Proteas cement reputation as excellent day 2 team

2014-02-13 13:05

Australia: 374/7 (Marsh 148, Smith 100, Doolan 27, Steyn 2/67, McLaren 2/72, R Peterson 1/47)

The Proteas mounted an excellent comeback in the morning session of the second day, but Australia is still in the pound seats.

The Proteas are making a name for themselves as an excellent day-two team. After the horrors of letting a 98/4 advantage slip through their hands, they reeled Australian in to make sure the first innings deficit did not become too steep.

The visitors will be kicking themselves for not making such a start count.

They first had to get rid of the set partnership between Shaun Marsh and Steven Smith, whose stand rested at 199 overnight. They stretched it to 233 runs and it is the kind of partnerships that swing matches, especially with the kind of bowling firepower Australia has.

There was time for Smith to compile a 211-ball test 100 of the highest class. However, he was not able to convert it as he was in the hut two balls later. He was snaffled by Ryan McLaren, who snared him with a beauty that pitched on off-stump and moved away slightly.

Next in was the dangerous Brad Haddin, fresh from his Ashes exploits. There were none of those as he was trapped in front by Robin Peterson for a duck. He asked for a referral, but it was more in hope than anything else.

Marsh continued on his merry way, compiling his highest test score, but he was confronted by some high-class fast bowling, especially from McLaren. With Morne Morkel missing the bulk of the morning session because of a sore shoulder that required a scan, it was up to him to dry the runs and create the pressure.

It resulted in Marsh’s wicket, but that was taken by Vernon Philander, who bowled a fuller length than the shorter drivel of the first day. Australia’s rather plucky tail, led my Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris, saw out the session without further damage.

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