All's well in Wayne's World

2009-04-05 00:00

IT was a day to remember for the youngest man at Centurion yesterday, as the Proteas cruised to a seven-wicket victory with nearly half their overs remaining.

Wayne Parnell, who was still a schoolboy just over a year ago, repaid the selectors, Cricket South Africa (CSA), and Graeme Smith’s faith in him with a superb spell of swing bowling.

The selectors picked him, CSA made him the youngest contract recipient ever, but it was Smith’s bold move to give the Warriors left-armer the new ball that really did the trick.

Parnell, in tandem with Dale Steyn, simply blew the Australian top-order away, with his figures reading 4-3-3-3 at one stage.

“It was great for us that we won, and I think that was my best opening spell yet,” Parnell said upon receiving his Man-of-the-Match award.

His haul, which included two classic inswingers to dismiss Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey, was further proof that he will soon be pushing for inclusion in the Test side.

Swing is a precious commodity in the modern game, and Parnell has not hurt his chances in the race to replace Makhaya Ntini in the not too distant future.

It was Ntini who missed out after Friday night’s blowout in Durban, and the Proteas are now putting together a decent limited overs combination.

The return of Jacques Kallis also allowed for the inclusion of two spinners, with Roelof van der Merwe making a slightly more subdued ODI debut after his Pro20 antics a week before.

The Aussies, who won yet another toss and batted, were eventually bowled out for 131, and they had Callum Ferguson (50) to thank for that.

At 40 for 6, the tourists were in danger of total collapse, but Ferguson’s composed half-century at least gave them something to bowl at.

“We didn’t bat well at all today, and we need to work hard at the top of the order,” Ricky Ponting said.

“We have a few days to get things right, and we will have to talk about where we went wrong.”

Smith, who had suggested his own side needed some “talking” after Friday’s match, was heartened by their immediate response.

“We didn’t do well on Friday, but we bounced back well today. The bowlers had good intensity, and I thought Wayne and Dale did very well up front.”

The South African chase had an early wobble, with Herschelle Gibbs (2) again caught in the covers.

But Smith (40) and Kallis (31) added 69 to effectively seal the match.

The out of sorts duo of AB de Villiers and JP Duminy also got some valuable time in the middle, as they finally saw the Proteas home in the 27th over.

The first two matches in this series have seen the bets and the worst of both sides, and the likelihood of the series being decided at The Wanderers is ever increasing.

The winner of Thursday’s day-night affair at Newlands will be handily placed to win the lot, but yesterday was all about South Africa’s latest find.

He may have stuttered through his post-match interview, but the 19-year old Parnell had no problems in delivering where it matters most.

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