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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Duminy and tail turn tables on Australia: Second Test Day 3

Australia 394 and 0/4 trail South Africa 459 ( J-P Duminy 166, D Steyn 73, G Smith 62, P Siddle 4/81) by 61 runs with 10 wickets in hand: Second Test Day 3 at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

I was wrong. Again. What a turnaround!

South Africa went from a shaky 7/198 to 459 all out as Jean-Paul Duminy compiled an authoritative and almost nerveless 166/340b (18x4). As these stats indicate, this was an innings demonstrating great concentration and a mature judgment of when to attack.

He was supported first by Paul Harris's 39/67b (4x4), then by Dale Steyn's confident and, given his batting record, surprisingly fluent 76/191b (9x4,1x6).

The Australian attack, which was missing the injured Brett Lee and lacking a fully fi Andrew Symonds, moved from innocuous to inept, with moments bordering on farcical. Mike Hussey made the breakthrough, taking his first wicket in Test cricket after 53 runs had been added. From 8/251 Duminy and Steyn added 180 for the 9th wicket while Duminy and Makhaya Ntini rubbed salt into the wounds with a 28 run partnership for the 10th.

The Australian fielding didn't help. Hussey's failure to get near a lofted shot which he couldn't pick up in the sun was captured by the TV cameras and replayed many times. It looked ugly, especially for these days of limited overs cricket, and would have boosted further the confidence of the Proteas as well as diminishing that of the Australians.

Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich survived 3 overs at the end of the day. While a 58 run deficit may not seem many it's hard to see Australia, so many of whose shortcomings have been exposed in this series already, recovering enough to win the mach. To do so they'll have to play like South Africans.

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