Australia v South Africa – Adelaide Test, Day 4: The newbies get the chocolates
SOUTH AFRICA vs AUSTRALIA DAY 4
How good is this weather? Adelaide as usual has produced weather out of the box. In fact, I can’t remember the last time it rained at a Test match here. With crowd numbers, already over 110,000 it will be interesting to see how many turn up today for what will be a very, very interesting day.
My morning commenced on O’Connell street for French toast, strawberries and bananas. Spoilt by the headlines in the local paper again mocking Faf Du Plessis. Enough is enough. There has plenty written very derisive of Du Plessis and there have been many letters condemning the attitude of supporters and so-called sporting people. Thank heavens there is more than one media outlet to cover the game. [Good point Citrus Bob. You’re the antidote – JTH]
Players and officials are wearing black armbands this morning in memory of former South African cricketer and captain. Trevor Goddard. Goddard who died overnight was a splendid all-rounder who both opened the batting and the bowling. An elegant player in all facets of the game he scored 2516 runs and took 123 wickets in 41 matches for his country. His batting was built on consistency and he scored over 50 runs on an average of every 4th innings.
I was lucky enough to see him captain his team in Australia in 1963-64 where he led the team splendidly and helped launch the careers of many great South African cricketers.
Today also signifies the second anniversary of the death of Phillip Hughes.
All the prognostications from overnight have been thrown asunder as Bird, with his first ball has De Kock (5) lbw after originally been given not out. At 7/301 South Africa, will need some positive resistance from Cook and co to build a total that Australia will not be comfortable with.
At the time of writing (2.42pm CST) I reckon any total of 178 and above will take some getting particularly if Cook (93) and Philander (12) can keep the score flowing. The new ball is just a couple of overs away.
Hazlewood takes the new ball and makes a few fly but Philander is equal to the task. Philander has batted very well in this series and his driving has been a highlight of his batting. At the other end Cook just keeps rolling along.
Philander is not equal to the task now and is plumb to Starc for 17. 8/235.
Cook reaches his hundred by hooking Hazlewood for four. It has been a gritty, determined and watchful but not pretty innings. He absorbed everything the Australian bowlers threw at him and more. A wonderful expose of batting for his team.
When Rabada (7) flicks an ordinary ball from Hazlewood Wade takes a splendid catch. Diving away to his right it was a great take. 9/126
Cook goes after his great knock clean bowled by Starc for 104. He was trying to push a single into the offside field and played over the ball. All out 250. Australia need 127 to win. Starc with 4, Lyon with 3, Hazlewood 2 and Bird 1 bowled splendidly as a unit.
A handy total to get but remembering the past performances of Australian teams in recent years’ defeat is still a possibility.
Early overs suggest that the runs will come easily. Warner will make sure of that if he stays there as he is playing some fine shots all around the wicket.
Warner is run out by the wonderful throw from Temba Bavuma for 47. A suicide run 1/64. Khawaja does nothing for the scoreboard when a wrong-un from Tabraiz Shamsi traps him in front 2/64.
Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw take the score closer to the required. What a contrast, Smith cool and confident while Renshaw struggled, playing and missing time and time again. They made hard work of the run chase and supper was delayed twice in an endeavour to get the game concluded.
The crowd tally goes up – 19,909 making a total of 125,993 for the game. A new record for a day-night test match.
It was like pulling teeth, a very slow process. Renshaw goes 31 balls without making a run and then he strikes a four through mid-wicket and the runs start to flow. Smith (40) gets a good one from Abbott and tickles through to De Kock.
So the process is completed and Australia win by 7 wickets. Australia 3/127 Renshaw 34 n.o. and Handscomb 1.
South Africa win the series 2 games to 1.
This was a fine performance by the “new” Australian team. With all the hoopla before the game about this side it was a plus, plus for the team. I leave it to the team because every man and his dog would have picked this side. Smith has been a happy man throughout the entirety of the game and has completely outplayed the enfant terrible (Faf Du Plessis). It is easier when you have players also performing to their best as well. All the bowlers played their part as a complete unit in both innings.
The biggest plus was the return to form of Nathan Lyon whose career was threatened by his failure to take a wicket while over 400 runs were scored. How ironic as Steve O’Keefe would have surely replaced him in the team if he had not been injured.
New batsmen Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw both showed why they were selected. Handscomb played a handsome innings of 54 in the first innings while Renshaw occupied the crease something in the ilk of Chris Rogers. Nic Maddison failed in the first dig but should be given another chance in Brisbane. Mind you there is a lot of hot breath coming from behind him. Next in line Head, Pattinson and Nevill all made runs. Wade did not make runs and was competent enough behind the wickets without setting the world on fire.
Now a ridiculous interlude of 3 one-dayers and then a three test series against Pakistan. If the cricket is as good as we have seen then bring it on.