A roller coaster start

2014-02-21 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — All the hard work the Proteas batsmen had put in before lunch was undone by two rash shots.

Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock both stumbled when they tried to hit spin bowlers Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith out of the park.

This also turned the first day of the second Test at St George’s Park into the favour of the visiting Aussies.

South Africa reached 214/5 when bad light stopped play. This is a total which is simply not enough on a wicket that does not assist the bowlers at all.

It must be added that the balls came through very slowly which made it difficult to score quicker. It will be very difficult to bowl out a team twice on this wicket.

The day started in a chaotic way for the Proteas when they not only had to make three last-minute changes to the team, but also when SA captain Graeme Smith had to scratch out Rory Kleinveldt’s name at the last minute to be replaced by that of Vernon Philander.

Earlier during a warm-up session Philander showed signs of a thigh injury and it was felt that he would not be able to play. Just before Smith left for the coin to be tossed, he heard that Philander had been declared fit to play. This must have affected Smith’s concentration level and he did not last long before he was trapped lbw by Ryan Harris. Hashim Amla only survived three balls before Mitchell Johnson knocked him on his pads plumb in front of the wickets. At 11/2 it looked like Centurion all over again.

Elgar (83) and Faf du Plessis (55) however showed resistance and for the first time things did not just go the Aussies way. The two scored 112 runs for the third wicket.

Batting was slow but they made sure that they protected their wickets and it was old-fashioned cricket at its best.

Even Johnson, who was deadly at Centurion, appeared dejected.

Elgar and AB de Villiers (51*) continued to build the innings until Elgar for a moment lost his head and the chance to score a second Test century.

Scoreboard

South Africa first innings

G Smith lbw b Harris9

D Elgar c Harris b Lyon83

H Amla lbw b Johnson0

F du Plessis c Smith b Lyon55

AB de Villiers not out51

Q de Kock c sub (Henriques) b Smith7

JP Duminy not out2

Extras: (b4, lb2, w1)7

TOTAL: (for five wickets, 83 overs)214

Fall of wicket: 1-10 (Smith 4.6ov), 2-11 (Amla 5.3), 3-123 (Du Plessis 43.1), 4-181 (Elgar 69.3), 5-200 (de Kock 76.5)

Bowling: Harris 18-5-36-1, Johnson 15-2-44-1 (1w), Siddle 22-7-61-0, Lyon 23-6-47-2, Warner 1-0-2-0, Smith 4-0-18-1.

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