Australia v South Africa – Perth Test Day 3: Belief?

South Africa: 242 & 6/390. Australia: 244.

The truth is that this Test Match was handed to the visitors on a platter on the second day, when the hosts collapsed from 0/158 to 244 all out. It is as simple as that; despite a most commendable workman-like effort by Australia’s bowlers on day three, under a baking Perth sun. For Australia is now trailing by 388 runs, with still a couple of wickets to take before the run chase can commence. When it comes to Test cricket, history is rarely bunkum.

As the Australians trudged off the WACA after this long day of toil, I could not help but wonder if each one of them truly believed that they could still win this match. Without doubt, every one of these players possesses an enormous amount of belief in their own ability; it would have been impossible for them to have been selected in relevant junior, representative and/or state teams had they not believed in themselves as young men. I suspect that reaching the national team requires extraordinary amounts of faith and belief in one’s own ability.

Immediately following play did the players sit around the gear-littered change-room, sip Gatorade, and tell each other that they were “still in this”? Whilst lingering in the ice-baths afterwards, did they silently picture in their minds the heroics they firmly believed they could perform over the final two days? Did Shaun Marsh, or Peter Nevill, or Nathan Lyon, in a quiet moment of reflection with their respective partners later in the evening, say to their loved one “it is not over yet”? It is entirely possible.

Do they still believe? Or even more interestingly, when do they cease to believe? When the tenth and final Australian wicket falls? At what point does belief become delusion? Or, alternatively, realism?

Having been submitted to a day of playing the support act to South African double act Dean Elgar (127) and JP Duminy (141), do the Australians know in their hearts that the game is up? Did they congratulate each other on a battling effort in the field, but ruefully acknowledge the impossibility of pulling this one out of the fire on a wearing WACA wicket? Did the bowlers stew over the dreadful batting display of the middle order, a performance which rendered their first day heroics meaningless? Did those same bowlers steal a glance at the Sheffield Shield scores and muse a little about the team’s selection?

I could not help but ponder the times when I was playing cricket, and together with my team found myself in predicaments similar to the one in which Australia is in right now (and, sure, those times were many). Facing the impossible – and the inevitable – I never could kid myself with false bravado. It was not that I did not try, but often I did not possess the necessary belief; which is but one of the many reasons I never played for Australia.



About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    The Channel 9 commentary team went to great lengths to concoct scenarios whereby Australia could (would) win.

    I don’t share their belief.

  2. Thanks Smokie.
    There’s a fine line to walk between belief and delusion, isn’t there?
    Positive frame of mind so important – and a dash of pragmatism/ realism probably also important.

    Most successful people have tickets on themselves.
    But most of the people with tickets on themselves are not successful.

  3. John Butler says

    Smoke, I don’t think this has been about the Australians as much as it has been about the South Africans.

    They only lead by 80 runs when they lose Steyn. Look at what’s happened since. Good on them I say. The application of Elgar and Duminy was tremendous.

    Australia didn’t lack for effort yesterday, but Smith certainly lacked for tactical nous. Now they need to show the same application the Saffas have shown. Belief can be a product of achievement. Time to achieve something.

  4. Smokie deep down the Aussies no they are well and truly shot what I am sick and tites is hearing about pace.Sayers is the best line and length bowler in the country and moves the ball late what is it that troubled batsman the most,there are just so many theories,Sayers is left out of the SA 1 day team as he is not tall enough nor a all rounder just ludicrous( my interest in this game waned considerably at the lunacy of Smith’s decision also )

Leave a Comment