Proteas take firm control

2014-02-22 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — A couple of missed catching opportunities spoilt the bold bowling performance by the Proteas but South Africa are still in control after day two of the second Test at St George’s Park.

On a pitch where Australia’s pacemen struggled unsuccessfully for more than 145 overs, SA’s quickies suddenly found some life on a seemingly dead pitch yesterday afternoon.

Australia reached 112/4 at close of play and still trail SA by 311 on the Proteas’ first innings.

Earlier SA were bowled out for 423 with centuries by AB de Villiers and JP Duminy.

The Aussie pacemen were quick to get rid of Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla on day one, but then could not take another wicket since.

Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyons (5/130) caused the most damage and took five wickets for the fifth time in an innings in his Test career.

The SA speedsters, however, bowled with more aggression and penetration.

Wayne Parnell and Vernon Philander both took two wickets while Dale Steyn and Morné Morkel respectively became the victims of a wrong decision and a botched catch.

Philander made the first breakthrough when he trapped Michael Rogers lbw for five and then Parnell, who is playing in his first Test in four years, took two wickets — those of Alex Doolan (8) and Shaun Marsh (0) — in his first over. Philander then got the big fish — Michael Clarke for 19.

It could have been worse for the Aussies. Morné Morkel bowled brilliantly with speed and bounce and troubled all the batsmen. On a pitch where the ball often dropped before the wicketkeeper, Morkel had the batsmen and wicketkeeper AB de Villiers scrambling around. David Warner — on 43 — nicked an almost unplayable ball from Morkel, but De Villiers could not hold on to the ball, which went over his head.

Lyon also received a second chance in the last over of the day when Duminy could not hold on to a catch from the night watchman. Lyon was also fortunate when umpire Kumar Dharmasena turned down an appeal for a catch behind the stumps after the ball nicked the inside edge of the bat. However, the Proteas did not want to risk a challenge.

The Proteas continued the good work of the first day with Duminy (123; 286 minutes, 231 balls, 14x4) and De Villiers who shared in a 149-run partnership to put the Proteas securely in control.

Both batsmen scored with intense concentration and made the most of the bad balls.

It was Duminy’s first century since March 2012 in Wellington when he scored his second career century against New Zealand. The left-hander has since then suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury and he will remember yesterday’s century for a long time following some precarious batting.

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