Australia tour of South Africa – 2nd Test – Review
“We’ve been outplayed in every facet of the game and I think Australia created pressure and have been a lot sharper and more intense,” Smith said. “In particular they’ve bowled really well as a unit. They’ve been able to create that sustained pressure on our batters and that’s something that we haven’t really done well. ”
How many batsman would have walked onto the ground with a broken rib. Smith took a courageous decision to bat with a broken hand and ribs, to play the last few remaining overs of the series that SA had already won.
The sheer determination of the man proves his will power and passion towards the game. It is under whose guidance, team South africa has risen out of so many challenges, more victorious than drawn. Memories of chasing 434 against Australia in the finals of the triangular tournament in Australia are still fresh in the mind. SA also chased down a record 350 plus runs in the second test of the recently concluded test series with Australia, in Australia. The man leads from the front and i cannot be proven wrong if i say that he is currently the best captain in world cricket.
When South African lower order failed to face up to the Australian attack on the fifth afternoon in Durban yesterday, all smith could do was to sit in the dressing room and watch. There were no heroics this time, but nobody can complain. Only a few players would have done what smith had done at the SCG. Australia wrapped up the series 2-0 with one more test to go, to reclaim the title of World No.1 in the return tour . “It was the team that lacked intensity” said smith in the interview at the press conference. “We’ve started indifferently with the ball often, which has made it very difficult for us to come back in the games. We’ve fought hard at the back ends of both Test matches but we just haven’t done enough up front to get ourselves into the game early on. In the two first innings in both Test matches I think we’ve let ourselves down, we’ve just left ourselves too much to do.” added smith.
Earlier Australia posed a total of 352 all out. At one point Australians seemed like getting a 600+ score with both their openers striking centuries. Micheal Hussey stitched together a good partnership with Katich to take the score past 250. Both Katich and Hussey were striking the ball sweetly of what looked liked a below par bowling performance from South Africa. The bowlers striked back soon to dismiss Australia for 352 which was justabout the par score on the good batting wicket.
Scorecard & Image Courtesy : CricInfo (Scorecard)
South Africa started off badly, losing McKenzie out caught behind to a straight Jhonson delivery in the 3rd ball of the opening over. Amla followed just 2 balls later out lbw this time. South Africa, two wickets down at the end of the first over.Smith and Kallis resisted the attack for a while before Smith had to retire to a broken arm. Wickets kept falling as DeVelliers was out to lbw to Hilfenhaus. JP Duminy, the man of the series for SA in Australia played well to reach his 50 as wicket kept tumbling around him. SA were bowled out for 138 with Duminy not out on 70. Jhonson and debutant Allan McDonanld shared 3 wickets each.
Ponting did not enforce the follow-on and as expected, The Australian batsman hammered the South African bowling. Hughes brought about his 150 in partnership with ponting. Ponting played a good knock of 81 in Australia’s 331/5 dec in in the second innings. With Smith on the bench with an injury and Kallis feeling a strain, South Africa looked like a dead duck.
Amla opened the innings with McKenzie and the duo brought about the 50 run partnership resisting the initial on-slaught by the Australian bowlers. Kallis played a fantastic innings of 93 partnering with DeVelliers who scored 84. When SA lost Kallis at 267, and with DeVelliers looking in touch, SA hoped chasing down the impossible target of 546 runs on the last day. But the hopes ended when DeVelliers was out caught behind off a cracker bowled by Siddle. Duminy failed to prove his skill when he lost his wicket to Hilfenhaus, who bowled a good bouncer at the body, which Duminy was forced to play popping a easy catch to Haddin. Chances of draw looked slim as the balls frisked off the bats of South African batsman. They were finally bundled out for 370 well short of the target, handing the series to Australia.
Hughes was declared the man of the match for hundred plus scores in both the innings. The man proved worthy of his effort could be Austrlia’s answer to the loss of hayden due to retirement. Australia somehow finds a replacement.
“It’s certainly a unique phase in my career as a captain,” Ponting said. “To have a number of debutants, and a number of inexperienced guys in the side, it’s something I haven’t been accustomed to in the majority of my career as a captain. I’ve said right from the start, that when these challenges come up and this transitional phase first started, I always looked at as being one of the most exciting little phases of my career.” he added.
“Being the captain of the side when I was, when we were so dominant, Test series and Test matches seemed to roll into one another.We were winning everything that came along and we were expected to win everything that came along. If you look at our group of players [now] … a lot of people around the world didn’t think that this was achievable.” Ponting has now a worthy response to his critics, he not only scored in the match but proved to be a great captain when he shuffled his bowlers around getting price scalps at important stages of the match. Ponting will now be hoping for a 3-0 test win to completely silence his critics.
I’m not a great fan of Ponting or Australian cricket for that matter, but amazed by how their debutant’s perform. Who can call them inexperienced cricketers? I think India needs to develop a similar domestic structure that helps the youngster’s play quality cricket and help them groom for international exposure. I know a lot of it has been said and done about it.. I hope it improves for the future. For now, I hope SA trashes Australia 5-0 in the one day international series and Newzeland does something about the Indian side to put up a good show in the test series.