Quick single: Andrew Ramsey's day two wrap
State of play
Australia 4-112 (Warner 65*, Parnell 2-19) trail South Africa 423 (Duminy 123, de Villiers 116, Lyon 5-130) by 311 runs
Morning session: SA 5-323 (0-109 from 34 overs)
Afternoon session: SA 8-413 (3-90 from 31 overs)
Evening session: Aus 4-112 (6-122 from 27.5 overs)
If you thought the pitch was dull and lifeless on day one, oh boy, it was a docile road on day two. AB de Villiers wasted no time in bringing up his 19th Test century, sweeping Nathan Lyon to the rope to reach triple figures. He and JP Duminy would hold their own in the morning session, denying Australia a much needed wicket with the second new ball. A mistimed on-drive shortly after lunch brought about De Villiers’ downfall for 116, caught and bowled by Lyon. To sum up the pace and carry of the strip, Brad Haddin resorted to standing up to the stumps to Peter Siddle, a sight no fast bowler ever wants to see. Duminy joined De Villiers in the hundred club midway through the afternoon session, he too sweeping the off-spinner to bring up his milestone. Clarke employed spin and Warner’s gently medium pace from both ends, rapidly churning through the overs in front of the swelling brass band. The Park Drive End then bore witness to a precession of bowling changes, from Warner to Clarke, back to Warner, then Clarke again, then I think Warner. I lost count. Australia would leave the field for tea in high spirits – Lyon’s last ball before the break brought an end to the session and Wayne Parnell. At 8-413, a declaration was requested by the press box, arguing forward progress of the game to be the beneficiary. No such call came, but the final two wickets Australia needed fell soon enough; Duminy missed his reverse sweep, gone for a brilliant 123, and Morne Morkel was found millimetres short after being sent back. David Warner promises fireworks when he’s in the middle, but it was his cerebral partner who would provide the early drama. Two referrals by each team had the Victorian’s heart in mouth, the second showing the dreaded three red lights to force him from the field. A flourish of boundaries from Warner preceded Parnell’s dream first over, capturing the wickets of Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh to leave the tourists in dire straits. In times gone by three for not many was mandatory for Clarke to attend the crease, and he and Warner put on 40 inside eight overs in vintage counter-punching fashion. Warner would receive a life from De Villiers behind the stumps on 43, but Clarke would receive no such reprieve, bunting Philander to short cover to fall for 19. Enter nightwatchman Nathan Lyon, greeted by harmful, around the wicket short-pitched bowling not seen since, well, Australia bowled at Centurion. The fighter in Warner would not lie down, blasting his half-century from 55 balls to finish the day 65 not out. Lyon, despite a few nervy moments, survived the day, guiding Australia to stumps still needing 112 to avoid the follow-on.
Man of the moment
On these types of wickets bowlers win you matches. Wayne Parnell’s first over swung the game right towards the hosts, turning 1-41 to 3-41 in three balls. A resident of Port Elizabeth, Parnell’s left-arm might not be as fast as Mitchell Johnson’s, but on this deck it’s already proven twice as effective. Playing his first Test in four years, Parnell’s awkward angles and late swing would have been useful in Centurion. At least he’s playing here. Awesome.
The turning point
Twin centuries? Parnell’s brace? Warner’s fight back? None of them. From around the wicket, Morne Morkel charged in and bounced the heck out of nightwatchman Nathan Lyon. Finally, after a summer of dishing it out, a team has stood up and had a crack back at the Aussies. The two vicious bouncers struck Lyon on armguard and glove respectively. When he had another chance he dished out the same punishment, peppering the wiry tail-ender with enough perfume balls to pack a Chanel factory.
Harvey Dent would love this wicket. When Australia bowled it was slow and low and offered no carry through to the slips cordon. When the hosts had their turn it was moving all over the shop, spitting bouncers and hastening as the day went on. Morkel, with his skyward release point, had the two-faced pitch playing like a trampoline.
Who needs a spinner?
Paging Dr. S
Warner bowling. Haddin up to the stumps. Parnell misses his late cut. Hang on. Keeper absolutely convinced. Turns to Clarke who says go for it. No hotspot. No snicko. No wicket.
Duminy reverse sweeps on 123. Misses. Hit dead in front. Why not review? Long wait. Three red lights. Goodbye. Lyon has a Michelle.
Second ball of the Australian innings. Hooping inswinger from Steyn. Rogers struck on the pads. Moves like a leg-break off the deck. Looked a little high. Smith reviews. Just clipping. Umpire’s call. Safe.
Rogers with the review now. Philander steaming in. Bucky falls over his front leg. Could it be pitching outside leg? Warner says go for it. Pitching in line. Has to go.
Off the hook
Warner needs to buy a lottery ticket. Morkel, sending them down from 9ft 11in (302cm), extracted the bounce that the three Aussie quicks couldn’t find. He got one to pop and surprise Warner, securing the edge high to de Villiers. Perhaps it was the false shot or the bounce again, but whatever it was the keeper dropped the regulation catch to give Warner, on 43, his fourth life of the series.
South Africa nearly had the icing on the day two cake. Lyon’s 194 days of not outs almost ended twice late in the evening. The first was a tickle not referred but really, really should have been. The second, and much more routine, was a thick edge to gully where Duminy couldn’t hang on. Big let off. The streak survives.
He said, he said
“I’m too old to face those bowlers” Australia coach Darren Lehmann on what the pitch was doing and what he’d do, or wouldn’t do, if he was out there.
“It’s never easy dropping a catch” Jean-Paul Duminy on his last over spill.
5 – Number of ducks in Shaun Marsh’s 14-innings career.
695 – The number of days between centuries for JP Duminy.
154.1 – The number of overs Australia fielded for, the longest since Hyderabad, India in March 2013.
160 – in 11 innings. That’s how many runs Aussie skipper Michael Clarke has scored since his last century.