Arsenal ended its nine-year trophy drought on Saturday, coming from two goals...
Dominant Australia thrash South Africa
Australia led by a rampant Mitchell Johnson dismantled South Africa inside 4 days of the first Test match at Supersport Park in Centurion.
Johnson was the star performer in the recent Ashes series with 32 wickets and he followed that up in Centurion by adding a further 12, 7/63 in the first innings and 5/59 in the second, career best figures, to give Australia an emphatic 281 run victory over the number 1 ranked team in Test cricket.
Australia dominated from the very first ball and its difficult to see the Proteas getting back into the series if Johnson continues in this hostile vain.
As with England the South African batting lineup has been psychologically damaged and will have to come up with some solutions on how to deal with the Johnson factor except for star player AB de Villiers who dominated Johnson and the Australian attack with complete confidence.
Australia only faced 3 overs in the morning before declaring on 290/4, setting the home team an impossible 482 runs to win.
Johnson sent the two openers Petersen and Smith back to the pavilion with another hostile spell, leaving the hosts staring down the barrel at 12/2.
Amla and Du Plessis rode the storm and started to rebuild bravely until Siddle got one to stay low, dismissing Du Plessis leg before, an unplayable delivery.
Amla did particularly well following a Johnson delivery first up that smashed straight into his face. He looked to be back in some kind of form until he played a loose shot to a wide Harris delivery which was snapped up by Marsh in the slips.
Other than De Villiers with 48 none of the South African batsman had an answer to the searing pace of Johnson who inflicted further damage when another short delivery smashed into the side of McLaren’s head in a sickening moment.
South Africa were eventually dismissed for 200 giving Australia a well deserved win. The tourists were almost perfect in all departments, with the bat 2 double century stands in each innings allowed Clarke to attack with the ball while their fielding was nothing short of sensational.
Doolan at short leg held 2 remarkable catches, the first one was straight out the middle of Graeme Smiths bat and similarly when Duminy nailed one that would normally have crossed the boundary somehow Doolan managed to react and Steve Smith also at close range on the offside held onto one that was smashed by the inform De Villiers.
South Africa have a few problems before the next Test in Port Elizabeth which begins in 4 days. How will they bounce back psychologically and deal with the pace of Johnson and also what changes need to be made.
Petersen up front is living on borrowed time, Du Plessis should stay at 4 considering both his dismissals were unplayable deliveries. Ryan McLaren looked out of his depth and although it is impossible to replace Kallis’s 300 Test wickets and 13000 runs he isn’t the one to fill the void.
21 year old Quinton de Kock looks a possibility in the middle order and could relieve De Villiers of the extra burden of keeping wicket. De Kock recently scored three consecutive hundreds against India in the one day series and looks a quality player that could apply himself at Test level.
Do the Proteas fight fire with fire and bring in Marchant de Lange or Kyle Abbott in place of Robin Pietersen. De Lange is capable of bowling at the 150km/hour mark which could help the South African cause, while Abbott not quite as quick however he has been in top form the last couple of seasons.
Whatever the South Africans decide they need to do it quickly otherwise there will almost certainly be only one winner in this series.
Australia 397 (Marsh 148, Smith 100, Steyn 4-78) and 290 for 4 dec (Warner 115, Doolan 89) beat South Africa 206 (de Villiers 91, Johnson 7-68) and 200 (de Villiers 48, Johnson 5-59) by 281 runs