Sydney Test – Day 2 : Bring on South Africa


As I write this article I am watching a great KFC Big Bash Spectacle between the Melbourne Stars and Renegades played in front of 42,000 plus spectators. It seems the hype created by the all conquering test team has rubbed off on all forms of cricket. Well done lads. There was a great crowd at the SCG on Day 2 highlighted by a group of around 50 dressed as the great Richie Benaud. They seem to be interviewing a lot of good looking filles.
Before the start of the Sydney Test at a BBQ myself and a mate were debating with 2 Kiwis how we were going to fare in South Africa. The debate was heated and needless to say the Kiwis were pro Steyn, Morkel and Philander and we were pro Harris, Siddle and Johnson. The result was a friendly wager, a carton of Coronas and a BBQ at the loser’s house.
The banter would start early. The Aussies would surely bowl a much fuller length than the English who were far too short on day 1. Harris trapped Cook in front in his first over shouldering arms to an inswinger. He looks a man mentally shot and already in the departure lounge. Time to give up the captaincy and get back to batting. The very next ball Shania Watson drops a sitter at first slip off Ian Bell. Luckily it would not prove costly. Anderson the sacrificial lamb/night watchman was softened up by Johnson with a few short balls and nicked to Clarke at second slip. 3 for 14.

Pieterson had his mind elsewhere and after a few airy wafts nicked to Shania at first slip of Harris who this time held on. Time to retire KP your heart ain’t in it and your team doesn’t like you. Bell then was caught behind off Siddle for an awful 2 off 32 balls leaving the score at 5 for 23. Is it possible this could be over today? Glen McGrath Pink day on Day 3 may not happen what a tragedy. Is that Cricket Australia executives I see talking to Boof telling him not to enforce the follow on. Surely they wouldn’t anyway after Headingly and Botham.
The banter starts. I text Nick the Kiwi proclaiming that Harris is the best bowler in the world and to put the beers on Ice and stoke up the barbie. He counters that Messrs Steyn, Morkel and Philander think otherwise and we can expect more fight from Amla, De Villers and Smith. Who is right? Time will tell.
It is left to a Zimbabwean Ballance and a New Zealander Stokes to resurrect the innings. This could be the future of English cricket. They show some good ticker to take the score to 62 before Ballance falls to a text book off spinner from Lyon caught behind by Haddin. Lyon has had a great series taking a wicket in at least one innings of each test backing up the pace attack.
Bairstow plays a shocking shot to be caught at short mid on well placed by Clarke as was the leg slip the previous evening to claim Carberry. Stokes then becomes the second player to be out shouldering arms bowled by a straight Siddle delivery. A bad way to end a gutsy innings. Without doubt Stokes has been the find of the tour for England. Unbelievable considering he wasn’t in the initial best 11. He should be in their side for a long time to come. Borthwick’s batting is about as impressive as his leg spin as he falls caught by Smith at 3rd slip of Harris. Rankin and Broad avoid the follow on which would not have been enforced, as discussed earlier, before Johnson cleans up Rankin before he cramps up again leaving Broad not out on 30. Another great bowling effort from the best attack in the world. England all out 155 leaving them 171 behind.

Warner and Shania fall cheaply to Anderson. My bet of Warner for most series runs is now in danger with the red hot Haddin needing 58 to overtake him tomorrow. They are followed by Clarke and Smith to Broad and Stokes. At 4 for 91 it is lucky we already have a 250 plus lead which is more than enough. 282 is the highest winning chase at the SCG.  George Bailey strides to the crease under the spotlight and makes a breezy 20 not out off 32 balls playing aggressively like he should. Rankin was bowling half track pies possibly cramping again as was Borthwick. Maybe a 60 or 70 can get George on the plane to South Africa. Whether he can counter Steyn, Morkel and Philander is questionable but I doubt he is sleeping soundly tonight. Either way he has played in a 5 nil drubbing and hit 28 of an over to put him in the record books. Meanwhile Rogers has again batted superbly scoring easily all around the ground to be 73 not out off only 89 Balls. The Aussies go in 311 in front and on the brink of a 5 nil whitewash.
Question ahead:

Will it be over tomorrow?
Will Rulebook get to write on Day 4 after handballing Day 2 to me so he could watch the 36ers?
Can George book a ticket to South Africa?
Will Haddin score more than 58 runs?



  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Raj appreciate swapping was under a tad of family pressure ! Bowling wise ok this attack hasn’t got the genius of , Warne but it has hunted as a pack and been so disciplined in executing there plans with a superb line and length . The idea to pick at , Pieterson’s huge ego with , Siddle in particular . It is going to be fascinating to see what we plan and then try and execute in , SA against a stronger and more switched on batting line up and whether we can make enough runs against there attack
    Thanks Raj now to get you to play , A grade again for the kings !

  2. I like your work Raj, some many interesting points and a great look into the game.
    This Ashes Series has almost become a warm up game for the next series. The South African Series should be a 5 test series as it is what i consider to be the 2 best test teams in World cricket shooting it out.
    The Indian Team are often pretenders away from home, although they did show some surprising fight against South Africa.
    The rest of the Test nations are a long way back in the field.
    This Series has it all –
    2 teams who play tough hard cricket.
    2 bowling attacks with premium bowlers
    Harris, Johnson, Siddle v Styne, Morkel, Filander
    Australia has the spinning edge with Lyon who I believe will step up in this series
    The batting is where it will be won or lost.
    Questions for the Australian team:
    Can Australia get consistant runs from its top 6 with out relying on Haddin to save them?
    Will they stay with Bailey?
    Who will they bring in – Doolen or Hughes……………………..Klinger?
    Will Shania bat at 3 or be dropped down to 6?
    Questions for the South Africa team:
    Will they be the same playing unit both on and off the field without king Kallis?
    Who will come in for the King?
    Can Amla find form? (for Australia’s sake i hope not)
    How will the Sth Batsman handle the bowling heat?
    The team balance is now hurt with no quality all-rounder, they will need to find overs from someone.
    This is going to be a great contest and one I will be following closely.

    Raj, i think you will be enjoying icy cold Coronas and nice BBQ privided by a happy Kiwi.
    Go Australia

  3. Nicholas Marks says

    I just think that the batting lineup doesn’t have the smarts to survive against Philander and Steyn. The bowling lineup looks good against a defeated Cook, Root and Prior and an inexperienced Carberry and Bairstoe, but may find things less encouraging against Amla, De Plessis, De Villiers and Smith.

    Bring on the Coronas and Brai

  4. Good summary Raj. Yes I doubt Clarke would’ve enforced the follow on after Headingly or Kolkata although only Stokes would’ve had any chance of channelling Botham and the rest of the batsmen would’ve had as much chance of channelling Laxman and Dravid in their current states of mind as KP has got of winning the most humble team man of the year award. Will be interesting to see if England recover for the next ashes series in England, like they did after the 06/07 whitewash. I think Australia will continue the momentum in South Africa, especially without Kallis, who they’ll need to replace with a batsmen and a bowler, with only one vacated spot to play with.

  5. Raj – how much did you sling Haddin?? All those ‘get out’ shots looked like a bloke who had a grand at 10/1 on Warner himself.
    Inspector Clouseau from the ICC match fixing squad will be around to see you tomorrow.
    As for Rulebook ‘volunteering’ to do Day 4?? I have told Harms that I will volunteer to do the Eagles Grand Final report in 2014. Enough said.
    Thanks for the report Raj. Good stuff.

  6. Rulebook won’t be up too late I dont think day 4. Haddin was in a hurry maybe my Fijian mafia got to him. The investigators know my address so I will have the coffee ready.

  7. You should be watching the poker series and not the cricket Raj if you want to be competitive in the 2014 B&T PL. nice article

  8. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Cmon fight , All Nations ! I don’t fancy the chances of a day , 4 !

  9. Raj,
    Who in your opinion have been the best/worst commentators of the summer?
    ( I haven’t called any cricket so you can keep me off the list)

  10. Great summary Raj!

    A great result for this summer and it has really helped increase the interest in cricket in Australia.

    The fielding level has risen to its previous lofty standards which has helped keep the pressure on the batsmen and once again we have returned to doing the “small things” well.

    I am worried about the next series, but plenty of time to prepare our plans for them and as Leo said, the unknown without Kallis will be tough for them.

  11. Troy Hancox says

    Excellent report!!!
    Day 4…. what a debarcle… England…. you never even offered any fight!
    disgraceful really. the fact that the barmy army shell out their hard earned coin to follow their team about this wonderful nation, you have let them down!
    so many poor shots. No one offered resistance!

    Australia wanted this, and they fully deserve it.
    At least the too & froms will improve at golf…… another two days off to improve their swing!

    As for South Africa tour, it will be a tough task, but in saying that. Confidence is king. The Aussies are brimming with it. To go 5 tests unchanged is amazing! If it aint broke, don’t try & fix it!

    Well done “BOOF” Lehman, you have brought back the fight!

    Make me one proud Australian again!
    My English family have gone very quiet on my Facebook posts….. what a change from July!!!

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    Great work Raj. Bring on the battle for the Coronas!

  13. Great article Raj, I found a couple of minutes to write that :-)

  14. Bruno thanks for your words of wisdom. Matt Kerry he will be missed and Jim Maxwell. The two of them together are great.

  15. Sam McEwen says

    Good Stuff Raj.
    Boof will sort out the Top Order and the Saffers won’t stand a chance!

Leave a Comment