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Friday, February 14, 2014

Johnson reprises Ashes bowling form to rattle South Africa: T1D2


South Africa 6/140 (43.3ov, deVilliers 52*/94b/1x6 4x4, Johnson 13.3-1-51-4) trail Australia 397 (122ov, Marsh 148/288b/15x4, S Smith 100/213b/13x4, Johnson 33, Steyn 29-6-78-4, Peterson 2/49, McLaren 2/72) by 257 with 4 1st inns wkts in hand: T1/3 D2/5 at Centurion.

Another Australia - or Mitchell Johnson - day . South Africa had a good moment or two in the almost empty stadium: one after they'd  worked through the remaining Australia batting, another when they drew breath at the end of a battering day with AB deVilliers still at the crease, and looking good.

In between it was Johnson who ripped the top order asunder with an exhilaratingly (from an Australian perspective) ferocious (from everyone's perspective)  81 balls. Graeme Smith was tied up in knots        ( look for pics/video of his looping catch to slip) while Alviro Petersen, Faf du Plessis - the find of the last Proteas' tour of Australia - and Ryan McLaren looked out of their depth.

Yes, Johnson bowled very well, but Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and ( particularly compared to the South African spinners) Nathan Lyon supported him well. I hope that none of them breaks down (but also that Australia thinks hard about who might be able to bowl a few supporting overs if required by injury or a match situation.

We mustn't forget that Shaun Marsh and  Steve Smith's 233 fifth wicket partnership gave Australia a good foundation for what looks like a probable victory. The wicket is sometimes keeping low, even to Johnson, so circumspection will be order of the day for the remaining batters - of both sides.

<a href="http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-australia-2013-14/engine/match/648673.html">Scorecard </a>


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