Golden moment concludes golden summer

This victory was nothing less than Australia deserved at the end of a golden summer in which the game of cricket rose to the dizzy heights of the Lillee and Warne eras. The captain and coach have both led brilliantly, and the star players shone when most needed.

It is important to set the scene with five overs to go at Newlands : we were as good as done. Pattinson’s tank was understandably empty, Watson couldn’t get his radar right and Lyon had been rendered irrelevant again when we needed him most.

Johnson was Herculean in his efforts, but even he seemed to have had the wind taken out of his sails by the reversed decision on Philander just as the last 15 overs were about to begin. And Harris’s one over with about 10 to go proved what we feared  –  he was a cripple and spent.

How he then produced that ball, first up in what seemed a desperate last throw of the dice by Clarke, sums up what makes Harris tick. He probably didn’t mean it to be yorker length, but that’s what did the trick for him. It looked to have missed off stump, but then we saw the bail drop off. It was remarkable.

Then came Boof’s instruction to go around the wicket and try to hit the stumps or pads of Morkel. It was what good coaches should do, but is rarely seen. It was indicative of a man who is comfortable in his job  –  and damn good at it.

Johnson and Harris have been a superb partnership all summer. They stand comparison to any of the past, not so much in terms of the figures that will show at the end of their association, but in the damage they have created for so many previously highly-rated batsmen from England and South Africa.

Virtually everyone has done their bit over the last five months, and like all good teams who are playing for each other, someone has stepped up when others may have been floundering a little.

Smith and Doolan are at very different stages of their careers, but the environment that has been created will be ideal for them to attempt to flourish in. And the likes of Watson, Lyon, Haddin and Rogers will be given the time and respect they deserve.

Clarke has every right to feel proud and satisfied. His leadership has risen to new heights, and he is tactically as good as anyone we’ve seen. His bowling changes and field placements  –  except at Port Elizabeth when he lost his focus  –  have been absolutely brilliant.

Cricket never stops, and within two weeks we have a world T20 trophy to play for and some talented young players like Maxwell, Faulkner and Finch to be watched. And for Mitch Johnson….thanks for the summer and have a little rest. But you are needed in Bangladesh soon !


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    B Mac a golden summer no doubt and spot on re Boof right from the moment he walked in to bat in a district GF as a 16 may be just 17 year old with Salisbury chasing 400 plus and in his calm no nonsense manner and astute cricket brain ( even then ) and got 80 odd no we all thought wow ! As natural communicator and no nonsense bloke he was always destined to be a leader . Ironic that the stupidity of him only playing 23 test matches may have given him the desire still now incompetent that he was lost from south aust cricket . No doubt that , Clarke has developed a tougher edge under his tutealage too . Still room for improvement and under these two no every possible effort to make sure this happens will occur ! Delighted for Rhino as well ( yet another SA blunder !) Thanks Brendan

  2. Spot on Harris rightly now No 2 rankled bowler in the world. What he has done in the last 12 months with an ailing body is remarkable. Heart of a warrior well done Saca for letting him go . Redbacks stupidity has been Australia’s gain.

  3. Totally agree, it was a summer to savour. Coming in to the Ashes series there were so many questions, so few answers. Haddin, Johnson, Harris, Warner, Watson, all posed questions in our minds re their reliability; for a diverse range of reasons. Well weren’t those questions answered! Fantastic performace by the Aussies, with the role of “Boof” being one of the keys to our Golden Summer.

    Mickey Arthurs, what do we say? What role did he play in preparing this team for our Golden Summer? Who will ever know, how much, if any credit, he should receive.



  4. It was a magnificent test Brendan. I happen to notice a couple of uncharacteristic sloppy miss fields by the Australians on the final day and then realised it put Duminy, the new batsman, facing. The Aussies determination to get those final day wickets was herculean, as was the South African batsmen doggedness to stay at the crease. Test cricket at it’s finest.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Brendan do you think players had set themselves for the program or it is just one of those things but if there had been another test match in quick succession both sides bowling attacks would have had huge changes . Wish world cricket would think of the welfare of the game and the player and hav significant gaps between test matches so more players could be at top of there game
    Is the loss of Boof and Rhino from south aust the greatest cricket blunder of all time ?
    Rod Marsh and Ian McGlachlan should hang there heads in shame

  6. Peter Hannan says

    Well said, Brendan.
    The wickets of Amla and De Villiers in this Test will live long in my memory. Great players don’t get out in high-stakes Test matches – especially ones played on featherbed pitches – unless there’s quality bowling.
    Pattinson represented himself well and Harris was the ice-breaker this time.
    In reviewing the eight times, clearly Harris has been mighty but Johnson has re-written the history books.
    Exceptional at Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Centurion……..outstanding in three of the other four.
    The fear that he has created, the lips- licking expectation that has been raised when ‘he’s back on’ and the speed & precision of his attack has been incredible.
    Thankfully for all of us, Pattinson Starc and Cummins have a high benchmark to surpass in the years ahead.

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