SA’s victory may be the descent of the Aussies

2008-12-22 00:00

Cape Town — Australia woke up the day after South Africa’s stunning Perth Test victory to recriminations for Ricky Ponting’s home team but also some generous praise for the Proteas in leading newspapers.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, respected English (and The Witness) columnist Peter Roebuck said the Proteas’ mindset had shifted for the better.

In the story — carried in The Witness yesterday — Roebuck described the Aussie defeat as calamitous. “[Mitchell] Johnson won them the match and the rest contrived to throw it away. It was a second-rate performance. Fingers will be pointed at an attack containing one danger man, but the batsmen were just as culpable.”

In an AAP report in the West Australian, the Aussie attack was also pilloried:

“Bowlers need more than just zip to trouble the best batsmen. Johnson’s 11 wickets aside, Australia’s bowling lacked penetration for too long at the Waca ground and the sameness of the rest of the attack made for few worries for South Africa.

“[Brett] Lee at 32 clearly lacks the yard of pace that once separated him from the rest, and if he is not swinging the ball, he will not trouble either South Africa’s batsmen home and away, or England next year.”

Mike Coward, in national daily the Australian, said South Africa’s triumph was “destined for immediate admission to the rich lore of the game”.

Coward said it was “one of the greatest pursuits in the annals of the game and simultaneously semaphored to the world that South Africa’s ascent is as dramatic as Australia’s descent”.

“[Graeme] Smith’s greatest accomplishment has been to inculcate in his men an unwavering belief in their ability to change what for years has now been considered the normal order of things — that Australia bestrides the cricket world as a colossus.

“The times are changing … ”

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