Live Cricket Score: Australia vs South Africa 2012 1st Test Day 2
If the end of the first day at the Gabba proves nothing else it is that while Australia may be only just behind South Africa in the world test rankings, the teams themselves are still quite a distance apart.
To beat South Africa and achieve their stated goal of world number one, the Australian Test side will have to perform above all expectations. For South Africa to stay there, they need only perform to them.
At 2/255 at stumps after bad light stopped play, the Proteas have effectively taken the game, and possibly the series, away from the home side. The fact that they did it without appearing to break a sweat is an ominous sign for the remaining Test matches.
Australia’s effort has been admirable, but they just do not have the polish and quality available to the South African selectors. The Proteas have a team of not only talented players, but teammates who have performed together consistently and know how to make the most of every opportunity.
It is hard to imagine the Australian batting line-up replicating in their innings what the South Africans have done today and, with eight wickets still in hand, the pain is far from over.
Graeme Smith’s fall to James Pattinson (1/53), adjudged out LBW on review for 10, was a promising start for the home team, but from that point the visitor’s took control.
Alviro Peterson and Hashim Amla combined to at first blunt, then punish, an Australian attack that increasingly looked out of ideas – a fact illustrated by Test debutant Rob Quiney being thrown the ball by captain Michael Clarke.
Nathan Lyon (1/61) had Peterson caught by Mike Hussey off a mistimed pull shot for 64 to give the Australians some hope, but the wicket was against the run of play and only served to reunite one of the most devastating partnerships in Test cricket.
Hashim Amla (90) and Jacques Kallis (84) combined to bat with the confidence, surety and ease that has demoralised attacks around the world.
Having only recently combined to monster the England Test attack, Amla and Kallis look set to continue their run of form in Brisbane. The record of both players in achieving not only hundreds but big ones, is surely a worrying factor for the Australian hierarchy.
The Australian bowlers bowled well and with continued effort, but lacked the fire and zip that we expect to see from counterparts in Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Kallis himself. The fielding side also had their patience tested with some key moments that went against them.
Ben Hilfenhaus (1/53) had a strong case for LBW denied by referral. Peter Siddle (0/58) had a wicket from a no-ball, the replay seemingly inconclusive as to whether part of his front foot was behind the line or not.
Siddle then dropped a tough return chance off his own bowling, which surely had Michael Clarke wondering what he had done in a previous life.
Australia’s inability to grab the half-chances when presented is the difference between staying where they are and becoming a top side.
Champion teams are the ones that are able to take control of the key moments in the match that will determine the outcome. They are also able to perform more consistently for longer than their opposition.
Australia has potential, but they have been given a lesson today by a side that is simply the best in the world.
And it may be that Australia will be at school for a while longer yet.