Australia v South Africa – Perth Test Day 4: Where’s the moustache?

Having set aside a fair few hours in front of the telly and meticulously planned my movements – albeit limited movements, having batting for four hours the previous day – I was rather annoyed when I glanced at the clock to find that it was quarter to two and there were no constant ads for Oled 4D televisions invading my ears.

 

I was even more annoyed when Channel 9 cut back to the cricket and the Australians were:

a) Wicketless for the day

b) Inspiring as much confidence as Hawthorn’s trade period

and

c) Providing a red carpet and armed escort for de Kock and Philander as they coasted toward a lead of over 500.

 

A pair of rebutted dismissals and a botched catch and things weren’t exactly going to the usual script when a team tours Australia. No tearaway quicks inspiring any sort of fear, no pressure in the field, no baying crowds, no extravagant moustaches, nothing. We’re in Movember, boys! Chuck the razor and get growing! Lift!

 

It was, and it pains me to say it, an un-Australian afternoon. Compared to the evening at the local clubrooms the previous night, where bullshit was spoken and many beers upturned, this lazy Sunday lacked a fair bit of Anzaciness. We needed a few drunken renditions of “Khe Sanh”, a zinc cream makeover and some hairy-eyebrowed and onion-munching politicians to get things going, but what we got was nada.

 

Poor old Nikhil and Sanjay over on Cricinfo had a long day ahead of them. They wouldn’t be alone by the looks of things.

 

The all of a sudden old mate Kockster had one sit up off the rapidly deteriorating pitch and bunted it to a grateful Adam Voges. Mitch Marsh was pretty happy too – although I suspect he may have failed Rod Marsh’s batting test and won’t have to leave WA tomorrow night.

 

So Vernon Philander was joined by a debutant at the crease and with no declaration in sight, the Aussies should’ve been off the ground in no time, followed by the mandatory middle-order collapse of course. But no, young Keshav Maharaj, who not only possess the best name in the side (with apologies to Kagiso Rabada) was evidently adept with the willow, whacking a few majors and showing Gaz Lyon up in the best way possible.

 

Dad wasn’t happy with Gazza – after taking 2 for 40 in the fourths the previous day, he was adamant that all the offie had to do was come around the wicket. He did –for four balls – and didn’t get whacked, even appealing half-heartedly for an LBW! The old man threw his arms in the air.

 

“What did I tell you?”

 

Gaz changed his angle after lunch and was belted by Maharaj for consecutive sixes. The panther of G Grade began to grumble.

 

It took a nude ball from accomplished leggie Steve Smith to remove Philander for 73 – softening the hulking South African with a beautiful long-hop the previous over had evidently paid off.

 

A solid 539 to chase down then. Shouldn’t be too hard lads.

 

Davey Warner played exactly like you need to with five sessions to bat and an impossible score to reach: he tried to make it possible. Crashing fours through cover and point, Davey was looking either irresistible or very stupid. The latter reared its ugly head as Temba Bavuma moved like a five-foot-four superman and ran out Warner with a brilliant direct hit. In, with thanks to Cricinfo, 0.264 seconds.

 

Shaun Marsh nicked a wider one and Australia looked destined for another middle order brain-death. But Uzzie and Cap’n Smit held up the South Africans pretty well, going at a very un-Warner pace. They can’t have been going so well though – Faf du Plessis gave opening bat Stephen Cook a roll of the arm after tea.

 

Just quietly, why can’t the Aussies have some decent first names? Sure, there’s a Moises ready to replace Mitch Marsh but that’s about it. These South Africans have some beauties in Kagiso, Temba and Keshav. We have a few Mitches, a David, a Steve and a pair of Peters.

 

Can they lend us one? I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.

 

The two New South Welshman batted the Aussies well into the final session, despite my rock-bottom expectations. At drinks the pair had put on a solid 82 and, while a win would require a functioning TARDIS, the Australians looked at least a little comfortable. But even bet365 had moved on and was now showing, of all things, Darwin horse racing on Cricinfo.

 

And just as I’d settled in for the final eight overs for the day, Steve Smith nicked off and was caught behind off Rabada. [And then Voges – Ed]

 

I’d had enough. Time for Mitch Johnson on YouTube.

 

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