First test wrap up

South Africa batting

Amla and Kallis were pure class as usual. Amla is second only to Michael Clarke in test runs scored this calendar year, and the Aussies are probably lucky they got him out when they did or they might have been chasing plenty more than 450. Meanwhile Kallis knocked together test century number 44, and his 99th scored of 50+, plus he fell just one run short of taking that total to an even 100 when he was dismissed for 49 in the South African’s second innings.

Outside of Amla and Kallis, Petersen was the only other Protea to pass 50, but it was quickly forgotten after Amla and Kallis came together. Smith fell cheaply twice and neither Rudolph or de Villiers show too much. I tend to agree with those that suggest that de Villiers batting is adversely impacted by him also taking on the keeping duties – as do his stats, averaging 50 as non-keeper, but just 34 when he’s the guy behind the stumps.

South Africa bowling

The decision to not play a spinner hurt them, it probably wouldn’t have won them the match but it would have given them a better option than smith or Petersen when it came the to rest the quicks and tie up one end. I, personally, don’t rate Imran Tahir that highly – 26 wickets in 19 innings, ave. 40 SR. 74 without even a 4 wicket haul to his name – outside of South Africa and in 2012, both obviously relevant in this series, are even less impressive.

Debutant Kleinveldt was the weak point of the pace attack, he got slapped around by Cowan early in the Aussies innings, and after that never really recovered. Also somehow managed to bowl 12 no balls in 21 overs. Philander, thankfully for the Aussies, wasn’t as destructive as when he debuted against them a year ago. He ended up wicketless, something he’d only experience once before. And he was the most economical of the four front-line quicks despite it being the first time he’d conceded 100+.

I would have expected Kallis to bowl more, he only clocked 12 overs in the Aussies 138 over long innings maybe he was tired after his efforts with the bat? Maybe the niggle that kept him out of he warmup match was still lingering and they just didn’t want to risk him.

Australia batting

Michael. Frickin. Clarke. Leading test run scorer in 2012 by a considerable margin, and has already passed 1000 for the year. His unbeaten 259 pushed his career average above 50 for the first time since July 2010. He has scored three test centuries in 2012, but that description does him no justice, those three scores have been 329*, 210 and 259*. He’s also the first player since Bradman in 1930 to have three 200+ scores in the same calendar year. Prior to this year his highest test score was a “measly” 168. He is averaging 63 in Australia, 68 against South Africa, 115 in 2012, and 66 as captain. His last 5 centuries, all in the past 12 months, have come at a time when Australia needed them most:

  • In at 3/40, made 151 v South Africa November 2011
  • In at 3/91, made 139 v New Zealand December 2011
  • In at 3/37, made 329* v India January 2012
  • In at 3/84, made 210 v India January 2012
  • In at 3/40, made 259* v South Africa November 2012

Let’s not forget the effort of Eddie Cowan, who scored his maiden test ton, started briskly by belting Kleinveldt around and ended with 136 after being cruelly run out by pure fluke at the hand – or in this case finger tips – of Dale Steyn. Somewhat sloppy backing up didn’t help his cause, but he’d already score 136 so we can forgive him for that. The ever dependable Mr Cricket also chipped in with a hundred of his own and kept Clarke company while they piled on runs at a ridiculous rate – their 228 run partnership came at 5.01 per over.

Warner and Ponting both failed, but serious I could care less. Yes Ponting made a duck, and yes he didn’t perform brilliantly in the Caribbean earlier in the year – keep in mind that no-one really did. However he started the shield season in great form, 355 runs averaging 118, and there is no reason he won’t show it when they get to Adelaide – remember he made 221 and 60* there last year.

Quiney, maybe the first test jitters got to him, he came out flashed at a few and got caught in the deep. Will he keep his spot? If Watson isn’t fit then yes he probably will, unless the selectors pull a fast one and sub Phil Hughes in to play at his newly adopted home ground – if that were to happen Quiney would have a right to feel hard done by.

Australia bowling

They all seemed to be lacking something while Amla and Kallis piled on the runs, I’m not really sure what (apart from wickets, of course). Hilfenhaus was super economical in both innings, but he’s the one that the “experts” are saying should miss out in Adelaide in favour of Starc. Pattinson looked the best on day one, and his figures could have been better if not for a no ball or two. Showed a little more in the second innings as they chased a very small chance at pulling of victory, with Patto against the pick.

Nathan Lyon managed to pick up 4 wickets for the match, but he didn’t really have that much of an impact. Perhaps this was because the pitch wasn’t as dry as it might have been on the final day had it not spent the entirety of day two under the covers. New guy Rob Quiney bowled 11 overs in the match, and conceded just 14 runs which I guess isn’t a terrible effort for someone who was selected to bat first drop.

Next test

Some are predicting that Starc will come into the side for Hilfenhaus in Adelaide, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Siddle that fell victim to the rotation. There is no need for the Aussie batting lineup to change yet even with Warner, Ponting and Quiney all failing at the Gabba. If Watto is fit he might return, if he’s not there would be an outside chance for Phil Hughes or, current Shield leading run scorer, Usman Khawaja  to make a return.

For the South Africans, they’ll need an extra batsman to replace JP Duminy who tore his Achilles tendon after day one and as a result took no part in the match. Faf du Plessis is already with the team and Dean Elgar has been called up, so it should be one of them. As for their bowlers I’d expect Kleinveldt to be swapped for Tahir for simply because its Adelaide. If Smith were to enter the Adelaide test without a specialist spinner I’d be booking him into the nearest psychiatric institute for a quick check up.

Lastly, the umpires

They had a shocker. I’m not sure if they are just becoming overly apprehensive to a point where they are scaring themselves into either making incorrect decisions or just not making a decision at all. Or maybe the just genuinely stuffed up … several times. There were at least half a dozen terrible lbw calls, most of which were corrected by the available technology and most worryingly is that there were several occasions where we saw, or almost saw 7 ball overs – and one case where we nearly had a 5 ball over. Surely counting to 6 isn’t that difficult?