Australia v South Africa: Perth Test Day 2 – Test Cricket is Alive and Well

Came in early to listen to James Sutherland add to the NSW Coroner’s report on the death of Phillip Hughes. Difficult time for the CEO but he handled the job with sincerity.

Can‘t say the same for the Television crew who went straight from the Inquest results to Sutherland’s “movember”. They certainly lacked sensitivity at that moment. Axes to them.
Walked across to the nets to watch Australia warm up. Credit to the grounds people for their wonderful work with the roses that make up the walk way to the nets. For one moment I thought I was back at Flemington. Makes it a pleasure to wander around a ground with ecroutements such as this.

The day is again gorgeous and the Australians will be keen to consolidate their position and put the game beyond the visitors by the end of Day 2.
Steyn and Philander open the bowling and where accurate but not able to penetrate the batsmen. It is going to be a hard day as the wicket was doing little.
Marsh, although beaten at times, is playing some delightful strokes and is growing in stature. Warner, lacking the strike is still looking ominous and a century is beckoning. His driving through the off is superb.
Marsh reaches his half century with a lovely shot through the covers. A workmanlike innings much like we saw from his father Geoff years ago
At last a wicket, as usual just after drinks. Warner (97) fends at one from Steyn and Amla juggles it at second slip. Australia 1/150.
Ussie reminds me of a ballet dancer. Not in stature but in the way he plays his shots. There is an elegance and seemingly a lack of effort as the ball speeds across the turf.
The first drama of the day occurs when Steyn reaches for his shoulder after a delivery to Khawaja. This is a big blow to the Proteas.
Kagiso Rabada steps up and bowls Khawaja (4) with a beauty that cuts back and leaves the batsman completely bewildered. Australia 2/167. Khawaja is again under pressure to hold his place in the team.
The second drama happens when Smith darts out of the blocks to Maharaj and is given out by the umpire leg before wicket. Smith goes for DRS but umpire Aleem Dar. Australia 3/168. A controversial decision if ever there was one but the rules are the rules. Rulebook this is one for you but it will be spoken about for some time in the annals of test cricket. A “gutsy decision” according to ABC commentator Simon Katich.
Through all this Shaun Marsh has remained resolute and played his role to perfection. No sooner said than Marsh (63) goes leg before wicket to Vernon Philander. Australia 4/181
South Africa have fought back magnificently after Steyn’s injury and have taken the points by lunch time with 3/14.
A slow start after lunch. Nothing to do with the game but the signage not being able to be moved. Good mileage for the company but not good for the game. A discussion between the two umpires and Faf Du Plessis further prolonged the slow start
The Proteas are in full bloom now the game and Philander gets Marsh (0) the younger LBW. Like Ussie Mitch is also under pressure to stay in the team. Australia 5/181

South Africa continue to dominate after lunch and have strangled the Australian scoring. Great bowling and the tide has turned in favour of the visitors. Australia have lost 6/98 today .
Voges (27) get a leading edge from Rabada and he takes a good return catch. Starc (0) follows quickly following a superb catch by the skipper of Maharaj (2/36). Australia 7/203 are in real trouble.
Welcome fellow knackers to Day 2 you will now be able to have a field day. M.Marsh’ Khawaja, Voges have all put their names up for you guys to rip into. Peter Nevill needs runs also to stay clear of the poison pens. Go you Victorian!
Cannot praise the bowlers enough. They have been right on the target and half way through day two they have taken 6 wickets for 105 runs. Without their key man Steyn they have performed magnificently.
With two Victorians at the wicket the Australian team still has a chance of taking the lead. The helmeted honey eater is safe in their hands.
This Australian team is a critic’s delight. They look brilliant and then very, very ordinary. Admittedly they have received some good balls in this game but their ability to capitulate at any given time is puzzling.
Is the team too complacent?
Nevill (23) is given out caught by Amla. Was he out, did he hit it? The majority of people are saying “no”. No more reviews – its OUT! Look at the scorebook. Maharaj has 3/51 and Australia are 8/232.
The wickets continue to fall when Hazelwood (4) gives Duminy fielding practice by steering Philander straight into his hands. Australia 9/242.
The innings concludes when Lyon (0) is well caught by Elgar from Philander. Australia have a lead of 2. All out 244 and the Aussies lost 10 wickets for 86 runs.
Vernon Philander finished with 4 wickets, Maharaj 3 on debut, Rabada 2 and Steyn 1 in a fine team bowling effort.
Cannot praise the visitors enough in what has been a sustained effort of outstanding cricket today.
Starc and Hazelwood go all out to resurrect the day for Australia with some accurate bowling but the pitch does not have the bounce it had yesterday. Cook and Elgar look comfortable, certainly far more than they did in the first dig. When I say Cook looks comfortable I mean he is more comfortable than he was in the first innings. He still is reaching too far for the ball on occasions.
It has started! Henriques, Stoinis, Burns, Handscomb, Sayers have all been mentioned in despatches as urgent replacements for the Test starting at Bellerive next week. Unless there is a huge collapse in the second innings I am sure the selectors will go with the same 12 in Tasmania.
The openers are not giving Australia any chances and are committed to keeping their wicket intact. With 38 degrees predicted for Saturday they will be keen to hold the fort for the remainder of the day and then commence the onslaught tomorrow. It is an intriguing position they are in.
Cook (12) tries a big shot of Siddle and is well caught by Shaun Marsh at mid wicket. SA 1/35. Siddle again proves his value to the team which seems to differ from the selectors who seem to favour the three flat out quicks. Think the last tour of England. With at least an hours play remaining the match is evenly poised with perhaps the Proteas having their nose in front.
The game swings again as Amla (1) gets a beauty from Hazelwood and SA are now 2/45. Hazelwood has the great Hashim Amla twice in this game for a total of one run. The big man will be looking forward to the remainder of the season.
His second spell has been excellent and he doesn’t give the batsmen many chances to score.
It has been an excellent last hour of cricket as both teams strive for an advantage. Australia to take wickets and South Africa to keep wickets intact. If Australia can get a wicket or two the game swings back in their favour. If South Africa does not lose a wicket then their chances of winning the game increase three-fold.
As the day draws to a close JP is looking better and Elgar is sound despite his lack of stroke making. Duminy’s stance is interesting as he looks square on to the bowlers but it is very uncomplicated and allows him to get in perfect position to drive which he does handsomely.
The war of attrition continues and the crowd watch on with anticipation. It has been yet another fine day of test cricket between two countries that do not give their opposition an inch of space. Absorbing game indeed.
At stumps South Africa 2/104 Elgar 40 n.o. Duminy 34 n.o
Test cricket is alive and well

10 Things I learnt from Day 2 at the WACA
• Shaun Marsh is safe for the next two matches in this series
• Keshav Maharaj and Kasigo Rabada both have very bright futures in international cricket
• Australia have still not got rid of the Colliwobbles
• The sandgropers are very keen supporters of the game and another good crowd turned out
• Dale Steyn is out for the remainder of the series.
• Mitch Marsh, Usman Khawaja and maybe Adam Voges will not sleep well tonight
• The Australian selectors will get little sleep as they ponder the team for Tasmania
• Faf Du Plessis will be pleased with his efforts as a captain tonight
• Both Freo and the Weagles are confident they will play in the finals next year.
• Sam Mitchell has been seen running along the Swan River each day of the cricket


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. Bob I don’t see how Nevill can hang on? Unlucky or not, he just doesn’t have the runs on the board? he’s got one small fifty in the last 10 tests. his strike rate is 40 so he’s not even counter-attacking. As Marsh is an 8, he is a 9.

    any takers for my Cam White for interim skipper push?

    I was happy for you when I stepped out of the school extravaganza and saw Pistol Pete had made the breakthrough. he’ll never be excused of dropping his bundle.

    now, to the Hughes inquest. I only read the excerpts on cricinfo and the SMH. It seemed from those the Coroner handled a terrible situation with clarity and empathy and dignity (have read too many of these for work for my liking.)

    [if anything the Channel 9 commentary has sunk to an even lower low, down in Tim Storms territory. I suspect it is desperation, they are after vaudeville as the “market” moves to other products.]

  2. John Butler says

    Bob, I don’t think the team is complacent. They’re just massively overrated. Reputations bloated by cheap runs on flat home decks, against attacks regularly missing key strike bowlers through injury. All of this gets brutally exposed when we leave our shores, but Channel Nine doesn’t telecast that.

    The worrying thing is that the Saffas have the younger team with much more potential.

    This game has the virtue of being close, but the actual standard of play has felt second rate.

  3. Citrus Bob the Smith decision highlights what is wrong with DRS and the comment made this morning he wasn’t far enough forward say what ! Cricket has got is so wrong that it does not take in to account that the ball only has to deviate a millimeter when that far down the deck to miss the stumps while I am all in favour of giving the bowlers more re more life in the wickets this was ridiculous and highlights a lack of common sense in the game as disgusted as I have ever been,Akeem Dar sadly has well and truly confirmed my thoughts re his ability in general during this test match so far.
    When we were at the top of our game we picked batsman,bowlers and a keeper not a player in Mitch Marsh who is a bit of both

  4. Great insights here Bob. I agree with what John Butler has said above too. And the Cam White for interim skipper idea suggested by Peter Warrington also has merit. Smith was installed too early, he’d just broke through really. He needed more time to develop as a player and as a young man. On form there’s no way CA would adopt this approach though. Pity.

  5. Citrus Bob says

    Pat – I said last year that Smith needed to attend some management course and I agree he was thrust in to a role when he clearly was not ready. Of course though, CA are more concerned about winning rather than making a “whole” person out of the captain
    The mindset of those in control is to make robots out of every player.

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