Australia v South Africa – Adelaide Test, Day 3: Debuts

Today we venture into bold, new territory, taking the lad to his first day of Test cricket. Catching the bus to Adelaide Oval is old hat for him but he is concerned about the maths: “So it starts at two and finishes at what time? Dad that’s like seven hours”.

We take up our seats in Row A, North Eastern side in the hope the proximity will keep the boys entertained. It does until the lad reveals, five overs in, that he can only see the tops of the players’ heads given the height of the fence. His 10 year old cousin has no such problems. Half an hour later they’ve lost the lad for the time being. Just as well uncle and grandfather brought their game enabled phones.

Session 1

Wicket – Khawaja – lbw.Philander 145 FOW 7-327

Khawaja and Starc see Australia through to a 68 run first innings lead before an up to that point disappointing Philander traps our Ussie LBW. As the last recognised batsman and with two reviews in hand, Khawaja reviews but walks off anyway to a highly appreciative members. Hard to believe he was recalled from being dropped at the start of this series.

50 – Starc

Starc has come into today with every intent to entertain. The lad even looked up as Mitch dispatched one into the crowd 30m away to be very competently caught by one of many not yet under the influence. However, the general lack of sixes is noted. Starc is one of the cleanest strikers of the ball you’ll see. Hopefully he sees that the rewards of sticking around last night is something he can aspire towards as a Test batsman.

Wicket – Starc – c&b.Rabada 53 FOW 8-357

Starc goes the first ball after drinks after a useful 30 run partnership with Hazlewood, taking the lead to 98. Good innings but no doubt a bit disappointing as Mitch was seeing it well enough to score another 47 runs, partners willing. The boys see themselves on the big screen and do dance moves I’ve only half heard of.

Wicket – Lyon – c.Amla b.Shamsi 13 FOW 9-370

Another confusing innings from Lyon who used to be a patient batsman. His 13 off eight balls makes out like he is in a hurry to have a bowl, repeatedly sweeping Shamsi until he top edges one which collects his shoulder and pops up to Amla who doesn’t stuff it up this time. Lead 111.

Wicket – Bird – c.du Plessis b.Rabada 6 FOW 10-383

Hazlewood and Bird take the Australian lead to 124 before Bird has a classic tailender dismissal nicking through. A 124 run lead is good and Australia would be happy with that. However, despite there being enough time for innings changeover and a few overs before tea, tea is taken early. Conditions of play sometimes deliberately avoid interesting cricket. The boys play bottle flip which is another thing I’ve barely heard of. It’s as annoying as anything else 8-10 year old boys do habitually.


Session 2

Wicket – Elgar – c.Smith b.Starc 0 FOW 1-1

Starc takes Elgar in the first over thanks to a very good Smith catch. The boys are for the short term interested in the sheer feeling of pace watching Starc bowl, side on.

Wicket – Amla – c.Wade b.Hazlewood 45 FOW 2-82

After a few false starts, Amla, to script, is taken by Hazlewood for a counter-punching 45. He and Cook had been doing a great job keeping Australia bowling at them in the hottest part of the day. Amla, bizarrely, reviews one that he should’ve felt as the review clearly shows. The match has been delicately poised for two and a half days now. A great advertisement for Test cricket.

Dinner – South Africa 2-100

Cook and Duminy assiduously bat their way to dinner, despite neither really seeming in form. Smith threw his bowlers around a bit in that session, even trying Lyon from both ends (not at once, mind). The long, comparatively hot middle session has also taken its toll on the crowd as things start to get rowdy. The boys get ice cream.


Session 3

Starts with two rarities: David Warner bowls the first over with medium pace (as it becomes clear to allow Lyon to switch ends again) and there is a pitch invader. Although given it is one person it is hardly an invasion – more a pitch trespasser.

Anyway, said chap, wearing only an animal print loin cloth, runs on from the vicinity of the hill and is crash tackled by security guards before he makes it to the pitch. He struggles all the way off the ground and is eventually carried off by his limbs. At least he got some value for money for his $5,000. The boys copped an eyeful from below the loin cloth, too.

50 – Cook

Rarely attractive but highly effective (pretty much describing South Africa’s tour) – Cook gets his 50. I still have reservations about his footwork but it’s hard to argue with the scoreboard at the moment. South Africa run down Australia’s first innings lead with eight wickets in the shed (why do we keep wickets in sheds? Might explain Matthew Wade).

Wicket – Duminy – b.Lyon 26 FOW 3-131

The zing bails finally flash in the twilight (much like the trespasser) as Lyon takes Duminy’s off stump with a lovely off break. Reward for consistent pressure. The lad’s interest is starting to return to proceedings as the slightly more serious boos ring out across the oval. Who would’ve thought that demanding fealty from opposition cricket fans would not be well received?

Wicket – du Plessis – c.Handscomb b.Starc 12 FOW 4-154

Nature calls and as I am away from view there is a loud cheer followed by a smaller boo. After the penny is spent it also drops – ohhh, that was Faf getting out. Replays show a very good catch from Hanscomb – with a couple of exceptions, Australia’s fielding has significantly improved this test.

We have Faf to thank for reconnecting Australia’s fans with its team. What we were missing all along was a good villain. A successful, unrepentant ball tamperer (say what you like about mints but rubbing the ball against your zipper is unequivocally tampering and likely to get you arrested on public transport to boot) who has a crack at the home crowd. Exactly what is needed to change our perception of the Australian team from pampered underperformers to battlers against the evil.

Wicket – Bavuma – c.Smith b.Lyon 21 FOW 5-190

Given the circumstances of the game and the evening, Lyon is looking increasingly dangerous and after an entertaining duel with Starc, Bavuma runs one up the face of his bat, glove and arm to Smith at slip. Again another odd review (even if it reminds of the Lyon review that turned the Test in Australia’s favour a year ago). It shows the ball clearly hitting bat and glove – again, surely Bavuma felt that so why did he review?

Now just a few overs to go. Despite the members streaming out (?) the crowd (and boys) are now fully engaged. Well, those not being escorted out by security. Saturday night is undoubtedly the rowdiest, despite Smokie’s crew having left the state that morning.

Wicket – Abbott – lbw.Lyon 0 FOW 6-194

In what turns out to be the last over of the night, Lyon raps nightwatchman Abbott’s pads and the umpire salutes. Potentially reviewable but, oh, that’s right, South Africa reviewed two caught dismissals that they actually hit. Lyon finally gets reasonable reward for effort and Smith finally rewards him with two fielders under de Kock’s nose for the last three balls of the day – he survives… just.

Smith’s fields have been insufficiently attacking for most of the last session when Australia was on top. It’s not just about signalling intent to the opposition and taking wickets, it’s about backing your bowlers in. Lyon needs consistency of esteem from his skipper and the respect that a bowler that just passed Grimmett deserves.

Stumps – South Africa 6-194


A suitably intriguing finish to what has been three great days of Test cricket. Another mid 30,000s crowd taking Adelaide’s three day total to over 100,000 (during school, work and harvest time, mind – Sydney can’t manage that in the middle of school/public holidays yet wants two tests a year). In keeping with the vibe of the day, on the way out Russell Ebert appears to be available to help raise a barn.

Ebert hat

The lad asks to write on the ipad on the bus on the way home. A debut Almanac piece I wonder. Well, not quite.


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About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. It was an excellent game of cricket, Dave.

    Wonderful to catch up prior to play on Day 2.

    Hope to put together a few words if time permits.

  2. Dave very good point re South Africa’s reviews just bizarre and re the timing of the test so ironic in that the test just like Crows games attract bumper crowds and the reward is a stinker re programmmg again not good enough

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Love the zipper line.

    What a special moment it is to take your son to his first day of Test cricket. Look forward to taking my boys to their second day of Test cricket at this year’s Melbourne Test.

    Adelaide crowds are amazing. Imagine how they’d pack out the Adelaide Oval for a Day/Night Australia Day Test…

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