South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 4th day March 4, 2014

South Africa stonewall but Australia eye victory

241

South Africa 287 and 71 for 4 (de Villiers 16*, Abbott 1*, Johnson 2-31) need another 440 runs to beat Australia 494 for 7 dec and 303 for 5 dec (Warner 145, Abbott 3-61)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kimber: Cricket stood still for Graeme Smith

Adelaide, November 25, 2012. Set a record chase, South Africa go to stumps at 77 for 4 with AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis at the crease. Through the unwavering concentration of du Plessis, they salvage a miraculous draw.

Cape Town, March 4, 2014. Set a record chase, South Africa go to stumps at 71 for 4 with AB de Villiers and nightwatchman Kyle Abbott at the crease. Faf du Plessis is next in. Surely they couldn't do it again? Could they?

Michael Clarke must have thought back to that Adelaide Test as he made his declaration calculations on the fourth day at Newlands. That match was an opportunity missed, and now his men had the chance to redeem themselves and secure an away series win over South Africa. They had dominated the match so far, in no small part thanks to David Warner's twin centuries, but the job still needed finishing. A draw from this position might just feel like a win to the retiring Graeme Smith.

At 15 for 3 after Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris skittled Smith, Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar, the result seemed a formality. Clarke's declaration 40 minutes before tea gave South Africa a nominal target of 511 runs, but their only realistic goal was batting out four and a half sessions to settle for a 1-1 series. A post-tea stonewalling effort from de Villiers and Hashim Amla gave them hope of achieving that feat.

In Australia's favour, the fifth day was due to start half an hour early to make up for the loss of play due to rain on day two. And unlike the Adelaide Test, where James Pattinson broke down and left Clarke a bowler short, here he had the complete artillery still at his disposal, including the allrounder Shane Watson, who did not play in that Adelaide Test.

Pattinson performed an important function as the sun set behind Table Mountain, trapping Amla lbw for 41 with a ball that jagged in sharply and rapped him right in front. A hopeful review did not save Amla, who had spent 148 minutes at the crease and faced 109 deliveries. His 53-run stand with de Villiers occupied 30.4 overs. The runs were irrelevant, the time they ate up was not.

South Africa's scorecard had more dots than an Ishihara test; de Villiers alone had negotiated 89 of them by stumps, of the 100 deliveries he had faced. At the close of play, de Villiers was on 16 and Abbott had 1. South Africa had added only 56 runs in the final session, but for the loss of only one wicket. That was important after the mini-collapse that occurred before tea.

Johnson ended Smith's Test batting career on a low note. Applauded through a guard of honour by the Australians on his way to the crease, Smith managed only 3 before he tickled a quick Johnson delivery on to his body and the catch lobbed up to Alex Doolan at short leg. He walked off to a standing ovation and turned around to raise his bat to all sections of the crowd, but knew he had missed the chance for one last captain's innings.

Johnson soon rattled the stumps of Dean Elgar, who missed a quick delivery that seamed away just a fraction, and it left South Africa on 15 for 3 after Ryan Harris had earlier trapped Alviro Petersen right in front. It completed a demoralising couple of sessions for South Africa, after Clarke delayed his declaration in order to completely bat South Africa out of the contest.

The runs came quickly in the second session as Warner, Watson and Steven Smith enjoyed the freedom to go for their shots and Graeme Smith, in his last acts as South Africa's captain in the field, had little choice but to send his men back to the boundary to save as many runs as possible. Clarke called an end to proceedings with the total on 303 for 5, with Smith unbeaten on 36 from 20 deliveries and Brad Haddin on 3.

Warner was the key man throughout Australia's innings and finished with 145 from 156 balls when he edged behind off Abbott, who ended up with three wickets. Not since Phillip Hughes in Durban in 2009 had an Australian scored two centuries in a Test. Warner had started the day briskly and moved to his half-century from 41 deliveries, although by lunch he had fallen below the run-a-ball rate.

The only man to fall in the first session was Chris Rogers, who on 39 virtually gave his wicket away with a slack piece of running between the wickets when he jogged back for a second having swivelled the ball to fine leg. The direct hit from the deep caught Rogers short as he failed to ground his bat properly, and it led to a decline in the scoring rate as Doolan came in and looked to get himself set.

Doolan played some nice shots on his way to 37, including a classy on-drive for four, but he used up 87 balls to get there and was out shortly after lunch when he was caught top-edging a hook. Watson struck a quick 25 from 17 balls and helped plunder 22 off one JP Duminy over before he was caught at point off the bowling of Abbott, and Clarke fell for a duck trying for quick runs.

In the field, South Africa were on a hiding to nothing but failed to show the intensity that might have been expected of them after Smith announced his retirement overnight. Dale Steyn bowled three overs with his hamstring injury but had no real impact. None of it really mattered. It was in the batting department that South Africa would need to show real fight if they were to save this match.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • thozar on March 6, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    @Bruce Lamberton, wrong facts mate. India won as recently as 2007 in England. So we have won 3 series in England - 1971 (1-0), 1986 (2-0), and 2007 (1-0). We have also won series in New Zealand, West Indies, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. I have mentioned numerous times that we should have won not 1 but 2 consecutive series in Oz but for poor umpiring. In 2011 in South Africa we almost won the series but for a Kallis rearguard. So we have performed well in most countries contrary to popular belief.

    @Dravid_Pujara, cheers mate. Oz has been thrashed almost every time they visit our shores. Yet they keep blowing their trumpets after defeating teams on the wane like England and RSA. It looks from their boasting as if the tour last year when they were decimated 4-0 never happened. Even with this team, if they come to India now, they will be thrashed like the previous 3 tours. Just for their viewing pleasure:-)

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/india-v-australia-2013-14/engine/match/647251.html

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    @Thozar You cannot ignore the fact that India are a vastly less successful Test team when playing away than when at home.

    They have never won an away series in Australia; they have never won an away series in South Africa; it took them 41 years to finally win their first away series against that powerhouse of world cricket, New Zealand, in 2009, to whom they've just lost the most recent series played. And while India may have won two away series against England prior to 1986, they have not managed to repeat this feat for 28 years now.

    As for being "giant slayers", you seem to have forgotten that since 1999/2000 India has lost home series to South Africa, Australia and England, so they are not invincible at home which you seem to imply.

    This is why India has struggled to achieve and retain the #1 ranking, and why they have slipped back to #3. Australia has just beaten South Africa in an away series (again) and are now #2 in the world, so give credit where credit is due.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 5, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    @Chris_P, yawn myte, grasping at straws. Aren't you? I know that you love to live in the past, administration wise and also game wise. Wake up and smell the coffee! It sure is some 'intelligence' to look at hundred years as opposed to looking at the recent mauling Aussies were dished out in India, especially in Tests - that sort of 'intelligence' that makes you feel good and escape from the reality of your last 3 tours to India - 0-8 and counting. Cheers myte....

  • KGY27 on March 5, 2014, 12:07 GMT

    Darren if you're reading this can you at least instruct all of the Aussies bowlers to bowl at the stumps and make the batsmen play. 91.4 overs pattinson 4 balls batsmen doesn't even need to play. Wasting balls and time. They want wickets best way is to aim at the stumps????

  • KGY27 on March 5, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    Isn't it funny how the Aussies and Proteas have played 3 great test with some awesome performances yet the Indian and Sri Lankan supporters seldom give credit where credit is due. This has been a top series in many respects better than the ashes but why do people need to compare these two teams with the Indians and Sri Lankans who are only strong at home as both away records are dreadful compared to the Aussies and Sth Africans who have excellent results both at home and away. You point the finger at the Aussie supporters for being one eyed. Time to look in the mirror guys.

  • seniorgators on March 5, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    @tanstell87 That's right Tanstell. Australia is the only Test nation that has a superior win loss ratio to every other cricket nation in the world with the closest nation still way,way behind. Come to think of it, they are the only One Day side to have a superior record to all other nations. You can quote just part of last year, i can quote the last 6 months but over the whole journey they are not only doing well now - they have simply been the best over the whole duration and by quite a margin. Twice they have won 16 consecutive tests, West Indies is next with 11. I won't go on but thanks tanstella87 for the reminder.

  • on March 5, 2014, 11:10 GMT

    Tanstell - very generous of you to say as Australia pushes for a 7th win in 8 games against two of the top nations. Thank you so much that we are finally no longer a disappointment. We'll try harder in the future.

  • Matt.au on March 5, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    Posted by SLslider @ Matt.au I didn't realize that SA will perform so pathetically at that time. T20 WC is in Bangladesh and we will see who wins it. When you make public predictions and those predictions fail it would be gentlemanly to accept the fact you were wrong - not make excuses. The fact is you were completely wrong regardless of any post-mortem thoughts.

    Now, tell us all for the record, who is going to win the T20 WC. Where do you see the lowly ranked Australian team coming in the WC?

  • Protears on March 5, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    Really what do people expect these guys to do, go all gung ho in a pursuit of nothingness when there can be pride in defiance.

    Its been a poor series and one we were severely under prepared for against a team playing with confidence and players at their peak. We will take stock after today make the needed changes and go on from their the local talent is not lean pickings.

  • sala_mander on March 5, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha - SA don't shut up shop if they have a sniff as was the case with India a couple of games ago, chasing 460-odd. They play sensibly and give it a good go. They came really close on that occasion. There are no grounds for saying they 'would have' if Clarke had declared earlier. Fact is, a good captain knows when to declare, leaves the door open just a bit - enough to entice the opposition to go for the win, then backs his bowlers to finish the job - as Smith did in PE. Oz may still go on to win this, and they will deserve to, but they're going to have to keep on working for it. This is test cricket, not T20.

  • thozar on March 6, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    @Bruce Lamberton, wrong facts mate. India won as recently as 2007 in England. So we have won 3 series in England - 1971 (1-0), 1986 (2-0), and 2007 (1-0). We have also won series in New Zealand, West Indies, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. I have mentioned numerous times that we should have won not 1 but 2 consecutive series in Oz but for poor umpiring. In 2011 in South Africa we almost won the series but for a Kallis rearguard. So we have performed well in most countries contrary to popular belief.

    @Dravid_Pujara, cheers mate. Oz has been thrashed almost every time they visit our shores. Yet they keep blowing their trumpets after defeating teams on the wane like England and RSA. It looks from their boasting as if the tour last year when they were decimated 4-0 never happened. Even with this team, if they come to India now, they will be thrashed like the previous 3 tours. Just for their viewing pleasure:-)

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/india-v-australia-2013-14/engine/match/647251.html

  • on March 5, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    @Thozar You cannot ignore the fact that India are a vastly less successful Test team when playing away than when at home.

    They have never won an away series in Australia; they have never won an away series in South Africa; it took them 41 years to finally win their first away series against that powerhouse of world cricket, New Zealand, in 2009, to whom they've just lost the most recent series played. And while India may have won two away series against England prior to 1986, they have not managed to repeat this feat for 28 years now.

    As for being "giant slayers", you seem to have forgotten that since 1999/2000 India has lost home series to South Africa, Australia and England, so they are not invincible at home which you seem to imply.

    This is why India has struggled to achieve and retain the #1 ranking, and why they have slipped back to #3. Australia has just beaten South Africa in an away series (again) and are now #2 in the world, so give credit where credit is due.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 5, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    @Chris_P, yawn myte, grasping at straws. Aren't you? I know that you love to live in the past, administration wise and also game wise. Wake up and smell the coffee! It sure is some 'intelligence' to look at hundred years as opposed to looking at the recent mauling Aussies were dished out in India, especially in Tests - that sort of 'intelligence' that makes you feel good and escape from the reality of your last 3 tours to India - 0-8 and counting. Cheers myte....

  • KGY27 on March 5, 2014, 12:07 GMT

    Darren if you're reading this can you at least instruct all of the Aussies bowlers to bowl at the stumps and make the batsmen play. 91.4 overs pattinson 4 balls batsmen doesn't even need to play. Wasting balls and time. They want wickets best way is to aim at the stumps????

  • KGY27 on March 5, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    Isn't it funny how the Aussies and Proteas have played 3 great test with some awesome performances yet the Indian and Sri Lankan supporters seldom give credit where credit is due. This has been a top series in many respects better than the ashes but why do people need to compare these two teams with the Indians and Sri Lankans who are only strong at home as both away records are dreadful compared to the Aussies and Sth Africans who have excellent results both at home and away. You point the finger at the Aussie supporters for being one eyed. Time to look in the mirror guys.

  • seniorgators on March 5, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    @tanstell87 That's right Tanstell. Australia is the only Test nation that has a superior win loss ratio to every other cricket nation in the world with the closest nation still way,way behind. Come to think of it, they are the only One Day side to have a superior record to all other nations. You can quote just part of last year, i can quote the last 6 months but over the whole journey they are not only doing well now - they have simply been the best over the whole duration and by quite a margin. Twice they have won 16 consecutive tests, West Indies is next with 11. I won't go on but thanks tanstella87 for the reminder.

  • on March 5, 2014, 11:10 GMT

    Tanstell - very generous of you to say as Australia pushes for a 7th win in 8 games against two of the top nations. Thank you so much that we are finally no longer a disappointment. We'll try harder in the future.

  • Matt.au on March 5, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    Posted by SLslider @ Matt.au I didn't realize that SA will perform so pathetically at that time. T20 WC is in Bangladesh and we will see who wins it. When you make public predictions and those predictions fail it would be gentlemanly to accept the fact you were wrong - not make excuses. The fact is you were completely wrong regardless of any post-mortem thoughts.

    Now, tell us all for the record, who is going to win the T20 WC. Where do you see the lowly ranked Australian team coming in the WC?

  • Protears on March 5, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    Really what do people expect these guys to do, go all gung ho in a pursuit of nothingness when there can be pride in defiance.

    Its been a poor series and one we were severely under prepared for against a team playing with confidence and players at their peak. We will take stock after today make the needed changes and go on from their the local talent is not lean pickings.

  • sala_mander on March 5, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha - SA don't shut up shop if they have a sniff as was the case with India a couple of games ago, chasing 460-odd. They play sensibly and give it a good go. They came really close on that occasion. There are no grounds for saying they 'would have' if Clarke had declared earlier. Fact is, a good captain knows when to declare, leaves the door open just a bit - enough to entice the opposition to go for the win, then backs his bowlers to finish the job - as Smith did in PE. Oz may still go on to win this, and they will deserve to, but they're going to have to keep on working for it. This is test cricket, not T20.

  • tanstell87 on March 5, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    After losing 0-7 in India & England, Australia are finally doing well in test cricket...

  • Shaggy076 on March 5, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    People seem to get carried away with 2 hours of cricket. The game will be decided in the next hour with the second new ball. Got 3 quick ones yesterday, another new ball session like that it is game over.

  • SLslider on March 5, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    Watching FAF and ABD bat is like watching grass grow. They should learn some class from Sanga and Mahela. Yawn Yawn.

  • disco_bob on March 5, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    It looks like it's going to be a repeat of the Adelaide nightmare, except this time Pattinson is not injured and we have Mitch who can bowl magic wicket taking balls. I still think we can win this with some new ball agression. If SA can manage to salvage a draw, which I think is unlikely then I suppose they'll have deserved it. But I think this series has Australia's name on it.

  • SLslider on March 5, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    @ Matt.au I didn't realize that SA will perform so pathetically at that time. Maybe they don't want to annoy "BIG 3". Anyway SA and AUS are far from the best teams in the world coz they only perform on fast tracks. When ball spins they become sitting ducks. LOL. Keep playing on doctored pitches and improve your ranking. T20 WC is in Bangladesh and we will see who wins it.

  • Jagger on March 5, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    A lot of Indians are getting their heads in a wobble. Just so you blokes are aware, you are no longer 2nd most consistently winning team in the world, so simply winning on home pitches will no longer guarantee you second place, it may even struggle to keep you at 3rd once Pakistan get their house in order.

  • sguha12 on March 5, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    @ Vishnu27 totally agree with your comments - this Indian side will get mauled by the Aussies during the Australian summer.

  • on March 5, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    By d way all haters , this called test cricket n dts y they are not giving ..ppl who r hating them are basically cowards who have d mentality of giving up ..

  • on March 5, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    Tarun.log off and come back on Sunday for the T20. This is classic test cricket

  • on March 5, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    The point is, This is test cricket.Aus Still have a new ball and looking at the pitch , they should have a good chance. But when people start that ranking should work according to who was ahead at what point, please give me a break. so tiger woods dominates a tournament for three days and bombs the last, then he should be awarded the tournament.Everyone is so hell bent on being better than someone else noone has noticed that you are watching an amazing game of cricket between the two best sides around.You think if bradman was around and you think the waughs , glen mgrath , Graeme pollock and any other great cricketer around are all whining about who is better.or are they saying what a great game we are watching

  • KGY27 on March 5, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    A great number of people bagged out the Aussies prior to this series. Yet it's not the Aussies fighting for a tame draw. It's not the Aussies who have put up the shutters. SA have basically been outplayed in this test and the first. Not bad for a team who seemingly didn't have a hope of facing the no 1 team in world cricket.

  • Forza_Scuderia on March 5, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    Australia look clueless about how to get wickets... Now operating with Clarke and Smith.

    If there is one problem I have with Australian cricket it is that severely lack in giving that knockout blow. It happened in Australia against the very South African's, It happened in England when a win was all but assured needing just over a 100 with plenty wickets in hand (a game they eventually lost) and it seems that this match is headed that way too with Duminy still to bat.

    Ridiculous stuff.

  • klsau on March 5, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    @Tarun Goyal Do you even understand the current match situation with 5 wickets down. This is Test cricket.Not some t20 slogfest..They're fighting for their country in this match

  • on March 5, 2014, 10:20 GMT

    dont understand what the Aussies problem is. I mean, SA havent lost a test series in a long time. why would we mess up that record now. Aus have outplayed us in this test, but if youre bowlers are as good as you say you should easily dismiss us, even if we are playinf for a draw.

  • on March 5, 2014, 10:19 GMT

    I think SA playing like true professionals, they were behind 8 ball from the start, plus they were playing with a 1 bolwer short, so that was unfortunate. The best thing at the moment is to get a draw. For some people who does not know, a draw is a proper result in test cricket. Every time you dont have to be gung-ho and force yourself to win a Match, On a 4th day of a test, the pitch detiorates, and trying to chase down over 400 runs, is suicidal especially when they were already 4 down.

    So a draw would be a great result for SA. They are no 1 for a reason. Undefeated in home and away series over 5 years. So they are going to hold this atleast for some time.

  • on March 5, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    just pathetic performance by SA .....bcoz of them test cricket will die soon...icc should take test status from them....at least their could have tried. ...75overs 105 runs... just pathetic. ...

  • xtrafalgarx on March 5, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    Not hard not to score runs all day, they haven't been able to do so all series!

  • on March 5, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    Lets get real. The SA team would be the first to admit that they have been comprehensively outplayed

  • TheBigBoodha on March 5, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    The fact is, @jerome, that SA would have shut up shop if they lost 3 quick wickets even if they had only 400 to get. So the only thing declaring earlier would have done is that it would have given SA a small chance of winning. What's the point? And the game's not over yet.

    A traditional, orthodox off spinner really isn't the ideal bowler in these conditions. They get wickets by bowling accurately, drying up runs and enticing/pressuring the batsmen to take risks. It's pretty easy just to deadbat an offie when not playing a single shot. Hats why Lyon was a poor option in Adelaide with only two other bowlers. At least here he has four other attacking bowlers around him.

  • on March 5, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    Come on SA.Show the adelaide heroics one last time for Graeme Smith

  • BradmanBestEver on March 5, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    @Int.Curator - You make a good point mate. The ranking of cricket teams should also include a point system, similar to boxing.

    A team that flogs the opposition in every game and yet has no win recorded due to say, the weather, has done much better than its opposition, versus a team that wins one game by a small margin and draws the other games.

  • TheBigBoodha on March 5, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    Okay, JimmySA, you win. Your SA team are masters of dead batting a cricket ball. We are masters of attacking batsmanship and fast bowling. Seems a reasonable compromise, no?

  • onelongsummer on March 5, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    JimmySA , It's a bit early to start crowing isn't it? Still 70 overs to go , thats 420 balls and the Aussies only need 5 good ones !

  • RednWhiteArmy on March 5, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    @shutthegate They are trying to save a test match. Do you want them to just roll over with their legs in the air? How about you man up & stop whinging.

  • RednWhiteArmy on March 5, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    @Shutthegate Maybe Clarke should have set a slightly more aggressive target instead of 5 million. Especially considering how your all banging on about how attacking he is.

  • on March 5, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    @shutthegate. SA havo option.There were two scenarios yesterday. Clarke declares at between 420 to 460 lead.this wouldve given SA a chance to have more overs on the 4th day.It would also have given AUS a chance with 3 new balls.Clarke decided to make the game safe by posting a 511 lead.There is no way a team is chasing 4 rpo on a day 5 pitch.This is test cricket, if SA bat out to days end then its a draw regardless of which team was on top when

  • Int.Curator on March 5, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    Its fair to say if SA were the number one team during this series they would have been in more wining positions during the series.

    Australia have convincingly won more sessions during the series.

    At this moment in time momentum and statistically Australia have proven they are better than SA on this tour.

    If two heavy weight boxers were fighting for a title. You would have unanimous decision:

    Australia 24 sessions - SA 16 sessions

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on March 5, 2014, 9:25 GMT

    @Jono Makim (post on March 4, 2014, 20:43 GMT): *In a high-pitched voice:* "Yeah, he's been alright I guess..." Surprised he hasn't been punished for having yellow laces around his waste. Credit where credit due mate - rode his luck in first two games, but game 3: waow! Real game changer. I'm pissed off this is only a three-match series; really want to see more.

  • JimmySA on March 5, 2014, 9:25 GMT

    Well well well, the excuse that was heard over and over again about the Adelaide match is that Patterson was injured. What is the excuse this time?

  • BradmanBestEver on March 5, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    Time 4 a wicket lads. It would be a pity for the dominant team over this series to not win more games than the opposition.

  • ShutTheGate on March 5, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    Common South Africa, I thought you were a team that fights not bores us to death! No wonder no one turns up to the ground, it's innings like this that gives test cricket a boring reputation.

    Man up and play some shots!

  • on March 5, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    *England drew in New Zealand

  • on March 5, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    @thozar: OK, my mistake, England drew in England over three tests, India lost in two. that does not really help your argument. England will still beat India in England. India will lose 4-0 in Australia.

  • on March 5, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    @SunilVaiyda. exactly who do you class as quality fast bowling, We have beaten India, England, and Australia in Australia on the way to claiming their ranking. So if none of those sides have quality bowling , Who would you suggest?

  • SherjilIslam on March 5, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    Posted by disco_bob on (March 5, 2014, 8:05 GMT): Agreed we need to prepare a better wicket to be more competitive outside subcontinents but out-rightly saying we can't we win outside subcontinent is exaggeration to me. we have improved a lot, and will sure star winning, provided we can produce a quality pace bowler

  • DragonCricketer on March 5, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    Boycott, Tavare, Trevor Bailey and Bill Lawry would be loving this !!

  • on March 5, 2014, 8:31 GMT

    actually the problem with SA is that they cannot play quality fast bowling....till then they will not be the deserving no 1 ranked team...once they are able to play quality fast bowling well only then there no 1 ranking will bejustified

  • on March 5, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    @ Protears on (March 5, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

    Where are you getting the "the starc reality is your veterans are carrying your team"? The to Aussie batsmen who have scored the most runs are Warner and Smith who are 27 and 24 respectively. Nathan Lyon is the 3rd highest wickettaker of the series and he is only 27 or so. Mitchell johnson can still go for several more years as well. As to our depth, we have numerous fast bowling options that will be there for the next 10 years: Pattinson, Cummins, Starc, Bird, NCN, Faulkner, Hazelwood and a f ew more decent ones at domestic level. Batsmen are a bit shorter, but by the time these guys retire we will have Hughes, Silk, Lynn, Maddinson and a few more at domestic level that l have probably forgotten. IMO, l would say we have a better future than a lot of other countries, including yours.

    Get your facts right before you post mate.

  • pick_at_the_seam on March 5, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    That is so calling us good but not great. apologies

  • KabsCricki on March 5, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Playing for the draw actually makes the batsmen more susceptible and is something Aus have figured out long ago and is in their cultural DNA. For example, Amla trying to defend saw him lose his wicket. He was lucky a few balls earlier from Johnson and then tried to block a snorter again when he went out. I believe if they played their normal game, as if they were there to make runs, the positive front foot batting would be safer. Backfoot against Australia is an impossible task, Adelaide 2012 is a one off. I have respect and enjoy the Australian philosophy. Go for the win and die trying. Playing for the draw and losing anyway is demoralising. Lets hope the next skipper has a Hansie like approach and a more modern take on these situations.

  • disco_bob on March 5, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    I forgot to say, there's an inordinate amount of hate from the bitter subcontinental supporters such that after reading the whole thread i needed a shower. Perhaps you guys should think about preparing better cricket wickets because you'll **never** win away from home and you will slowly begin to start getting thrashed at home as England showed you.

  • disco_bob on March 5, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    Well I am very pleased and surprised by Australia's performance in this series I thought we could win one Test if we played our best. I wanted to see bettet top order batting and overall it's been a solid performance.

    Standout images have been Pup playing one of the most gutsy hard nosed and career defining captain's innings we could hope to see. And Warner has developed into a fearsome talent.

    We have not earned the number one mantle yet but we have made a big statement in another year I expect we will have a team together who will dominate for 10 years.

  • pick_at_the_seam on March 5, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    1. When are people going to call this aus team "good but not great"? ; 2. why do so many people post so poor-sportsmanship-ly toward a team that loses? ; 3. How awesome is biff? ; 4.why on earth couldn't the icc make this a 5 test series? ; 5 what has any of this got to do with india?

  • on March 5, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    Carna mighty Oz! Let's clinch this one & grab #1!

  • Abhishek58 on March 5, 2014, 7:34 GMT

    Let comments go around . . I would be very happy if just Australia would win this series....

  • Protears on March 5, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    I don't believe there is a South African fan that will deny that of the 13 days played Australia have won around 9 days and deserve a series win if they get it, they are playing like a team on form at this point in time while we have struggled to find form even in the india series.

    I can accept losing fair and square but I don't accept people that cannot win or lose with humility. Indian fans coming here telling us how close they didn't come to winning when here, to be honest India and their fans have nothing to be happy about, indias record over 4 years is diabolical at best. Australian fans sure soak it up because the starc reality is its the veterans carrying the team right now and the "talents" we hear about are on the sidelines and the U19's aren't so hot either.

  • orangtan on March 5, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    @Chris_P you and your mates are just full of hate and rancour get lost in the outback myte.

  • on March 5, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    Can South Africa do it again... Adelaide 2012, Kallis injured his hamstring after bowling 3.3 over's and Du Plessis made 78 (159) in SA 1st innings, Aus then set South Africa 437 to win, declaring 13 over's before tea. Smith was out 2nd ball. At the end of the 4th day SA were 77/4 after 50 over's. Everyone had written off SA. SA faced 98 over's on the last day and ended on 240/8. Du Plessis finished on 110* (376).

    The similarities; Steyn injured his hamstring after bowling 10.1 over's and Du Plessis made 64 (135) in SA 1st innings, Yesterday we witnessed Aus set SA 511 to win, declaring 6 over's before tea. Smith was out 3rd ball. At the end of the days play SA are 71/4 after 41 over's. Everyone has again written off SA. SA are due to also face 98 over's in today's play. Du Plessis is still to come....

    It's going to take a mammoth effort from South Africa to pull this one off again. Statistics don't lie though, so I'm backing SA.

  • Lacertilian on March 5, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    @thozar "Australia will 'doctor' their pitches to suit their fast bowlers" Are you trolling or what? Australia pitches have always suited fast bowlers and batsmen alike. Anyone who has watched any cricket in Australia over the last 20 years would note the fact that each pitch, while having it's own particular quirks, develops over the test to give each facet of the game something to work with. Usually a bit of early pace/movement off the seam on day 1, proceeding to get better for batting as the test moves on and then cracking up & drying out come the last 2 days for the spinners to get some turn. Unlike pitches on the sub-continent which are all extraordinarily similar. By saying "India will come prepared", are you implying they will have their equipment with them? Better make sure a box is in there. @SLslider How about you respect elder cricket playing nations who showed you the game, before you lambaste their pitches? The very same pitches on which the game was originally played

  • wanatawu on March 5, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    AB got his Cowan up, nice to see.

  • Chris_P on March 5, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    @Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist. Here's a better tip, sunshine, have a look at the whole history of India touring Sth Africa & Australia to find a big fat 0 series wins. Go away & learn about the real game & come back to post something resembling intelligence.l

  • Protears on March 5, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    Lol, Amla needing to be dropped because he actually made contributions in a tough series, thats a laugh, can't play reverse swing, was that like India in general or Australia in 2005 and every tour of England since or Australia in PE. Believe it or not Amla is allowed to be dismissed from time to time with a ball through the gate. Its very easy to play cricket from in front but impossible to play from behind.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on March 5, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    cont- Having been totally o/c by great Aus soundly thrashed @ B'lore,Nagpur, rain saving them on 5th day Chennai 'mud',2-0 down, true colors showed in 4th test-Mum.The 'pitch' was cert. 1 of most 'colourful' ever and 23 y.o blond took 6/9! No,not Warne!

  • Chris_P on March 5, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    @ SLslider You do realize Australia beat Sri Lanka over there last time, don't you? This is a SA/Aust forum, you know what that usually means, don't you?

  • PrasPunter on March 5, 2014, 7:05 GMT

    @SLslider, you are back ? Since you asked, the last time Aus travelled to SL, we thrashed you 1-0 ( should have been 2-0 if not for the rain ) in tests and 3-2 in ODIs !! And the last time I checked, figured out that SL are yet to win a test in Aus.

  • on March 5, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    @SLslider okay I admit Australia lost last time they visited the subcontinent. But that's only because the Indians are famous of preparing dust bowls for pitches which only suit spinners. Every time the ball bounces on the pitch the batsmen need to duck for cover because they might be blinded by mud in their eyes! Same situation in SL, PAK and Bangladesh! By comparison Australia have the fairest wickets of all and South African pitches are not far behind. What disappoints me is that you are trying to compare two world class teams with subcontinent teams who can't win in any other country other than the subcontinent. Look at India in New Zealand - they managed to lose from a winning position. Haaaaaa!

  • siddhartha87 on March 5, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    also SL slider only India is a tough opponent to beat in sub continent. Aussies have beat SL every time in SL as well as Pak in last 15 years.They have even beat India in 2004. Dont try to hide behind India's achievement. SL will be steam rolled again when Aussies visit them.

  • jklawrence on March 5, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    Barring De Villiers,none of the SA batsmen show any guts to stay long. First thing they should do is to keep themselves away from reading news papers to overcome the "Mitchelfobia".

  • Yankydoodle on March 5, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    Amla and Morkel need to be dropped so that they can work on their faults.

    Amla cannot play reserve swing and Morkel cannot bowl balls consistently in the right areas.

    The team needs an overall. It's strange that it all has come crashing down, and the injuries to Parnell and Steyn are symptomatic of the problems with SA Cricket.

  • siddhartha87 on March 5, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    @SL slider btwi Aussie beat SL in SL last time by 1-0 and before that by 3-0.Grow up son

  • jklawrence on March 5, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    The captain of the No:1 test team is announcing his retirement during the middle of a test! That too when his team is struggling in the peak moment. What the hell did CSA were doing?Astonishing!Is there nobody to contact Smith and ask him to wait for one more day?

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on March 5, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    @Thozar-have to correct you mate.In 04' series Ind very lucky to not get w/w 4-0 by greatest team of all by comb. of toss/rain.On a Chennai mud roll chasing 220 odd on 5th day v McGra,Jason of course Warne Ind with a lot of luck would've barely got 150.

  • on March 5, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    Australia can tell the world that they are the best not by winning today, but by winning on turning surfaces in India, Sri Lanka as well. Johnson & Co will be innocuous in pitches in the subcontinent and it will also test the likes of Warner. This team still far away from Steve Waugh side, and a long way to go. Time will tell.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on March 5, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    @ SLslider on (March 5, 2014, 6:30 GMT) it is so sad that you pretend to be Sri Lankan, we all know you know.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 5, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    @thozar, well said mate. Cheers...@some Aussie supporters, I'm not at all unhappy at Aussie series win. Some Proteas were going gaga a month ago or so when they narrowly escaped in tests against India. Now they can't face up to Aussies at home and losing quite easily. I didn't expect my comment to rile-up Aussies. But truth be told, Aussies are being caned by India whenever they step onto our shores, especially in tests. Some of your batsmen could hardly get bat on ball when spinners were bowling. Lol. Jadeja looked like he is going to get hat-trick against your batsmen. Your team was so clueless and out of ideas that homeworks were given to them to get some desperate solutions. Here's a tip - look back at the last three consecutive Australia tours to India in statsguru archives. Cheers....

  • on March 5, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    @slslider forget 2011 when Australia thrashed SL?you have won only one test against australia and that in 99.

  • on March 5, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Shouldn't have to wait too long today-SA playing like a ship without a rudder. Two wickets in session 1 and the ship will sink quickly. Well done Aussies-great comeback after a poor showing in PA.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on March 5, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    Due respect to SA-D Villiers is arg. best bat in world and Faf is right up as well and among finest old fashioned blood and grit Waughesque test bats left in world-it looks 80 p.c Aus W,rest D.Aus had worst of weather in recent TMs.Hope it stays fine.

  • SLslider on March 5, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Aussies are made to look good by this SA side. Unbelievable !!! SA and AUS are both average teams. They get spanked whenever they visit sub continent. Its amazing they think they are superior. LOL. AUS were 4-0 in IND last time they visited. Fast track bullies. Philander has been made to look a legend on doctored SA pitches. Even in the 2nd test they doctored the pitch coz they were scared of mitch. Perform in sub continent if you want to earn respect. Visit SL or Uae and get thrashed again.

  • thozar on March 5, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    @Kingman75, if England win, it will be exactly what you call it. A miracle. They have couple of out of form half-decent batsmen, couple of half-decent medium fast bowlers, no spinners, no keeper, and an half-decent allrounder. You don't win test matches with that kind of players even against Bangladesh. Even Oz lost terribly to India, showed some improvement in Eng before becoming the team that they are now. India lost badly to Eng and Oz last time before improving against RSA and NZL. I expect them to bounce back against Eng who are ripe for the taking. Against Oz, I admit it will be difficult as they will be playing in their backyard and will doctor their pitches to suit their fast bowlers. But, I can promise you one thing, India will come prepared.

    mike_b, the current batting line-up are not as experienced as the prev one obviously but who is to say they wont emulate their predecessors. Last time our seniors were in their last legs. This is a young side. Hence the confidence.

  • TheBigBoodha on March 5, 2014, 6:24 GMT

    Hmm, Boof looked mighty PO at what went on with the run rate dropping yesterday before lunch. Obviously he didn't ordain the proceedings. I can only imagine there were a few colourful words dropped during the lunch break.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on March 5, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    @ Biggus on (March 5, 2014, 5:57 GMT) That was my point mate ...they can do It if any team can, but being 4 down and having to bat all day (a long day at that) does not happen often, I am as confident as you can get playing against the world number one.

  • thozar on March 5, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    @Richard Gillies, again you got your facts wrong. England did not win the test series in NZ, they only drew but won the ODI series. Since then, England have been struggling although they beat Oz 3-0 but since the Ashes down under they have been abysmal. They had 1 great batsman and 1 good batsman. The great batsman KP is dropped and the good batsman, Cook, is terribly out of form. Their bowling looked jaded and they have lost their one good spinner Swann to retirement. India on the other hand may have lost to RSA and NZL but have been very competitive unlike Eng who got thrashed by Oz.

    Oz fans should realize that even though I am not a fan of Oz I always post objective messages. I didn't say Oz is a bad team, far from it. They are a good side but their batting doesn't look strong enough although their fast bowling is good although they need to prove themselves in India. They will start as favorites in the test series later this year because the series is in Oz.

  • SherjilIslam on March 5, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    I don't know what's people's obsession with India here...I mean this is Aus-SA forum and all i could read is hate comments against India. Common guys..both SA and Aus are top test playing nations, I respect them alot and India too is not a bad test playing nation either but the problem is India are going through the transition phase and team rebuilding. Coming back to this test...I still believe SA can do the unthinkable, fingers crossed.

  • Chris_P on March 5, 2014, 6:08 GMT

    @FFL, I mean thozar. When have India slayed anything to get the giant slayer monicker? "anyone can beat England"? Really? Can't recall India doing either home or away, sunshine. Oh wait, selective memory recall, got it. And here's a tip for you, to beat teams you need to take 20 wickets, which part of your pop gun attack is going to do that? When you lose series to the #8 ranked team & can't take wickets, where else is there to go? Interesting take on life, keep chewing that humble pie.

  • on March 5, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    without Steyn SA bolowing attack just like a indian bolowing attack

  • thozar on March 5, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    @Biggus, do you know that when your Oz team was at their peak, when McG, Warne, S.Waugh, Gilly, Ponting, Hayden, M.Waugh, Langer, and Martin were playing, India were the only team to beat them consistently. We won in 97 and again in 01. We almost won the series in 2003 and 2007 and that was in Oz. This was during a time when every other team were getting thrashed by Oz. Even your captain S.Waugh said that India was the final frontier. McG and Warne were unable to take a single wicket in the famous Kolkata test. Again, when RSA were winning against everyone, we were the only team who drew test series at home and away. They have not won a series in India for more than 14 years. Oz have not won since 2004 when they got lucky cuz the last day of the Chennai test was lost to rain. We also gifted you a green wicket in 2 tests that you won in that series. Otherwise, it would have been only a draw or an Indian win. That is giant slaying for you. Not saying Oz now is a giant, just good.

  • milepost on March 5, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    Why the posters all come here to hijack the thread and make it about India? You just got spanked by New Zealand, now is not the time to be talking about India on a post related to the SA Australia series. OK, so now back to the actual topic - Australia will wrap this up. SA are effectively 5 down and Steyn has an injury. Not to mention Australia are the real number 1 in cricket.

  • Protears on March 5, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    Think this is proof that form is king and cricket is a team game, 4-5 guys cannot beat 11 in unity, Its time to cut the fat per se, if I don't have to watch Alviro and JP again in whites Id be thrilled.

  • dsig3 on March 5, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    Cant wait to get Faf in again. I quite like the Saffers but this guys makes me sick. I bet he gets out straight away today. His hype has been built on keepers making mistakes. Loves to tell everyone about all the talk that goes on the field even though he is a nobody who has done nothing but block. Thats alright mate, after this series I think you wont have long in the game before everyone figures out you cant score a run to save yourself and when you try you get found out at this level.

  • Kingman75 on March 5, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    @thozar, still showing yourself in these forums are you? I wonder what will happen if England pull off a miracle and beat India? Perhaps blame the umpires like you usually do. Or say that the team is still developing and guarantee they will beat Australia.

  • Biggus on March 5, 2014, 5:57 GMT

    @rickyvoncanterbury:- Mate, if the Saffers can hold out I'd be amongst the first to congratulate them, as I did after Adelaide, but you'd have to reckon we can break through at least with the new ball and Pup can likely manufacture a surprise wicket or two from Watson, Smith, Warner or himself. Any other team in the world wouldn't have a chance to save this game apart from SA, but the odds must be strongly with us even with Harris looking terminal and Lyon failing to impress thus far. It's been a good series, far too short, but the Saffers are tough opponents and I've enjoyed it thoroughly. Can't wait for the finale, two hours to go........

  • Samdanh on March 5, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    Aus and SA fans: Just ignore the wailing and whimpers of some India fans who are venting their frustrations either against Aus or SA here. Let us sympathise with them. Their team has not won a single Test or ODI (apart from a sole victory against Bangaldesh) so far over the last 15 matches (Test and ODI included). Rather it has been overall 5 losses in NZ and 5 losses in SA and so far, 2 losses in Asia Cup. They need our pity and understanding. Or just ignore the rant. Cricinfo. Request to publish please.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on March 5, 2014, 5:34 GMT

    Adelaide can be repeated... the Saffers still have some class batsman, but in the History of cricket how many Adelaide's have happened ???

  • Shaggy076 on March 5, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    Disco Bob - I would have gone with this little beauty from Greatest Game after the second test "Champions win games & series. Chumps & losers chase petty records!".

  • Henry_Crun on March 5, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    @Dave1970 - From memory Rogers made a 160 in his first Ashes series in England, and finished as leading Aussie run scorer. There is a subtle difference between his performance there, and Doolan's performance here; every time Doolan came in he jarred the batting attack. You may argue that Aus. needs a steady batsman at 3; scoring rate is not that important but the ability to rotate the strike certainly is. Doolan, like Peter Forrest in ODIs, seems to be almost totally lacking in this ability. The trouble starts when he bats with Warner: Dave can get frustrated without the strike and often gets dismissed after long periods not facing, as almost happened yesterday. Doolan just might get more Aus. opening batsmen dismissed than the opposition bowlers. Doolan is not the Messiah, he's just a very ordinary boy.

  • on March 5, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    To everyone saying that India will lose, we have Virat Kohli. He is the undisputed sun expert, oil control expert, spot expert, fairness expert and freshness expert. Who in the Australian side can challenge his? No one!

  • rickyvoncanterbury on March 5, 2014, 5:25 GMT

    How does India get bought up when discussing great cricket????... SA, Aus, NZ, Pak, Sri L ,all play better and are more entertaining than India, and have more competitive pitches.

  • PrasPunter on March 5, 2014, 5:21 GMT

    @Jim , this is exactly my worry since last afternoon - we wasted precious time in the middle courtesy whoever who played poorly and who didn't instruct them to go fast. Hope Adelaide 2012 is not repeated.

  • on March 5, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    @thozar: India just lost a series in New Zealand. England won recently in New Zealand. England beat India in India.

    Look at these facts, how can you have any confidence that India will win in England?

  • sguha12 on March 5, 2014, 5:06 GMT

    @ Vishnu27 totally agree with your comments - this Indian side will get mauled by the Aussies during the Australian summer.

  • TheBigBoodha on March 5, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    Fair enough, Barra1. 5 tests would be fascinating. From what I've seen faster, bouncier tracks favour Australia - their batsmen perhaps even more than bowlers. That's why I think they tend to do well in SA, as conditions are similar to back home. And the reverse can be said for SA, who have done well in Aus in recent years.

    Winning the toss and batting first seems to help a hell of a lot, too!

    Interesting the parallel with Steyn's injury and Pattinson's in Adelaide last time. But it has to be recalled that Australia dominated that game too, so the parallels are not perfect. SA also have had 4 fit bowlers for this game, while in Adelaide Aus had 3, so I don't think the effect was quite as notable.

  • akashhaque on March 5, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    Amla has seriuos problem for inswing balls, if being a viewer I can feel that, how come the coach and management dont feel it????????????????????

  • AN77 on March 5, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    @disco_bob....you're conveniently forgetting Johnson's 4-42 in the first innings. So what you're saying is his figures 5 years ago are more relevant to his performance than what he did 2 days ago? You don't watch the cricket by any chance do you?

  • Biggus on March 5, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    Posted by thozar on (March 4, 2014, 21:15 GMT)

    @Bruce Lamberton, dont be too overconfident of your chances. Remember India have the reputation of giant slayers.

    Since when have India had the reputation of 'Giant Slayers'? Or is that just something you tell yourselves?(in which case it doesn't count of course). Anyway, isn't India supposed to be a 'Giant' now? A giant that can't set foot outside it's lair without being beaten senseless by all sorts of lesser creatures? That's the real reputation you have, not the one you fondly imagine.

  • rajuramki on March 5, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    I do not know why certain unsavoury comments are coming up against Indian readers. The series is being played against two top teams and India is nowhere in the picture . The present Australian team is as good as SA ,if not better ,mainly due to huge contributions from Warner and Johnson . SA is unlikely to save this test unless weather intervenes. Before the start of the Ashes series,both Warner and Johnson were not integral part of the Australian team but their showings in the last 8 tests have made them indispensable. Every team goes through difficult times, during transition and that is where India is at the moment . In any case. Australia deserve to be where they are .

  • stevehobart1 on March 5, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    @Thozar, you are correct, RSA are not playing like the #1 team. They are playing as well as their opponents will let them. If India were beating RSA so comprehensively in their own backyard would you like others to dismiss such a performance as merely "creditable"? How about some credit where it is due?

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 5, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    This match is hardly a surprise. In the 3rd and deciding test, the South Africans decided not to doctor the pitch and not to tamper with the ball. They played it as fairly as possible, like they did in the 1st test. And this is the result, as it was in the 1st test. It is good to see that South Africa didn't want to win a test series by dishonest means, though it still stands that they won the 2nd test dishonestly. If South Africa stonewall this and survive with a draw, they will have deserved it. If Australia win, they will have deserved that too. This match has been very fair. Pity about the injury to Dale Steyn, though I doubt that it would have affected the result.

  • Marcio on March 5, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    The odds of SA pulling this off again would have to be very, very slim indeed. Australia have 5 fit bowlers here. In Adelaide they had but three. This track, while flat, has some irregular bounce. With the huge lead, Australia can afford to attack all day. If SA last till tea it will be a minor miracle.

  • on March 5, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    Interesting to see some of the arguments. India beat Australia on Indian tracks, SA can't beat Australian on SA tracks therefore India are better than SA. And better than Australia because they beat them at home.

    This line of argument is completely devoid of logic. I seem to recall SA beat India in India and beat India in SA which leads to the conclusion that India are worse than SA in all conditions. And since SA are losing to Australia we can conclude India are worse than SA who are worse than Australia.

  • Ally323 on March 5, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    All - I can say is..... I hope SA draw this match to prove they still have what it takes. still a few quality batsmen to come :)

    "Adelaide, November 25, 2012. Set a record chase, South Africa go to stumps at 77 for 4 with AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis at the crease. Through the unwavering concentration of du Plessis, they salvage a miraculous draw.

    Cape Town, March 4, 2014. Set a record chase, South Africa go to stumps at 71 for 4 with AB de Villiers and nightwatchman Kyle Abbott at the crease. Faf du Plessis is next in. Surely they couldn't do it again? Could they? "

    dejavu lurking......

  • GrindAR on March 5, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    If MJ continues at this pace continuously, he would have 2 more years left in the game... Not sure if he can sustain this beyond that. One wrong step, will cost him dearly... Im not fuming... with 3-4 balls in a over at his highest pace range... will take toll on his joints... He has to either get into steroids or similar alternates sooner than later to maintain this kind of consistent speed. Captain have greater responsibility to use him wisely without hurting him.

  • on March 5, 2014, 2:25 GMT

    think the only mistake the aussies did today was sending Doolan out to bat, the mans nervous enough and doesn't want to throw his wicket away, would have been perfect for Watson Haddin Smith to take on that roll, would have declared much earlier and have more time to bowl at the SA, i hope day 5 wicket is gonna be a nightmare to bat on.

  • Barra1 on March 5, 2014, 2:13 GMT

    What have we done! Or what has Test cricket done!!! The demise of 5 Test Series has left us hanging! Just imagine, as in the days gone by, this series being a 5 Test series. Would the pattern continue and therefore South Africa bounces back for the fourth Test? Would Steyne recover? Would Smith discover the form that has made him a formidable force over more than a decade? Would Harris' knee last? Three Tests? Two great cricketing nations like Sth Africa and Australia deserve a five Test Series. The players deserve it, the spectators deserve it and Test cricket needs it. The number one Test side, a magnificent South Africa against the team that has found its character and surging to take the title. What have we lost in losing the tradition of a five Test series.

  • disco_bob on March 5, 2014, 1:58 GMT

    @Greatest_Game as you were so kind as to copy and past some understated comments from me let me return the favour, here you are reminding us all about last Newlands Test...

    Newlands is not a hard, bouncy pitch. Johnson, in 2 matches & 3 innings at Newlands has bowled 53.3 overs, taking 5 wickets at Ave 47, Econ 4.39, SR 64.2. Johnson bowled so well in 2008/09, his big SA series, that Australia lost by an innings & 20 runs at Newlands. Prince scored 150, Kallis 102, & AB de Villiers 163. In Johnson's GOOD test, he took 4 for 148, ave 37. In his BAD test at Newlands, in which Philander took 5/15, Watson 5/17, Morkel 3 for 9, Harris 4 for 33, that terror, that big bad Johnson took 0/25 (econ 5.2) in SA's batting collapse, & 1/61 in the innings that won SA the match. Johnson's match figures were 1 for 86 - ave 43! Simply put, even at his best, he has been pretty bad at Newlands. Don't expect miracles.

  • Dave1970 on March 5, 2014, 1:51 GMT

    I find it strange of the critisim levelled at Doolan and the way he bats. Firstly, Doolan is the type of player that gets himself in and excellerates. Secondly, being in only his third match he has not found the confidence or freedom to play without feaf of failure. We have seen Rogers, who vast more experienced, suffer the same in his first ashes series before blossoming to have the courage to reverse sweep in the SA series. If any critism at the slowness of the batting should be levelled at the brains trust who probably may have promoted Watson or Smith even Haddin up the order in pursuit of quick runs. For me Doolan should remain in the side and build on a decent enough start and given the time to gain that confidence.

  • TheBigBoodha on March 5, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    Interesting that both A Petersen and Faf have come out and accused Australia of ball tampering in the last two days, yet there is no screaming headline about it. Compare that to Warner's comments, which were probably less provocative when taken in the context of what he was saying. I guess it must be pretty confusing for some media folks. When Warner made the comment the focus was on how "bad" he is for making saying that. Now that not one, but two SA players have said the same thing there is but silence. Further, Warner was fined and charged with misconduct. Why have the two SA players been allowed to say this stuff without punishment? Now you can add another confused person to the list: me. I have no idea how these double standards can be allowed to persist without the game losing credibility.

  • on March 5, 2014, 1:32 GMT

    Test cricket has lost a Sehwag(almost there) and gained a David Warner !!

  • on March 5, 2014, 1:17 GMT

    It's not that bad. Pre2013 aus had the worlds best batsmen in Clarke at the time. Hussey was good support Warner's odi form wasn't great let alone test form and the bowlers were good bunch coming through, compare to the #1 batsmen in AB at the moment by far. Amla steyn philander morsel. Under19 world champs so there's talent there. Find an all rounder on par with Watson/symonds doesn't have to be that good. 1 of your openers averages 37 and scored a 160 odd against england at there peak in england it's not all doom. Tho I had hopes of Macgil tait lee watson retaining aus at #1 when warne n co retired so I am optimistic. I'd say u won't slip as low as aus did and be back up there as #1 if u hav a good captain just like Lara put fear into opposition supporters i think the same for a captain eg Vaughan did it for me that's cricket the way it's supposed to be. Left better than what you found it-don bradman

  • Rajsrimaan on March 5, 2014, 1:09 GMT

    On paper today Australia are certainly the better team. It is familiar to see Aus confidence resurface after nearly a decade of being mauled by England. Aus have a fan following in India who were afraid that they had forgotten how to beat the Poms. Aus are probably the best team in the world at present. But the same team (minus MJ) toured India 2012-13. Our Aussie friends may like to refer to the Test scoreline. It might lend some objectivity.

  • orangtan on March 4, 2014, 23:51 GMT

    Why do we always hear about "rampaging quicks" while spinners are portrayed ( Warney excepted of-course) as wily and other ambiguous terms, and of-course derided as dependent on dust bowls and the like. Most of Australia is a dust bowl the last time I looked at the atlas.And why didn't the rampaging quicks have any success in PE ?

  • phermon on March 4, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    Bruce Lamberton, vinegar or noble rot? There's a lot of less than noble rot in these blogs.

  • Greatest_Game on March 4, 2014, 23:39 GMT

    Fantastic cricket from Aus today, rampant against a SA side in complete disarray. Aus have absolutely dominated, but ... it aint over till 20 wickets have fallen.

    Jan 94, Aus vs SA, Sydney. Day 5, Aus resumed at 63/4, needing 54 runs to win. SA won by 5 runs.

    2012, Adelaide. Day 4 newspaper headlines proclaimed Aus victory. Oops.

    In PE, Aus' openers were looking fantastic. Then Aus collapsed spectacularly, & SA won.

    In the 2011 SA vs Aus match at Newlands, Aus posted 284. In reply, SA went from 4/73 to 96 all out. Aus had bundled, rolled & flattened SA, & looked rampant.Then, SA bundled, rolled & flattened Aus for 47, knocked up 2 centuries & 236/2, to win!!

    The Aus vs SA 99 World Cup tied game was known as The Greatest ODI - until the 438 game!

    Why list these games? Cos it aint over. Aus clearly look set to win, but history shows anything can happen with these 2 teams. Its Day 5, Aus vs SA - could be over in an hour: could be a hell of a day!

    Test cricket - ya gotta love it!

  • mike_b on March 4, 2014, 23:38 GMT

    @thozar - you're right about how Aust were smashed by India in India.It was one of our worst series ever & as a result Aust took action. Coach replaced etc.The next series saw a 3-0 loss to England BUT there were signs of improvement.This Aust team is now getting better & better.However,India continue with their woeful away record but keep on singing about home victories.India have just lost in SA & then in NZ!You should look at your own team realistically?Some decent batsmen & spinners but pathetic fast bowling that the rest of the world laugh at! Last time you toured Aust with SRT,Dravid,Sehwag,Laxman,Kohli,Gambir & Dohni as your batsmen & got whitewashed 4-0 by a lesser bowling attack than Aust has now.Are you saying that your current batsmen are better than those?SA beat us in Aust & that is why they are ranked no.1.We have a good chance now to beat SA in SA & push for the no.1 spot.India have NEVER won a series in Aust & need to win away (anywhere)to have any hope of being no.1

  • Shaggy076 on March 4, 2014, 23:17 GMT

    Australia are getting closer to beating the World Number 1 team on there home soil although, I'm not counting it as a done deal yet with AB, Faf and even Philander as key wickets to come. Why would anyone think that right now Australian fans care about what happened in India. Time moves on and this Australian side has and if we win tomorrow we would have pulled off the ultimate victory and nothing can ever take away from that.

  • AussiePhoenix on March 4, 2014, 23:03 GMT

    Going to be intriguing Day 5. SA wall versus Aussie attacking patience. Thanks to conservative cautious approach SA have blocked themselves out of a win. Plays into Clarke's game plan, he can attack and not worry about leaking runs. Should be just enough in the pitch, new ball, and a hint of reverse at various times to pick out the last six. SA know it, lack of fans at the ground, and lack of fighting comments over the past couple of days. Action speaks louder than hope.

  • Mintsweety on March 4, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    @Thozar, we understand very well what he is saying. You lot just need to accept graciously that Aus can and does win series outside of its homeland. That's it. No more sour grapes please.

  • Batmanian on March 4, 2014, 22:55 GMT

    Whatever Warner and Doolan were doing before lunch, I can't help feel it was instrumental in allowing the blistering spell before tea. If Australia can't get two wickets before lunch, I'm going to start worrying. It's obviously an art, bowling when runs are no object... Very excited about this one.

  • Rowayton on March 4, 2014, 22:55 GMT

    All this talk about who the number 1 team is is pretty pointless in my view. However, I note that the SA team that attained number 1 status included Kallis and Smith (an in form Smith). The SA side for their next test is much weaker than that. I don't think there's any stand out team at the moment.

  • dunger.bob on March 4, 2014, 22:44 GMT

    @ Jerome Swarts: re the #1 tag. Well, I agree with you on that. Even before the series started it was no secret that even if Aus were to win it 3-0 (unlikely) SA would still be on top of the rankings. Fair enough too. The lead you have is the reward for consistent strong performances over a long period of time. The icing on your cake, the cherry on your pie etc. .. It gives you the elbow room to have a bad series and still be on top of the pile. .. I've got no argument at all with that. If the roles were reversed, we would expect to be cut the same sort of slack so it's not a problem.

  • db_op on March 4, 2014, 22:07 GMT

    Looking at it, it would appear - as it should work out - like a well thought game of chess. MC did not take the follow on - did not want to bat fourth. MC slowed proceedings before lunch fourth day. MC let cut loose after. MC declared for an impossible SA win. SA obliged in every department. Losing three before the third session started. Stonewalling thereafter. The last cornerstone in MCs game of chess is to get these last six wickets. The mindset of his game favours him. But don't forget Adelaide (although the mindset was different). EXCITING (for a test match that people doomed dead for being boring).

  • foozball on March 4, 2014, 21:55 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, I put that down to nerves and inexperience. Doolan played the way he always does - taking his time. I'm sure the dressing room talk would have been "quick runs". Maybe he didn't have the confidence in his ability to shelve his natural game? It was a bit unfortunate.

  • Vishnu27 on March 4, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    Bruce Lamberton: spot on, mate. Succinctly nailed it

  • thozar on March 4, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    @Bruce Lamberton, dont be too overconfident of your chances. Remember India have the reputation of giant slayers. They always raise their game against the best teams but also have a habit of dropping their guard a bit against the not so good teams. Dont go by the recent results. There is a long time to the tour down under. Before that we will face England. We will show that Aussies win against England was no big deal. Anyone can beat England now, even Bangladesh lol. Oz wins against teams on the wane and the chest thumping starts. Try to beat a team on the rise and then we will talk.

    @Pistol Smith, "even the batting looks thin" heard of names like Kohli (who must be the best batsman in the world today in all formats), Pujara (best test batsman), Rahane (best young batsman), Dhawan (destroyer of bowling attacks), Rohit, and, above all, Dhoni?

  • Chris_P on March 4, 2014, 21:10 GMT

    @Bruce Lamberton. The Perth test has been dropped for the Indian series, so like they did in Sth Africa, they won't be playing on the quickest track, but the Gabbatoir will be a nice way to greet them none the less. And yep, sour grapes are there for all to see, no positive comments, just bagging both SA & Aust.

  • BennieLovesCricket on March 4, 2014, 21:10 GMT

    Goodbye Mr Smith. As an England fan I've found you a right pain in the bum but nothing but respect for you after many years of service to South Africa and the game of cricket. Kudos too to Warner for another entertaining hundred. He may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but his clutch of cricketing brain cells do a good enough job to make him a very effective opening batsman currently. Looking forward to a thoroughly absorbing day's cricket tomorrow. Go Du Plessis! And if you get within sight of the winning line could you please get over it this time? :)

  • on March 4, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke, it's just the kookaburra ball mate, I only ever recall a handful of Aussie bowlers swinging it consistently.

    @Protears, yeah I wonder when Ribada will step up to the top team, won't be a long wait I shouldn't think, looks a yard sharper than the likes of Abbott and a similar mojo to Mitch it would seem! With guys like he and Cummins on the horizon these 'battle of the quicks' series are going to be a permanent affair!

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:52 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx, I wouldn't disagree that Sidds would do well here, but by the same token I'm not disappointed with the inclusion of Patto, yes he has bowled some loose balls but he is making the ball talk at the same time. For mine he has quite a good bowling brain and plenty of skill and pace to back it up. Contrast his performance with that of Morkel who can't even wrap his minds around bowling a ball or two at the stumps! I think on a pitch like this you gotta be prepared to go for a few runs in order to take wickets, Patto's career progression will be helped along by playing here and it's good to see some healthy competition for places between guys who are bowling well. His ball to knock over Amla was a cracker and I'm hoping for a few more in the morning!

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Well all said , felt and seen - whatever be the result of the match its been a great series overall - time for some of the lesser teams to catch up with SA and Aus. A neutral spectator here

  • SpadeaSpade on March 4, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Even the greatest Aussie teams have needed a few series in India to best understand how to play on their wickets. Rest assured of one thing though, whilst we got cleaned up in India on those dreadfully doctored wickets that took spin in the first 1hr of play and started falling apart in each test of that series. It will not be the same next time around. BTW what did the Indian's think of NZ , Lovely place to go for a holiday isn't. Back to Aus v SA These last 6 wickets are going to be very tough to remove. the pitch is still sound for batting and you have to respect the Worlds best Batsmen ( Ab De ) and Faf who is a mature player in control of his game. If Aus can remove 1 of these 2 guys in the first session then Australia should go on to record a superb Series win against a formidable opponent. Despite the Stats , just how good has Morne bowled . Cricketers are overpaid in a lot of respects, But your earning your dues facing the big fella. Scary !!!

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:43 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, Warner consistent enough for you yet mate?

    @Scott Stevo, Ferguson and White? No thank you! I reckon they are simply having one of their 'once every four years' good seasons. Chris Lynn is our next best I reckon. He has a decent record and he is improving consistently. I'm really liking his progression this season. Sadly neither Maddinson nor Silk have had much of a season but Kurtis Patterson looks to be taking to shield cricket quickly. Perhaps even Maxwell if he can show the same sort of progression that Warner has.

    To be honest I'd be pushing Watto back up to no.3 (I think he has exorcised some demons and Lehmann and Clarke have him playing good cricket) and bringing Lynn in at 6. To me he just looks like he has the game. Shots all around the wicket, good composure, excellent in the field and he has an improving record to back it up. Watch list would include Patterson, Burns, Carters, Maxwell, Head and Hughes. With Smith and Warner set we look good!

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:20 GMT

    Am I the only person to note the smell of sour grapes regarding Australia's looming victory against South Africa from the comments of certain Indian fans? Could it be anything to do with the fact Australia only need a draw to overtake India as the #2 team in Test cricket?

    As to the unending reminders of India's convincing win in their last home series against Australia, I don't agree that if this series were replayed the result would be so clear cut. Aside from the player changes this is a MUCH different Aussie team in terms of attitude and performance.

    And I don't believe the Indian batsmen will be too keen to face Australia's rampaging quicks on the faster, bouncier wickets Down Under when they tour later in the year. Which is probably why the BCCI put so much pressure on Cricket Australia to drop the Perth Test from the schedule.

  • shot274 on March 4, 2014, 20:10 GMT

    This is so irritating! We are witnessing an amazing series and there are comments galore about India-a team which cannot win a match in any format in anger in the last few months! This SA team is made to look ordinary against an amazing opposition. It isnt ordinary!

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    Warner's average when Australia comes in the second innings 100+ runs ahead must be astronomical. It's funny, Darren Lehman (and myself) favoured him as #6 at first, it's the same old theory that South Africa trotted out for Dean Elgar before finally settling on him batting at 3, that having an extra opener, someone who likes the new ball, batting at 6, can be ideal. That is, so long as he comes in every innings at 4-300 at exactly the 90th over.

    But this match he finally got that first innings century he's been needing. He's got half centuries in the first digs of late, but no tons, we've left that for Steve Smith and Michael Clarke (and Shaun Marsh shh don't mention him).

    That he backed it up with another dominating second innings ton with Australia wanting quick runs is testament to just how good form he is in.

    We'll see if he can dominate on slower tracks but on these he's been a weapon.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on March 4, 2014, 20:04 GMT

    Very bizarre passage of play there today when Doolan came out to bat; what was that all about? What message/instructions were given? Anyway, it matters not unless by some miraculous effort by what's left of the South Africans, they survive an entire days' play against a fired up Aus. attack on a Day 5 pitch...

  • on March 4, 2014, 20:04 GMT

    When there's a great, gripping and dramatic test series between Australia and South Africa I like to be able to come on Cricinfo and read a heap of comments about how Team India is doing.

  • Vishnu27 on March 4, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    thozar: let's see that collective you named "have merry" aginst our bowlers come December!! It is you who "won't even win a test". Just like last time. You don't seem to remember that absolute smashing with much clarity. Let me remind you it included: Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, SRT, Kohli & Dhoni. Who all got found out by pace & bounce. As will happen again. How many times did Dravid's off stump go cartwheeling out of the ground? Answer: 8

  • Vishnu27 on March 4, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist: at least Australia has won test series' (plural) in India! India has NEVER won a series in Australia. Repeat: NEVER won a series in Australia. Last time it was a mauling that ended careers. Expect similar & worse in December. Oh, I cannot wait. Truly I can't. Then there will be usual pre-series chest thumping, quickly followed by much bleating about fast track bullies & bad sportsmenship, etc, etc

  • AlSmug on March 4, 2014, 19:47 GMT

    Australia have shown sth africa on their home soil that they are the current best team in the world. Johnson continues end batsmens careers , hopefully sth africa can improve otherwise in Australia it will be 3-0 and boring viewing one sided

  • on March 4, 2014, 19:27 GMT

    but in that adelaide test ball wasnt getting reversed:(

  • Chris_P on March 4, 2014, 19:10 GMT

    @Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist . Really, the same Aussie side? Looking for Wade, Doherty,. Maxwell, Henriques, Cowan & Hughes in the team list. One of us has memory recall issues, pal. "Though I don't like visiting teams to win a series," Perfectly understandable given India's dismal away record. Totally understand your POV. Any harm in posting something positive?

  • Mintsweety on March 4, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    @dravid_pujara: why exactly don't you like Visiting teams winning a series or is it just Aus winning an away series when India failed so feebly. India can't win a brass razoo outside of their dust bowls ever. Sounds like 'chip on shoulder' syndrome to me.

  • Yankydoodle on March 4, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    @Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist: South Africa have fully deserved their no.1 ranking as becoming no.1 and staying no.1 happens over a period of time.

    As a general comment:

    The wheels are coming off. Too much politics and average players is ruining the national team. Australia are not necessarily the best team in the world at the moment. They still have to beat England in England and India in India. Although they are having a good run.

    The first sign for me that Smith has lost interest, hence his desire to retire, was at the toss in the first test. Bowling first. Biggest mistake of his career.

    This team has lost it's way since Gary Kirsten has retired. No grit. No fighting spirit.

    This team is really bordering on average now and will lose their no.1 ranking.

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:53 GMT

    Teams like India are farce...I mean India can only perform in their home grounds, they get thrashed all over the world, I mean India cant even defeat New Zealand now a days..India was thrashed 4-0 in England, 5-0 in Australia and again they lost in South Africa..Australia has managed a series win in India but India has NEVER WON A TEST SERIES IN AUSTRALIA OR SOUTH AFRICA SINCE TIMES IMMEMORABLE..Indian batsmen score heavily on dry , flat, dusty home pitches where the ball doesnt rise above the stumps . How can we call Sachin, Dravid and co as the best batsmen when they have won ZERO test series in Australia or South Africa??lol....Since India won a Benson and Hedges tri series way back in my grandad´s time in 80s in Australia 8by a major fluke), India has visited Australia 100s of tmes but has won just ONE one day series and has ZERO test series for all the hype..India do have ZERO test series and ZERO one day series in South Africa..Australia and South Africa have won it all in India.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on March 4, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    Though I don't like visiting teams to win a series, I should point out that India smashed the same Aussies 4-0 when they toured us. Hard to believe that the so called no.1 team is losing to them so comprehensively at home. SA surely don't deserve their so called no.1 ranking. In fact, Australia's current record against India in India is 0-8 and counting, over the last three series I think. Every team is winning at home. SA can't even seem to manage that simple task.

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:28 GMT

    Get ABDV and FAF early in the morning session........... then rest of the guys fall in pressure....... Best of luck to aussies for 2-1 series win......

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    @Gaurav sethi brother sehwag is 35 and Warner is 27 .Sehwag is a veteran no doubt but he is put of form and has himself taken a break. Don't thing he is coming back. Its sad but true.

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    A hundred ball 16 is very rare looks like AB has his eyes on saving the match .Hope they do it for SA and especially for Graeme smith.Aus are highly likely to be dominant over next decade with good young fast bowlers and now a stable spinner and good coach. Warner and Smith are the two batsman who will be key in the next decade. I'd love to see Hughes and Maxwell come in to (Maxwell is in good form this shield season and has done something about his temperament but can't come in baggy green at the moment).The next test for these guys is subcontinent as is for most rising Non subcontinent teams .They might do much better as both Lyon and few batsmen have grown from that disaster in India.But still no one should expect complete dominance like 90 s and early 2000s as also pointed out by Steve Waugh during england Ashes as there is a lot more strategy nowadays.

  • on March 4, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    Some interesting notes Ive taken out of this series . - Australia have a better bowling attack than SA. How else could Australia have performed as well they have when it is pretty clear that SA have a better batting lineup? They have done it through their bowlers. - Philander has been found out this series and I predict his bowling average will rise for the rest of his career. - The timing of Kallis' retirement was poor. I don't understand why he didn't just retire after this Test with his buddy Graeme. - Smith choosing to bowl in the first Test was a colossal mistake.

  • gimme-a-greentop on March 4, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    No doubt Australia have played the better cricket over the series as a whole. They are absolutely the form side at the moment. Enough has been said here about the rankings, I won't add my bit. The most amazing and unexpected comment I've read here comes from Wapuser, who says he has lost respect for AB and gained new respect for England! Eh? @himmat..SA have been so outplayed this Test their only hope is to bat for the draw, they are never going to chase 500. What do you want, for them to slog and be all out after 40 overs? A fighting draw is just as worthy, if you don't like it go and watch the mickey mouse T20 stuff. (!!!)

  • on March 4, 2014, 17:47 GMT

    This is what happens when you back the attacking players. Now warner is delivering. India what you have done to Sehwag??

  • himmat on March 4, 2014, 17:34 GMT

    Now I really hate the negative style of batting South Africans are playing to save this test......that's not a way for a top ranked team to play cricket.....!!!

    I Will miss Smith after this test.....he was born leader and his shocking retirement news will hit South Africa hard in coming months.....!!

    Australians played amazing cricket in this series and looked the better team in all departments !!! Hope this translate to Twenty20 WC victory for the Aussies !!!

  • Yankydoodle on March 4, 2014, 17:22 GMT

    South Africa have been very disappointing this series. A lot of bad decision making.

    Playing Steyn in the first test when he was ill for a start. Lots of dropped catches. Bad fielding. Morne Morkel has been absolutely woeful this series. He should be axed. Alviro Petersen needs to go. And very fast.

    Glad Smith has retired. His captaincy has been in question recently.

    Kyle Abbott has proven not to be up to standard. Australia always play positive cricket and they deserve the no.1 spot.

    Please bring Marchant de Lange back. He's one for the future. Faf needs to be captain. Not AB. Play Thami to keep wicket. AB is needed as a batsman. De Kock not ready yet.

    Things have been going sideways since Gary left. It shows.

  • Green_and_Gold on March 4, 2014, 17:18 GMT

    Still such a long way to go and SAF bat deep. JP at #8 (granted he moved down a spot due to night watchman). AB, Faf and JP all able to hold an end up so it will be key to take regular wickets tomorrow and for Aus to keep their tails up. Ideally want to get a few wickets before the next new ball. I just hope Harris is okay - he looked a bit wary in the field. C'mon boys, let get this away series win.

  • on March 4, 2014, 17:17 GMT

    So what was that period again when Doolan just blunted for nothing and drags Davey into it?

    Hopefully it doesnt bite us back. We lost at least 1 hour of play there. Fingers crossed adelaide doesnt happen again.

  • John.cric.lover on March 4, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    Fine performance by Australia... Well deserved... Completing the job wont be a cakewalk though with AB and FAF still thr...

  • Albert_cambell on March 4, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    Really poor performance from us. We deserved to lose this series. Please kick that Alviro guy out of the team. An average of 37 is not good enough for a test match opener.

  • on March 4, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    @Modernumpiresplz. I Agree , Aus bowlers performed well today and yes australia dominated two of the three test.SA bowlers took control if the second.Aus should warap it up and well played. im a staunch sa supporter and up to now we have been outplayed in this series.Aus cricket is on the way up, but to now say they should be rated no 1 is a bit of a push.Its like melbourne rebels beating the chiefs and all of a sudden they must get the super 15 trophy.Consistent results make a no1 is the point I was making

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:44 GMT

    well Smith has been out of form for a while though the retirement was a bit of a shocker... I don't know if the saffers can hold on to draw this because its a different situation to that at Adelaide 2012...faf and AB can still do it but the probability is really low... Johnson and Harris will be at them again in the morning session with an extra half hour... so probably the only hope is if Abbott and philander hang around for atleast one session with AB and faf batting out the other 2... looks far fetched but not impossible... anyway good luck biff! hope you go undefeated in a series for the last 5 years of your captaincy ! :)

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    @ModernUmpiresPlz : Wow cool ! Considering Warne's views on coaching I wouldn't be surprised if he's there to just play some poker with the team to help them relax :-D

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:34 GMT

    Pathetic from south africa. No wonder why no one shows up to watch them play when they tried to draw tests to draw series. They were playing for draw after clarke won the toss. Ab devilliers is not the best batter in the world. I have lost respect for him and south africa and have gained new respect for england. I think everyone knows now that australia are currently best team in the world.

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    Hmm 440 to win with 6 sticks left - i wonder wheres people money at - an SA win , an Aus win or a Draw - punter anyone ?

  • ScottStevo on March 4, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    @Barnsey4444, I think there are batsmen that could step up. For one, I'm a fan of C Ferguson and think he could definitely have taken a middle order spot. Also think that C White may be blossoming late with the bat too. Both of these guys have decent int'l experience too. Then we've got hopefuls like Burns and Lynn. And youngsters like Silk and possibly Maddinson coming through. It's certainly not all doom and gloom...

    I also agree with those stating that this Aus team hasn't earnt the right to be called #1 - not by a long way. If we manage to win this series, it's a huge stepping stone on that path, but we need to prove prolonged success over a period of time home and away to take that from these Saffa's. We're def #2 team though and it's hard not to envisage us taking over #1 whilst SA will go through a slight transition period post their recent retirements.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on March 4, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    @Anand Kumar He's consulting as part of the T20 coaching staff but obviously if he's there he might as well hang around during the tests if he isn't partying/texting/shane warneing around.

    @Jerome Swarts It's not the last 2 series that people are basing it on, it's 1. That we've genuinely held our own against the #1 side. Personally I don't agree with it, but it's hard to ignore the fact that Australia has looked the better team in this series. That in itself is a huge achievement.

  • MonkeyBooBoo on March 4, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    There's going to be a few more careers destroyed the next time Australia play a test series. Can't wait as it couldn't happen to a more sporting team.

    This test series is how test cricket should be played.

  • on March 4, 2014, 16:03 GMT

    Have I missed something ?? Is Shane Warne part of Australian coaching staff ? I think I saw him greeting players at the end of play wearing Aussie team jumper

  • Barnesy4444 on March 4, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    Australia should win from here. However, there are two gaping holes in this team that we should fix: 1) A number 3 batsman. Doolan showed again today why he simply isn't up to this level. A strike rate of 40 when we are pushing for quick runs? 2) Lack of batting depth. Hughes is the only batsman ready to step up.

    We could start by putting Hughes at 3 and then see what other batsmen stand up.

  • on March 4, 2014, 15:49 GMT

    well done Aus.Stellar performance. Bowlers came to the fore. But please just hold off before you want to recreate the ranking system, this will be SA'S first loss in nearly two years, Where AUS has lost 2 and won 2 ( including this one) in your last four series.that is only a 50 percent win rate, I would hardly say that in any sport that that is enough to rank a team at no 1. Keep getting consistent results and deserve the spot like SA did. Dont just award yourselves the berth based on 2 series.

  • xtrafalgarx on March 4, 2014, 15:43 GMT

    A nightwatchman is a bad choice, it's pretty much a free wicket even if he gets through the day. Also it means less partners for proper batsmen.

  • CrikiLeaks on March 4, 2014, 14:56 GMT

    @Roshan Raghunathan - lol... I don't think your opinion impacts on the rankings or the observable results from these teams competing! Australia have displayed superiority here. Before the ranking system was created we had test cricket. The team that won the series was considered the better team. All very old fashioned and hard for haters and the biased to comprehend, but I do understand the elation Australian fans are expressing here - their team has just proven themselves to be better than the dominant team of the last five years. If India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka achieved this I would expect quite a few fans on here making claims of best team ever!

  • xtrafalgarx on March 4, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    This is where Peter Siddle is gold. He is a great toiler and has the tendancy to get a wicket in situations such as these. When it's dry and tough he gets the best batsman out. Pattinson's radar is as loose as Johnson circa 2010/11 at the moment, i hope he can find his best again.

  • HolyShmoly on March 4, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    It ain't over until it is over. As long as Hash, AB, Faf and Duminy are there, there's still hope. While this attack isn't the same as pathetic Indian bowling that can't bowl opposition out in over 2 days and 450+ runs to defend or have 3 days and nearly 250 runs advantage and still let an average player score 300 runs, these 4 guys are classy and perhaps a miracle can still happen.

  • on March 4, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    What a series for Warner. Shame to see Smith go in this fashion, he deserved better than this. Johnson is still "da man", though it's good to see batsmen taking stage. Still no conventional swing. Some times a side gets the ball to reverse, but hardly ever (if ever) any conventional swing, and that's a shame for the game if the ball makers have taken that out of cricket. If it ever comes back with a particular batch or year of balls, there are going to be a lot of batsmen moaning as they haven't seen it for so long they'll accuse those doing it of cheating. What a change from 20 years ago - when reverse was the exception that was viewed with suspicion, soon it will be conventional swing that is the endangered ability. A shame for cricket.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on March 4, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    Smells like Adelaide. Time for Steve Smith to have a bowl, chance for him to get that career economy rate down. Maybe he can bowl someone round the legs. I wonder if they'd try and hit a Steve Smith long hop or full bunger...

  • Protears on March 4, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    I don't think knee jerk reactions are needed, remember 2008 went to Aus, conquered, came home in 2009 and got humbled such is cricket and in fact Australia are on such a run of momentum right now everything is coming together and we just have to accept that.

    As for South Africa's talents, 3 Under 19 WC finals and a win says enough about talent, ask Australia's next generation baggies how scary Kagiso Ribada along with many others he terrified on flat UAE pitches. I think that the new generation have fantastic core players to build around, Faf, Amla, AB, Steyn and Philander.

  • dunger.bob on March 4, 2014, 14:06 GMT

    One of the most amazing turn arounds I've ever seen is 85% complete. 9 months ago we were ranked no 5, looking hapless and hopeless but now were on the verge of pushing the no # 1 team over the cliff. .. Un-bloody-believable. .. The is the most nationalistic thing you're ever likely to see me post but here goes. .. Nobody, but nobody, can give you an absolute hiding quite like we can. .. When we're on one of these missions, just watch he hell out because you're in for some fearfull stick.

  • shortsquareleg on March 4, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Did the pitch suddenly change during the time between innings? Even as a 'neutral' supporter of South Africa, I'm disgusted with this batting display and lack of fight. Australia scored at over five runs an over this innings, scoring over 300 in only 58 overs! Radical surgery and is required.

  • mmoosa on March 4, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    Well done Aussies...the match is not over yet but one has to commend the new ball duo Harris and Johnson...sheer class.The opening batting and bowling has been the difference between the teams and over the course of a series ,it will take its toll.

  • KabsCricki on March 4, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    We need Gary Kirsten back to lift this side from the ashes(excuse the pun) of terrible defeat. This team is not that bad. Captaincy was, even when we were tops, i stress again, it was only because we were miles ahead of everyone. Now Aus have finally caught up and we fold under the pressure. England's folding was understandable but this team(bar Steyn) were really under par and the mediocrity was exposed. Without Steyn the P.E test could have got away from S.A so he is the only component that is truly world no.1. AB and Amla were sadly miserable but its hard to take when its plain to see S.A have more talent yet it takes more than that to win test series, thats why its the true form of test of who is best. S.A capitulation more than Aus dominance. A sever review is required after losing like this to not a very remarkable Aus team indeed.

  • on March 4, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    Australia your guys are seriously top class. Although you may not receive the no.1 ranking this series, you will in the near future. I cannot remember the Proteas being mentally and physically dominated like they have been in this and the first test. It seems like they have given up (Maybe AB and Amla can save some pride). Based on performance / stats etc. Aus have been far better in bowling, batting and fielding. To be honest its a pretty miserable day for SA cricket but an amazing display of top class cricket from your guys. Congrats and respect. Its going to take a long time to get over this one.

  • KabsCricki on March 4, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    What a fitting innings from Smith, sums up his whole career. Against AUS and with the world no.1 tag under serious attack we get that from him? Sad really. Anyway, give the no.1 trophy to them already, points don't matter when its plain to see. This S.A team dont wanna play or fight and Smith's decision to announce his retirement is poor timing but perfect response. Well done Australia, back to the top you go.

  • TheBigBoodha on March 4, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    Philander not bowling much was bizarre. Was Smith trying to protect his average? Or was Philander refusing? Injured? Can't make any sense of it. Maybe Smith just knew Warner would smash him everywhere.

    As for Duminy bowling so far outside the stumps, I recall the Indians doing the same thing in India a few years ago - and setting an 8-1 offside field because they wanted to draw the game. There was basically nothing Australia could do to score. In the press conference an Indian journalist asked one of the Aussie players "Why were you being so defensive?" He nearly exploded right there in front of the press corp.

  • xtrafalgarx on March 4, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    @Jonty129: You can't rely on records. The people that made SA no.1 are no longer there. That's like saying AUS is the best team because we won 16 tests in a row twice, two ashes white washes, a win in India etc. That team's gone and so is yours. SA need an allrounder, 2 new openers, a new captain and if that captain is AB a new wicketkeeper because AB would be over burdened. Tough times for your lot i reckon.

  • lillee4PM on March 4, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    Good bounce back by Aus after a poor performance in the 2nd test. Sayonara Smithy and arrivederci South Africa; Aussies on a roll here. Great batting from Warner and a fantastic start from Harris and Johnson. Won't be surprised to see SA bowled out by the end of the day but early tomorrow will do just fine.

  • Thegreataussiequick on March 4, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    Salutations Graeme Smith! A stellar test career. I cant help think that, had the Proteas dominated this series, he would still be playing test cricket. I believe that his retirement can be construed as "falling on his sword" on behalf of the team - and if that is the case, he has done so admirably, taking it on the chin. Cricket can be a merciless game. Farewell GS - well respected by all cricket lovers around the world!

  • on March 4, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    @BradmanBestEverAustralia have won before in South Africa so I don't think this series win which is looking likely ATM will establish Australia as a defacto #1. Saffers earnt this over a period of time and they themselves beat you guys at home. Not to mention I like many do believe that on paper their team is still better than yours.

  • Protears on March 4, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    Australia are playing a fantastic brand of cricket right now, they have unstoppable momentum and a team full of veterans finding form. I think they will win this game from now and we will have to congratulate them for that.

    From a South African stand point we have seen greats come and go and this is trite for everything, time has a expiry date and so its not a surprise, fortunately we are left with a good core to build around and I am seriously hoping cricket SA doesn't mess this up with quota. We have talent in the domestic scene being held away by bottlenecks in the system. Duminy, Alviro have roadblocked without any reward. Our next massive test is England and India in 2015 until then we have plenty of series against teams ripe to groom the pieces that have been ruthlessly exposed ie: Opening batsmen, containment spinner.

    Well done to Australia, this is probably the last we will play against Johnson to, saved the best for last.

  • Henry_Crun on March 4, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy of one very bitter Pom. Not exactly subtle are you? Spouting what amounts to an accusation of illegal pharmaceutical use by Warner that amounts to libel. Never mind, you can continue your anonymous little life hiding behind your anonymity. As an aside, if you could elucidate exactly what pharmaceutical makes you fidgety and jittery while at the same time making you "extremely focused" please let me know. I was at Uni in the 60s, and believe me, sunshine, you either get one or the other.

    Perish the thought that you could actually give Warner credit for what he is: at his rate of improvement possibly the best young batsman of the decade.

  • othello22 on March 4, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    What a painful exit from international cricket for Graeme Smith. Does anyone else see the similarities with Ponting's final match in Perth not that long ago? The mid-series announcement, the guard of honour, a (potentially) crushing loss to lose a tight series and a failure with the bat, so many parallels with Ricky's last innings at the WACA. Quite ironic.

    Well played Biff, you will be remembered long after this test is forgotten.

  • amfas on March 4, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Graham Smith's ill timed announcement has really knocked the stuffing out of SA. It's really sad that such an illustrious career has had to end in such dramatic circumstances. A rampant AUS team to wrap this one up!!!

  • on March 4, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    It's hard to change a winning combo for Australia but was/is there a case for playing Marsh at no.3 instead of Doolan ? No comparisons but Doolan at 3 seems opposite of Ponting at 3. I am not sure if counter attacking consistently like Ponting is Doolan's forte. Marsh probably deserved a longer run considering he got a 100 under pressure in that 1st test (I am also probably biased given his sublime stroke play. I wouldn't have looked past him if I was the captain :-) )

  • JOHNCSPACE on March 4, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Sad to see any good captains retire, Ponting, Smith did alot for cricket and their respective countries. This series belongs o Australia, they were off the pace in game two. And about MJ and the rock and fire bowling. Such control and agony for the SA batsmen. The facial expressions were just classic. Win or lose, here's a lesson in sustained quality cricket form Australia once asgain. So much for the no.1 ranking, what ranking!!!!

  • Thegimp on March 4, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    @ jonty129 Rankings, rankings and damn lies. It's fantastic what SA have done and the run they have had but it is the here and now that counts. You don't win test series by having the #1 ranking. Nadal doesn't care what his ranking is if he's not winning tennis tournaments number one ranking for him just means more appearance money. Doesn't count for much in cricket, particularly when you get beat 2-1 at home.

  • jonty129 on March 4, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    @onelongsummer I do agree that we are going through massive changes and most likely we will lose our number 1 mantel soon. But it has not happened yet. We still beat AUS in PE in similar circumstances to the current game. If we do succumbe to the mass of changes, AUS are 99% likely to be the team to take over. I believe they are a well balanced side and have great match winning batsmen in Warner and Clarke, good youth in Smith and amazing bowling with johnson and harris. I would say AUS's only concern is the age of Harris and Johnson and if their fast bowling depth is strong enough. I believe it is and it will be an interesting few years.

    We will need an all rounder, at least 3 new batsmen and a captain. Tough ask, but with Amla, ABdV, Steyn and Philander I don't think we are doomed yet.

    Anyway I just wished we would play more test! 1 test till west indies tours later in the year is not enough! And it goes without saying a 3 match series against aus is never enough! Maybe 7 next tim

  • on March 4, 2014, 13:27 GMT

    Vernon can keep his 18 average he is a medium pacer. Staffers rely on the greatness of dale too much me thinks. Time for us to destroy them here and finish this game off tonight. Aus is easily the best team ATM just like I said before the series

  • HatsforBats on March 4, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    @Back-Foot-Cringe, Ha! Gotcha, was only catching updates and didn't see Duminy bowling, mystery sorted. I'd still bat Doolan at #10 in the search for quick runs.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on March 4, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    Total capitulation and what a way for Biff to out of cricket. So sad. Game Over, I am afraid. SA thoroughly outplayed and with it the series lost.

    Well played Australia, SA need a new captain, all-rounder and an opening pair. Time to rebuild under new leadership.

  • whofriggincares on March 4, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    Can't believe how many aussie supporters have been sinking the boots in about our approach to the game today. We got a lead of 511 with 140 odd overs to bowl them out! Now they are 3/15 and you would be lucky to get better than $1.01 from a bookie about us winning this match. As for talk about who is the best side in the world AT THIS POINT IN TIME, I don't really care what the silly ranking system says after this series ,once we wrap this match up we are the clearly the best side in the world AT THIS POINT IN TIME. To have the Saffers with 9 men on the boundary and clutching at straws is a great achievement. Still a lot to achieve for this Aussie side but we are on a steep upward curve from where we were 12 months ago. So proud of the boys and the way they have played against a very very good side.

  • on March 4, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    I am not sure but should Morkel become more of an attacking bowler and Steyn the holding bowler ? (By more attacking I mean Morkel attacking the stumps more often rather than bowling back of a length and pushing batsmen back )? Or will SA be finding another bowler to attack the stumps in place of Philander ?

  • Back-Foot-Cringe on March 4, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    Agreeing with Hatsfor & jonty129. Saffs are still world's best in tests. Just look at their record at home & away in recent years. They are the cream of the crop.

    From here, Oz must win consistently & often to boot Saffie off the throne.

    Johnson just bowled Elgar with a ripsnorter as I type. Oz on a pretty good tear ATM. I'd bet my house against anyone else's used underwear they will go on to win - unless the weather gods turn nasty & decide to spoil it for the boys tomorrow.

    If bloody Faf ekes out another draw I'll eat my socks, I swear.

  • keralite on March 4, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    The only other bowler whom I have seen bowl so many wides in his spell, apart from Duminy is one who used to the bowl wayward. He is a different bowler and in fact has just got his second wicket for this innings.

  • BradmanBestEver on March 4, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    At 3 for not many chasing 500, the top ranked test team in the world is staring down the barrel aimed at them by the new test cricketing force.

    Make no mistake about it. The home series pounding of England was no fluke. The Aussies will record a 2-1 series defeat against the top ranked team on their own dung heap. Normal service has resumed...Aussie is on top where it belongs

  • disco_bob on March 4, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    How come it was a road when Australia were batting and now it's unplayable when SA are batting. Don't tell me, Steyn was injured.

  • Henry_Crun on March 4, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    Two things Australians have always appreciated: guts and determination. G.C. Smith has both in spades. It is a pity that we didn't get to see the best of him in this series, although a bloody good thing from an Australian point of view. SA can ill afford to lose players of his and Kallis' ilk.

  • on March 4, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    Regardless of the result, I enjoyed this series as a neutral spectator. There is an expectation that anything can happen when there are 2 world class bowling sides.

  • whofriggincares on March 4, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    Farewell Graeme Smith, the word "great" gets bandied around a lot in this day and age but this guy is and was a true great of our game. Made captain at 23 and did a sterling job for a decade, incredible. 9000 odd runs at about 49 opening the innings puts him in the upper echelon alone , add his captaincy and brilliant slips catching and we have a true great of the modern game. A lot of saffer fans bagging his captaincy on here of late but don't remember too many complaints while you were dominating sides and series. Show a bit of respect to one of the best cricketers to play for your proud cricketing nation!

  • onelongsummer on March 4, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    Jonty129 Unfortunately the team that made SA No1 no longer exists ! Kallis is gone , Boucher is gone and so now is Smith . The team that is left is a shadow of it's former self as this series has shown. All eras end and this one is over. The King is dead long live the King.

  • on March 4, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    2 down early, 8 to go. How many careers will this Australian side end on their current streak?

  • Back-Foot-Cringe on March 4, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    Yes, I'm Oz-born-&-raised but I see MJ just got Graeme Smith, caught Doolan YET AGAIN for dirt cheap, & I feel bloody awful for the Saffa skipper.

    Of course I want Oz to win by hundreds but damn, I would not've minded GS getting a nice 50-odd before walking off into the sunset.

    He was & is a class act.

    Good on ya, Smithy. Hard luck today, though, mate.

    You're one of the best.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on March 4, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    I feel a bit bad for Biff. I was hoping he'd make a 50 or something but that slow death watching the ball lob to short leg... ugh.

  • Back-Foot-Cringe on March 4, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    @HatsforBats - re: bizarre pre-lunch Aus go-slo stretch = 1) Rogers got out to halt momentum, 2) Warner suddenly more careful with new man at crease, 3) Doolan interminably plays himself in, collecting dots as if getting paid a dollar by his mum for each one, and 4) Bloody Duminy bowling approx. 15-20 ft. wide of off peg to Warner for over after over.

    And there you have it, I reckon.

  • HatsforBats on March 4, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    @ jonty129, just ignore the one-eyed parochial few. You're absolutely right. SA are head and shoulders the best team in the world, have been for years and rightly so. Personally, Steyn's injury has taken the gloss off this match just a little (only a little mind you).

    It will be interesting to see how they "rebuild". They're still figuring out what their best composition is without Kallis, Smith is gone, and they still (I think) need a front-line spinner. But I'll leave the post-mortem for a more suitable time.

  • on March 4, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    142 overs are left in the game not 133.Plenty of time for a 5 man attack to bowl out saffers.

  • dunger.bob on March 4, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    @ VivGilchrist : No criticism of Watson from me. In the match situation, that was perfect. Once again though, uber-impressed with Steve Smith. I'm excited about his development to be honest.

  • Biggus on March 4, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Wonder where Albie's gone?

  • HatsforBats on March 4, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    I have to say, excellent applause from the whole crowd after Warner's dismissal. Not sure what the numbers are like but they are getting their moneys worth. Brilliant batting by Warner & co. (the strange 1st innings calm notwithstanding) and some very poor bowling & fielding by SA. If Philander isn't injured he is really giving Warner some impetus; there's been some great chirping coming through the stump mics.

    Clarke doesn't want to give them a sniff, I guess that applies pressure in its own right. SA needing to play out 140 overs for a draw.

    Oh wait here we go...511 is the target (133 overs). Surely not...Faf?

  • RTPbetterthanSRT on March 4, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Absolutely pathetic negative captaincy by Smith, putting all his fielders on the boundary and bowling wide of off stump, this is why this SA team will never go down as a truly great team such as the Windies of the 80's or the Australians more recently. Also no surprises that Philander has bowled so few overs, considering he is the number #2 rank bowler in the world. Maybe it's just a case of Philander trying to protect his bowling records. Or maybe he pulled a 'pride muscle' as someone else said and was unable to bowl.

  • bobbo2 on March 4, 2014, 12:15 GMT

    So Clarke said during the second test that I'd he were captain of SA would have declared with a lead of 340 or so and put Australia in to bat in for 5 overs before the end of play on day 3. Here Australia have so lead of 478 and still going. ????

  • jonty129 on March 4, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    @BradmanBestEver Once again some Aussie fans and their arrogance. Just because Warner scores a fast hundred and we are sitting back and taking it does not mean we have lost our mantel yet. The game is still not over.

    Also the rating still show SA as the number 1 team. If you had convincingly beaten SA 3-0 than you could argue the number 1 position has changed (even though the official ratings will still be SA 1). But 2-1 is hardly convincing enough to argue that AUS has overtaken SA for the number 1 spot. You need tyo do more than win 1 series against us. Remember, SA beat AUS convincingly in PE.

    I for one definitely believe AUS can push for the number 1 spot. But first they need to win more than 2 series (which were in (generally) pace friendly conditions I might add).

    You can't just ignore what SA has done over the past few years and think one 2-1 series is enough to indicate AUS is number one.

  • AnthonyMD on March 4, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    Sadly @ScottStevo, we did see what Doolan is capable of. He scratched around for 87 balls without urgency and made 37 runs, as a batsmen he appears somewhat mono dimensional being unable to adjust his tempo when required. Under normal Test conditions, that is fine, it is just today when there was a push for runs he was unable to get on with it, and the hour before lunch was bizarre given the context of the match.

  • VivGilchrist on March 4, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    Doolan gets out and Australia proceed to score 81 in 7 overs. Business as usual after the tedious Doolan roadblock. Now we can try and win the game. Selfless innings from Watson, yet I still expect him to get criticized....

  • Puffin on March 4, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    450 ought to be enough - successful run chases for 400+ are extremely rare - if SA bat like they did in the 1st test, it's going to be more than plenty.

  • BradmanBestEver on March 4, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Yes folks, we have a new No. 1 test team

  • xtrafalgarx on March 4, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    Warner batting himself into the upper echelon on current test players. Now for Smith and Doolan/Hughes.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on March 4, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    Doolan scored 37, Watson scored 25. Doolan lost brownie points with me, Watson gained a few.

  • ScottStevo on March 4, 2014, 11:40 GMT

    Fireworks now! 10 overs with these 2 at the crease could get over 100 and push us over 520 lead with 40 overs to bowl today...Shame Doolan got out having a go. Wanted to see what he was capable of there.

  • xtrafalgarx on March 4, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    Interesting tactics. I would have though Clarke and lehmann would have been smarter to send Watto in earlier!

  • HatsforBats on March 4, 2014, 11:26 GMT

    OK, I'll admit it, I don't understand. If (IF!) Warner has been told to slow down....no, this makes no sense. If Clarke, Warne, or Lehmann want to dangle a carrot that's fine. In fact, that's the way cricket should be played (from a spectators perspective).

    Nope, I don't understand. I'll be following the comments with interest if anyone has any suggestions.

  • Haiphong on March 4, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    I'll own up - I have been one of them. But...I more questioned his temperament than his ability. Then again, he has shown greater maturity than in the past so i guess there is always room to learn and improve for all of us!

  • Brett_Johnson on March 4, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    Ridiculous from Australia. We should be 450 up already and aiming to reach 500 and give us 150 overs to bowl out SA. At this rate we'll get 450 and have only 135 overs. I don't blame Warner or Doolan for their approach because clearly someone higher up gave the orders.

  • on March 4, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    Would all the people who have been knocking David Warner's ability please come out of hiding

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on March 4, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    Would all the people who have been knocking David Warner's ability please come out of hiding

  • Brett_Johnson on March 4, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    Ridiculous from Australia. We should be 450 up already and aiming to reach 500 and give us 150 overs to bowl out SA. At this rate we'll get 450 and have only 135 overs. I don't blame Warner or Doolan for their approach because clearly someone higher up gave the orders.

  • Haiphong on March 4, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    I'll own up - I have been one of them. But...I more questioned his temperament than his ability. Then again, he has shown greater maturity than in the past so i guess there is always room to learn and improve for all of us!

  • HatsforBats on March 4, 2014, 11:26 GMT

    OK, I'll admit it, I don't understand. If (IF!) Warner has been told to slow down....no, this makes no sense. If Clarke, Warne, or Lehmann want to dangle a carrot that's fine. In fact, that's the way cricket should be played (from a spectators perspective).

    Nope, I don't understand. I'll be following the comments with interest if anyone has any suggestions.

  • xtrafalgarx on March 4, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    Interesting tactics. I would have though Clarke and lehmann would have been smarter to send Watto in earlier!

  • ScottStevo on March 4, 2014, 11:40 GMT

    Fireworks now! 10 overs with these 2 at the crease could get over 100 and push us over 520 lead with 40 overs to bowl today...Shame Doolan got out having a go. Wanted to see what he was capable of there.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on March 4, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    Doolan scored 37, Watson scored 25. Doolan lost brownie points with me, Watson gained a few.

  • xtrafalgarx on March 4, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    Warner batting himself into the upper echelon on current test players. Now for Smith and Doolan/Hughes.

  • BradmanBestEver on March 4, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Yes folks, we have a new No. 1 test team

  • Puffin on March 4, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    450 ought to be enough - successful run chases for 400+ are extremely rare - if SA bat like they did in the 1st test, it's going to be more than plenty.