Feb 212014
 
South Africa put Australia to sword on day two

JP Duminy, AB de Villiers, Wayne Parnell and Vernon Philander put South Africa on top as the hosts reduced Australia to 112 for four on the second day of the second test at St George’s Park on Friday (local time).

All-rounder Parnell, playing his first test in four years, and paceman Philander grabbed two wickets apiece after South Africa had amassed 423 in their first innings thanks to centuries from Duminy and De Villiers.

It might have been even worse for the tourists as wicketkeeper De Villiers dropped David Warner on 43. The left-handed opener was still there on 65 at the close of play with Nathan Lyon 12 not out.

Nightwatchman Lyon was also dropped by Duminy in the gully and received another let-off when South Africa failed to go to the television review after the umpire gave him not out when he edged a rising ball down the leg side straight to De Villiers.

Earlier, Duminy answered his critics with 123 while De Villiers struck 116 as the pair shared a stand of 149 for the sixth wicket.

Duminy, who averaged 11 in his previous seven test innings, looked assured from the start on Friday and brought up his third hundred off 199 balls before becoming off-spinner Lyon’s fifth victim, trapped leg before.

“I knew today was going to be a big one for me personally and for the team and luckily it worked out well,” Duminy told reporters.

“The most important thing on this wicket was to build a partnership and AB and I managed to do that. We had to be patient and wait for the bad ball.

“We knew Australia were going to come out and play their shots and that it would create opportunities for us,” said Duminy.

“We also knew if we kept them in the field for a long time that when they came to bat there would be some tired legs and tired eyes and that if we put the ball in the right area we could get wickets.”

De Villiers, who on Thursday passed 7,000 test runs and became the first player to score half-centuries in 12 tests in a row, reached his 19th century off 201 balls.

LYON HAUL

He was removed with the score on 349, offering a sharp caught and bowled chance to Lyon who was the pick of the bowlers with five for 130.

Philander claimed the first Australian wicket when he trapped Chris Rogers leg before for five.

Parnell then accounted for two of the heroes from the first test, Alex Doolan (eight) and Shaun Marsh (duck), both caught behind by De Villiers.

Marsh now has five ducks in his last 14 test innings.

Captain Michael Clarke looked fluent in compiling 19 before spooning an easy catch to Dean Elgar at cover as a ball from Philander appeared to hold up in the pitch.

Lyon then held out in brave fashion for the final 37 minutes, surviving a hostile onslaught from Parnell, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn.

“South Africa bowled very well. We have to give them credit but the pleasing thing is we got to 112 so the game has moved forward quite quickly,” said Australia coach Darren Lehmann.

“It could have been worse if they had taken their chances and we were also quite pleased to keep them to 423 in the 150 overs we bowled.”

Australia are 1-0 up in the three-match series.

Scoreboard on the second day of the second Test between Australia and South Africa at St George’s Park:

SOUTH AFRICA

First Innings

G SMITH lbw Harris 9
D ELGAR c Harris b Lyon 83
H AMLA lbw Johnson 0
F DU PLESSIS c Smith b Lyon 55
AB de VILLIERS c & b Lyon 116
Q DE KOCK c (sub) b Smith 7
J DUMINY lbw Lyon 123
V PHILANDER c & b Clarke 6
W PARNELL c Haddin b Lyon 10
D STEYN not out 4
M MORKEL run out (Smith) 1

Extras (4b 4lb 1w) 9

Total 423
   
Fall: 10 (Smith), 11 (Amla), 123 (du Plessis), 181 (Elgar), 200 (de Kock), 349 (de Villiers), 378 (Philander), 413 (Parnell), 420 (Duminy), 423 (Morkel).
   
Bowling: R Harris 27-6-63-1, M Johnson 25-5-70-1 (1w), P Siddle 34-9-96-0, N Lyon 46-7-130-5, D Warner 3-0-10-0, S Smith 8-0-30-1, M Clarke 7.5-2-16-1.

AUSTRALIA

First Innings

C ROGERS lbw Philander 5
D WARNER not out 65
A DOOLAN c de Villiers b Parnell 8
S MARSH c de Villiers b Parnell 0
M CLARKE c Elgar b Philander 19
N LYON not out 12

Extras (3lb) 3

Total (for four wickets) 112
   
Fall: 7 (Rogers), 41 (Doolan), 41 (Marsh), 81 (Clarke).

Bowling: D Steyn 6-1-33-0, V Philander 6-0-26-2, M Morkel 7-0-31-0, W Parnell 6-2-19-2.

– Reuters

Feb 202014
 
Australia vs. South Africa: 2nd test gets underway with Australia finishing the day with a slight advantage.

The second test between South Africa and Australia got underway yesterday at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth. The day started out well for the home team, with their Captain, Graeme Smith winning the toss and electing to bat on the green top.

Match Report: Australia vs. South Africa, Second test, Day 1, St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth, February 20, 2014.

However it wasn’t a good day for Smith and Alma who were both dismissed cheaply by the Australians for just 9 runs, Alma got out for a duck. The Australian bowling attack seemed to lack their intensity seen in the previous test match as well as throughout the Australian summer, but managed to slow down the runs at times.

It was Elgar and Faf du Plessis that got the South African run scoring happening, with du Plessis scoring 55 before getting dismissed shortly after the drinks break, similarly Elgar made a very slow 83 runs off of 193 balls, before being caught by Lyon in the 69th over.

Debutant de Kock didn’t impress, getting caught off the bowling of Smith for just 7 runs, but the South Africans managed to stay in and add to the total, finishing the day with de Villiers and Duminy at the crease.

 The Australian’s will endeavor to bowl the remaining 5 batsmen out and get to batting on the rather slow pitch today.

Scorecard: South Africa 5/214 (de Villiers 51*, Duminy 2*) v Australia

Test debut: Quinton de Kock (South Africa)

Credits: Cricinfo (Image) 

Feb 202014
 
Live: SA recovers from shaky start

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OVERCAST skies and strong winds greeted Australia on arrival at St George’s Park on Thursday as the tourists started their bid for their first Test series win on foreign soil since April 2012.

Australia is expected to name an unchanged side from the one that destroyed South Africa in the first Test, with victory making Australia the first side to beat South Africa in a series in five years.

Captain Michael Clarke says he’s not looking too far ahead.

“Against such a good team, if you’re not concentrating on the job at hand, you’ll find yourself behind in the game and we can’t afford that,” Clarke said.

“I said the same in Australia in the summer. People ask me did you ever imagine you were going to win (the Ashes) 5-0 and you never think about that. We’re so focused on each test match.”

For the hosts Quinton de Kock is in line to make his Test debut against Australia, with opener Alviro Petersen laid low by a viral infection.

De Kock landed in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday night and is set to make a shock debut on Thursday if Petersen is not fit.

Two days after being officially discarded by Cricket South Africa, Dean Elgar could be the man enlisted to strengthen the hosts’ batting order in the second Test.

Elgar was the highest-profile player to be cut from CSA’s central contract list on Tuesday, but is likely to replace Ryan McLaren should selectors opt for a batsman instead of allrounder Wayne Parnell.

The second Test starts at 7.30pm AEDT and is live and exclusive on Fox Sports 3.

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Feb 192014
 
Pitch puzzle angers Clarke

PE groundstaff await Protea instructions

As the Australian players convened at their team hotel for the now customary pre-Test trivia evening Tuesday night, heavy rain lashed the coastal resort town of Port Elizabeth and further nourished a pitch that already bears a heavy coating of thick grass.

One of the questions that might have been posed to the assembled players, support staff, partners and children was ‘who scored a hard-fought 108 on the second day of the previous Test match between the current combatants at St George’s Park in 1997?’.

The answer, of course, is Australia.

Confronted by a green carpet not dissimilar to the one Michael Clarke inspected with mild surprise yesterday, and which prompted the same sort of concerns – that it seemed, or seamed as the case may be, tailor-made for South Africa’s bowlers – Mark Taylor’s team was skittled in their first innings.

But on the back of some inspired bowling by Jason Gillespie and one of Mark Waugh’s truly great hundreds, the Australians snatched a famous win that was crowned by Ian Healy’s match-winning six over backward square leg from the bowling of rival skipper Hansie Cronje.

If the pitch for the Test that starts in Port Elizabeth Thursday, which head groundsman Adrian Carter has claimed carries so much grass at present it “scares” him, bears the same characteristics of its predecessor of 17 years ago then Clarke’s prediction of a three-day Test might yet prove correct.

The Australian captain was trying his hardest to toe the line of diplomacy yesterday when asked about the state of the deck, and the fact that Carter was awaiting further instructions from the South African brainstrust as to what happens to it next.

That assessment was made prior to the Proteas training at the ground later in the day, and their coach Russell Domingo – who conceded pre-series that he had placed an order with each of the curators at the three Test venues for seamer-friendly conditions – had inspected the surface.

“I had a chat to the groundsman today – at the moment the grass is 8mm high,” Clarke said, with an element of surprise given that’s a level of grass that would not look out of place on centre court during Wimbledon’s first week.

“I asked what he’s going to do with that (and) he said he’s going to speak to their (South Africa’s) captain and coach before (he) makes a decision.

“So I’m interested to see what the South African captain and coach’s plans are for this wicket.”

Clarke inspects pitch

For his part, South Africa captain Graeme Smith denied his side had made any demands. “One thing I’ve learned is that when you ask for things you generally don’t get them,” he said. “We just requested a good Test wicket.”

The notion of the home team requesting conditions that best suit their own strengths and exposes their touring rivals’ frailties is nothing new.

Trips to the sub-continent have been based on that premise for more than half a century, while England took the concept to a new level during the recent Ashes series in England in order to blunt Australia’s pace attack and make hay for their then world-class off-spinner, Graeme Swann.

But it has become so overt in recent years that Clarke felt compelled to wonder aloud if it might not be time that Australian teams began to enter into a far more conspiratorial relationship with curators who are among a few on the world scene who believe their job is to serve the best interests of the game rather than the home players.

“It doesn’t bother me, that’s a big part of playing international cricket, you travel the world and play in different conditions,” Clarke said.

“I think it’s a big part our game that the captain, especially, can communicate with the groundsman in his home country and produce the wicket that is best suited to their team.

“I would like to see it happen more that way in Australia but in saying that I think the wickets in Australia … we’re very lucky compared to a lot of other countries around the world.

“We get very good Test cricket wickets, there’s normally enough in there for quicks and spin bowling but generally if you get in it’s a beautiful place to bat.

“So it’s not like I don’t communicate (with Australian groundsmen), I speak very openly and honestly with our groundsmen but I’m confident that they’ll produce a great cricket wicket anyway.”

The problem for South Africa, as became brutally apparent during the first Test at Centurion when they were confronted by the fastest pitch many had seen there in years, was that it plays more snugly into the hands of the team that includes Mitchell Johnson than it does the local quicks.

For that reason, Clarke is expecting the pitch at St George’s Park will be subjected to a fairly major, and reasonably urgent haircut as soon as the ground is sufficiently dry for the groundsmen to go about their work.

What he’s not expecting is a repeat of the Centurion pitch, largely because of the vastly different climatic conditions between the Highveld and the Eastern Cape, but also because of the damage that Johnson and others were able to inflict on the fourth – and as it transpired, final – day.

“I thought it was a nasty wicket to be honest,” Clarke said of the strip at Centurion where his team completed an emphatic 281-run victory last Saturday.

“I think in our first innings it was probably at its best, especially after lunch when it hardened up a bit and then it was ugly.

“It was up and down through the whole match (and) I don’t think either team were comfortable batting on it to be honest. A lot of blokes got hit.

“The hardest thing on that wicket was it wasn’t consistent, some balls were staying low some were bouncing, that as a batsman was hard to work out – do you stand up and try and block it or do you try and duck?

“I think why you saw blokes from both teams cop bruises.

“That’s why we lasted three overs (before declaring on the fourth morning), I saw enough and thought if we bowl the way I thought we could bowl I didn’t think it would go into day five.”

Lehmann inspects pitch

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 19 February, 2014 6:39PM AEST

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