Australia v South Africa – Adelaide Test, Day 1: Absorbing Cricket

.South Africa v Australia DAY 1

A beautiful day in glorious Adelaide. Minty Du Plessis wins the toss and bats.  That’s a plus for South Africa in their first ever Pinky Test.

It takes some time before we know who is fielding where with five changes to the team. SA made one change with leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi coming in for Keshau Maharaj.

Starc and Hazlewood are becoming pretty lethal as an opening pair and they are continually beating the bat.

Starc has Cook (4) plumb in front but it is a no-ball. Australia again have over-stepped the line.  Not bad luck, bad cricket. Elgar (5) is the first realistic wicket when Starc moves one away for Khawaja to take it safely at third slip. 1/12.  It is an uncomfortable start from the Proteas.

Hashim Amla (5) is taken by new boy Renshaw at slip. South Africa 2/36 and the South African great continues his poor form. Hazlewood deserved his success as he had bowled well.

Drinks gets another wicket (how many this series after a break?) as Duminy (5) gets an inside edge and Wade gobbles it up 3/44. All through this Cook prods and pokes but he stays.

Who wins the first session is anybody’s question?  At 3/89 South Africa have done well against the pink ball but the home side would have been pleased to have taken 3 wickets.  Cook’s antics have seen him with 40 while The Minty is on 26.

Lunch time at the oval is usually a special time.  But is it lunch time?  It’s 4pm and I walked out the back to The Village Green and as usual there was a huge crowd there.  Prices for food and beverage have not spiralled despite The Donald being nearly in charge.


It has happened again Cook does not add to his 40 and is beautifully taken by Smith at second slip. 4/93.  Steve Smith would have to be one of the safest sippers in the business and he even looks happy.  Has he at last got “his” team and is he a contented man?

This has been Bird’s best spell and he finally gets Bavuma (8)  and at 5/117 Australia are on top. You could say that this was Lyon’s wicket as he had Bavuma in all sorts of trouble.

Now the time has come for the Australians. Du Plessis and De Kock out there together they must get one of these guys quickly.

De Kock is all out to hit Lyon out of the attack and twice he could have got himself out.  This is a far different wicket to the WACA and Bellerive and Lyon, at last, has returned to his masterly best without taking a wicket.

Have been spending my spare time picking the best XI for Australia since World War II of players who have never worn the baggy green cap.

At 5.50pm CST I have the following :- Sid Carroll (NSW), David Hussey (Vic), Jamie Siddons (SA/Vic), Ian McLachlan (SA), Jack Potter (Vic), Darren Berry (SA/Vic) [Add your suggestions as a comment – Ed]

De Kock (24) goes, not to Lyon but to Hazlewood. Another nick behind the wicket for Wade to take his third catch.  South Africa 6/149.

4 for Wade as Philander (4) “snickos” another one from Hazlewood who has now taken 4/35 A fine performance from him. Smith deserves some credit as he has used Hazelwood in short spells.

Australia are now right on top as South Africa go to 7/161.  Since the first break South Africa have lost 4/72.

Who will be my fast bowlers?  That is a real problem. Ahh! Nearly every fast bowler in the kingdom played at least one Test match.  I would put John Grant (Vic) in my team. If ever there was a team player Grant was it. He opened the bowling for his state as well as being an aggressive no 7.  He certainly would have been in the Test team now.

So, that makes seven players I have selected.

Spinners where a bit like fast bowlers. Cecil Pepper (NSW) is a certainty in any side. Interference by DGB probably cost him a Test place.  Jack Walsh (NSW) should be there as well, that gives us our slowies.

Bird continues to bowl a good line and he gets Abbott (17) and he was a good foil for his captain in a fifty four run partnership. 8/215.

With a query, still on what is a good score for Pinky Games this partnership could be a match-winner.

Du Plessis reaches his century to a mixed reception by the crowd.  Poor form supporters (if you are that). It has been a splendid innings by the stand-in skipper who must have a love affair with the Adelaide Oval given his occupation of the crease in his last two innings. Poor sportsmanship indeed.

Nathan Lyon gets a wicket at last! Rabada (1) over balances and is well stumped by Wade (his 5th wicket upon return).  Lyon must have gone for well over 300 runs without taking a wicket (make that 407 from 100 overs).

An interesting period of play at the moment as South African would like to get out and Australia are probably not interested in batting. However, Shamsi is proving a frustrating number 11 and has swiped his way to 15 and another handy partnership for the last wicket

Du Plessis declares! A bold move but one that gives his quicks a short spell at the Australian openers. South Africa 9 dec 259.  Du Plessis 118 and Shamsi 18.

Josh Hazlewood was the best of the bowlers with 4/68, Starc 2/78, Bird 2/57 and Lyon 1/45.

Sensation! Warner can’t open because he was of the field when Du Plessis declared. Queensland opening with Khawaja and new chum Matthew Renshaw.  A smart move by Du Plessis who has had an interesting week and has he loved it.

Australia are watchful and after 4 overs the only run has come from a no ball from the first ball of the innings. After six overs, still no runs from the bat.

A big cheer as Khawaja gets the first run of the bat and next ball  Renshaw scores his first run for Australia. A four down to fine leg and then another through mid-wicket. Well done young man and he has an enthralled crowd cheering him on.

Australia survives!  Khawaja (3) and Renshaw (8) and the score 0/14 of 12 overs.  A huge cheer from the crowd who have stayed right to the last ball to see the local boys fight it out.

Another absorbing six hours of Test cricket and the crowd of 32,255 really got their money’s worth.

On looking back on the play South Africa are slightly ahead but this is more like an Australian team.

Which reminds me I still have to pick two more bowlers for my team. Any takers?



Check out The Doggies Almanac – available now.



About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Evenly poised after the first day, wouldn’t you say Citrus? And a day structured by lawyers. Don’t ask me how it works, Charged with changing the nature of the ball, Captain Ju Jube gets off with a fine that would have been covered by his teammates each contributing 10% of their match fees or the 2nd Test, and is able to lead his team into the fray for the 3rd.

    Then his oh-too-clever ploy of declaring with Warner off the field backfires when he has the rush-of-blood Australian vice-captain sitting out the crucial opening spell. Seething and waiting his turn to extract revenge. Khawaja & Renshaw dig in and we could be seeing the dawning of a Baggy Green Renaissance. Just maybe.

  2. John Butler says

    Love your work Bob.

    Only saw the last 2 sessions. Looks like the ball swung more early than it did at night. A result of the cold night, or the new version of the pinky ball? Time will tell.

    Wade’s stumping off Lyon was a significant moment for both. This is a relationship in need of repair.

    Have to disagree with the Wrap re Warner. What was he doing leaving the ground when SA are 9 down? It invited Faf’s response, and indicates poor organisation in the Aussie dressing room.

    Under the circumstances, Khawaja and Renshaw deserve a big tick. It would have been easy to be rattled. Renshaw knows where his off stump is. That’s an important start for any opener.

    Hopefully a fascinating day 2.

  3. Having the wild-swinging Warner down at first or second drop is long overdue JB. Even down at #5. He’s not a test opener. ODI, sure, but not facing the new ball.

  4. Good one Bob.

    Another theory is that DA Warner knew exactly what he was doing in leaving the field with RSA 9 down. Who would want to bat in those evening conditions, when the alternative is to come out in full sun, rested, the next day?

    Interesting to hear SK Warne advocating that U Khawaja feign injury this morning, such that he can retire hurt, thereby giving Day 2’s opening duties back to DA Warner. Where is the boundary between gamesmanship and the ethical desert?

    Noticeably, MS Wade made his presence felt via the effects mic.

  5. Is that so Swamp Gum? In which case I take back what I said about SK being our next national coach. How Warner came to forfeit the opener’s position is irrelevant in one sense. This pair stood up when Australia needed someone to stand up. And that’s the end of it. Warnie, get back to your phone; there might be a text or two that will occupy your mind for a bit.

    Moreover, if the theory is true – that Warner took himself off the field to avoid the new ball in trying conditions – then we might have solved pat of the problem in the Australian dressing room.

    Or did The Boofer call him off?

  6. Wrap, it may work out in the end, but I doubt it was due to any real plan.

    But you do wonder what goes on. If your opener left the ground in a club game with the opposition 9 down he’d be told to turn around pronto. Was Lehmann in the toilet when it happened?

  7. Peter Warrington says

    Steve Bernard for one quick slot. Someone who faced him confirmed my view that he cracked fingers more than anyone else. Ian Brayshaw a chance at 8? David Hourn for variety (should have gone to the Windies in 78.)

    Now… why was Lyon bowling 92-95km/h most balls? is it deliberate, practice for Indian pitches or something?

Leave a Comment