SA caught napping

2014-02-15 00:00

CENTURION — It was rumoured at SuperSport Park yesterday that it was the South African cricket team who were tranquillised while spending last weekend in the Bushveld, rather than the rhinos.

This after the Proteas for the third day in the running appeared to be sleepwalking during the first Test match against the Aussies.

It also allowed the Australians to strengthen their grip, and with a lead of 479 runs, there is only one team that can win the Test. Definitely not Graeme Smith’s team.

Add to that that the highest score ever reached in a fourth innings on this ground is only 251. That was also during the only Test South Africa ever lost here, against England and the score was in fact made on a second-day pitch because both teams gave up their first innings as a result of heavy rain.

AB de Villiers yesterday said it was a bad day at the office for the Proteas and that their fielding after lunch had been an embarrassment.

David Warner (115, 213 minutes, 151 balls, 13x4, 2x6) was dropped three times and there were a number of ground fielding blunders.

De Villiers also admitted that the Proteas’ bowling with the new ball was disappointing.

The chance to survive most of today and part of tomorrow on a crumbling pitch against a terminator such as Mitchell Johnson is about as likely as for the Lions to win the Super Rugby crown.

“We will, however, not give up and will continue fighting,” said De Villiers.

The Aussies resume their second innings this morning at 288/3, after they restricted SA to 206, giving them a lead of 191 on the first innings.

Johnson (7/68) continued the destruction and his performance has been well above any other bowler so far.

De Villiers (91, 242 m, 148 b, 10x4, 2x6) was the only lighthouse in a very turbulent ocean.

He must, however, take blame for the loose shot he played when he gave his wicket away to Johnson, who he handled pretty well until that stage. “To face Johnson you have to be tuned in 100% psychologically. You also have to be prepared to get hurt,” he said.

Chris Rogers (one) lost his wicket early in the Aussies’ second innings when Dale Steyn bowled him but a partnership of 205 between Warner and Alex Doolan (89, 253 m, 154 b, 12x4, 1x6) caused the South Africans to further lose their way.

With all the luck he had on his side, Warner would have been foolish if he did not stop by a casino last night.

“I was inspired by the way in which AB batted and followed his strategy,” Warner admitted. “As a result of our lead in the first innings I could bat freely. It will be difficult to stop Mitchell in this Test but South Africa have shown us in the past that they are fighters and it will still be a hard battle to come out on top in this Test,” he said.


Australia first innings 397

South Africa first innings (overnight 140-6)

G. Smith c Marsh b Johnson 10

A. Petersen c Haddin b Johnson 2

H. Amla lbw b Siddle 17

F. du Plessis c Clarke b Johnson 3

AB de Villiers c Warner b Johnson 91

JP Duminy c Johnson b Lyon 25

R. McLaren b Johnson 8

R. Peterson c Clarke b Johnson 10

V. Philander lbw Lyon 15

D. Steyn not out 7

M. Morkel c Haddin b Johnson 0

Extras (b-14, lb-2, w-1, nb-1) 18

Total (all out, 61.1 overs) 206

Fall of wickets: 1-11 2-15 3-23 4-43 5-110 6-126 7-140 8-189 9-202

Bowling: Harris 17-3-51-0, Johnson 17.1-1-68-7 (w-1), Siddle 13-1-33-1 (nb-1), Lyon 14-0-38-2.

Australia second innings

C. Rogers b Steyn 1

D. Warner c Smith b Peterson 115

A. Doolan c De Villiers b Duminy 89

S. Marsh not out 44

M. Clarke not out 17

Extras (b-3, lb-13, w-6) 22

Total (for three wickets, 69 overs) 288

To bat: S. Smith, B.Haddin, M, Johnson, R.Harris, P.Siddle, N.Lyon

Fall of wickets: 1-1 2-206 3-243

Bowling: Philander 11-2-28-0, Steyn 13-2-60-1, McLaren 11-0-47-0, Morkel 11-2-38-0, Peterson 19-0-87-1, Duminy 4-0-12-1.

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