Australia v South Africa – Perth Test Day 2: Australia drops its bundle

The second day at the WACA demonstrated, yet again, why Test cricket is the real deal. After a sluggish and rusty start on day one, the Proteas hit back hard yesterday and got themselves into a strong position in the match. How did they turn things around?

The key to their success on day 2 was accurate bowling and a whole team effort which saw them rise like a Phoenix after Dale Steyn succumbed to a shoulder injury prior to lunch. Steyn made the first inroad by dismissing Warner and then his team mates drove a stake right through the heart of Australia’s batting.

As I sat down in front of the TV to watch Dave Warner score another great WACA century I was reminded of an old saying “never run on a miss field”. Does it apply to taking a second run on a miss field? Apparently so as Warner shot back for a second run taking him to 97 and what I thought would be a certain ton with his next drive. Steyn had other ideas as he  served up an enticing delivery outside off stump that induced the loose wave of Warner’s wand sending a sharp one to Amla in the slips. Ouch! The Ch. 9 commentators had put the mozzie on another batsmen in the nineties.

Now I became very interested in what would unfold. With Steyn steaming in and Usman at the crease and Captain Smith padded up, would the ‘Steyn snake theory’ be tested shortly? Well no, Steyn’s shoulder injury shortly after meant we might have to wait for another day on that one. Whack! and Khawaja gets a rip snorter of a delivery from the young South African paceman Rabada that knocks his off stump out of the ground. Reverse swing at a fair tilt I thought.

Soon I had my own snake to deal with as I got up from my chair between overs to see a small brown snake slithering across the carpet in front of me. It was a hot day in Swan Hill, but a snake inside, what is going on? Snake dismissed and I resume watching nervously in all directions.

Out walks the Australian skipper but without Steyn in the attack I assumed it would be easy pickings as the debutante spinner takes the kookaburra. Immediately he lands them on the spot and Smith jumps down the track to defend one but misses with the willow and the ball spins into his pad. “Howzat?”. No way he is too far down. No way. Dar raises the index finger without hesitation much to the surprise of everyone watching, even the fielding team. DRS called into action as Smith waits a defiantly for the techno decision to acquit him. The DRS debacle will have to wait for another day as I have plenty to add on that debate.  Just clipping the outside of leg stump and as Dar raises the dreaded finger of confirmation, Smith utters a well-echoed expletive and trudges off. No Snake charming in that I thought. Obviously there is more than one way to kill a snake. But will the rest of Steyn’s theory hold true and the rest of the body fall away easily.

Watching the rest of the day’s play was rather painful for Australian cricket fans as we succumbed to spin, more reverse swing and threw wickets away with little resistance. Good old accurate and thoughtful bowling did our batsmen in again as the Marsh brothers, Voges and company could not turn the tide and restore the equilibrium. Australia is getting a habit of throwing away good starts and in the space of one session placing themselves in a precarious position.

Day 2 at the WACA demonstrated again that test cricket is king. Now what will day 3 produce? From an Australian point of view, hopefully the same grit the Proteas brought to their game on day 2. It will also take some skill and imagination to get back in front in this test.

About Peter Clark

is a lifetime Geelong supporter. Hailing from the Riverina, he is now entrenched on the NSW South Coast. His passion for footy was ignited by attending Ovens and Murray League matches in the 1960's with his father. After years of watching, playing and coaching, now it is time for some serious writing about his favourite subjects… footy, especially country footy, and cricket.

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