Australia in SA

Rudolph return over in a flash

2011-11-11 10:05
Jacques Rudolph (Getty Images)
Cape Town – Amidst the mayhem which encircled the second day of the first Test between South Africa and Australia, a few contributions (and non-contributions) played a significant role in the resulting events.

Test debutant Vernon Philander stole the show in the afternoon session with his crafty display of seam bowling which brought him figures of 5/15 in his 7-over spell in the Australian second innings, but had it not been for fellow debutant, Imran Tahir and Dale Steyn’s seemingly insignificant contributions with the bat, the script may easily have told a different story.

Steyn and Tahir put on 13 runs for the final wicket, which eventually put the Proteas a mere 12 runs clear of the first innings follow-on target of 84.

Had those 13 runs not been scored, Australian captain, Michael Clarke would have in all likelihood enforced the follow-on and avoided the embarrassment which his team were subjected to instead.

However, those 13 runs brought Proteas captain, Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph to the crease.

Rudolph, playing in his first five-day Test match for five years may have felt a bit short-changed having completed all of his on-field duties in just over a day (two and a half hours of play was lost due to rain on the first day) when he was eventually dismissed by Peter Siddle for 18 runs in the South African second innings.

“It’s amazing that I completed my batting and fielding in two days and it rained.

“That must be some sort of record,” Rudolph said in Friday’s Cape Times.

Rudolph must have been wondering if he was up to the pace of Test cricket circa 2011.

“The game has really moved forward, and I joke with Jacques Kallis when Australia were 21/9 that 17 wickets had fallen with nobody scoring more than 10 runs.”

Meanwhile, he also praised the man of the moment, Vernon Philander.

“Vernon is an exceptional bowler. His domestic stats don’t lie, he has wickets at 19, he really is a strong competitor, and I’m really happy for him. And the key going forward for him is to keep his feet on the ground.”

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