Second Test – Day 1: Run feast

Second Test, Day 1

Morning Session

The Adelaide toss is the best to win in Australia and Clarke has no hesitation batting under a typically warm sun, on a typically flat, white pitch, in a flat, white city.

Steyn and Morkel are too wide and short early, so Warner, doing his best Bruce Laird with a ginger contribution to Movember, cuts and drives freely to the close square boundaries. The run rate is quickly over four and Australia prepares to make hay.

In an attempt to stop the flow, Smith brings Kallis on. The veteran yeah yeah all-rounder does what his younger teammates can’t – pitch it up. He makes Cowan look like a workman trying to control a jackhammer on the Adelaide Oval construction site when the opener spoons back a yorker. Shortly after, Kallis bowls fellow yeah yeah Ponting with a perfect swinging yorker, causing the former Australian captain to do his best Matthew Mitchem. In between these dismissals, the penny drops for Morkel who has Quiney edging behind for a duck.

Suddenly, Australia is 3-55 and shaky.

In an attempt to press home an unexpected advantage, South Africa attacks Clarke’s blond hair and cartoons with short bowling. Morkel digs in with a barrage delivered wide of the crease.

Despite looking a bit ruffled Clarke survives, while Warner moves quickly to 50, most of which comes in boundaries.

Kallis limps off just before lunch with a leg injury, lifting the pressure off the Australians. He appears gone for the match (it’s later revealed he will bat but not bowl in this Test – like Watson wanted to), compounding South Africa’s injury problems with Philander out with a back and Duminy, a torn achilles.

Warner and Clarke carry on to Lunch, however, any bowling side that claims three wickets in the first session in Adelaide takes the honours.

Australia
3/102

Afternoon session

Warner and Clarke give the impression they have somewhere else to be – perhaps the casino across the river – and plunder after the restart. Without Kallis and with limited contribution from Steyn, who also appears to be carrying a few niggles, South Africa cannot stop the scoring. Tahir’s low, flat leggies remind of cousin’s Moose’s garbage on the beach at Warrnambool when we were kids. And they go the same way.

Warner’s hundred takes only 93 balls and he looks set for a Bradmanesque 300 in a day. But the roulette table is calling and he throws it away, caught by Smith off Morkel. If ever a century is a wasted opportunity this is it. Warner should have batted until the cows came home.

Huss, whose love for his chosen sport is so obvious, every time he bats he looks as if he’s in the backyard at mum’s at Christmas, joins Clarke and they carry on from where they left off in Brisbane. Clarke brings up his century before Tea, maintaining his 2012 average.

Australia
4-280

It appears cousin Moose has been brought on after Tea as Clarke and Huss proceed to smash the bowling to all parts of the construction site, causing a stop work declaration and march on parliament house (the Hells Angles will be present tomorrow, apparently).

As in the first Test, South Africa appears powerless to dry things up and Smith looks out of ideas. Tahir goes for 7 an over, Morkel 6. I could get runs out there.

Clarke brings up his 200, including 35 boundaries and a six, making him the first Australian to score four double tons in a calendar year, while Huss destroys a few of mum’s rose bushes on his way to 100.

Huss is dismissed on Stumps and he and Clarke depart to a rousing ovation from the members, some of whom have managed to drag themselves away from the bar.

It’s been a run feast.

Australia
5/482
Clarke 224*

Talking Points

1. Clarke is our best batsman and must move to number 3. Khawaja and an unfit and under prepared Marsh were sacrificed last summer in order to protect the captain lower down the order and it appears Quiney’s first crack at a Test career is headed the same way. The Ashes is around the corner and we need to shore up our top order or regularly be 3 for at Lunch in England.
2. A tough decision should have been made on Ponting a year ago. Selectors went conservative and chose him over Khawaja. This was short sighted. They have backed themselves into a corner and may need to take Ponting to England because a younger player has not been given the time to establish himself in the team.
3. South Africa’s injuries may cost them this series. Their bowling stocks are dwindling and so far have proven ineffective against Australia’s batsmen.
4. The contribution from and injury to Kallis in the first session prove how important he is to SA. I’ve never understood the lack of respect for him as a player and if he is isn’t the best all-rounder in history, Sobers must have been bloody amazing.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    AS, I think Warner has a little more fire-power then Bruce Laird. Mind you, Lardy had to face much more formidable bowling.

    I’d leave Clarke where he is. Don’t fix your problems by mucking around with your strengths.

    Punter is being helped by the lack of young batsmen seriously putting their hand up. Quiney was a bit of a punt, just like anyone else would be at the moment. But I agree, they should take the punt and punt the Punter.

    BTW, could you hook me up for a net with cousin Moose? He sounds more like my speed these days.

    Cheers

  2. Punter is a long long way from England right now.
    He is also a long way from Boxing Day.
    It was the manner of his dismissal which will linger.

  3. Not sure if 3 is the best position for a strokemaker like Clarke but there is no way he should be batting at 5, move him up to 4 and give Ricky his gold watch. Clarke is similar to Greg Chappell and he was best at 4

  4. Andrew Starkie says:

    JB, Moose’s confidence was shattered years ago which led to mental disintegration and early retirement. He still has nightmares. I built a career on his garbage.

    Smokie, who will they take?

  5. AS,
    Can’t agree with Clarke at 3. He’s piling on the runs, let him play to his strengths. It’s the equivalent of moving Cyril Rioli into the middle when he’s at his most damaging in the forward line.

  6. Skip of Skipton says:

    AS, if it aint broke don’t fix it. Sooner or later Clarke will get stranded on 35 n.o. when the middle/lower order fail; but until such a time, dig it!…………………………..

  7. Clarke needs to move up the order whether its at 3 or 4. Our biggest problem is that there is no number 3. Ponting was brilliant at 3 but those days are gone. Quiney is an opener batting at 3, as was Marsh last season. If Watson comes back for mine he either opens or is at 6. Great Aussie number 3’s like Ian Chappell, Ponting and even Bradman were given time down the order before being promoted, unlike our recent trend of throwing debutants like Khwaja, Marsh and Quiney into the deep end.

  8. John Butler says:

    I’m not sure why Hussey never gets mentioned in this discussion. Played a long time as an opener, so the new ball shouldn’t really worry him. I know you could make the same argument for him as Clarke – leave well enough alone – but at least he’s established.

    Luke makes a good point about blooding young blokes down the order. Some will be right to move up later. Some won’t. Not everyone’s a number 3. Steve Waugh never really was, and it almost curtailed his career.

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