Commentary (South Africa innings)
Two more matches to be played in the series, then. Looking at the fierce battle in the first couple of Tests, we, as viewers and fans, can be ensured of more lip-smacking cricket. The third Test match begins in Cape Town on 22nd of March, 2018 at 1000 local time (0800 GMT). Thank you for being wonderful companions for this one, we look forward to your presence on that one. Meanwhile, you can have a look at the other matches in progress. Till the next time, adios amigos! Ta-ta!
The winning captain, FAF DU PLESSIS, lauds the character of his side for getting this win. States about their plans to bat on for a long time and wear out the Australians. Reckons that the first hour on Day 1 was good for them but then went off the radar. Adds further that to come back from there the way they did is creditable. About AB de Villiers, he asserts that he batted on some other surface before iterating that he is a valuable player. About Vernon Philander, he says that although the guy doesn't have great pace, the lines and lengths he bowls are immaculate and that is vital. He is disappointed about Kagiso Rabada's case and mentions about the disappointing aspect of the best players missing out. Concludes saying they look forward to coming back for the next game after having some rest under their belt.
KAGISO RABADA is adjudged the PLAYER OF THE MATCH for the 5th time in his Test career. It is for the 11-wicket haul by him that changed the game. He says that the preparations were good and he is happy for things to have come out well. About the lengths that he bowled in this Test, he states that was an important aspect which he executed well. He jokes to sticking to bowling well, when asked about his innings as a nightwatchman. He mentions about the Australians being aggressive and a quality opponent and nothing comes easy against them. Ends saying that he still has much more in him.
STEVEN SMITH, the losing captain, admits the opposition to playing them out in all aspects of the game. Credits Ab de Villiers for South Africa running away with the game. He reckons that they had a fine start in the first innings with the bat but their middle order let them down in testing conditions. Concedes being a 100 runs too short in the end. They were hopeful of bundling out the Proteas quickly yesterday, when they had just 3 wickets left, he concedes. He ends saying that at the halfway point in the series, both the sides are even-stevens and this augurs well for the Cape Town Test.
That proved a mountain of impossibility for the visiting side as they were left on shaky ground much before the deficit was covered. Usman Khawaja then ground his way to a fifty to keep Australia interested, by stringing together a 87-run association with Mitchell Marsh. No other player could play a significant innings for them as Kagiso Rabada was at it yet again. A six-fer in the second essay to give him a 11-wicket haul in the game, meant that the target that got set for South Africa was not a tough one. One cannot say that no sweat was broken, but eventually the hosts crossed the line. Now for us to have a look at how the presentation ensues...
In response, South Africa began cautiously and were crawling along in the game, along with keeping the Australians interested, courtesy a 88-run stand of over 46 overs between Deal Elgar and Hashim Amla. It didn't help the home side's cause much as those two departed in fairly quick succession to put the side in a spot of bother. But AB de Villiers showed us that he had a different surface brought along and thrashed his way to a well compiled 22nd Test ton, crashing any hopes of an Aussie lead with that. His surge meant that the Rainbow nation raced 139 runs away to the front.
Australia haven't won two games in a single series away from home since the ones against New Zealand in 2016. This situation could have well been different had Australia capitalized on the start they had got on the first day after winning the toss and batting first. David Warner and Cameron Bancroft strung together a 98-run stand to keep the hosts at bay. But that breakthrough was enough for Kagiso Rabada to run through the line up. His fiery spell culminated in a Test fifer, that pretty much took the opposition by surprise, as much as it delighted us viewers.
A 6-wicket series leveling victory for the hosts! Once they had a modest total to chase, the end result was hardly a doubt. However, not everything was hunky-dory coming towards the end. Australia suddenly found something from the surface and their spell to Hashim Amla when he was new to the crease was a treat. After Aiden Markram's wicket, in walked the man-from-a-different planet named AB de Villiers. He quickly took the attack to the opposition to ease pressure on his side. But again, Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins sent him and Amla back quickly to instill some fear. That scare was survived and the Proteas eventually ended on the right side of the result.
22.5 Pat Cummins to Bruyn, FOUR! Sealed in style! Hurled fuller outside off, de Bruyn gets a stride out and times the push through covers nicely. The ball has enough on it to trickle away to the fence to seal a SOUTH AFRICAN VICTORY! 1-1 stands the series with 2 more Tests to be played. 102/4
22.4 Pat Cummins to Bruyn, Another short ball, Theunis crouches low and lets it pass. 98/4
22.3 Pat Cummins to Plessis, Angling in on a length, Faf works it away towards fine leg for a single. Australia have just 3 more runs to play with. 98/4
22.2 Pat Cummins to Plessis, This length ball is defended off the back foot. 97/4
22.1 Pat Cummins to Plessis, Banged short on the stumps, du Plessis ducks to let it go. 97/4
With just 4 runs to win, the band is just getting louder.
21.6 N Lyon to Bruyn, FOUR! Well played. Shortish a touch, Theunis de Bruyn goes on the back foot and punches it through covers for a boundary. The home side is just one hit away from a win. 97/4
21.5 N Lyon to Bruyn, This one is worked away to the on side off the pads. 93/4
21.4 N Lyon to Plessis, Du Plessis sweeps this through square leg, all along the ground. One run taken. 93/4
21.3 N Lyon to Bruyn, Risky stroke but why? De Bruyn gets down on a knee and swings across the line. Hits it aerially towards deep square leg for a single. What is the need to play such shots? 92/4
21.2 N Lyon to de Bruyn, Nicely played. Tossed up on off, Theunis just pushes it through covers and gets a couple. Just 10 more needed now. 91/4
21.1 N Lyon to Bruyn, Lyon continues round the wicket and delivers it on the stumps. De Bruyn blocks. 89/4
20.6 Pat Cummins to Plessis, This ball is pushed towards mid off for nothing. 89/4
20.5 Pat Cummins to Bruyn, Speared on a fuller length on middle and leg, de Bruyn flicks it off his pads and gets to the other end. 89/4
20.4 Pat Cummins to Bruyn, Full outside off, left alone. 88/4
20.3 Pat Cummins to Bruyn, Banged short on the stumps, Theunis lets the keeper do the rest. 88/4
20.2 Pat Cummins to Bruyn, Outside off, de Bruyn shoulders arms. 88/4
20.1 Pat Cummins to Bruyn, Full on the stumps, driven to mid on. 88/4
19.6 N Lyon to Plessis, Served on the stumps, defended off the front foot. 88/4
19.5 N Lyon to Plessis, Four Byes! The batter misses, keeper misses but South Africa won't mind. This is tossed up and spinning down leg. Du Plessis gets down to sweep but misses. The spin down leg means that Paine cannot do much and the ball flies right through Smith (at leg slip) and the keeper for a boundary. 88/4
19.4 N Lyon to Plessis, Defended off the front foot by the batsman presenting the full face of the bat. 84/4
19.3 N Lyon to Bruyn, This one is swept away through square leg for a single. 84/4
19.2 N Lyon to Bruyn, Floated around middle and leg, worked away towards fine leg for a couple. 83/4
Theunis de Bruyn is next in.
19.1 N Lyon to de Villiers, OUT! Stop the press! An Aussie bowler has dismissed AB de Villiers for the first time in this series. Lyon entices de Villiers into coming forward with this floated delivery. The batter fell into the trap and ended up slinking down. However, he finds that he is deceived in flight. Looks to bunt it down somehow with his bat close to his pad but he ends up getting an inside edge. The ball goes towards Bancroft at short leg, who hangs onto the sharp chance by crouching low. The hosts are still 20 away from their destination. Is there a final twist in the tale left in the game? 81/4
18.6 Pat Cummins to Plessis, Outside off, left alone. A good over from Pat, successful one. 81/3
18.5 Pat Cummins to Plessis, Du Plessis blocks this one off the back foot. 81/3
Faf du Plessis walks in to replace Amla.
18.4 Pat Cummins to Amla, OUT! 50th Test wicket for Pat Cummins! He bowled a similar one on the previous ball and Amla attempted a similar shot. This time the line was a bit closer and Hashim ends up getting a thick outside edge. That's enough for Paine to do the rest behind with a dive to his right. So, the bearded batter cannot quite stay in the middle till the end. 81/3
18.3 Pat Cummins to Amla, This is full and moving away a touch, Amla goes for the loose drive away from the body and gets beaten on account of the away movement there. 81/2
18.2 Pat Cummins to Amla, This is hurled down the leg side, Amla misses the attempted flick. 81/2
18.1 Pat Cummins to Villiers, On a length on the stumps, flicked away through square leg for one. 81/2
17.6 N Lyon to H Amla, FOUR! No chasing that, Marsh! Amla goes back and punches it through covers. This time there is good enough contact made to take the ball to the fence. 80/2
17.5 N Lyon to Amla, The batsman has played that off the front foot and into the ground. 76/2
17.4 N Lyon to Villiers, Pushed towards mid on for a single. 76/2
17.3 N Lyon to Amla, Marsh has done well! Flatter trajectory and quicker pace around off from round the wicket, Amla just punches it through cover-point. Mitchell chases it from covers and just manages to get some hand before slowing it down and going over the fence. He then comes back in and throws the ball back. From his face, one couldn't gauge whether he had done well. But after having multiple looks, it is good enough to conclude that he has saved a run for his side. 75/2
There is a good effort from Mitchell Marsh after chasing the ball. The umpires want to be sure if he has done well to save the boundary.
17.2 N Lyon to Amla, Flatter on the stumps, Hashim keeps it out from the crease. 72/2
17.1 N Lyon to Amla, Nicely tossed up on off, Amla keeps it out with a lunge forward. 72/2
16.6 Pat Cummins to Villiers, This is full outside off, ABD leaves. 72/2
16.5 Pat Cummins to Villiers, De Villiers keeps this length ball out from the crease. 72/2
16.4 Pat Cummins to Villiers, On a length outside off, pushed to the point region. 72/2
16.3 Pat Cummins to H Amla, Full outside off, driven towards covers. The fielder there dives and parries it towards mid off. A run results. 72/2
16.2 Pat Cummins to Amla, Hurled on the stumps, worked away to mid-wicket. 71/2
16.1 Pat Cummins to Amla, This is full on off, defended off the front foot. 71/2
Change of bat for Hashim Amla. Does that signal change of intent?
15.6 N Lyon to Amla, A run taken after placing it towards covers. 30 more needed for the win. 71/2
15.5 N Lyon to Amla, This is an arm ball at a quicker pace outside off. Amla goes back but fails to get bat to that. 70/2
15.4 N Lyon to Amla, The batsman has punched the ball off the back foot. 70/2
15.3 N Lyon to Amla, This ball is pushed towards mid off for nothing. 70/2
15.2 N Lyon to Amla, Another one on the pads, flicked towards backward square leg. The fielder from short fine leg is quick to the ball and hence there is no chance of a run there. 70/2
15.1 N Lyon to Amla, From round the wicket, Lyon serves it on the pads. Hashim works it past short leg for a brace. 70/2
14.6 Pat Cummins to Villiers, Sprayed full down the leg side, AB lets it be. 68/2
14.5 Pat Cummins to Amla, Another quick single. Amla has dared to take on Warner's arm here. Pushes this delivery towards wide mid off. David dives to his left and stops. Takes the ball and has a go at the bowler's end but misses. Amla had made it in. 68/2
14.4 Pat Cummins to Amla, On a length on off, blunted from the crease. 67/2
14.3 Pat Cummins to H Amla, Full outside off, driven straight to covers. 67/2
14.2 Pat Cummins to Amla, This length ball is blocked off the back foot to the off side. 67/2
14.1 Pat Cummins to Amla, FOUR! Edgy but South Africa won't mind! Short in length on the stumps, Amla goes for the pull but gets a top edge over the keeper and gets a boundary. 67/2
Pat Cummins to have a go with the ball now.
13.6 N Lyon to Villiers, ABD lunges and blocks it down. 63/2
13.5 N Lyon to Villiers, The batsman has defended it by getting right behind the line of the delivery. 63/2
13.4 N Lyon to Amla, Shorter in length, pulled away through square leg for one. 63/2
13.3 N Lyon to Villiers, Outside off, AB pats it towards covers and collects another run. 62/2
13.2 N Lyon to H Amla, Quick single. Amla pushes it towards mid on with soft hands and quickly calls for the single. De Villiers responds and makes it to the other end as well. 61/2
13.1 N Lyon to Amla, Floated on off, blocked away to the on side. 60/2
12.6 J Hazlewood to Villiers, De Villiers covers his timber and blocks this. 60/2
12.5 J Hazlewood to Villiers, Defended off the back foot by the batsman. 60/2
12.4 J Hazlewood to Villiers, FOUR! Delightful! What a pleasant-looking straight drive from AB. Overpitched from Josh, AB takes a stride ahead and sweetly times it down the ground for a boundary. 60/2
12.3 J Hazlewood to Villiers, Outside off, de Villiers leaves it alone. 56/2
12.2 J Hazlewood to Villiers, Outside off, left alone. 56/2
12.1 J Hazlewood to Villiers, FOUR! Outside off, de Villiers rocks onto his back foot and slaps it through cover-point for another boundary. 56/2
11.6 N Lyon to Villiers, De Villiers works this down the leg side to retain strike. 52/2
11.5 N Lyon to Villiers, The batsman shows the full face of the bat and defends the ball off the back foot. 51/2
11.4 N Lyon to Villiers, SIX! AB is not going to sit back and defend. What a glorious looking shot from him. Loopy ball, de Villiers dances down the track and smokes it over deep mid-wicket for a biggie. 51/2
11.3 N Lyon to Villiers, Played to mid-wicket region by de Villiers. 45/2
11.2 N Lyon to Villiers, FOUR! Poor from Hazlewood! Lyon tosses this up on middle and leg. De Villiers reverse sweeps this towards short third man and the ball goes through the hands of Josh and all the way to the fence. 45/2
11.1 N Lyon to Amla, The batsman works it down the leg side. They pick up a single. 41/2
10.6 J Hazlewood to Amla, Fuller on the pads, flicked through mid-wicket for one. 40/2
10.5 J Hazlewood to Amla, Around off, Amla blocks it from the crease. 39/2
10.4 J Hazlewood to Villiers, Now he nudges it through square leg and gets to the other end. 39/2
10.3 J Hazlewood to de Villiers, FOUR! This is what de Villiers can do, take the attack to the opposition. Banged short on the stumps, AB stands tall on the back foot and pulls it over mid-wicket for a boundary. No stopping that. 38/2
10.2 J Hazlewood to Villiers, This is punched off the back foot towards covers. 34/2
10.1 J Hazlewood to Villiers, The batsman has defended it by getting right behind the line of the delivery. 34/2
What's happening? There has been an LBW decision against Amla that has gone against the Aussies. They have opted to take it upstairs. Let's see what Hawk Eye has to say.
9.6 N Lyon to Amla, NOT OUT! Missing leg! Lyon serves this around off, Amla strides forward to block but misses due to the spin in and gets rapped on the front pad. The Aussies appeal but this time too, the umpire thinks that the ball has not done enough. Smith has a word with Lyon and decides to take this up. Hawk Eye shows us that the impact was in line but the ball would have gone to miss the leg stump. Cheers from the stands as they see the replay on the big screen. Australia lose their first review. 34/2
9.5 N Lyon to Amla, Strong appeal! But nothing from the umpire. Bowls this around off, Amla once again decides to block this with his pads. The Aussies think they have got him. After some conversation they don't take the review. 34/2
9.4 N Lyon to Amla, Amla flicks this away on the on side. 34/2
9.3 N Lyon to Amla, Amla does not offer a stroke to this and gets hit on his pad. 34/2
9.2 N Lyon to Villiers, AB drives this superbly through covers for one. 34/2
9.1 N Lyon to Amla, The batsman flicks it away with a wristy shot. They pick up a single. 33/2
AB de Villiers is the next man in.
8.6 J Hazlewood to Markram, OUT! Beautifully bowled by Hazlewood and Australia get their second wicket. Markram has to go this time. After Mitchell Marsh dropped one previously, this time Smith does not take any chance and goes for the catch himself. Great line from Hazlewood, around off, forces Aiden to play a shot. The ball takes the fat outside edge and flies towards first slip but the Australian skipper moves to his left from second slip and takes a sharp catch. 69 more needed for the hosts. 32/2
8.5 J Hazlewood to Markram, The batsman has punched the ball off the back foot. 32/1
8.4 J Hazlewood to Markram, Length ball, drifting into the pads of Aiden who flicks it through mid-wicket for a brace. 32/1
8.3 J Hazlewood to Markram, Effort ball from Josh, Markram sways away from it. 30/1
8.2 J Hazlewood to Markram, In line of the stumps, AD flicks it to mid-wicket. 30/1
8.1 J Hazlewood to Markram, Outside off, Markram shoulders arms to it. 30/1
7.6 N Lyon to H Amla, FOUR! Delightful. It is always joy to watch a drive played against the spin. The beauty of that stroke is the footwork. This is tossed up outside off, Amla gets his front foot to the pitch of the ball and caresses it through covers. A boundary results and it reduces the runs needed to 71. 30/1
7.5 Lyon to Amla, Another appeal! Tossed up outside off, Hashim prods to defend that. His bat is close to his front pad but the ball strikes the latter and rolls to the off side. Another appeal not paid heed to. Perhaps the impact is outside off. 26/1
7.4 N Lyon to Amla, HUGE SHOUT! Floated outside off, Amla gets back and across and shoulders arms. The ball spins in and hits him on the pads, a bit high. The players appeal to no avail. 26/1
7.3 N Lyon to Amla, Amla goes back to this one and keeps it out. 26/1
7.2 N Lyon to Amla, Floated on the pads, flicked away round the corner. 26/1
7.1 N Lyon to Amla, Big turn but spinning down leg from outside off, Amla moves across but misses the flick. 26/1
6.6 J Hazlewood to Markram, Driven straight to mid off off the front foot. 26/1
6.5 J Hazlewood to Markram, Markram blocks this length ball from the crease. 26/1
6.4 J Hazlewood to Markram, Full length delivery on the stumps, driven back down the ground. Josh gets a hand to it but the ball rolls past mid off and a couple is taken. 26/1
6.3 J Hazlewood to Markram, Hurled outside off, AM lets it be. 24/1
6.2 J Hazlewood to Markram, On a length in line of the stumps, Markram defends it off the back foot. 24/1
6.1 J Hazlewood to Amla, Right on the money. Josh hurls it on the stumps, Amla looks to defend but gets an inside edge onto the pads and the ball rolls towards fine leg for one. 24/1
Josh Hazlewood to run in from the other end. Amla will face his nemesis.
5.6 N Lyon to Markram, Another back foot defense to this ball around off. 23/1
5.5 N Lyon to Markram, This one is flicked off the pads past short leg for nothing. 23/1
5.4 N Lyon to Markram, Slower through the air around off, Markram presents a straight bat face off the back foot. 23/1
5.3 N Lyon to Amla, Amla is underway. Goes back to this one and turns it through mid-wicket to amble to the other end. 23/1
5.2 N Lyon to Amla, Floated outside off, Amla lunges and then lets the ball hit his pads. 22/1
We are back. The umpires and the Australian team are out in the center. Hashim Amla will be the new batsman for the Proteas while Lyon will continue his over. Aiden Markram stands at the other end. Just 79 needed for the home side to level the series. Here we go...
... DAY 4, SESSION 2 ...
Happy meal in sad times? Perhaps. With just 100 runs to defend, Australia's hopes would have been as tall as a plateau. The bowlers would have been expected to pick up some wickets to just gain some psychological advantage. Josh Hazlewood almost did the trick. He was successful in eking out an outside edge only to be spilled by Mitchell Marsh at first slip. Does this mean that the following batters can come in and finish the game off quickly? Let's see. Join us on the other side.
5.1 Lyon to Elgar, OUT! Not a 10-wicket win for South Africa then, if the result is in their favour! What an inspiring bowling change this is. Nathan Lyon comes into the attack and immediately sends the southpaw back. He floats it around off, Elgar looks to flick it but gets it off the leading edge back towards the bowler. Lyon gets low forward and snaps it inches off the ground. The umpire isn't sure and hence prefers the third umpire to have a look. Multiple replays are summoned and it is concluded that the off spinner has done well. This is a carbon copy of his dismissal in the first innings of the first Test, the only difference being that here, Lyon had to take it getting low forward while then, he had to dive to his right. So, a happy meal for the Australians? The reason being, LUNCH has been taken. 22/1
Deal Elgar seems to be a goner! He has been caught and bowled by Lyon. But the TV replays are looked into for a clear confirmation.
Nathan Lyon is brought into the attack.
4.6 M Starc to A Markram, FOUR! This is gracious. Flicked nicely off the pads through wide mid on for another boundary. 79 more needed. 22/0
4.5 M Starc to Markram, FOUR! Not authoritative but Markram will take it. This is on a length outside off, a touch shorter in length. Aiden has a slash and gets it off the outer half over backward point for a boundary. 18/0
4.4 M Starc to Markram, Fuller in length, he gets a soft outside edge towards slip. 14/0
4.3 M Starc to Elgar, Lovely shot. Even after getting hurt off the previous ball, Elgar faces this one as a new ball. Flicks it nicely through mid-wicket and gets three. 14/0
4.2 M Starc to Elgar, PAIN! No, not the Aussie keeper but the feeling for Elgar. Hurled on a length, Elgar fails to defend it and the ball strikes him on the box. Thank god for those protective gears. 11/0
4.1 M Starc to Markram, This is punched through covers for a single. 11/0
3.6 J Hazlewood to Elgar, This is angling away on a length, Elgar withdraws his bat to let it pass. 10/0
3.5 J Hazlewood to Elgar, On a length in line of the stumps, defended off the back foot by Elgar. 10/0
3.4 J Hazlewood to Elgar, This is well wide for Dean to play. 10/0
3.3 J Hazlewood to Markram, This one is punched off the back foot through covers for a single. 10/0
3.2 J Hazlewood to Markram, Hurled on off, driven to the man at mid off. 9/0
3.1 J Hazlewood to Markram, This is too wide to make Aiden play. 9/0
2.6 M Starc to Elgar, On the stumps, defended off the front foot. 9/0
2.5 M Starc to Elgar, Hurled outside off, Elgar doesn't play at that. 9/0
2.4 M Starc to D Elgar, Full on off, pushed nicely past mid off for a brace. 9/0
2.3 M Starc to Elgar, This is outside off, Dean lets it go. 7/0
2.2 M Starc to Elgar, Defended off the front foot by the batsman presenting the full face of the bat. 7/0
2.1 M Starc to Elgar, Length ball angling in, Elgar misses the flick and wears it on the thigh pad. 7/0
1.6 J Hazlewood to Markram, Length ball around off, punched to covers. Could have been a successful start for Josh, not to be. 7/0
1.5 J Hazlewood to A Markram, CHANCE COMES, CHANCE GOES! Oh dear, Mitchell Marsh! How much time does it take to become a villain from a hero? He was lauded for his 96-run knock in Durban and then for turning the game with a crucial wicket in that first Test. Here too, his two strikes in the first essay was crucial in the context. Now when his side had a chance of making a match of this low target, he has spilled a chance. This is bowled outside off, Markram looks to defend but gets a thick outside edge. The ball flies to the right of Mitch Marsh at first slip, who gets in the position but fails to hang on. Immediately Shaun Pollock on air says that normally Shaun Marsh is the one standing in that position. Would it have mattered? He isn't the safest in the field either. Nonetheless, South Africa still have a clean slate as far as the wickets column is concerned. 7/0
1.4 J Hazlewood to Markram, Similar delivery, a touch shorter this time. Markram guides it past point and gets two for the effort. 7/0
1.3 J Hazlewood to Markram, FOUR! Nice balanced stroke. The timing on that one was impeccable. Hurled on a length just outside off, Markram hops a touch and punches it through covers. The ball has enough legs to go away to the fence. 5/0
1.2 J Hazlewood to Markram, This is bowled outside off, left alone by Aiden. 1/0
1.1 J Hazlewood to Markram, Hurled on a length aimed at the off pole, Markram blocks it with a straight bat. 1/0
Josh Hazlewood will share the new ball from the other end.
0.6 M Starc to Elgar, Played off the outer half towards point. A positive start for the hosts. 1/0
0.5 M Starc to Elgar, This is full on off, driven to the man at mid off. 1/0
0.4 M Starc to Elgar, Another one outside off, Elgar doesn't play at that. 1/0
0.3 M Starc to Elgar, Fuller and outside off, Elgar shoulders arms. 1/0
0.2 M Starc to Elgar, On a length outside off, it climbs a touch more from the length. Elgar defends this on towards point. 1/0
0.1 M Starc to Markram, Off the mark right away! Cheers ring around the park as the giant board flashes 100 more needed for a win. Starc bowls it on the pads, Markram flicks it to fine leg to get going. 1/0