Friday, November 30, 2012
Fresh bowling legs sharpen Australia T3D1
Australia 2/33 (11 ov) trail South Africa 225 (74ov, Plessis 78*. Lyon 3/41) by 192 runs with 8 first inns wkts in hand: T3/3 D1/5 at Perth. South Africa won toss and chose to bat,
Australia's decision to rely on the support staff's opinion and omit (? questionabIy) Peter Siddle and (?understandably)Ben Hilfenhaus looked wrong when medium pacer John Hastings on debut opened the bowling into the WACA breeze after Graeme Smith won the toss and (no surprise) opted no bat.
The new, or in Mitchell Johnson's case, repurposed (read into that what you will) home attack took a while to settle in. But once Mitchell Starc found his line and length, Hastings (who was billed as an accurate bowler) his and Johnson his dimly remembered zest, Australia hammered back into the match, reducing the Proteas on either side of lunch from 1/61 t0 6/75. Good bowling after a lacklustre (read inaccurate) start.
Once again (OK, in his second Test) Faf du Plessis 78* (12x4) mustered the lower-middle order and the visitors made batting look easier as they advanced to 225: a modest score, but much better than looked likely for much of the innings.
Australia's reply was tentative, to say the least: Ed Cowan caught ar slip for a first ball duck and Shane Watson given out lbw by the DRS.But David Warner and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon dug in to allow Australia (and Ricky Ponting in his final Test) to fight another day.