September 6, 2002

Australia 'A' go two up in seven match series against South Africa 'A'

Australia 'A' with an excellent fast bowling display from Man of the Match, Brad Williams, and a fine batting display from Simon Katich, have gone two up in the seven match series against South Africa `A' with a two wicket Duckworth/Lewis win at Benoni.

Bowling first after losing the toss, the Australians could not have scripted a better start. A first ball blemish by Greg Blewett, dropping Kirsten in the slips, was followed two balls later by Williams getting one to lift just on the off and having Kirsten caught at backward point for one.

Run outs for Loots Bosman and Ashwell Prince and three caught behinds for Robin Peterson, Neil McKenzie and Justin Kemp saw South Africa slump to 38 for six.

Williams ending up with four wickets for 29 in his ten overs. A fine spell of fast bowling and a deserving Man of the Match award.

All credit to Martin Van Jaarsveld and Errol Stewart who restored some sanity to the South Africans innings. Not even a power failure and a stoppage of 50 minutes could upset their concentration. Maintaining a run rate of just above three runs to the over by rotating the strike and not prepared to take any chances, they set their minds on building towards a total that could be defended.

A brilliant patient partnership of 125 came to an end with Stewart scoring 60 trying to go over the top and Van Jaarsveld, running out of partners swinging at a high full toss that hit high on the bat and looped to mid off to be caught for 82. One shudders to think what would have happened had Blewett held a slip catch when Van Jaarsveld had 11.

Australia 'A', with a target of 195 in the 50 started off much as their opponents had done earlier in the afternoon.

Ryan Campbell was first to go, getting an inside edge from David Terbrugge that sent his off stump flying and Australia four for one.

A second power failure had the players off the field for a further 15 minutes, reducing the target to 191 off 48 overs.

On the resumption Blewett sparred at Elworthy to be caught at gully and Justin Langer followed after being bowled. It was now Australia's turn to feel the pressure at 21 for three after 10 overs.

To complicate matters even further the rain decided to join the party and chase the players from the field after 12 overs. A short delay saw Duckworth/Lewis take off an additional over setting the target at 190 off 47 overs.

Simon Katich not afraid to take any of the bowlers on, smashed Kemp repeatedly to the cover fence. Kemp not bowling with the same pace and aggression as he did last season went for 34 in his first five overs, to go with his 49 off 8 overs in the first match.

Katich ended a good entertaining innings by running himself out for 51 and Michael Clarke followed suit by taking a second run calling to Michael Hussey "Take two, he is slow".

Hussey was bowled for a solid 38 and then tension mounted when Brad Hogg was adjudged caught behind after a good juggling act from Stewart left the Australians on 141 for seven.

A final twist in the tail saw Ian Harvey caught behind for 21 but together with Damian Wright they had thrown caution to the wind with some lusty blows over the top setting up the win.

Wright who earlier had dispatched Peterson over the pavilion and out of the ground was still at the wicket when the winning runs were scored.

The South Africans are going to have to do something about their top order if they are to be any threat in this series. Kirsten, Bosman and McKenzie have failed twice and it would be no surprise to see some changes in the team for the third match at Centurion on Sunday.