Australia v South Africa – Perth Test Day 4: At the WACA

Another glorious day at the WACA.  This is possibly the last Test match that will be played at what is regarded as the most challenging of grounds in the world.

South Africa, ever mindful of the absence of Steyn, will bat as long as they can today to build up an impenetrable lead. De Kock and Philander withstand a fiery opening from Starc and Hazlewood.

Siddle and Lyon come in to the attack and both batsmen go on the attack. The introduction of Lyon early in the day was in complete reverse to yesterday when he did not bowl until after lunch. Steve Smith certainly has deserved all the brickbats that have come his way for not bowling him (Lyon). His explanation at the press conference after play left everyone gobsmacked.

Full credit to Philander and De Kock who are playing attractive cricket.  The only concern is with Philander who has been out there for a long time and then will have to bowl extended stints because of the absence of Dale Steyn. An interesting dilemma. The 100 run partnership is fast approaching.  It does and another splendid partnership for the Proteas.

Match winning partnership, this time 116.  Australia will want to clean up the tail quickly. It is not happening as Maharaj joins Philander.  The score is quickly moving towards a 500 unbeatable lead.

With five minutes before lunch the lead reaches 500 and it looks like the visitor are going to continue after the lunch break.  They really are grinding the Aussies into the ground.

The morning belongs to South Africa again and they added 118 runs for the loss of Quentin De Kock’s wicket.  South Africa 7/508.

Put up the white flag! They continue after lunch and flog Lyon to all parts of the ground. Smith in frustration comes on himself and bowls Philander (73) and the Proteas finally declare 8/540 a lead of 538.  Siddle, Marsh and Hazlewood 2 each. Of significance Lyon 0/146.

Wonderful batting by the bottom half with Maharaj enjoying hitting the ball to all parts of the ground along with his partner Vernon Philander. Rod Marsh’s edict of wanting his tail to make runs would be noted.

As usual Warner starts out with 4, 4.  He is not going to be contained in this massive run chase. One thing for sure if you heard that “Warner’s at bat” and you were close to the ground you would have to rush there to see the Master of Excalibur in action.

Well, well with the score on 52 the Master fell foul of his own aggression. Warner (35) pushed the ball out to short cover and took off for a single. Temba Bavuma swept like a cat at the ball and in a manner of seconds and horizontal in mid-air he knocked the stumps down and South Africa’s biggest danger was out. It was magnificent to say the least. Bavuma will be the crowd favourite for the remaining two tests. He has that special aura about him and even a “little Viv swagger”.

It wasn’t over yet and Shaun Marsh (15) hung his bat out from a Rabada ball and De Kock made no mistake.  Australia 2/52 and still a long way to go.

Khawaja survived early with a DRS review. He knew his career was probably at the cross roads and turned his back on the big screen. To his credit he did not stop his stroke play and showed the deficiencies in the SA attack by smotting a couple of sixes in his 58 not out at stumps. It has been the sort of innings he has needed to consolidate the number three position.

Steve Smith battled hard but he is not the player that we have seen in recent years. Word out there suggests that the captaincy is getting to him and perhaps he needs a change.  He reached 34 before another Rabada delivery saw him tickle to the keeper. Australia 3/144.

Adam Voges did his position in the team a lot of harm when he did likewise with his score on 1. His remarkable Test average has dropped significantly in recent encounters.  Australia are now 4/146 and in big trouble.

With Mitch Marsh coming to the wicket the importance of his future as a Test regular will be sorely tested. This is his biggest test so far and to succeed here in this innings would consolidate his position. He certainly bowled well in South Africa’s second innings. A big score is what is needed not a grafted 30 or 40.

The two batsmen see their way through to stumps but will need to continue this approach tomorrow to save the game.  It seems highly unlikely.

Rabada was the best of the bowlers with 3/49 while Philander probably needed a rest after his fine batting display. A night’s rest will do wonders for he will be needed tomorrow.

 

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About Bob Utber

At 75 years of age, 'Citrus Bob' Utber is doing what he wanted to do as a 14-year old: writing, talking and watching sport. How good is that!?! He lives in Mildura with his wife and 'furry kids'; a labradoodle "Freddy Flintoff" and a groodle named "Chloe on Flinders".

Comments

  1. Warner is a fabulous player and I’d barely change a thing about him. But he exposes the middle order, all the time. Even when he gets runs. He scores so quickly that even when he nails a ton, it’s probably off 110 balls.

    3,4,5,6 are coming in at 20-40 overs all the time, when the opposition are still fresh and the ball is still newish.

    Dean Elgar’s innings was an example of what Australia is missing at the top of the order. 100 off 250 balls at opener. Ground our bowlers into the dust. Destroyed any hope of momentum for the Australians and set the Protea middle and lower order up to finish us off.

    I think Faf du Plessis’ timing of the declaration was good tactics too. It’s a statement for the series. Your bowlers cannot knock us over in the third innings. We’re going to make you bowl 160 overs and you’re going to be knackered and second guessing yourselves going to Tasmania. In the meantime our list get quality time in the middle allaying any fears of your attack.

    Massive day for Khawaja, Marsh and Nevill.

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