Proteas left dumbstruck

2014-02-15 23:00

The Proteas were thoroughly bruised, battered and beaten and they are deserving of that unfortunate but true tag – a serious bunch of losers.

The series was billed as the battle of the best bowling attacks in the world and Australian captain Michael Clarke boasted his was the best. After Hurricane Johnson buffeted the Proteas along with his mini-storms, only one attack was left standing – and it is canary yellow.

South Africa’s attack disappeared in the wind.

Massive improvement will be needed for the second test that starts on Thursday in Port Elizabeth, but whether the Proteas have the mongrel displayed by

the Australian pace trio will remain to be seen.

As Proteas captain Graeme Smith said in the postmatch press conference, a method to combat the fiery Mitchell Johnson will have to be found.

He bowled in four-over spells, ensuring he was fresh whenever he took the ball or the home team lost a wicket.

Like the English did during the Ashes, the Proteas never pushed Clarke into making his strike bowler operate for unscheduled spells, with the root cause being the loss of regular wickets.

Port Elizabeth’s slow but moody wicket will tame Johnson’s pace, but if the Ashes series is an example, this is a highly adaptable Australian team, and so is Johnson.

The extent of his damage was apparent when the time spent at the crease by the top four Proteas batsmen is accumulated. They totalled just 305 minutes and the openers, Smith and Alviro Petersen, managed just an hour’s batting across two innings.

Both times, they fell victim to Johnson’s pace, aggression and accuracy. It was a domino effect that the team, except for AB de Villiers, could not resist.

Johnson made the ball talk and like any other self-respecting express pace bowler, drew blood from batsmen, with Ryan McLaren being the unfortunate victim – literally.

It was a blow that knocked whatever fight the hosts had left.

Johnson’s fire was backed by relentless accuracy from Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, and their resourceful but aggressive batting was the biggest reason they outgunned the Proteas.

In the build-up to the game, players from both sides said the side that bats best would prevail – and Australia did just that.

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