All welcome at the Almanac brunch, Satruday at 11am. Details here.
SOUTH AFRICA V AUSTRALIA DAY 2
Staying at ALC I thought would be a serene, peaceful, thoughtful environment and only 10 minutes from the Oval.
Not so, at 3.45am the sound of silence was broken by the internal fire alarm and the quick arrival of three units from the brigade. Some idiot was smoking in bed despite the non-smoking signs.
It was not all doom and gloom as it gave me some time to think about Day 1 of the test again and in particular the captain Steve Smith. Smith looked a new man yesterday, joking, smiling, kicking the ground with humour – not known traits seen in the first two games and the series in Sri Lanka.
Without being a selector he obviously had a huge impact in the team selection and did get HIS team. You could notice it in the field where the catching was first class, there was spring in the step of the players and his bowling changes where first class.
The morning walk to the ground was far more pleasant. Down Jeffcott street passed all the various religious colleges amongst an avenue of trees and heritage buildings and then the view from Colonel Light statue across the Adelaide hills. This was serenity before what will be a far from serene day at this most beautiful of cricket grounds.
The serenity of the day was broken when Elgar takes a brilliant catch to dismiss Renshaw (10) from an Abbot delivery. Australia 1/19. Abbot and Philander opened the morning with very accurate bowling. Nothing had come easy for the openers.
Warner is busy as usual but is undone by the Elgar-Abbott duo. Abbot moves one late, Warner (11) tickles and there is no problem with this catch. Australia 2/37.
Through all this Khawaja remains stoic and he is in control. He plays some truly beautiful shots and his shot to fine leg for four of a short delivery from Rabada was pure poetry.
Outstanding bowling by the Proteas trio has been met by outstanding batting from Khawaja and Smith. An intriguing session by all concerned including the crowd which continues to get bigger as the day goes on.
One interesting feature that I have noted in all three test matches is that returns to the wicket no longer receive applause for accuracy. Just taken for granted nowadays such is the professionalism of this aspect of the game.
The two Australians take control late in to the session and are starting to play shots all around the wicket. They continue their good work to the first break. Khawaja (58) and Smith (23) take the score to 109 and it has been a fine partnership of 72 and the locals have won the session.
Wandered around to The Village Green during the break to see who’s who in the zoo. Wasn’t disappointed as I spotted the Premier, one federal minister who strategically placed himself (beer in hand) so he could be spotted as “one of us”. Sorry but I can’t remember his name. The real premier of the State Peter Hurley was looking resplendent as usual and of course there was the usual bevvy of beauties who would not know the difference between a maiden and a maiden over.
We are all out of kilter without our eating clock but I noticed that there were 15 varieties of national foods for sale in TVG. A smorgasbord if ever I saw one.
We have now finalised our best 11 of players who never played in the baggy green.
Here it is in batting order (All correspondence will be entered into:-
Sid Carroll (NSW)
David Hussey (Vic)
Neil Dansie (SA)
Jamie Siddons (Vic/SA)
Jack Potter Captain (Vic)
Cecil Pepper (NSW)
Darren Berry (SA/Vic)
John Grant (Vic)
Geoff Attenborough (SA)
Wayne Prior (SA)
David Hourn (NSW)
Ian Brayshaw (WA) 12th man
Khawaja and Smith continue on with their fine batting although Smith (46) should have been taken by Amla at slip of JP Duminy. Both players where playing very confidently and were scoring runs at will. The bowlers had given their best before the break and where struggling after the break.
The only other way to get a wicket is with a run out and it happened. Smith (59) runs himself out with a suicidal run. 3/174.
The crowd give another newcomer in Peter Handscomb a wonderful ovation when he entered the arena. The Australian crowd have certainly got behind the newcomers in Adelaide which in complete contrast to their treatment of Faf Du Plessis.
Khawaja reaches his century, a wonderful innings equal to Du Plessis. He tempered his game and displayed shots all around the ground. Handscomb battled hard early but received a rousing cheer when he scored his first run.
Australia had won the second session and at tea with Khawaja (108) and Handscomb (14) with the score at 3/209.
Both batsman looked comfortable after tea as South Africa whipped through the overs to get the new ball in action. Australia added 34 runs in quick time.
Abbott and Philander take the new ball before an enthralled crowd which looks larger than day 1. Both batsmen play and miss and then Handscomb takes to Philander in one over, takes 13 runs and passes 50. A beautiful innings from the newcomer.
Unfortunately he gets a good one from Abbott which comes back and bowls him for 54. Australia 4/273 and Kyle Abbott has all three wickets. He has easily been the best of the SA bowlers today with 3/35.
Maddison is in and like Handscomb before him gets the treatment from the bowlers and after 20 minutes he still has not scored. To his credit, he has not succumbed to the pressure despite missing plenty.
Well, he has now bowled by a beauty from Rabada for nought. Australia 5/277
The pugnacious Wade takes a 4 from his first ball but that is as far as he gets and he out to Philander. Australia now 6/283 and they have lost 3/10. Shades of Perth and Hobart.
Khawaja (131) has seen all the wickets fall but remains resolute in his control of one end. Let us hope that Cricket Australia’s high performance people are taking note. This has been a superb innings that deserves all the accolades it gets.
Try as they might Starc is proving hard to dismiss and not before time. He can bat but his so far this series suggest that number 11 might even be too high in the order.
Meanwhile Ussie keeps his cool and lets Starc take the majority of balls. Shades of Steve Waugh and Starc responds well. Good work by Khawaja showing confidence in his team mate.
The crowd numbers go up and it is 5,700 more than day one (32,255). Well done Adelaide.
The last session does not see many runs scored but it has again been an absorbing session. South Africa take the points in this session but overall Australia are just holding the ascendency.
Australia 6/307 at stumps. Khawaja 138, Starc 16 in a fine rear guard action that received a splendid applause from the crowd at the end of the day. Kyle Abbott with 3/38 was easily the best of the South African bowlers.
Another great day of Test cricket and we look forward to the third day tomorrow when I expect a crowd of over 40,000 to be in attendance.