SA on top after bizarre day

2011-11-10 18:36

Cape Town - The Proteas are on course for a scarcely believable victory over Australia in the first Test after the tourists threw away a 188-run lead on Thursday to be bowled out for 47 in their second innings.

Scorecard after Day 2

Video Highlights: Day 2

Australia's dramatic and near record-breaking collapse, less than two hours afterthey had skittled South Africa for 96, left the Proteas needing 155 more runs with nine wickets in hand at stumps on the second day.

Graeme Smith (36 not out) and Hashim Amla (29 not out) guided South Africa to 88-1 at the close of a chaotic day in which 23 wickets fell at Newlands.

The Proteas will draw deep on their experience of being one of the most successful fourth innings chasing sides in recent history when they attempt to chase down the remaining runs for victory on Friday.

Under normal conditions that sort of target - with nine wickets still in the bank - would not be considered a difficult one but Thursday’s play could not be considered anywhere near normal.

After Australia had been dismissed for 284 which included a fine 150 from their captain, Michael Clarke, the Proteas were blown away in 24.3 overs - their shortest innings since unity, beating the 25.1 overs they took to be dismissed by India at the Wanderers Stadium in 2006.

This included a return of 5/17 from Shane Watson who took his five wickets in 21 deliveries from the start of his spell. Only another Australian, Ernie Toshack, has done a quicker job with a spell of five wickets in 19 deliveries against India at Brisbane in 1946.

From a reasonable lunch time position of 49/1 the Proteas lost nine wickets for 47 runs. This was comparable to the Newlands Test against Australia in 1957/58 when South Africa lost nine for 43 to subside from 56/1 to 99 all out with Trevor Goddard carrying his bat for 56.

The remainder of the afternoon session saw Australia slide to 13/3 which meant that the session had produced 12 wickets for 60 runs. There was no recovery for the visitors who threatened a new world record for the lowest Test score (26 by New Zealand against England in 1955 at Eden Park) before a last wicket stand of 26 between Nathan Lyon (a rare instance of a No 11 batsman making top score in a Test match innings) and Peter Siddle got them to 47 all out.

This was still their lowest Test score against South Africa by some distance, beating the 75 (on a sticky wicket) at Kingsmead in 1949/50.

It left the Proteas needing 236 for victory and more than three days in which to get the runs!

There were numerous other statistics such as all four innings taking place in part on the same day and Vernon Philander (8/78) returning the fifth best match analysis for South Africa on debut and the best since unity. His second innings figures when he got the ball to seam all over the place earned him a return of 5/15 in 7 overs, 3 of which were maidens.

Then there were the DRS referrals - 9 of them in all plus one by the umpires to verify a low catch taken by Jacques Rudolph. Third umpire Billy Bowden was certainly the busiest person either on or off the field during the middle session.

Possibly even more significant was the fact that Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla shared an unbeaten half-century partnership - the second of the day - in the closing session and have set the Proteas up to strike for victory.

They can certainly draw on their memorable run chases at Wellington in 2004, Edgbaston and Perth, both in 2008, as they go about their final task. The common denominator on each occasion was a Smith century and he will be looking to lead his men from the front again.

Newlands Tests seldom fail to produce outstanding individual performances and memorable contests and, if the Proteas pull it off, it will indeed be a famous victory.

They trailed by 188 runs on the first innings and to come back from there to where they are now is nothing short of astounding.


  • Gwaa - 2011-11-10 19:04

    Can anybody say "Match Fixing"?

  • Lukas - 2011-11-10 19:07

    Strange day of cricket. Never thought I would see Graham Smith bat twice in one day ... It's tough enough watching him once ... We must win this one !!!

  • Ben - 2011-11-10 19:19

    Weirdest test day ever! got 3 day....take it nice and slow...

      Skinfaxi - 2011-11-10 19:24

      The usual 5 day paradigm has one team playing for a win whilst the other aims for a draw. None of that in this game. Funny how some people declared this game to be a draw before the first ball was bowled just because the start was delayed. Can’t find those “experts” anywhere now.

      Deon - 2011-11-11 08:00

      It is a shame that 5 day cricket are being played less and less as it can be very interesting. Best of luck for our team, we might need it today.

  • alfie.cable - 2011-11-10 20:07

    Well bowled Vernon Philander.

  • Jonathan - 2011-11-10 20:39

    And I was planning to buy a ticket for Saturday..

  • warren.d.manning - 2011-11-10 21:22

    Well Australia did get the better of us in this test already.. they are way better than us in posting an 'all out' score.. wadda day!

  • dasarath.harilal - 2011-11-10 21:23

    -big match temperment is now needed. Amla had no business to play the shot in the last ball. all he had to do was to just block not hit.. Lucky to survive.. COOL HEADS. NOTHING ELSE. Plenty of time.

  • Barry - 2011-11-10 21:31

    Thank god I did not watch any of it. Are we going to carry on calling cricket a sport ?

      fishycraig - 2011-11-11 01:38

      Why knock a sport you don't watch? Why read an article on a sport you don't like? The only thing you would do well in cricket is win the toss... tosser.

      Lukas - 2011-11-11 13:19

      Tos(ser) as in Afrikaans ............

  • Paul - 2011-11-10 22:02

    Gotto say Billy Doctrove must be the worst umpire in Test cricket history. How many did he get wrong? If it wasn't for the advanced DRS system, this game would have a totally different complexion. By comparison Ian Gould was great. I'm assuming this is merely gross incompetence and nothing more sinister...

  • wesley.g.mercer - 2011-11-11 00:47

    The class of our bowlers really came through today. Allan Donald is doing a fine job. Come boys finish the runs off with style and finesse

  • Kris - 2011-11-11 07:24

    There was no bloody match fixing! this was brilliant bowling on a pitch that really helped the seamers. It's no coincidence that the spinners didnt have an effect. Watson and Philander not to mention Steyn and Morkel and Harris bowled out of their skins in a devastating combination of swing and fast bowling. Not to mention some great catches. Kudo's to the bowling attacks, this is a bowlers test match no doubt. Watsons 151 notwithstanding.

      Kris - 2011-11-11 07:29

      Woops I meant Clarkes 151..

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