Duminy and De Villiers make it look easy

2014-02-21 13:38

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South Africa: 323/5 (De Villiers 102*, Elgar 83, Duminy 59*, Du Plessis 55, Lyon 2/81, Smith 1/18 , Harris 1/63)

JP Duminy and AB de Villiers finally gave the Proteas a semblance of dominance on the second morning with assertive batting against disciplined bowling.

South Africa’s middle order has been found wanting recently, but in Duminy and De Villiers, they found a pair who was willing to get their hands dirty and their unbeaten 123-run partnership could take the game away from Australia.

Resuming from a precarious 214/5 with an untested lower order to follow, it was important that they see the team through to lunch unscathed.

That they did with minimum fuss and delectable batting, which made the game look so easy. The fight that was missing in Pretoria was definitely back in Port Elizabeth. Australia now has a fight on their hands.

For the first time in the summer, Australia were required to bowl for more than 105 overs but their attack was tireless – thanks in part to the overcast conditions.

A hot sun would have had a different effect, much like it did on the English during the Ashes, who had the misfortune of fielding when temperatures were extreme.

The Australians’ patience and discipline was not enough to stem the run flow as the Proteas were able to milk the runs in the extended session. Play started 19 minutes early because of day one’s curtailment because of bad light.

The manner in which the two gifted batsmen accumulated their runs was a joy to watch. They were watchful outside off-stump while punishing anything loose, which there was not much of.

Even the strike rates were similar, with Duminy compiling his 50 off 108 balls while De Villiers’ 100 took him a measured 201 balls.

For De Villiers, it was business as usual with his magical streak, while Duminy alleviated some pressure with his first significant knock in seven innings.

With Quinton de Kock making his test debut one spot ahead of him and the door being banged down in the Sunfoil Series, the number seven spot will be a hard one to nail down.

A conversion into something substantial will more than keep the wolves at bay.

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