Australia v South Africa – Perth Test: Day One at the WACA



It is not often that I start the day thoroughly confused but today I was.


Fronted up to the accreditation centre at 8am to be confronted by the face of the great Craig Bellamy on my card. Now I know my status is growing each year but come on Cricket Australia; how could you confuse me with the man I believe is the greatest sporting coach in Australia?


I am honoured.


Looking out from the Press Box one can see the new face of sport in the west. The stadium will be ready for major sport by 2018 and the Ashes 2017/18. From this distance it looks like a boutique stadium that can cater for about 35,000.


Never observed the WACA with this in mind but it really is antiquated. First played on in 1894 there has only been hotchpotch development.  There are seven different types of architectural designs around the ground. The infrastructure is well weathered; perhaps the best parts are the grassy knolls on either side. Time for a change but leave the grassy knolls.


For a Thursday the opening session has been well attended, with an attendance of around 10,000. It is a beautiful day and one that surely would attract the devotees of Test cricket to the ground. With all the negativity around it is good to see and they are enjoying a close contest.


South Africa won the toss and chose to bat.  A strange decision when you consider that the locals have been down and out for the last 18 months. I would have put them in given the uncertainly of the Australians’ mind set.


Any negative mindset that the Australians had was put to rest within four overs when Starc and then Hazlewood had the scalps of Cook and Amla with neither player troubling the scorers. At 2/5 Australia had taken the initiative away within 15 minutes of the start of play.


Duminy and Elgar consolidate for a few overs but Hazlewood gets one to move slightly and Elgar (12) nicks through to Nevill.  At 3/20 South Africa are in big trouble and it will need some fine batting from Du Plessis and JP.


They get in to more trouble when Duminy (11) is given out caught behind, calls for a review, waits for at least 5 minutes and is given out. 4/32 and Pete Siddle despite Warrington’s objection has taken a wicket on his return to the game.


New player to Australia, Temba Bavuma, is about the same stature as Sachin Tendulkar and is very ordered in his play. He is the first African coloured player to make a century in Test cricket.


To the Africans’ credit they are taking every single when it is offered.  They need to get back in the game.


At lunch the visitors have moved to 4/78 but Australia have won the session with some very fine bowling from their fast brigade.


Australia came out after lunch full of fire and brimstone with Starc and Siddle bowling with superb control. It paid off when Voges  safely took Du Plessis (37) from a great ball from Starc – South Africa 5/81.  He doesn’t last much longer when Shaun Marsh brilliantly catches him at short backward leg of Lyon  from a tickle.  South Africa 6/152.


The shortest batsman playing at Test level had saved his side from total embarrassment  and looks set for a good series if this innings is any indication. Well played Temba Bavuna (51).


Smith is in two minds with his attack and it is paying dividends.  Attacking the lower order and bowling defensively against De Kock.  As he well knows, De Kock can tear you apart and he has the bowlers clearly bowling to a predetermined plan.


After being reprieved at 47 by DRS he reaches his fifty with a delightful hook from Starc. He played some scintilating shots entwined with some shocking swishes.


Just when it looked like SA was getting back into the match Philander (10) decided to pull at Starc only to see the ball hit his wicket when the shot was mistimed.  South Africa 7/171 and Starc despite his injury has 3/42.


A timely wicket for Australia at the tea break.  The bowlers have all done their job for the captain and he would be well pleased.


New batsman Maharaj joined De Kock and they threw caution to the wind and added 48 before Maharaj (16) played one big shot too many off Lyon for Warner to take a safe catch. 8/223.


The Australian fielding had been much better today and even though two difficult catches were dropped it was a new look Australia today.  The much maligned mob had become an aggressive unit.


De Kock (84) tried to hit Hazlewood out of the ground and mistimed a shot that would certainly earn a stern word from the captain.  9/227.


Dale Steyn (4) got a work out from the fasties and finally fell to Starc clean bowled.  South Africa 242 all out.  The tail had played their part and the last three wickets added 71 runs which could prove very helpful in the final analysis. Rabada remained 11 not out.


Mitchell Starc showed why he is the Aussie’s number one bowler with 4/71 in a fine performance which started in the first over of the day. Hazlewood (3), Lyon (2) and Siddle (1) all played their parts.


With 24 overs still to go in today’s play South Africa have the chance to redress their wrongs.


Warner soon puts paid to South Africa when he starts of in superb style with 4 fours in his first five scoring shots. At the other end Shaun Marsh was getting a severe workout from Steyn.


Philander gets a beauty past Warner (17) and is plumb! Warner calls for DRS. It’s a NO BALL! By the end of the day South Africa will rue Vernon Philander’s left foot.


Marsh finally gets off the mark and then Warner takes to Steyn even if a couple of the shots where edgy.


Warner’s display is superb and he plays all sorts of shots around the ground but mainly square of the wicket. His 50 comes up from 39 deliveries. South Africa is non-plussed.


Marsh settles down and the Australians get right on top of the South African attack.  They will be looking to consolidate further by the end of the day’s play.


They do consolidate with some formidable batting and at stumps they are 0/103 with Warner 73 and Shaun Marsh 29.


The highlights of the day included.

  • Mitch Marsh’s catch to dismiss Cook off the fourth ball of the day when he flew high to his left to drag in a beauty
  • Mitch Starc’s bowling which showed why he is one of the most feared bowlers in the world today.
  • Quentin De Kock continues to bloom as a young batsman on his way up. A fine 84
  • David Warner’s not out 73 where he bludgeoned the ball all around the ground. This innings has taken his average past 100 at the WACA
  • Tendu Bavuma is a player who will delight Australian supporters this season. He plays straight and his timing is outstanding
  • The Australian fielding – much improved (not that it could have got much worse)
  • The crowd. Very good indeed for a Thursday first day – 12382.  Tesst cricket is still alive


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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".


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Bewdy Bob, just like being there.

  2. The rule where South Africa called for the review re Warner and it is shown that Aleen Dar is incorrect but then they loose one of there reviews for the innings as it was a no balk has to be the most idiotic rule in the game thanks Citrus Bob

  3. E.regnans says:

    Terrific, Bob.
    A wonderful addition to your burgeoning portfolio.

    Craig Bellamy(!)
    I didn’t see much, but I did see S Marsh hopping around and talking quite a lot to himself.

    Love the positive news of crowd, atmosphere and vibe.

    Rulebook – rules around this decision review world are pretty unclear, which is a problem in itself.
    But my understanding of the Decision Review System is:
    Step 1. The third umpire checks that the delivery was a fair delivery.
    If NOT a fair delivery, then a no ball is called and the review is not lost.
    Step 2. The third umpire checks for evidence of dismissal.
    => I think S Africa’s review yesterday on D Warner that ended up showing V Philander over-stepped, is NOT a lost review.
    But it is murky.
    And not helpful, I think. If the field umpire (Aleem Dar) had given Warner out, and Warner had not reviewed it, then he would have walked on a no ball.
    That’s fine. But it’s inconsistent.
    I think the review system should be used to adjudicate only on the doubt that the umpire/ players had. In this case – was Warner struck LBW or not? Leave the overstepping to the field umpire, who either gets it right or doesn’t.

  4. Mark Duffett says:

    Lovely report, I second Swish’s comment. But Bavuma the first African coloured player to make a century in Test cricket? Basil D’Oliveira might have something to say about that, if he could.

  5. Yes I was perplexed re the review loss

    Siddle was as Siddle is. Ok.

    I thought we bowled a heaps better length and that was the difference. Marsh looked. C-grader but now gets the chance to cash in.

    Their new spinner looks like he might get some nice shape. Will bowl a lot.

    Agree I would have sent us in.

  6. Dave Brown says:

    Good start to the summer, Bob. Yes, my understanding is the same ER’s. South Africa did not lose a review as only the fairness of the ball ended up being reviewed. It’s specifically covered in 3.5(c) of the current standard test match playing conditions for the use of DRS. As for the 3rd umpires use in calling no balls – the ICC is moving towards them reviewing every ball in the time it takes between balls. I’m cool with that – let the on field umpires focus on everything else.

    Think de Kock will score a lot of runs this series – Australia looks satisfied to attempt to contain him. Warner would love to pop the WACA in his back pocket and take it around the world with him. Now averaging over 100 in his fifth test at the ground. Great to see a quick pitch and lightning fast outfield. It changes the way bowlers bowl both in offensive and defensive respects.

  7. Citrus Bob says:

    Mark – to clarify the comment re Bavura He is the first coloured player to score a century while playing for South Africa. Yes, Basil should have and would have if he had been picked for the Springboks.
    YES – the DRS is so complex.

  8. Pretty sure Ashwell Prince made a few tons for the Boks

  9. Citrus Bob says:

    Clarification Jimbo
    According to my Africaan spies Ashwell Prince was a cape coloured along with Basil Doliviera.
    Temba Bavuma is a Xhosa man. In other words he is the first indigenous player to make a century for South Africa.

  10. I went from the abc radio commentators they apologised for there mistake today just so disgusted in Smith’s lb today as poor a decision as I can remember tha

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