Parnell’s long wait to return for the Proteas pays off

2014-02-22 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — Wayne Parnell had to wait four years to play in a Test for SA, but he only needed one ball to strike.

The Eastern Cape-born speedster gave South Africa new hope of a draw with Australia in the Test series after he took two wickets in his first spell during the second day of the second Test at St George’s Park yesterday.

Parnell (2/19 in six overs) got Aussie number three Alex Doolan with his first delivery when the Australian nicked the ball and was caught by AB de Villiers behind the stumps. Two balls later Shaun Marsh had to take the walk back to the pavilion when he was also caught by De Villiers without scoring.

At close of play Australia was on 112/4 after South Africa were earlier bowled out for 423.

This performance with the ball would mean a lot for the former SA Under 19 captain, especially when it is taken into account that he only got his chance to play in the second Test after Ryan McLaren was ruled out as a result of concussion.

The left-handed swing bowler made his debut for SA at the beginning of 2009 as a 19-year-old and later that year bowled with great success for South Africa during the T20 World Tournament in England.

Since then he has struggled with injuries and had difficulties playing for the Proteas on a regular basis. His last Test was in Kolkata against India in February 2010.

It was not only the wickets he took that impressed yesterday, but also the way in which he created speed and bounce and a sidewards swing on a dead St George’s Park pitch.

JP Duminy, one of the other South African heroes, was impressed by the way in which Parnell grabbed the opportunity to play.

“I watched the speed with which he was bowling and it was fantastic to see how he hit the pitch in the mid-140s (km/h).”

Aussie coach Darren Lehmann said his team were not surprised by Parnell.

“He placed the ball in the first over at the right place. That happens. We will have to bat better tomorrow,” said Lehmann.

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