia tightened their grip on the match on day three © Associated Press
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Smart stats

  • Mitchell Johnson's 4 for 42 takes his series haul to 19 wickets, at an average of 15.26. For the season, he has 56 wickets in eight Tests at 14.41.
  • In five innings in the series so far, Graeme Smith has scored 42 runs at an average of 8.40. It's the second-lowest average in a series for a South African top-order batsman since 1992 (cut-off 5 innings): Daryll Cullinan averaged 5.20 in Australia in 1993-94.
  • Faf du Plessis has passed 50 five times in nine innings against Australia, and averages 65.71 against them.
  • Vernon Philander's unbeaten 37 is his highest Test score against Australia. His previous-best was 30 in Perth in 2012.
  • The largest first-innings deficit South Africa have overcome to win a Test is 188, against Australia in Cape Town in 2011. Australia were all out for 47 in their second innings and South Africa won by 8 wickets.
  • The highest fourth-innings total in Cape Town is 354 for 5, by West Indies in a drawn game in 2004. The highest in a win is Australia's 334 for 6 in 2002. South Africa's highest in a win here is 236 for 2 in 2011.

This series was billed as the showdown of the two best pace attacks in the world and on day three in Cape Town, Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson bowled Australia into a position from which they could hope to claim the match and the series. Hurt by Dale Steyn's hamstring injury, South Africa failed to bowl Australia out the first time; led by the intent and intensity of Harris and Johnson, Australia skittled South Africa in less than a day.

It left the Test tantalisingly poised with two days to play. Michael Clarke chose not to enforce the follow-on after South Africa were dismissed 207 runs behind - he did not want to bat last on this surface. But nor is he the kind of man who will die wondering; with a series on the line, Clarke can be expected to declare early enough on day four to give his bowlers plenty of time to skittle South Africa a second time. If one day was enough in the first innings, he will hope one and a half is enough in the second.

By stumps, Australia's lead was 234 runs as the openers moved without drama to 27 for 0 - David Warner was on 25 and Chris Rogers had 1. It is the kind of scenario in which Warner has often thrived in recent times and if he motors along on the fourth morning, Clarke might just call his men in earlier than expected. Whatever the case, South Africa will need a more sturdy batting display than they delivered on day three, when they were dismissed for 287.

It was notable that Australia's first five partnerships in the first innings were all worth more than 50, and that only two in South Africa's entire innings reached that level. Alviro Petersen made a quick fifty at the top of the order, Faf du Plessis tried to recall his Adelaide fight with 67 and there was some late resistance from Vernon Philander and Steyn, but Harris, Johnson and their colleagues were so unrelenting that sustained defiance was impossible.

Johnson finished with 4 for 42 but it was Harris, due for knee surgery after this Test, who really delivered for his captain. Earlier in the series, Harris had looked distinctly fatigable but here he was unflagging, sending down 22 overs including nine maidens on his way to 3 for 63. James Pattinson offered lively pace and picked up two wickets and only a 95-run stand between du Plessis and Philander looked like causing Australia any real problems.

There was seam movement, there was reverse swing and there was the occasional bit of roughing up, like when Petersen was struck on the arm at 150kph by Johnson just before losing his wicket, or when Johnson banged in a bouncer that pinpointed the badge on Steyn's helmet. Mostly, though, it was the movement and persistent lines that did the trick, and the tone was set by the early loss of Graeme Smith for 5 after Clarke declared on Australia's overnight total of 494 for 7.

Smith tried to close the face and work Harris to leg but the ball angled across him off the seam and his edge behind was taken by Haddin. That was a regulation take for Haddin, but the same could not be said of his effort to get rid of Dean Elgar for 11. Pattinson moved a ball back in to Elgar at 145kph and an inside edge flew over the stumps and was brilliantly taken by Haddin diving full stretch to his right.

That left South Africa at 42 for 2 and relying on Petersen and Amla to rebuild. Petersen was far more effective than in the first Test in Centurion and regularly walked across his stumps to work the ball to leg. His aggressive mindset brought him eight fours and he reached his half-century from 50 balls, but Johnson's pace also provided him with the odd nervous moment.

Johnson eventually had his man when he banged one in at the ribs of Petersen, who on 53 tickled a catch off the gloves down leg and was taken by Haddin. Amla remained at the crease, though, and was good at milking the runs off Lyon, while also providing some soothing sights for the South African fans, including a sublime drive through cover-point for four off Harris. But Amla went for one drive too many against Harris and was bowled for 38 when a delivery nipped back in beautifully off the seam.

AB de Villiers drove away from his body and edged to second slip off Johnson for 14, before JP Duminy was set up wonderfully by Harris, who gave him a couple of inswingers on the pads and then angled one across him that drew an edge behind. Australia missed the chance to get through South Africa a little quicker when Haddin muffed a straightforward stumping opportunity off Nathan Lyon when du Plessis had 30, and it was one of three chances of varying degrees of difficulty for du Plessis.

A couple of lovely clips through leg off Lyon brought du Plessis his half-century but on 67 he pushed at Johnson and was sharply taken by Warner low to the ground at gully. Shane Watson bowled Kyle Abbott and then snared two catches at slip to finish the innings, Steyn caught off Johnson for 28 and Morne Morkel off Pattinson for 7, and Philander walked off unbeaten on 37, which occupied 107 balls and more than three hours.

It was the kind of fight that South Africa's batsmen will need to show in the second innings. It may be hard to see a realistic path to victory for South Africa, but denying Australia a series win is still a goal worth pursuing.

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Snambidi on (March 4, 2014, 12:26 GMT)

If anyone is benefitted it should be India. India& PAK sometimes looks birds of same feather.iTodaybthey both do well to flop tomorrow.yesterday' sPak win was glorified by media.But it was just lug CK they won.they had lost the game in the 49th over itself. But a desperate Afridi tried some heroic which clicked to make him overnight hero. If they loose the matchtoday to BDno one will have any cause to wonder. It is just their habit,the way they lost every game against India since1975.36 long years without a win. Any how, cricket is certainly a Glorious game of Uncertainty is being proved time and again.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 4, 2014, 12:17 GMT)

Jerome incase of no reverse swing that's why 500 is a good target. But at 140 overs old if you bat that long, the second new ball is 50 overs old you are unlikely to get wickets with tired bowlers and old ball. I always thought 500 from 140 was a good declaration it seems now with the acceleration it is going to be something like that.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 11:39 GMT)

Shaggy the point I was making is that Clarke put it that way to show he was an attacking captain and to make as though Smith was defensive.My point is that it seems like the mindset is a foregone conclusion.What if Aus dont get the reverse swing. Are there no possible where in a team with 4 bstsmen with averages of around 50 that one of them cant make 150 on a flat track?

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 4, 2014, 11:00 GMT)

I wonder what everyone would be saying if we'd kept going at T20 pace, lost a heap of wickets and let SA back into the game? .. It was still a 150 run session and ordinally people would be gushing about that. .. I'm with the other .bob on this. .. Our bowlers are either godd enough to do it in about 120 overs or they're not. .. Don't ever forget the Saffa's have the best record at chasing down big 4th innings targets! Ps. Watch em go in the 20 overs or so they'll bat in lunch-tea session.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 4, 2014, 10:57 GMT)

Jerome Swarts; You surely could see Clarke taking the piss with his comments - of course he wouldnt have declared and everyone knows it, not sure why people took him seriously there. We didnt need 140 overs in the first innings did we, I think you will find if teams can bat 140 overs they can bat 250 overs because the bowlers are completely spent by the 140 mark. So I have no issue with it being 140 overs but I do believe we should have set 500 of 140 overs but it looks like its going to be about 450.

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 4, 2014, 10:49 GMT)

@Jerome, same thought here - Aus seem to have blown away a great opportunity to go 2-1 in SA. Rank bad tactics, these - for all the talk about his captaincy, Clarke is going to take a lot of brick-bats if Aus can't bowl SA out by tomorrow because of lack of time.

Posted by crickeymate on (March 4, 2014, 10:49 GMT)

These tactics are a disgrace. As a fanatical Aussie supporter am very disappointed . To me you always do your best on the field. This is not cricket. You play like this when you try and save a game, not when you want to win it.

Posted by Meety on (March 4, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

@Gerry_the_Merry on (March 4, 2014, 10:17 GMT) - cracker of a comment! Without doubt in my mind India actually do have good pacers. They just get treated like 2nd class citizens in the Team India set up. I have a lot of time for Ishant Sharma - I think he is way better than his stats suggest, he is just unfortunate that he keeps getting selected to play home tests where his style of bowling is completely unsuited. He had success against NZ - & fully fit can trouble us in Oz, & I really hope Yadav gets fully fit as I thought he was a massive find. Shammi & Zaheer are clever operators too.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 4, 2014, 10:44 GMT)

To summarise, i will say this. Aren't Clarke, Warne and Lehmann three of the brightest cricket minds in Australian Cricket? YES! IF these three couldn't figure out that Doolan can't accelerate the run rate then they are dumb. Which is exactly why i think Clarke is intentionally putting Doolan at three to give SA a sniff, because if they wanted to go for 450 - 500 then they would have gone for Watson/ Haddin/ Smith or Clarke himself!

Posted by AnthonyMD on (March 4, 2014, 10:37 GMT)

Hopefully Doolan will injure himself with his knife and fork at lunch and have to retire hurt, incredible loss of momentum, Australia is obviously well placed but to bat at above 6 an over for the first hour and fifteen minutes, then to be pulled back to just over 2 an over, it was painful to watch.

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 4, 2014, 10:36 GMT)

Couldn't understand this snail-pace when we must have to push it hard. What on earth is Clarke thinking ? A wonderful opportunity to go 2-1 in SA and we seem to be blowing it.

Posted by milepost on (March 4, 2014, 10:35 GMT)

What was wrong with piling in the runs and giving themselves plenty of time to bowl SA out? What on earth are we doing an I missing something? This is absurd.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 4, 2014, 10:33 GMT)

@Modernumpiresplz: If Lehmann and Clarke really wanted to push the game forward then they should have put Watson at three. Nothing wrong with what Doolan is doing, he is playing the best way he can.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (March 4, 2014, 10:29 GMT)

I don't care whether Australia wins or loses. Just as long as Doolan gets a century. Even if it takes until the end of the day/match.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 4, 2014, 10:26 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa "If we can keep Doolan on strike, we have a chance of drawing the match", you may not have noticed but you are being absolutely pummelled in this final game, you have had no chance at all to win from day one, drawing is the only possible good outcome and I think it's highly likely that we will bowl you out for a 2nd time with time to spare. There won't be any Faf heroics this time. Australia will play on the SA ego's, they are going to *have* to play their shots they can't come out and stonewall from ball one, and we have a fully fit Pattinson this time. Got to say that with Morket and Phil looking so ineffective there's no value in using Steyn's injury as an excuse. What happened to the 'real SA' that apparently made a comeback at PE?

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 4, 2014, 10:26 GMT)

These are bizarre tactics. Is Clarke really trying to slow the scoring rate so that SA will have just the right number of runs to be tempted to go for a win? Why bother! Australia have so many wickets in hand they cold up the scoring rate to 5-6 an over, declare 500 in front then have 4 1/2 sessions to bowl out SA. If you can't bowl out a team with this attack on a fifth day track you don't deserve to win! That shouldn't even be a thought. Adelaide was a freak happening with 3 bowlers on the best batting track on Earth. It won't happen again!

Posted by AltafPatel on (March 4, 2014, 10:23 GMT)

Disappointing bowling from SA bowlers, as Aus bowlers could pack them quickly on the same pitch. Don't know why SA bowlers had been so much inconsistent for period of time. They had same sloppy in UAE against Pakistan, then against Indian and now Aus. Are they over calculating with bowling that make them perform lower than they can?

Posted by JG2704 on (March 4, 2014, 10:21 GMT)

@PrasPunter - Was going to say similar myself.

I thought as an attacking captain Clarke may have gone for something outside the box like put the likes of Haddin or Mitch in next. If they lose wickets - even if they dont collapse (9 wkts for 100) it wouldnt be a total disaster. We've seen in recent times SA hanging on for a draw so the quicker Aus get the runs the quicker they can declare

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

@ModernUmpiresplz . The facts as you mention are clear.Michael Clarke said he wouldve declared at around 340 run lead.But now he is faced with the same situation all of a sudden its different.Like the commentators on TV said, Time to put his money where his mouth is.All of a sudden a brave declaration is not such a great idea when you have to do it instead of talking about it.Going yo be less than 140 overs to bowl SA out on a flat track.Think AUS have just made a mistake

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 10:19 GMT)

Going slow must be killing David Warner

Posted by StarveTheLizard on (March 4, 2014, 10:19 GMT)

I'm not at the ground. I can only guess that the slower batting rate is caused by the pitch becoming more difficult to bat on. This would explain the effectiveness of SA's defensive tactics today.

If that is the case, then such a pitch will prove very helpful for the Australian attack. Let's face it. In this series, given Steyn's limited availability, it IS the best pace attack in the world.

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 4, 2014, 10:19 GMT)

If this is being done as per the team instructions, then I am afraid this is one of the poorest decisions being made by the team management. Why should they be given a chance to win ?

Posted by disco_bob on (March 4, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

There is no reason at all to get cute and put Watson in, Australia have plenty of time to play proper Test cricket and Doolan is the number 3 and he's doing fine right now. Watto is our number 6. Australia have plenty of time to back themselves to bowl SA out.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (March 4, 2014, 10:17 GMT)

Matt.au - Rahul Dravid also replied with some resignation about the injury-followed-by-drop-in-speed problem that has beset Indian quicks like Yadav, Aaron, Ishant Sharma etc. There is no move about taking good care of the pacers that do come through. I don't think Indian fans are seriously bothered with absence of bowlers - what they want is big scores from the batsmen who have replaced the big scorers of yester years. I feel that those earlier guys benefited from a period where Kumble / Zaheer Khan provided some teeth (and skill) to the attack, whereas the present crop of Indian batsmen will be under terrific pressure because of absence of good bowlers.

When Saffers bat, if Du Plessis pulls another miracle off, then he is one mighty batsman...very stable temperament, extremely unusual in today's cricket.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 4, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

Never seen such a unanimous attack on a single player playing his third test. Do you think Clarke/Lehmann/Warne are stupid enough to as Doolan to raise the run rate? NO! They want to slow it down, he wants SA to have a sniff. Notice that Warner has refrained from hitting boundaries!

Posted by Biggus on (March 4, 2014, 10:15 GMT)

I'm not yet ready to press the panic button re Doolan. Sure, his start was funereal but he seems to be getting a move on now. Noticed that in his other digs too, he just seems to take forever to get set. Not ideal, but I'm not freaking out just yet....

Posted by Matt.au on (March 4, 2014, 10:12 GMT)

Posted by cccrider on (March 4, 2014, 9:44 GMT) Genius captain sends Doolan in. Who can even slow Warner down. Awful.

xxxxxx

Mate, you complain Clarke is too risky/generous with his declarations. Now you complain he is being too conservative - I assume.

I get that you don't like Clarke. I don't get why to be honest as I think your arguments against him are unfounded.

Anyway, pick a complaint and stick with it.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 4, 2014, 10:10 GMT)

Doolan might think he's batting for his test career here but if his strike rate is 30 on a pretty flat track against a bowling attack that has been run into the ground and he causes us to end up with a draw he might cost himself his career even if he makes a good score. I wonder if he thinks he's in Hobart right now, would be great batting on that green top, but here it's just painful.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (March 4, 2014, 10:06 GMT)

I've found myself yelling at the TV and appealing when the ball passes Doolans bat. He's not rotating the strike but when he does get a single it's off the last ball off the over. What a stooge! I want to see Warner get his century so I can go to bed....

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 4, 2014, 10:06 GMT)

Whoa, i have just been at uni and i came back to see up on a good position and havn't seen Doolan bat but at 20 not out must have been a good job? So much hate.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 4, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

Obviously Clarke's going for the declaration to leave SA with 40 minutes before tea. Guess it doesn't really matter how slow Doolan goes if that's the plan.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 9:58 GMT)

Warner should run Doolan out

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 4, 2014, 9:57 GMT)

If at all I was desperate to see the fall of an Aussie wicket, it must be Doolan's !!!

Posted by cccrider on (March 4, 2014, 9:55 GMT)

You know a mistake when the opposition refuses to use a review on Doolan. Watson, Haddin or Smith with a licence is a no-brainer.

Posted by Forza_Scuderia on (March 4, 2014, 9:54 GMT)

What Doolan doing? Oh he's hit a boundary...

Watson would have been a much better choice in this situation even if it meant a quick blast and then getting out like the first innings.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (March 4, 2014, 9:53 GMT)

Why cant Warner push the game along a bit by running out Doolan.

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 4, 2014, 9:50 GMT)

Flash News !! Doolan has scored a boundary !!

Posted by Matt.au on (March 4, 2014, 9:47 GMT)

Posted by Gerry_the_Merryon (March 4, 2014, 7:45 GMT)

I recently met Rahul Dravid in a function and spent 2 hours with him - he did not mention despite my persistent queries that anyone in Indian establishment is bothered about bowling at all. There is no one looking out for quicks. All discussions with the guests in the function were only about batting. Increasingly no one is really bothered about spinners either. =====================

Interesting read, thanks for that.

It is startling that India seem less than interested in unearthing some proper quicks. Considering their playing pool you would think they wouldn't have to look very hard.

Is it an undying belief in their spinners talent that makes thewm miss a trick with fast bowling?

Posted by tom120 on (March 4, 2014, 9:46 GMT)

Doolan = Loss of momentum , loss of run rate (loss of match in the last game),. Why the devil would they send Doolan at number 3. He would struggle even at the best flat tracks in the world.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 4, 2014, 9:45 GMT)

@Jerome Swarts You're actually wrong. He said he would have already declared and then the press decided to turn it into "he meant it as though Smith was a weak captain" he actually made sure to say that he did not say it with that intention and that it was entirely invented by the media. You're the kind of person who probably buys into Current Affair stories, but unfortunately it's not the truth. Further to the point, even if he had meant it, Australia currently have a smaller lead than SA did at the time, there's more overs left in the match because of the rain on day 2, and in the second test there was a lot of rain forecast which required a slightly earlier declaration. So, unfortunately, you're just entirely wrong. Unless we just go ahead and ignore the facts.

Posted by cccrider on (March 4, 2014, 9:44 GMT)

Genius captain sends Doolan in. Who can even slow Warner down. Awful.

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 4, 2014, 9:42 GMT)

I dont how to react on seeing Doolan's out-of-place batting. Pathetic to say the least - not rotating the strike, not hitting boundaries himself when we must have to score quickly. Clarke should have sent Smith or Watto in.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 4, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

We suddenly have a point in the game where Australia are not really progressing the game like I think they should. The way we were pre Rogers dismissal we looked like we would have a 400 plus lead at lunch and easily get to 500 an hour in the second session but for some reason we have stalled. Time to get on with it again.

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (March 4, 2014, 9:36 GMT)

doolan looks clueless, marsh should have been picked ahead of him

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 4, 2014, 9:36 GMT)

@VivGilchrist, agreed. Doesn't seem much point in sending Doolan out to halt our progress with 10-20 of 90 balls. Should've sent out Watto and Haddin to clatter it until lunch time. Though, this is a huge opportunity for Doolan to prove that he can cut it at 3. So far, he's failing. He's faced enough to be in now, let's see if he can start scoring and returning the pressure onto the bowlers.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 4, 2014, 9:35 GMT)

Jerome Swarts; Your putting words in Clarkes mouth now, he never used the word weak, or anything derogatory when describing Smiths captaincy.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (March 4, 2014, 9:29 GMT)

Warner is anyway scoring freely, it is not as if having only one slip has brought the run rate down. so smith's tactics are failing, puzzling.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (March 4, 2014, 9:27 GMT)

Dolan is killing Australia's momentum. Funny thing is, this is where Watto would be handy walking out at 3.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 4, 2014, 9:21 GMT)

If we can keep Doolan on strike, we have a chance of drawing the match.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 4, 2014, 9:19 GMT)

@Dunger.bob Smiths timing is Totally a tactical ploy, no doubt about it. Lets see if it works...5 Sessions for me is just too much though. I dont see SA doing it unfortunately.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

why has Clarke not declared yet.Last game he said Smith was a weak captain because he never declared at this stage

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 4, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

Pretty silly to play Doolan at 3 here. Not what he's in the team for in this situation and now he can bog down the innings leaving well and blocking to fielders until Warner tries to make up for it and gets out. For once Clarke missed a trick.

Posted by MCSJCW on (March 4, 2014, 9:07 GMT)

Poor captaincy by Smith and it's time like this that I will not be sad to see him go.

Could have had both openers within 4 overs this morning but he opens the day with a new ball with both batsman relatively new and he only has one slip!!!!! Poor Philander, would be pretty demoralised, first they give the new ball to new boy Abbott and Morkel (who couldn't hit a barn door nevermind the stumps) last night and then give him no slips. One edge went through second slip and the next thru 3rd slip.

Boggles my brain, best chance to save match is to get Warner out and he has one slip for the number 2 bowler in the world with the new ball.

Posted by Biggus on (March 4, 2014, 9:05 GMT)

Buck Rogers reverse sweeping Duminy had me rolling on the ground....almost wet myself! Don't know about the Saffer fans but this is fun from where I'm sitting. It'll get serious when SA bat I reckon though.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 4, 2014, 9:04 GMT)

SA being put the sword by Warner and Rogers - it is an absolute flogging

Posted by disco_bob on (March 4, 2014, 9:01 GMT)

Morkel and Phil have taken a single wicket between them in their first innings after 50 combined overs for 200 runs on what was for Australia a decent bowling wicket at home! Currently those two are going for 8 an over for no wickets. However you look at it you can't call that world class in a must draw if not win game.

After PE the Saffers were saying "now we see the real SA" Yeah right.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (March 4, 2014, 8:56 GMT)

@cccrider, you can take the game away from team, but you still must allow time to bowl them out. A fine balance.

Posted by AltafPatel on (March 4, 2014, 8:44 GMT)

It's not Aus taking wickets, it's SA throwing away wickets, Peterson, AB, Faf they all.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (March 4, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

@Thozar- About the FTBs Eng tour next,dont be that-over-confident about it.Forget winning a game,my reasonable est. is-bar rain/weather having major effect-Ind will go 1 better than than last time-A 5-0 w/w instead of 4-0.Its 5 match series after all !-:)

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 4, 2014, 8:16 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa: "Hopefully Smiths retirement announcement will give the guys some metal in wanting to draw this game for him and block Australia out for 1.5 days." .. Yeah, that thought crossed my mind too ... This isn't a dig at all, but I think Smith's announcement is quite a clever tactical ploy, as well as a sad thing for cricket world wide. What I mean by the tactical thing is that he may be hoping to inspire some true grit into the troops with it. .. You know, a let's do it one more time for the skipper sort of thing. .. Always thinking. That's Smith. He'll be missed.

Posted by Henry_Crun on (March 4, 2014, 8:03 GMT)

Imagination is a wonderful thing. I can just imagine the way this Test would have gone were @cccrider in charge of Australia. First, Australia would only have scored 330 because ol' cc wouldn't have picked Clarke, then he would have bowled Johnson and Harris 15 overs straight each. He would then have batted leaving SA 650 to get in 60 overs (ruthless, hey?), then sat and watched while SA won after Johnson and Harris broke down in their first overs. Cc, I know that you've never liked Clarke as a captain, but since there's only one other poster on these pages who agrees with you, do you think it's possible that your imagination badly needs a reboot?

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (March 4, 2014, 8:03 GMT)

@Thozar- Of course it will be an interesting spectacle when Ind tour DU later for their joust with the Aussies.And the public will be out in their nos.-to CA's delight!-at the grounds to see the FTBs from sub cont. dished their 2nd succ. 4-0 w/w in Aus.

Posted by benny81 on (March 4, 2014, 7:52 GMT)

Clarke won't even consider Smith's retirement when/if he declares. He will be thinking about runs vs sessions, I reckon - 500 lead at lunch (which couldn't happen, really) or 400 lead at tea (with 4 sessions to go). Expect Aussies to score quickly and declare midway through the second session with a lead of 450-odd. With the Aussies throwing the bat, though, SA are a chance with the ball! We're set for a great day's play! And there should be a result - if Aussies bat well today I can't see SA surviving two new balls against MJ and Rhino this arvo and tomorrow.

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 4, 2014, 7:51 GMT)

@ Thozar: "why cant you accept that our batsmen and spinners are superior?" .. Because they're not. Kohli is a class act. No worries there. Dhoni is a fighter and I have a lot of respect for him. The rest, no way. .. I tell you what. Get your guys to win a game here and there and I might consider changing my opinion. Until then though, they'll remain a bunch of also rans in my book. .. Btw, how'd you go against NZ? And don't whine about bad umpiring. If India was as good as you say they should be able to shrug off two, three or even four iffy decisions and cruise it in regardless. .. BTW, just had a look at the Asia Cup results so far. What's your excuse for the lame work your bunch of 'legends' has put in there? Can't wait for that one.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (March 4, 2014, 7:45 GMT)

Thorzar, I am an Indian too, and detect in your comments the problem that afflicts us as a country - we are obsessed with batting only. Cricket's other side, bowling, is entirely ignored by us. Kapil Dev, our last good pacer, took 9 wickets in an innings once, 8 twice, 7 twice and 6/5 almost 20 times. His average in Australia / West Indies is better than Imran, Wasim etc. Kumble took 600 odd wickets. Are we looking for the next Kapil Dev or Kumble? I doubt it.

I recently met Rahul Dravid in a function and spent 2 hours with him - he did not mention despite my persistent queries that anyone in Indian establishment is bothered about bowling at all. There is no one looking out for quicks. All discussions with the guests in the function were only about batting. Increasingly no one is really bothered about spinners either.

Hence we should watch SAF/AUS with serious interest, this is the only real cricket going on currently.

Posted by cccrider on (March 4, 2014, 7:43 GMT)

VivGilchrist, don't put words in my mouth. My post is clear. If you really need a shorter description - Clarke is not ruthless enough, too flippant. Compare to 80s WI side. Understand?

Posted by Yankydoodle on (March 4, 2014, 7:32 GMT)

Wouldn't it be something if Smith in his last test saves the test or even by the impossible wins it for South Africa. What an incredible end to an incredible career that would be.

I'm sure that will be extra motivation for him.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (March 4, 2014, 7:24 GMT)

Pras_Punter, Sehwag has some good accomplishments in Aus, NZ, England etc. in tests. But if you scrutinize minutely, in seaming conditions, he has been found wanting. On true pitches, he was much better, as long as the bowling was not hostile and super quick. All this in tests.

Warner seems to face all the conditions equally well, and seems to be particularly good in playing pace, as we saw on Saturday when Clarke was hopping around in discomfort against Morkel, but Warner was continuously piling on the pressure on Saffers at the other end. At present, he has carried this form on only for an year. Sehwag was consistent over a longer time, however.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 4, 2014, 7:20 GMT)

@disco_bob, I must come across as far more impartial and generous of spirit than I have previously perceived myself. Far from seeing the current situation as a nightmare, I'm pretty stoked about it. After all, I'm an Aussie - with no claims of impartiality. LOL, as they say.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 7:18 GMT)

Thozar: India are should not be number two in the world. South Africa and England beat you at home and away, therefore they are better. Simple.

Also, please do not make up fact, India have never won a series in South Africa or Australia, Australia beat India in India twice in the 00's.

Posted by Chris_P on (March 4, 2014, 6:52 GMT)

@Thozar, OK lad, let's get a few things straight. You say India deserve #2. How so? They haven't won an away test in 14 matches, have lost to #8 NZ, lost home & away to England #4, got hammered last time they came down under 4-0 (& it was not just merely a hammering, it was an utter flogging), nearly lost the first test in South Africa when they were 7 runs short of a world record 4th innings run chase & totally hammered in the 2nd test. Australia have always left with their tails between their legs form India have they? Go check your history, sunshine, we have won plenty of series there so the "always" doesn't write ring true, does it? However, your mob haven't won a single series either in Australia or South Africa nor beaten Sri Lanka there since 1995, something both SA & Australia have done. Worthy of #2 rank? Not sure what world they would be but certainly not in this world. Your lack of cricket know how is appalling.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (March 4, 2014, 6:51 GMT)

@cccrider, what are you trying to say? Surely, you can't be calling Clarke gutless? @mervo, totally agree. Australia do not need to risk defeat but they are the only team in world cricket that will to chase victory. I still can't get over SA not going for the victory over India with 3 wickets in hand. What's the point? No guts, No glory.

Posted by Samdanh on (March 4, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

I saw Steyn in field when Aus began their second innings on 3rd day. That is a sign that he could bowl on 4th day. I think today we are going to witness some interesting tussle between the top two bowling sides

Posted by JimmySA on (March 4, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

It always surprises me when a captain doesn't enforce the follow on when he has it available to him. Yes, the bowlers get a bit of a rest and maybe the batsman can go at a faster strike rate in the 2nd innings but it always creates that bit of doubt in the mind of the captain about how many runs is enough or how many sessions do we need to bowl out the opposition. If the follow on is taken and the team behind gets a slender lead then surely they should back their batsmen to knock off the runs even on the final day of the match? Warner could do that in 20 minutes

Posted by Samdanh on (March 4, 2014, 6:43 GMT)

Some India fans, heavily wounded by their own team's poor performances overseas, are seen here to be adversely after SA or Aus, so desperately that you can hear their squeals of pain from their comments here. I recommend they focus on their team's developments. Aus and SA are presenting some exhilarating cricket. Let true cricket fans keep enjoying the clash between the top bowling sides. Cricinfo, please publish

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 4, 2014, 6:23 GMT)

Smiths retirement will probably cause Clarke to be more conservative in his declaration total of 350 will be enough. But maybe he is thinking the Saffas might come out all guns blazing for Smith and caus an upset. I reckon he will now declare around 450.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 4, 2014, 6:10 GMT)

One more interesting thing is how many catches behind Australia took here. In PE their quicks were basically neutered. As I mentioned, as far as I am aware not a single snick carried to a slips fielder in the best part of the days of bowling. That makes a huge difference to the potency of an attack based on pave bowling. SA knew the conditions better, and were able to get quite a few edges to carry, in part by bending the back, and also by bringing the slips closer.

Posted by cricketlover_crazy on (March 4, 2014, 6:09 GMT)

I believe SA will draw this test and that should be fitting end to Smith's career, i don't want him to go out on a losing cause and trust me he would give it all too somehow save this test match. If Aus declare say at 400 runs with 5 sessions to be played, don't be surprised if SA may go for a win as well. Test cricket at its best when 2 equally aggressive teams play.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

@Thozar

Are you kidding me? beating England in England?

Have you not heard about this series called Ashes and how many years did the Aussie completely owned that series home and away?

Since you gonna bring India and the upcoming series down under, how many years has been again since Indioa won a series down under? Pretty sure longer than the last time aussie won a series in India

Posted by Protears on (March 4, 2014, 5:52 GMT)

@Thozar, please stop talking rubbish on the internet because you can. India didn't at all look good against us in December even though admittedly we were playing very poorly by standards set over a 5-6 year period. In fact as an Indian fan you should be highly concerned about your last 3 years and the amount of hammerings India have received culminating in the humiliation at home to England. Fact is India is a "big" team only on money and fanfare but to be honest are pretty ridiculous on the pitch, to even consider the series with Australia as playing for number one status laughable at best. Australia have grown as a team and deserve their sunshine. South Africa as I will admit have been exposed for 4-5 players carrying a team but after this series we have a run of easier series to groom new players, and as you can see by the u19's the talents are good 3 under 19 world cup final appearances. We will rebuild around our stalwarts and it will start against the windies.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 4, 2014, 5:49 GMT)

@Thorzar: Your batsmen are largely unproven. Besides Kohli and Pujara, the rest you can throw a blanket over. I know i would rather have Warner and Smith rather than Vijay or the other two blokes. There's a long road yet before you can call your batsmen good. Once you go through England and Australia again we will see where you stand.

But personally im licking my lips to see your boys against Johnson and Co, our bowlers will eat you for breakfast i reckon. Also, your sub par bowling will be just the thing our batsmen need to sink their teeth into and get some confidence. I think Warner and Smith will be well established by then and Doolan can use you to ramp up his career.

Posted by Wasim_Wasamadroota on (March 4, 2014, 5:49 GMT)

My pessimistic mind says SAF could bowl Australia out for 350 and chase them down, my optimistic mind says Australia will score 250 more in 50 overs then bowl SAF out for 200 by tea day 5. Realistically I think Australia will set 450 in 4 sessions and SAF will take their usual spineless safety option and play for a draw.

Posted by Jagger on (March 4, 2014, 5:47 GMT)

@ thozar - It's bowlers who win games, not batsmen, and I wouldn't swap one Indian bowler for any of ours. Theoretically you only need to score one run an innings to win both innings. Judging others on your terms? To me, that's the height of rudeness. Everyone knows our batting is down on recent years, so why must you make a statement about something that is obvious, that everyone agrees with, or do you need to say India are good at something in a game between Australia and South Africa?! We know Clarke is good if you don't mind. Certainly if you are going to throw stones, allow me to retort: India are overtly poor at winning outside India, haven't had a decent pace bowler since Kapil Dev and want everyone else to play limited overs cricket because Test cricket is too difficult for them. Above all, no other demographic is arrogant enough to profess they have produced a batsman who is as good as Bradman, but evidently statistics only count when Watson's average is concerned.

Posted by stonecoldb4u on (March 4, 2014, 5:46 GMT)

@ thozar...by reading ur comments im laughing....how cant even compare indian bowling with aussies....they r best in world.....

Posted by Meety on (March 4, 2014, 5:44 GMT)

@gimme-a-greentop on (March 3, 2014, 11:12 GMT) - blimey mate - quoting jonesy2????? @Yankydoodle on (March 3, 2014, 16:57 GMT) - dont worry about Smith - he has retired. @thozar on (March 3, 2014, 21:50 GMT)- India have made playing Test cricket in India irrelevant. This is due to their niche made to order pitches - I couldn't give a rats you-know-what what our boys do in India. It is always better than what your mob does in Oz anyways! == == == People are still talking about a draw! A draw may happen - but a team winning this is still the most likely. Oz are not home & hosed - but I would rather be in their shoes than the Saffas. The pitch has shown variable bounce - batsmen are being pinged often with short stuff - wickets should flow over the next two days. For a contest - I hope Steyn is okay to bowl, with two extended days to go - there is more than enuff time for a win. Batting 4th on this pitch will be tough.

Posted by stonecoldb4u on (March 4, 2014, 5:43 GMT)

@thozar.....i jst read ur comments....i dont know wat u think....in india team cleark,warner,watson,haddin ,mayb rogers n 4 bowlers will be selected...im a indian n im sure abt it...jst name 1 indian bowler who can bowl lik watson...indians 1st choice will be watson....in every format any 1 in ds country will pick watson....he may avg 37 in tests but he is far btr thn rohit,dhawan,dhoni,murali vijay....warner n clark will surely pick no doubt abt it...coming 2 keepr...dhoni;s avg n haddin avg r almost same n haddin is class act...we cant compare both in terms of keeping,haddin keeping is bst in world n dhoni is not a keeper so every1 wil pick haddin,i jst doubt rogers...coming to fast bowling any1 will slect aussie fast bowlers..jst luk at ipl auction how they got picked...i prefer lyon instead of ashwin....lyon is jst next to ajmal,hearth...if u hav any names specify me...im not a aussie fan...i love cricket....dats it

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 4, 2014, 5:38 GMT)

@Gerry_the_Merry , I agree with your assertion on Warner . But to say that Sehwag is a bad traveller is not correct. He has scored test/ODI tons in Eng, SA, Pak, NZ and Aus. So I thought he was reasonably successful even on road.

But , but, I agree with your thought about Aus and SA playing less number of tests. It should at-least be 4 as against 2 or 3. This is cricket at its best.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 4, 2014, 5:28 GMT)

Hopefully Smiths retirement announcement will give the guys some metal in wanting to draw this game for him and block Australia out for 1.5 days.

Posted by ChuckerCarn on (March 4, 2014, 5:25 GMT)

Just when the conversation was civil and intelligent along comes an Indian troll to spoil the mood (or a tleast a troll pretending to be Indian) the dope doesn't even know that India lost in India against McGrath and Warne in 2004-5.

Posted by Henry_Crun on (March 4, 2014, 5:18 GMT)

@Thozar - To be quite honest, most Australians couldn't give the proverbial rats bottom about touring India. We tolerate you when you tour here, because it gives us someone to beat in between stoushes with real Test playing nations, but why play in India? You are beset with match fixing scandals, the BCCI is under a cloud, and the only way you can win at home is by doctoring pitches. Despite your national paranoia, the rest of the cricketing world does not have it in for India; the rest of the cricketing world would love to play India provided there was one major change in the Indian cricketing mindset: to be quite honest.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 4, 2014, 5:14 GMT)

Aus will bat until lunch tops. The will easily be able to score 150 runs in an extended morning session.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 4, 2014, 5:12 GMT)

We weren't seven overs short. More like five. Umpires forgot to factor in Faf's five minutes off the field while his bowels readjusted to facing Johnson.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 4, 2014, 5:08 GMT)

VillageGreen, who says Australia HAVE to set a sporting target? If Warner gets going and guys like Watson, Haddin and Smith cash in, the Australia will comfortably rack up a 500+ run lead an hour out from stumps, given the extra 30 mins play. I'm not saying that will happen, but it is a very clear possibility. You are writing as if Australia have limited options here when they are in the box seat.

Clarke is a risk taker. But there is no rule that says he MUST set generous options for the opposition when the is a clear option of a miserly one! Only a fool would set such a standard.

Posted by thozar on (March 4, 2014, 5:07 GMT)

and, @JimmyDean, perhaps it is time you watch a game before you comment. India lost to NZL but if you saw the test matches you would know that India were in winning positions in both games. Bad decisions especially the one to Rahane in the first test cost us the match and the series. Everyone knows that India is a way better team than NZL. That is why we are ranked second in the world. Even with an inferior bowling attack we competed very well against number 1 RSA in RSA and that was only 3 months back. Some people have short memory spans.

Unlike Oz fans here I am not biased. I accept Oz fast bowlers are superior to India's. But why cant you accept that our batsmen and spinners are superior? That is why the series later this year will be interesting. It is likely that series will be the fight for the number 1 position in tests. Before that we will do what your great team could not do, beat England in England:-)

Posted by thozar on (March 4, 2014, 5:02 GMT)

@JimmyDean, 3 months ago Oz smashed India. I remember the last time Oz played against India, we thrashed them with Rohit smashing a double ton against your bowlers, the much vaunted Johnson being one of them. All your bowlers were treated like club level bowlers except Harris who was so scared to even show up, hahaha.

You doctor your pitches and that is how you win too. If you are a great team you should win in all kinds of pitches. Since your team is just average you come up with inane excuses. The great Windies team never made excuses. They even beat us in India. Now that is a great team. Even the Oz team with McG and Warne could not beat us. This Oz team will be lucky to escape with a draw in one test. We saw how great Johnson was when the pitch did not help him in the last test.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (March 4, 2014, 4:59 GMT)

@thozar Australia is their bogey side. They lift against SA and play their best cricket. Also SA losing their best bowler would make an impact on any side.

Posted by thozar on (March 4, 2014, 4:58 GMT)

@Thegreataussiequick, in which world does Watson average 52? That itself negates the rest of your argument although you have been very polite unlike your fellow aussies. So kudos to you for that. but, it does not change the fact that the Oz batsmen except Clarke are distinctly average. Except Clarke, no one would get a look in the Indian team.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 4, 2014, 4:57 GMT)

thozar; As for your comments we will always be judged by our performance in India - well only by Indians trying to claim some sort of victory. Truth is other than in India our record is superior to Indias in every other country. SInce the home victories of Australia and India cancel each other out - it is our performance away from Australia v India that clearly puts us in front of india. Its not that hard to understand.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 4, 2014, 4:54 GMT)

ChrisP; With THosar no point asking the question that you already know the answer too. SOme people are so biased and doesn't matter who Australia beat there bias, leads them to think these teams are weak. We both know England were never weak either.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (March 4, 2014, 4:50 GMT)

Warner is a big revelation. India had someone similar in Sehwag, who however, was not so great internationally. Warner seems to be very good in all conditions, even those that favour seam bowlers like Philander. He continuously scores, and rapidly, and siezes the momentum early. He is the one great hope this Australian team has of maintaining their form. Clarke with his back, Harris & Johnson being on the wrong side of 32, Haddin & Rogers on the wrong side of 35, means that too many replacements will be needed within just two years. not the sign of a great team. By contrast, South Africa seem set to continue their current good form for much longer.

Barring tests between these two sides, there is little else of quality to watch today in cricket. It is a pity that they play only 3 test series. How we wish they could play longer series, say 5 tests, once in 2 years.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (March 4, 2014, 4:46 GMT)

@Yankedoddle-@March 3, 16:47 gmt . re- Graeme Smith, he has already 'dropped' himself !-:)

Posted by Biggus on (March 4, 2014, 4:42 GMT)

Pretty happy with the state of the game. Didn't think we bowled all that well, Rhino excepted. The morning session should make for good viewing you'd reckon, some assertive batting until just before tea and have another crack at the Saffers. Should make for a gripping last four sessions.

Posted by cricketlover_crazy on (March 4, 2014, 4:29 GMT)

I believe SA will draw this test and that should be fitting end to Smith's career, i don't want him to go out on a losing cause and trust me he would give it all too somehow save this test match. If Aus declare say at 400 runs with 5 sessions to be played, don't be surprised if SA may go for a win as well. Test cricket at its best when 2 equally aggressive teams play.

Posted by cricketlover_crazy on (March 4, 2014, 4:26 GMT)

I believe SA will draw this test and that should be fitting end to Smith's career, i don't want him to go out on a losing cause and trust me he would give it all too somehow save this test match. If Aus declare say at 400 runs with 5 sessions to be played, don't be surprised if SA may go for a win as well. Test cricket at its best when 2 equally aggressive teams play.

Posted by wapuser on (March 4, 2014, 4:22 GMT)

Aussies r cruising to test# 1 side.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 4, 2014, 3:17 GMT)

First Swann, then KP and now Smith - this powerhouse, resurgent Aussie team is having a big impact on world cricket.

Lillee's pounding down like a machine....etc

Posted by line.and.length on (March 4, 2014, 3:15 GMT)

great competitive "real" cricket... but to think the Oz bowling line up could still be interchanged with Bird, Starc, Cummins... the rebuilding process took a little while, mainly due to bad selection processes, but Rome wasn't built in a day, and Oz will reign once again.... go Australia you good thing

Posted by Haiphong on (March 4, 2014, 2:39 GMT)

I would like to see Watson go in at No. 3 and, between him and Warner, take the attack to SA. Should Australia be up by 350 at lunch time it would take some pressure off Clarke from knowing when to declare!

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (March 4, 2014, 2:32 GMT)

@Chris_P, @Thozar wants to give back what others said about India when they were ranked number one. On the face his statement is objective but underneath it betrays lack of frankness as most of them are.

Posted by cccrider on (March 4, 2014, 2:05 GMT)

A dud declaration, with another in prospect. The best way to respect an opposition is to suffocate it. Set the dial to 'despair'. The Great WI sides of the 80s did it beautifully. Clarke doesn't.

Posted by daBro on (March 4, 2014, 1:29 GMT)

@David_1946. To fellow kiwi fan; it appears you are in favour of Clarke enforcing the follow on. We are all afflicted by 3T Eden Park's result, however there some Key differences. NZ had enough time to bowl England out, and we simply were not good enough. IE: Day 5's: Dropped catches before lunch. TWO key factors going for Clarke. He has 2 world class fast bowlers, plus the lethal Pattinson (who bowl >140-145kph); and a world class AR in Watto. NZ did not have a single World class bowler. The Cape Town pitch looks like it will break up if it goes to Day 5; so Clarke not enforcing the follow on STILL has the benefit of a good-for-batting pitch, and avoid batting last on a potentially turning pitch, should RSA were in a position to get 400 clear.

Posted by GrindAR on (March 4, 2014, 1:14 GMT)

Why don't SA team give a fitting farewell to Smith. I would say, after HC, GCS the most astute captain, who can pull the individual and team performances from nowhere and in an unimaginable ways... He leaves behind a legendary character in a leader, and the attitude to face and overcome challenges.... He may have failed in fetching WC(s) for SA, but he showed the way to how to build the team confining to the conditions and limitations imposed on him by the factors not in his control. He is the best leader, where the statistics, phenomenon(s), live situations and experiences speak for his accomplishments... He is leaving the helm after making the team as world leaders and capable of staying there for a long time regardless of minor blemishes... I have greater respect for him confined to the game of Cricket.

Posted by grubberJo on (March 4, 2014, 1:13 GMT)

South Africa's lack of depth in players is on show for all to see in this series with the retirement of Kallis and now Smith. I can't see any real rising talent coming from the SLA as they begin a rebuilding phase. How far down the rankings will SLA fall? We're watching the changing of the guard as AUS starts their march to No.1 test status. Can't wait for next summer's series against India. We have a wealth of young fast bowlers in the wings.

Posted by Thegimp on (March 4, 2014, 1:12 GMT)

Here was me thinking that the RednWhiteArmy had surrendered!!!

As I said prior to this series, Rankings mean nothing. I can't stand this modern emphasis on world rankings. Very American. The team that turns up on the day is the team that plays. The form each player is currently in is the only barometer. It doesn't matter what has happened over the last 5 years. Who cares who beat Bangladesh in late 2012 and racked up ranking points? I personally don't care what happens in five years time when Pup, Rogers, Hads, Harris, and maybe Watto are gone, I care what happens in the next day, who knows who will come through the ranks in that time. When the next series comes along or the next Ashes it will be time to start caring about that and not before. The only thing that rattles my cage are those young and inexperienced fans who start yarping prior to the series about how they are going to smash the opposition team.

Remember what I said at the start......Don't count your chickens

Posted by ChuckerCarn on (March 4, 2014, 1:02 GMT)

Great comments on here for the most part from both Aussie and SA supporters, reflects the mutual respect overall I think. SA still a very good side but missing Kallis and no real spinner has hurt them. Australia are on the up, and have been since India, I've commented this before, a team with unity, a coach that unites them, a genius player that takes attention and focus off everyone with his "apparent" stupidity, a bowler of real class. Tireless in the field, inventive with the batting, and seemingly building and finding answers. Everyone seems to dislike Watson, yet he caned 40 from 40, picked up a wicket and bowled well and took several good ones at slip. Clarkes overrated but you can't have everything :) BTW sarcasm alert.

Posted by RJHB on (March 4, 2014, 0:58 GMT)

@thozar, bad news friend, Australia already went to India just last year and took their medicine. Come November, India are gonna get a taste of our "good, not extraordinary" bowling, and get a big dose of payback medicine!! How's India's attack shaping up for that series? Bringing Kumar back? Bahahahahahahahahahaha

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 0:57 GMT)

The way smith is going I wouldn't be surprised if he stops his captaincy, unless he gets some sort of form this year. AB jokingly said that they didn't need him when he went off and AB got a review right, he may have said it jokingly but I feel there is some truth behind it. Just because he is captain doesn't mean he should stay in the side, it's just a waste of a wicket in my opinion. Give de kock another chance, drop Peterson because he is utterly useless at the moment as well! Elgar is showing why he should open as well! It's

Posted by RJHB on (March 4, 2014, 0:51 GMT)

Gee we Aussies are a generous bunch, we just love to give Faf multiple chances don't we?! Fair dinkum! I don't really understand the way most of the SA batsmen played that first innings. Pietersen played some ripping shots but also some streaky ones. It was as if be was trying to be Warner for SA, scoring off every ball. Amla and De Villiers showed defence was far from their minds too playing two very loose shots to get out. Then Fafs luck finally ran out. These guys are number one and deserve to be, but they play like millionaires! They really don't appear to respect any opposition, led by captain Smith whose lack of humility is no better than Dave Warner's!

Posted by GrindAR on (March 4, 2014, 0:47 GMT)

So far good show by Aussies... Lets see how SA going to respond. If their bowlers do a good job, it will be a craker, regardless of DAWs cameo today... Seems SA is mentally absent on Cricket... they known key batsmen are not delivering and their bowlers lost their confidence on their batsmen to put some fight.... Day 4 can fetch 10 wickets for 10 a piece, a contrast to their first innings toothless bowling...

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (March 4, 2014, 0:47 GMT)

I wrote yesterday that there was enough overs left to make a result very likely. Now I think an Australian victory is very much on the cards. SA can hope for a draw at best. Clarke will probably want 450 which means Australia will most likely declare somewhere between lunch and tea given the extra overs in the morning. That will leave them around 120-150 overs to dismiss SA which should be enough given that the pitch will deteriorate and none of the SA batsmen have any particular form.

Great bowling from Harris and Johnson again, with able support from Pattinson and Watson. Lyon didn't look too threatening but he should have some nice rough to bowl into later in the game.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2014, 0:31 GMT)

AlSmug: I agree. In 2008 when Australia were the number one ranked test side and South Africa came over and beat us I think most Australian accepted that South Africa was the best despite ICC world rankings.

Australia still have to get through South Africa in the second innings though, all this talk of Australia being the best is moot unless Australia can bowl them out again. South Africa batted for five sessions in a fourth innings to save a test in Adelaide last summer and again last month nearly chasing 460 on the way. I suppose the glaring difference is that Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson do not play for India and were not around last summer for Australia.

For all the carnage I have seen Johnson inflict over the past few months, I think last night was some of his best bowling, picked up key wickets and broke partnerships.

@Thozar: You will get to see India against Australia next summer, in Australia.

Posted by Ozzz.z on (March 4, 2014, 0:08 GMT)

All Aussie batsman are all so keen to bat that's why they are pouring out the tons. And Mr Mitch Johnson and Harris are so keen to bowl it makes incoming/new bowlers like Pattenson even more keen to bowl and succeed. I'm an Aussie fan and want Oz to win well but I feel even IF Oz get up it's not a real win as you want to win against the best and without Steyn bowling it's not against the best. I hope Steyn gets another go in this innings if possible I rate him as the best in world cricket.

Posted by shramiac1 on (March 3, 2014, 23:15 GMT)

SA so lucky that Oz didn't review Fas' first ball! They could have been in real trouble and out for well under 200! Great bowling on a fairly placid pitch. Harris was fantastic and Johnson getting into Petersen's mind by hitting him, after he batted so well was masterful. Again, the SA batsmen looked good before succumbing to good bowling pressure. SA's batsmen are fantastic but even the best get done sometimes. Oz will need to dig in hard on Day 4 and set SA 420-450 by tea to get a win out of this. Lyon will need to bowl better as wel,l if Oz has any chance of taking the test.

Posted by JimmyDean on (March 3, 2014, 23:14 GMT)

@ Rohit... " A big Fan of Johnson... Hopes he Fire again, But Still I want SA to win... .Buddy make up your mind will ya... It's like you wanna say you're MS Dhoni's fan but you want V Kohli to captain India...

@thozar , OZ to play India in India at Indian doctored dust bowls.???? wouldn't be at a bad time for OZ at the moment with their tails currently up......Also your great Indian side lost to the 8th rank team in NZ last month... and this weak batting side you mentioned smashed your great Indian team just only 3 months ago....

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 23:12 GMT)

Australia batting again might somehow put SA on the driving sit on whether this is gona be a draw, win for SA or win for Aus. I have seen Harris struggled a bit whether is his knee or whatever it was, that will mean too much work load for Watson who's bowling at 120 kph regularly, Jonhson only bowls less than 5 ov per spell... Pattinson not that convincing. I say if Aus bat that long SA will go for a draw, if Aus post only 400 on the cards and give SA just 4 sessions then they will be doomed with SA coming back to the match. let's wait and see where this goes

Posted by disco_bob on (March 3, 2014, 23:11 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy on (March 3, 2014, 15:32 GMT), Such visceral bitterness can't be good for you. I don't think that wishing ill on the current Australian side that is giving the cricket world so much pleasure at the marvellous entertainment on offer (surely seeing Clarke get badged must have gladdened you, even if he did go on to utterly dominate clueless bowling) is going to make up for the well deserved humiliation of the overly precious England squad.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 3, 2014, 23:08 GMT)

Thank God Clarke didn't enforce the follow on. That would have potentially handed control of the test back to SA. Now the bowlers will get a decent rest before coming at SA again, and SA will have to bat last. It also means Steyn has less time to recover from his injury, while Johnson has time to rest his (not sure if its serious or not).

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 3, 2014, 23:01 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson's resurgence has been the most important factor in Australia's recent success but this game looks like being probably their best team effort in that period. Ryan Harris has always been a very good bowler but has been below his best in this series up to now. He's certainly shown here that Australia's bowling attack is not a one man show. It's a bitter pill to swallow for an England fan but Australia are looking quite ominous right now. Their bowling has been pretty good for a while even without Johnson but looks as good or better than any pace attack right now and their fielding is top notch too. The issue has been the batting for a while now but that appears to be improving. The fact that the bowling has been so good has given the batsmen extra confidence and Warner, Smith and Haddin in particular have been making regular, significant contributions. Not happy Jan!

Posted by Rowayton on (March 3, 2014, 22:58 GMT)

David 1946, I think another good reason not to enforce the follow on here is that you don't want to give Steyn another day to recover before you have to bat against him. He is far less likely to be able to perform in the 3rd innings than the 4th. Normally you wouldn't take into account one bowler, but when he's the world's best...

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 22:52 GMT)

Basically, since Chennai Australia will not enforce the follow on. That loss hurt a lot and it showed managing bowler workloads is critical.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 3, 2014, 22:44 GMT)

I hold my breath but maybe after this performance against the world number one we might get some respect from the Indian trolls. Just a funny point after game two the South African fans said reverse swing and the over reliance on one bowler is the reason our bowling attack doesn't come close to South Africa's. We were advised that we didn't have the ability to bowl on all surfaces. We had a poor game and those comments are looking pretty silly right now, it appears South Africa although has several quality bowlers they have a reliance on Steyn as much as we do Johnson and we are also showing the conditions determine reverse swing and we looked pretty good at it in this innings. I'm not going to insult the South African bowling attack, it is class and has been for many years, but seriously why the issue when our bowling coach, a bowler as well as the captain have the confidence in the team to say our attack is better. You should always have confidence in your own ability not silly to me

Posted by landl47 on (March 3, 2014, 22:44 GMT)

I only saw the last session, but Johnson continues to look extremely dangerous. By the time I was able to watch, Harris, Pattinson and Watson were hauling themselves to the crease and bowling medium pace, but Johnson was still flinging down thunderbolts. There's no way in the world Clarke could have enforced the follow-on, his bowlers had given all they had. Instead we were treated to some beautiful shots from Warner, who really has looked world class in this series.

South Africa has been fortunate over the last few years to have 5 star players in the line-up. With Kallis gone and Smith retiring the side is starting to break up. This test has shown how much the SA bowling relies on Steyn for inspiration as well as wickets. Morkel has his moments and Philander is steady, but Abbot looked pretty ordinary today and the other SA seamers aren't any better.

My money's still on a draw, but if Aus crack on tomorrow and the wicket offers some help on day 5, it could be Aus's series.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (March 3, 2014, 22:36 GMT)

Graeme Smith has been one of my favourite players. I want Australia to win the series but I wanted him to do well. Sad he retired.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (March 3, 2014, 22:21 GMT)

As an Aussie, I got to acknowledge we've had the best of the luck this series. It began with Smith's abject stupidity in choosing to bowl in the First Test when his #1 bowler was coming back from injury and had gastro; continued with 5 catches dropped of Warner in the first two Tests; Smith's inability to pick the right decisions to refer costing them numerous wicket opportunities; in thisTest, the wicket was a road when Australia batted, and then therain spiced things up so Clarke declared early as the ball was now "swinging around corners"; and in all three Tests, RSA has been a bowler short for most of the games, with illness to Steyn, injury to Parnell, and injury to Steyn.

We deserve a top 3 rating, but we've had the best of the luck against RSA and the Poms in Oz (tho in England we did cop the worst of the luck) so hopefully Clarke and co can take it with some humility.

Posted by disco_bob on (March 3, 2014, 22:06 GMT)

@ TheBigBoodha on (March 3, 2014, 11:18 GMT), so how is your dream working out now that you've woken up to a nightmare?

Posted by Batmanian on (March 3, 2014, 22:04 GMT)

And further, @David_1946, Warner, Watson, Smith and Haddin are very special weapons in this scenario - if the latter three are elevated and two of the four bash quick 40s and the other two fail, they will still provide the heft of an eminently declarable position very quickly. I'll be surprised at the batting order if they're not 380 up by lunch.

Posted by Batmanian on (March 3, 2014, 21:58 GMT)

@David_1946, we're not just dealing with tired bowlers, but known fragile ones. Any of Australia's quicks could pop something, and it's worth giving them twenty hours' rest on that account rather than in fear of fatigue per se. Australia needs two searing new ball bursts from Mitch and Pattinson especially, as well as some good link work from Watson; injuries rather than tiredness can prevent that.

Posted by Thegreataussiequick on (March 3, 2014, 21:55 GMT)

thozar - I respectfully disagree, Michael Clarke and his men are far above average. Sure they're having problems at the moment trying to find the right mix with a couple of key spots, but they men who are there (AVGs) Rodgers 38, Warner 42, Doolan 32, Clarke 51, Smith 38, Watson 52, Haddin 35, Johnson 22, Pattinson 30, Harris 19, and Lyon 16 are doing very well (That a team avg of 384. hendy total eh?) Whats more there is always someone who steps up when the other aren't doing so well... (Haddin in the 13/14 ashes tour)

Posted by Short-Arm-Jab on (March 3, 2014, 21:54 GMT)

@thozar "It will be nice to see how these great Oz bowlers go about their business against India in India:-)" In no way shape or form should India be used as a barometer for measuring how good a bowling attack or even a team is. Maybe once India win a game outside of the sub continent (they haven't done so in nearly 3 years) they might demand a small amount of respect but at the current time it's hard to take them seriously in the cricket world when most of their players only play well on their doctored dry dust-bowls.

Anyway hopefully Australia will bat at 4-5 runs until a little bit after lunch and then get stuck in with the new ball. As someone else said, even if it is a draw, both teams will know who had the better of the other, who honestly cares about #ICC rankings?

Posted by thozar on (March 3, 2014, 21:50 GMT)

@Chris_P, you don't need to be Einstein to interpret what I said. You are an Oz supporter? You don't say, just by reading your inane comments one could figure out you are one. I said that RSA's bench strength is found wanting. Which part of this do you not understand? They have had some terrific performers for them who were for the most part fit and firing for the last few years and that showed in their results. Their backup is not quite strong though. They are deserving numero uno based on their performances everywhere but the difference between them and the next best is not that high as it is currently in the rankings. The next best could be India or Oz depending on where they play. Your team is inspired alright. Show your might in India for once. Why do you always leave with your tails tucked inside whenever you visit India? This Oz team always performs in RSA and Ashes. It is how they perform in India that they will always be judged upon.

Posted by Batmanian on (March 3, 2014, 21:49 GMT)

I don't know whether to take the 'not wanting to bat fourth' line seriously with regard to Clarke's routine non-enforcement. In truth, I suspect Australia needs at least to have Philander in before tea on Wednesday, or the bowlers are going to be droopy and psychologically out of it. Any partnership of RSA bats is capable of saving this. The conditions are not nearly as important as how the bowlers are holding together and how positive RSA is about being negative. But unless there's an extreme lack of imagination or an amazing bowling performance, I can't see Australia getting fewer than 140 in the first session and heading for the declaration zone with 40+ overs to go Tuesday. Australia is in the box seat, but I don't think this pitch fazes anyone.

Posted by rjansen on (March 3, 2014, 21:37 GMT)

@AlSmug What a joke. Even if Australia win they will not be the best, just currently in form. You don't wipe out 4 years of dominance in a 3 match series.

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

Australia will declare twice in this game to try to get a result- when they really don't have too. It shows their attitude. In the same situation SA would have just batted on. There is the difference between the teams

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 21:20 GMT)

I know it is not Michael Clarkes style BUT I think he should have a go at enforcing the follow on

Posted by Chris_P on (March 3, 2014, 21:20 GMT)

@@thozar, Last test you posted, "This result proves what we, non Aussie fans, always knew. That Australia are an ordinary side. " Now you bag the Boks? So what is it with you anyway? Have you got even the slightest idea about cricket?

Posted by VillageGreen on (March 3, 2014, 21:11 GMT)

Australia's determination for quick runs could backfire against a very good attack even though missing Steyn. And if given the chance Clarke will set a total the No 1 Test team should be able to reach. Can Smith do something special in his last innings? Is the pitch still batsman friendly?

If SA fail to knock off a gettable target after a sporting declaration it will be a real poke in the eye to the No1's, and a real notch for the contenders, especially after looking like pretenders only last week. These next two days will tell us as much about character and appetite as it will about ability.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (March 3, 2014, 20:53 GMT)

Australia don't won't to hand SAF an undeserved victory here with an over-sporting declaration. This pitch looks like one that a batsman can score briskly on once in, so anything under 400 in 5 sessions against the talent in the Saffer batting line up could be dangerous. It would've been nice to enforce the follow on but bowlers aren't machines and do fatigue.

Posted by amfas on (March 3, 2014, 20:35 GMT)

Test rankings aside, the difference between the two teams in this series lays in the stats. SA's top two bowlers have taken 19/613 AUS's top two have taken 25/578. The difference between the two captains is massive with Graham Smith averaging tad over 8 and Michael Clark around 73. I think the biggest difference between the sides is that AUS have managed to dominate more sessions during the series and this I believe can be attributed to great captaincy by Michael Clark. Still a way to go in this test but the outcome would have to lean towards AUS 2-1 or a draw.

Posted by shahbazhussain on (March 3, 2014, 20:28 GMT)

woow what a game turning to be... I want Aus win as I always support the lower ranking teams. Coz thats how a world # 1 is tested. They get support only from their own crowd, though I am neutral fan. I like both teams alot. Players from both teams have a lot of respect in cricket fans hearts. But right now cricket is on stake. Lets hope for another exciting test. If Pakistan can chase 300 in less than 55 then why not SA being a champ can chase a target of 500 in 100 overs? Lets hope rain does not spoil the excitement. I want cricke to win for one another time.

Posted by AlSmug on (March 3, 2014, 20:26 GMT)

To play sth africa in sth africa to be one all and in command in the 3rd sums it up for me regardless of the result, it is clear Australia are the number 1 test playing nation , the sth african team will know this even if the ic ranking doesnt agree

Posted by David_1946 on (March 3, 2014, 20:01 GMT)

@Nikko Chunn: respectfully disagree with a fellow kiwi. According to you I "don't get cricket", despite my having watched test matches since 1965. Two reasons to bat again: 1. Tired bowlers. 2. Avoid batting last on deteriorating pitch. Two BIGGER reasons to enforce follow on: 1. Continue to maintain scoreboard pressure on opposing batsmen. 2. Avoid problem of timing 3rd innings declaration: if you delay declaration to ensure opposition can't win, you risk missing a win yourself (example: http://www.espncricinfo.com/new-zealand-v-england-2013/engine/match/569245.html --- Eng still 167 short of target at end, but NZ ran out of time to get final wicket); but declare too early, and you risk losing the match altogether. Whereas by enforcing follow on and batting last, you completely avoid this dilemma: no time is wasted, and you know your 4th innings target precisely, leaving you in the position of choice: batting it down, or shutting up shop, as the situation unfolds.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 3, 2014, 19:41 GMT)

@RednWhingeArmy, I'd list the ages of your players (and furthermore point out that age is irrelevant if the desired results are achieved), although, such is the devastation of our obliteration of your team, I couldn't even tell you who will be in the side! Whatever the case may be you'll most likely be fielding a host of novices - lambs to the slaughter - come '15. Worry about rebuilding your own side up from the ashes we've left your straw house in, mate.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 19:36 GMT)

South Africa's pace attack seems to be sadly toothless. Steyn is half the time away or lacking bite because of injuries, Morkel is too predictable, Parnell comes in after a long gap and disappears even before playing out 5 days and Philander can't bother the Aussies with his friendly pace - doesn't matter whether he swings the ball in or out. On the other hand - Harris, Mitch and Siddle - all are fit throughout the series. And SA's batting against hot pace on fast wickets is no less disappointing! Someone here had something against Petersen's inclusion. Well, no issues - he is out of form. But what about the captain (GS) himself? Or are captains allowed to have endlessly long bad form? I wanted SA to win the series - but I think that won't happen this time.

Posted by Chris_P on (March 3, 2014, 19:13 GMT)

@thozar "Looks like RSA is not as strong a team as their rankings suggests." How do you figure this out, Einstein? They haven't lost a test series for over 5 years, beaten every country at least once, won on the road many times. They come up against an inspired side & you come up with this? They almost set a world record 4th innings run chase last month, they have one of the best batting & bowling line-ups in test cricket bar none. And this is from an Aussie supporter. Why not just acknowledge what a tremendous effort we have put up instead posting inane statements??

Posted by Snambidi on (March 3, 2014, 19:09 GMT)

Australia is indeed in a very comfortable position. But after getting 200 more on 4th day Australia will have to make a sporting declaration .A challenging declaration if they insist on winning because Australia need time to send SA packing once again in 2nd Innings. Instead if they play safe to extend lead upto 500 & above,there is every possibility of SA escaping with a draw. The way Smith declared in the last Test fearing rain on the final day is an eye opener for all captains.Sometimes Captains will have to take risk.here the situation is different .but time is the criterion.

Posted by Chris_P on (March 3, 2014, 19:06 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy. Remember this, 5-0! Keep chewing those sour grapes, lad.

Posted by thozar on (March 3, 2014, 18:48 GMT)

Looks like RSA is not as strong a team as their rankings suggests. Either that or Oz are their bogey team. They have been unable to defeat Oz in a series at home ever since readmission. Surely it is hard to replace a player of Kallis' stature and they have also been unlucky this test because of Steyn unable to bowl after bowling 10 overs due to hamstring injury. But their backup leaves a lot to desire. Philander has been exposed, Abbott just took wickets against Pakistan in helpful conditions and Morkel looks distinctly average. It is evident in their inability to restrict an ordinary batting team like Oz. Their batting also looks weak. Smith is out of form, Amla and DuPlessis look ok, and ABDV is great but the rest are average. While Oz bowling is good, it is not extraordinary. It will be nice to see how these great Oz bowlers go about their business against India in India:-)

Posted by pradeepsays on (March 3, 2014, 18:41 GMT)

I simply do not understand the logic behind video reports when there are no video footages of the match or highlights. It is not exciting to watch Mr.Jarrod Kimber showing stills, which we can access from the gallery, and the scorecard which is also accessible elsewhere. It is a waste of bandwidth. Hopefully cricinfo can add some value to these reports in future.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 18:28 GMT)

believe it or not the final test is poised for a draw due to some splendid batting by abd and faf in the second innings.Both the teams will share the honours.Its my own prediction.

Posted by Rohit... on (March 3, 2014, 18:26 GMT)

A big Fan of Johnson... Hopes he Fire again, But Still I want SA to win... Seems as if the Lorgat period has died down in our mind.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 18:23 GMT)

Hats off to ryano.and mitch. they continued pressure throughout the innings. lead is already 234........hopefully warner wiil stay around and aussies will declare the innings half an hour before tea with a lead of 450 2moro. And aussies will win by more than 170 runs.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 18:15 GMT)

2nd ing d.elegar & petersen will come to open the ing & smith should come on 2nd down position & after that series south africa should remake their test side i suggest the playing 11 for future test..... 1.Dean Elgar(Use As A Spin Bowler Also) 2.G.Smith 3.H.Amla 4.Ab De Viller 5.Faf Du Plesis 6.D.Miller 7.JP Duminy(Use As A Spin Bowler Also) 8.W.Parnell 9.Dale Styen 10.Vernon Philinder/M.Morkel/K.Abott 11.Merchant De Lenga

Posted by SurlyCynic on (March 3, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

Well played Australia. As an SA supporter I'm obviously disappointed with the state of the game but Aus are deservedly on top.

I'm sure those Aus fans (and Mr Warner) who were so critical of SA for getting reverse swing after 40 overs will be going hard at Aus for getting reverse after 18 overs, but perhaps it's better to just acknowledge good bowling.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 17:54 GMT)

The world #1 need to show why they are #1. A sensational destruction ( a la 47) and a remarkable 4th innings chase of <>400 is what is needed. They have both the bowling and batting firepower for that. But will they be able to deliver against a resolute rival smarting after the last Test defeat is a very big question. Even if they can hold on as in Adelaide some time back, it will make for a great Test. Anyways may the more adventurous and ambitious team win!

Posted by stormy16 on (March 3, 2014, 17:51 GMT)

The trend of domination by one team continues in this series and while Aus bowled well and found life SA couldn't in two days, SA batted very poorly. With so much on the line there were a lot of all out poor shots from the top order. As expected Aus declared overnight and now it comes down to the decleration but what it has done is still gives SA an outside chance to do to a 47 all out on Aus. The key to this game is Warner as if he bats for any lenght of time (say till lunch) it will give Aus the bufer they are looking for and more time to bowl at SA. Credit to Aus, the blew away the SA top order and have put themselves in a positon to dominate and win the game but there is still work to be done. SA still have a chance to draw the game but they will have to bat for their lives.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (March 3, 2014, 17:49 GMT)

Australia's best bowler is not really Johnson. It is Ryan Harris. Actually Ryan Harris is the best in the world. He is similar to Malcom Marshal. The Action. The Never Ending Effort. The Good Nature.....But Ryan is able to take wickets in the opening spells too. Marshal often failed to get wickets in the opening spells.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 17:46 GMT)

I just don't understand why Peterson is back in. He's out of form. De kock is in form, and is more likely to get runs than Alvaro! But instead they drop him after 2 innings, one of which he at least gets a start, and brings in a batsmen that hasn't had a decent score in a while! I love the selectors...

Posted by CodandChips on (March 3, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

Best 2 teams in test cricket imo. Has been great to watch.

Warner certainly is very lucky, considering the amount of times he gets dropped, but I love the way he plays, and his fearlessness

Posted by jb633 on (March 3, 2014, 17:27 GMT)

@TommyTucker, I agree with you here. The way the batsmen played the reversing ball was abysmal. 3 guys have nicked off in exactly the same manner. You would have thought that guys coming in later would have learnt the lesson about not driving away from the body without any footwork. Aus bowled really well but the SA batsmen helped them with incredibly poor shot selection. SA have done it in the past but this Aussie side is very difficult to play against when they get their noses in front. I hope for the sake of SA that they at least show some discipline in the second innings and make it as hard as possible for Johnosn et al.

Posted by prakash_mishra on (March 3, 2014, 17:25 GMT)

Great going Mitch!! 4 wickets and an inspiration to all other quick bowlers. I am not much of an Aussie fan but since Mitch is in this team , I definitely want them to beat Proteas. Aussie are now becoming a formidable unit and soon all the teams will be facing a surmountable challenge when it comes to facing them. The credit goes to Johnson more than anyone else who revolutionized pace bowling once again.

Posted by CricFanKrish on (March 3, 2014, 17:20 GMT)

Perhaps another spell of rain might save SA the blushes. If the weather remains good, SA have a lot of work to do to save this test. Steyn, their most accomplished run-through-a-side'er is injured and may not bowl a lot. I see Clarke declaring the innings closed with 30 minutes to go for tea after getting the lead to around 450.

Having said that, if SA can just believe in themselves and just look at what they did when India was around (the Jo'burg test), they should be able to achieve a draw. They need to be ready to take a few body blows from MJ, leave alone balls outside the off stump, not go for fancy shots and just grind it out. This is more easily said than done against an attack comprising the quality of MJ, RH, JP and SW. Even NL is an important cog in their wheel these days.

Overall, an exciting last two days of this test match coming up!

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 17:16 GMT)

Good luck to both teams. I take everyones points and yes probably an optimist but thats what makes a South African team. They seem to thrive on the "impossible" situation.AB and Hash to set up Shop. And despite all his critics, Graeme Smith to add yo a huge match saving effort

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 17:04 GMT)

Anand, I think you miss the point about Siddle aka the Bananaman. While he might not "rip through" opposition batting, he is actually the one who ties up the other end creating pressure for the strike bowlers like Johnson and Harris. Meanwhile he also takes crucial wickets, as in the recent Ashes when he all but made Pieterson his bunny. He wasn't injured or dropped, he was rested. You have to give even your strongest workhorse a rest every now and then. You haven't seen the last Bananaman, don't you worry about that.

Posted by AussiePhoenix on (March 3, 2014, 17:01 GMT)

I'm sure SA will dig deep, but seeing as we bowled them out cheaply on a good batting deck things are looking ominous. Roll on the Aussie juggernaut.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 16:59 GMT)

One bold decision of clarke is awaiting

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 3, 2014, 16:58 GMT)

The missed review and chances off FaF have cost us 75 runs and 2 hours. Hope it doesn't come back to bite us. 425 with 4 full sessions to go . But I wont be surprised if Clarke calls his batsmen back an hour before tea, assuming we bat till then. All depends on Davey !! He stays around and we can reach 425 as quick as possible.

Posted by Yankydoodle on (March 3, 2014, 16:57 GMT)

South Africa has a lot of problems.

Graeme Smith: His captaincy is hurting the team and his lack of form. He needs to be dropped.

Morne Morkel: Way too inconsistent. 70% of the balls he bowls aren't played at. Needs to be dropped.

Alviro Petersen: Not up to standard. He needs to be dropped.

Plus side: JP Duminy. He needs to be developed into a top class spinner. Wayne Parnell needs to be a regular. Marchant de Lange should return.

South Africa will lose the series. They have been riding their luck with their deficiencies being conveniently covered up for a while now, but now very apparent facing a much better opponent.

The no.1 team in the world should not fight so hard every time to get back into the game. The no.1 team should always play positive cricket and always be first to take it to the opponent.

I'm a South African by the way. Test cricket is my favourite sport and Australia will deserve their no.1 spot when they get it.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 3, 2014, 16:48 GMT)

JP Duminy is the penultimate Choke player. Whenever he is needed, he crumbles into the sand. Faff on the other hand is the anti-choke rising the challenge. I don't know, I just don't see SA surviving 5 sessions. Our batting was pathetic, the shot selection of Alviro, Smith, AB, JP and Faff was poor.

Posted by BobCo on (March 3, 2014, 16:37 GMT)

@truthfinder, you obviously have not played any national level sport. Injuries are unlucky but unavoidable facts of the top level sportsman -- sometimes they just happen. At high levels, sports people are really pushing the boundaries of what their bodies can do; some times that extra 1% might just do something that basically stuffs you for a bit. Steyn is no doubt dealing with one of those unfortunate things right now. I don't think any of Sth Africa's problems stem from fitness concerns or preparation. They're just stuck playing an Australian side who has the bit between the teeth at the moment, and are playing equally (maybe even a bit better) aggressive cricket than Sth Africa can and do. The Australian bowling lineup has clearly got into their batsmen's heads and Clarke, Warner, Smith are in good form. No shame in losing to a reasonably good team oozing confidence and in form. That said, remember it is still 1-1, and the Australians haven't won it.... yet!

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 16:33 GMT)

We are not a great side, pretty average actually, just like every other team in the world at the moment. We just want a little respect. Every time we do well we get put down and when we lose one against the best team in the world in their back yard we are laughed at. Some of you cricketing tragics are just so one eyed and have no respect for any other team it's ridiculous.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 16:29 GMT)

oz should set target of 425 with 4 sessions remaining

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 16:28 GMT)

at present only one hero is clark what a bold decision really whole world will like him because he will play positive and always wins i,e, is great australia. I am indian but don't like indian cricket.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 16:24 GMT)

@ rednwhitearmy - Can you go away? I have seen you say the same thing every test so far. You have to bring the Aussies down because your team is so outclassed in every department. Aussies have a great crop knocking on the door. Wait until Kwaja & Hughes get a fair run. Plenty of state batsmen can walk into any side. Then we have Starc, Cummins and Pattinson. Great leggie getting blooded in short format. Our Future is looking good. I hear even your state teams are going bankrupt hahaa

Posted by Yorkersandbouncers on (March 3, 2014, 16:20 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy

Wishful thinking. Warner is 27, Lyon is 25, Smith is 25, Pattinson is 23, Starc is 24, Cummins is 20, Hughes is 25, Doolan is 27, Faulkner is 23.

Clarke and Johnson have at least another 2 years. Haddin is good, but he isn't exactly a "key" player. He just had a good Ashes series. Ryan Harris has about 3 supremely talented fast bowlers waiting to take over from him, in Cummins, Pattinson and Starc.

Don't forget that those 3 are only just coming back from injury.

Posted by gujratwalla on (March 3, 2014, 16:15 GMT)

I am amazed and amused at the comments here! Injuries are part and parcel of any game more so for a fast bowler whose sinews are in excessive use and his effectiveness is limited up to a certain age.Steyn has a magnificent record and it is just tough luck he got injured at a critical tine for his team.The match is not over yet and whatever the outcome SA is a great team on par with Australia.Both teams lack a genuine test class spinner but in other departments it is evens.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 3, 2014, 16:14 GMT)

@Rednwhitearmy; Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, VVS Laxman, Jacques Kallis, Shiv Chanderpaul, Misbah ul-haq.

What do these blokes have in common? Figure it out. If you think Johnson, Watson, Siddle, Clarke, Haddin, Ryano, Rogers won't turn up on your shores to defend the ashes in 2015 you're dreaming. They are as hungry as ever.

Australians don't play as many FC games as their English counterparts. Johnson is really like a 28 or 29 year old because he was injured so often during his early years he has only just reached his peak, not to mention he is a killer athlete. Same with Harris and Haddin. People their age usually would have played 250 first class games.

Posted by letsgoproteas on (March 3, 2014, 16:12 GMT)

Lucky escape for the Aussies today...

PROTEAS!

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 16:10 GMT)

Poor batting by SA.they need some AbD special.

Posted by twistatwistaa on (March 3, 2014, 16:08 GMT)

jp dumminy what was he trying to do, he is such a class player no doubt in that forward defense backfoot defense but if he plays like this in crunch movments not even coach can help him

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 16:08 GMT)

@ Jerome...it is good to be positive and anything is possible, but my view is that Aus are not going to let this one slip. They are looking like a well trained military outfit right now and there is virtually zero chance they are going to give SA even the slightest sniff. Goal one...kill all hope of SA chasing a total, goal 2 bowl like they did today and take the series.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 3, 2014, 16:08 GMT)

@Jerome Swarts. Two words, David Warner. He is tailor made for these situations.

SA fans keep dreaming about 47 all out but it just won't happen again. Totally different side, a tougher, steelier, more competitive and united Australian unit won't let that happen. You're in for a fight, don't underestimate us.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 16:07 GMT)

scoreboard pressure. Exactly the same thing in 1st test, exactly same thing in 2nd test.

Was hoping for more short ball to Morne today, but we'll be happy with him out.

Well done Aussie, lets wrap this tomorrow!

Posted by DylanBrah on (March 3, 2014, 16:05 GMT)

@Jerome Swarts - The only Smith that looks like scoring runs plays for the other team.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 16:03 GMT)

There's a u turn in Aussie performance from last ashes in England.

Posted by twistatwistaa on (March 3, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

i cant believe way alviro peterson got out, it was just fear and a very careless shot, even amla they are just not ready to give a fight , they need to spend lots and lots of time in middle and value there wickets and not just throw it away by playing a bad shot, me being a big fan of hashim amla he really disappoints all the time

Posted by AltafPatel on (March 3, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

Peterson, AB, Faf threw away wickets to play unnecessary shots. SA could not learn from India and now that series to leave good deliveries and score on loose one.

Posted by Puffin on (March 3, 2014, 15:53 GMT)

We've had 2 tests already where someone has conceded a 150+ lead then gone on to lose badly, here we have another test where someone has a big 1st innings lead, guess what's coming? SA bowling attack looks fallible without Steyn. It's looking a tough job.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 3, 2014, 15:48 GMT)

Warner not hanging around here (O.K. so when does he I suppose...); my guess is some quick-fire runs to inflate the lead here from Australia, and then over a full day to try and bowl SA out again. All three results still possible here IMO, although two much more likely than one of them...

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 15:46 GMT)

guess the best team in the world is after all not the best

Posted by truthfinder on (March 3, 2014, 15:43 GMT)

South Africa has the team to beat Australia. But they need to prepare very well any tour to/in Australia/SA. The injury or lack of fitness is simply inexcusable. They have to realize that they are not playing against subcontinental team against which one fit fast bowler is more than enough. The lack of readiness of Steyn in first test and third test is unacceptable. So is that of Purnel. SA pitches suits Australia the most -- in fact more than Australia itself. Their performance in SA is the best. Any other team except SA would have been easily white washed in this condition. Next time SA plays Aussie they should be very careful about that.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 15:42 GMT)

No follow-on regardless, as not Clarke's captaincy style. It is the right thing to do. Only batters and people who do not get cricket think you should follow on ad nausea. You bat briefly and fast, and then you go again. It gives you the cleanest, best chance. You cannot assure yourself of anything if preferring a win over a draw ad they want SA batting last. Copy book. And I say that as a kiwi, so it is as objective as you can get considering I hate them and do not want to say anything they do is right. Therefore it must be.

Posted by GoCho on (March 3, 2014, 15:40 GMT)

Weather forecast for the next 2 days is sunny! My forecast is a 200 run victory for the Aussies duly completed by the 1st session on the 5th day! So much for people saying Mitch cannot bowl on low-bounce wickets. Agreed this wicket quickened up from day2 but had nowhere the same bounce as the 1st test or Gabba! And for those who were rebuffing Billy's claim that this pace attack is no.1, dont worry there will be plenty more matches this year where you will be served delicious humble pie!

Posted by zCooler on (March 3, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

J Swarts, wake up. The game is nearly finished. SA not even manage to avoid follow on.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 3, 2014, 15:34 GMT)

Another display of Australian domination over the opposition - such is the trend of recent times.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (March 3, 2014, 15:32 GMT)

Johnson 33 this year, Rogers 37 this year, Haddin 37 this year, Harris 35 this year, Watson 33 this year, Siddle 30 this year & Clarke 33 in a few weeks. Smith is the youngest and he's 25 in 2 months. I seem to remember as recently as last year, hearing about how australia were still rebuilding & how they were a young side! Well 6 key players in their mid 30's indicates it might be happening again soon.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 15:12 GMT)

this game hasnt even started yet. only 221 deficit.What if Aus collapse tomorrow? Say what you want. AB , Amla, Faf and Smith. I wouldnt bet against them chasing 400 at required 3 per over. Cant believe everyone calling a result and SA not even fin 1st innings

Posted by Speng on (March 3, 2014, 14:39 GMT)

Maybe this game is showing SA's problem i.e. a lack of fast bowling depth. The Steyn, Morkel, Philander unit has been one of the most dangerous over the last few years but when one's off the boil it doesn't work so well. They need another couple dependable guys so they can have a rotation. Also since Smith and Amla are currently proving the low side of the law of averages and with JK's retirement they're missing a lot of consistency and runs.

And yes, the Aussies are back... they can bowl fast, they've got a decent tweaker, and they can put runs on you in short order - Aussie, Aussie, Aussie... Ugh, Ugh, Ugh...

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 3, 2014, 14:35 GMT)

Personally I hope SA get past the follow on score. The last thing I'd like to see is AUS batting last on this dry track chasing 150 odd. Would give SA a real shot. Make SA bat last! This is not Adelaide Oval!

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 3, 2014, 14:35 GMT)

So the evidence continues to mount that Australia are getting a lot better.

We flogged England and now we have the best team in the world under the pump on their home turf.

Mr Walker's playing havoc with the bats..... Redpath its good to see you back....etc

Posted by Blackholesun on (March 3, 2014, 14:18 GMT)

Australia in very strong position. Only the rain can save SA now.

Posted by JimmySA on (March 3, 2014, 14:15 GMT)

If SA draw it will be the most welcoming draw as Aus should expect to win from this position not having Dale Steyn to bowl or hold up an end with the bat. If Aus win then Clarke must definitely be Man of the Match. Anyone, but Warner! TBH I would have never predicted this result before the 2 Countries met. Aussies had a lot of fight in them

Posted by Biggus on (March 3, 2014, 14:01 GMT)

Don't need this rearguard stuff from Faf and Vern. Faf is beginning to be a pain in the proverbial rear end. Apart from Harris our guys have been a bit wayward all day. Getting tired of Nathan Lyon's coming around the wicket to righties. It's ok for a change but he really should learn to bowl his stock attack from over except to lefties. We're letting the game slip a bit I reckon. Still fingers crossed we can force a win though.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 3, 2014, 13:45 GMT)

Oh how I wish Hadds didn't grass that stumping.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 13:35 GMT)

@ Baggy Green. Those are constructive comments. Respect from most knowledgeable SA cricket lovers for the Aus team is mutual. Regarding your comments on the Australian team - completely agree with you that they are not overly reliant on one or two players. I may not have this 100% but there are the older generation (if you can call them that) e.g. Pup, Watto, Johnson, Haddin - all proven blokes. Then middle gen guys such as Lyon & Warner who are undoubtedly showing they have 'the stuff'. The newer blood is coming through in Smith, Harris, Pattinson, Doolan, Rogers who are mostly showing they have the potential. Not too many question marks in the current team.

Posted by sala_mander on (March 3, 2014, 13:35 GMT)

Australia playing so much better now, showing the stuff we know they're made of. I'm a saffer supporter through and through but have to say we don't look like taking it this time, unless Faf can do some of his magic but he'll need support. Almost inclined to suggest they fold just before the follow-on target and hope Clark enforces it. Then graft out a lead of say 150 with 2 sessions to play and sportingly declare. Maybe wishful thinking but what a great game that would be...!

Posted by milepost on (March 3, 2014, 13:27 GMT)

@Baggy Green, I agree. The fact is Australia do well because of team performances, we do not rely on one individual. I think SA are the same, there's lots of good players in their side all of whom have chipped in at some point. There's no real chance of SA making this total at all, they won't make the follow on. Even if they do there is plenty of time for the Aussies to set up a thumping victory, even if SA continue to try and waste time playing for the draw.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 3, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

@TheBigBoodha If SA survive until tomorrow and by some miracle survive the follow on, Clarke will come up with kind of teasing follow on proposal. The problem is that Smith is negative and is 1 Fast bowler down, so he will be hesitant to risk anything. I just dont see Aus being bowled out again.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

I am waiting (for far too long) to see how Pat Cummins fits into Australia's scheme of things. Is he still injured ? I don't remember being so excited to watch a bowler bowl. It's been almost 3 yrs since he last bowled in a test and still that spell of bowling to Kallis unforgettable. I still remember Kallis being hit by one of Cummins' deliveries. I don't remember many others sharp enough to strike Kallis so badly.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 13:11 GMT)

Was Siddle injured or dropped for this game ? Either ways, it's a welcome move. I am not sure he's a bowler who can run through sides. With due respect, I think he relies a bit too much on the pressure created at the other end. With this bowling line up - it looks like there are two bowlers who can potentially run through sides in Johnson and Pattinson ably supported by Lyon and Harris and Watson can be the defensive bowler if need be.

Posted by Newlandsfaithful on (March 3, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

One has to say that for two days we saw absolute rubbish from the much vaunted SA pace attack, with Smith having to turn to part time spin to get some wickets - yet the Aus pace attack looks unplayable. Very disconcerting. Philander, Steyn and Abbott generally looked as dangerous as babies throwing cupcakes, while Morkel threatened the batsmen's heads, but not their wickets. I'm not sure what Donald is actually doing with the pace attack, but it ain't working. One has to question not only Smith's performance (reflexes gone - can't bat, can't catch), but his tactics as well. Warner scored in the exact same places in every test match and Smith did absolutely nothing to counter him or make him impatient. RETIRE!!!

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

Regardless of the result here, Australia have shown themselves to be a real force now. The pace attack will change over the next two years but they have depth of promise to go with the experience and menace of Johnson, Harris & Siddle. Lyon is a competent spin option. The batting order, although brittle, can score punishingly quickly when they are on-top. Yep, good side.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 12:51 GMT)

All those who say Australia relies on 1-2 players....refer to Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson....forgetting David Warner and Ryan Harris for just a couple, then make the excuse that SA are missing Dale Steyn.

Dale Steyn is an awesome bowler. Morne Morkel is a great bowler. Vernon Philander is a great bowler.

Give credit where it's due, please. Australia has gone through "a period of time", sorry Greame, where we were quite brittle, and who's to say that time has passed, but to say we rely on a couple of players is to say that you don't know a damn thing about cricket.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 11:58 GMT)

With Duminy going I think the death knell has begun to sound. SA are crumbling here. I am only following on Cricinfo at the mo but it would seem that 4-5 of the 6 were a result of good bowling and an apparent blinder from Haddin. This could turn out to be an unforgettable hiding.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 11:54 GMT)

@ccrider, one of the smartest things a captain can do is leave the door ajar. It brings about shots from the opposition that may not otherwise be played. Just look at the expansive drive from Amla at a juncture in the match where he perhaps thought SA were cruising along pretty handily. You are watching Australia play here my friend, not Yorkshire! Clarke is the best captain Australia have had since I've been watching and I've seen them all from Hughes on. Steve Waugh I thought was quite brilliant, but Clarke, along with the aggressive mindset that Waugh had, has an even better nose for the game. SA now 6 down with the ball hooping, after two warm windy days you could sense the reverse was going to happen, it was just a matter of when. Genius declaration.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 3, 2014, 11:53 GMT)

@cccrider The problem with your thinking is you take the ultra conservative worst case scenario line of thinking. Clarke is the opposite, he looks at a more realistic to an ultra positive scenario to try and force a result. Even with SA 6 down for under 150 you're worried about them coming back. Sure, something crazy could happen, but it's not particularly likely.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (March 3, 2014, 11:52 GMT)

and so the second best bowling attack, gets the first best out of the pitch. (AGAIN)

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 3, 2014, 11:50 GMT)

So many worriers on this page. Don't worry boys, we got this... 6 down as i speak. Ryano showing his class..

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (March 3, 2014, 11:35 GMT)

Who's got the best attack now?? When Ryano is at his best, we do. Because along with Johnson and Siddle/Pattinson and Lyon and Watson, we have all bases covered under all conditions. Pace, swing, spin and reverse and no let up.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (March 3, 2014, 11:25 GMT)

Faf getting all the tricks out today eh? 10 minutes after lunch and has to leave the field. No wonder he can't figure out the difference between green and white shoelaces.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 3, 2014, 11:18 GMT)

I have a feeling SA will put together a few partnerships here and get reasonably close to Australia's total. If htat happens, it will leave Clarke to take yet another risk to win the game. i.e. score fast runs and give SA a sniff while trying to bowl them out. Hope it doesn't backfire if that's what is required, as it is the Aus team that has been doing most of the risk-taking. It has to be said SA were more aggressive this innings too. Maybe they think they can shut up shop if they lose too many wickets - say, about four in the first session. ;-)

Posted by Shaggy076 on (March 3, 2014, 11:14 GMT)

ccrider; It was another great declaration, the conditions were ideal for bowling and with 500 on the board as a captain you should be confident you will never lose from there.

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (March 3, 2014, 11:12 GMT)

Hard to see SA even drawing this match from here. If they follow on, almost no chance of saving it. If they get past the follow on, it improves their chances but still unlikely. Someone, I think it was even old jonesy2, said that momentum counts for little in sport. Australia have bounced back harder from losing the last game, just as SA did in PE. But the Aussies seem to want it more. Sure, they've had the best of the conditions for both batting and bowling so far but you still have to make it count against what is still a very good cricket team. I don't usually go in for predictions but there you are. If I am wrong it's going to be because AB goes big and someone hangs around with him.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 3, 2014, 11:00 GMT)

Imagine what would have happened if a decent bowler like Bird was playing instead of Pattinson...

Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 10:57 GMT)

Great declaration and very good bowling to back it up! It might be costing a few extra runs but they have attacked the stumps well and it looks like the ball may reverse pretty sharply at times as the game moves along. Patto's extra pace making a difference, he has gone through the batsmen a few times now and this has been a very good selection from Lehmann. All coming together for Aus, keep going at those stumps boys!

Posted by cccrider on (March 3, 2014, 10:55 GMT)

Clarke gives oxygen to opposing sides with his generous declarations. This may bite Australia yet.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 3, 2014, 10:53 GMT)

Aussies clearly on top.

More evidence of the closing gap between these 2 teams and the recent resurgence of Australia as a cricketing force.

There are fewer doubters out there now than there were one month ago.

Posted by Great_Nate on (March 3, 2014, 10:46 GMT)

Great stuff from Clarke. I thought the bowlers were a little bit off with their lines, but they have still bowled some great balls and taken big wickets. Another session like that one for the Aussies and they will be well on their way. However AB is a big block in the way.

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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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