Posted by: nestaquin | March 2, 2009

The Underdog Bites Back

onya-hilfyAustralia’s inexperienced bowling attack has South Africa staring down the barrel of defeat at lunch on the fifth day of the first Test in Johannesburg.

Johnson, Siddle and debutant Hilfenhaus have bowled with heart and as a unit continually asking questions of the hosts and their rewards are well deserved as the pressure to produce has been immense.

In only his 19th Test Johnson is now the undisputed leader of the attack and the work he has put in during his net sessions is paying a high dividend with his ability to swing the ball away from the left-handers and into the right most impressive.

Hilfenhaus has bowled accurately and without luck but the support given has contributed to wickets at the other end, while Siddle has bustled in all Test and annoyed the South Africans to distraction.

McDonald, much maligned and misunderstood, did his job well before the second new ball and his wicket of AB de Villiers enabled Australia to relax and take the ascendancy before the break.

With the bowlers tiring Australia still have much to do as South Africa will fight tooth and nail but with a concentrated effort and a little more luck the raging underdogs could conceivably take a lead in the series and put themselves in a wonderful position to retain the diamond encrusted mace.



  1. Siddle gets JP!

  2. A huge win for your boys if they can get over the line – and they should by 100+ now Duminy is gone.

    • South Africa won’t lie down Toots. Still plenty of effort needed.

  3. It’s been a great spell from Siddle especially when you consider he’s into his 24th over of the innings.

    I think the selectors have the right attack going forward. All young, all different and all big hearted.

    Don’t want to get too carried away but it is difficult to contain the excitement.

    • yes yes yes yes. gee this is great!

  4. Siddle and Steyn to renew pleasantries at some point?

    • Looking forward to that J. Siddle and the rest of us will enjoy that immensely.

  5. Aussies are now much favourites to win this game. Though again…cricket is an unpredictable game. Remember the 3rd test between Windies and England recently.

    • Didn’t the third Test last ten balls? I’d be very pleased if this one was over in the same duration.

      No that was the second. Of course, South Africa can save the match but there is a long way to go and this pitch is far more sporting – halfway lines exempted – than the one at the ARG.

      • Wow !!! Morkel falls as well. Now the only one who can save the Proteas are the rain gods.

        Truly, for the first time the Australians were rated underdogs even before the series started. A great comeback indeed !

  6. Mitchell man of the match surely?

    • Surely. Loved Morne’s best impression of the Glenn McGrath pull shot!

  7. N l can’t quite explain it but l felt a strong affection or liking for this team the second they strode out in their baggy greens. This has been one of the most enjoyable tests l have ever followed. Context adds to it of course but just felt great about the XI (would not have had Mcdonald but he has been nagging).

    Never thought for a second this contest might be possible but just wonderful to see a group of young hungry blokes in the baggy green. Just felt so much lighter, refreshed and positive. Regardless of result even as l have felt this all test, l feel really happy for Ponting. l don’t think he is a great captain but l think he has been subject to ridiculous levels of vitriol (temporary insanity in India included). And that partnership of he and Clarke was crucial.

  8. Ponting isn’t a great captain tactically but he does lead from the front and never shirks his heavy responsibility with the bat or as leader.

    The young players respect him and will play their hearts out for him. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and doesn’t hide his disappointment or excitement and, I for one, enjoy his honest working class approach.

    People conveniently forget that he had John Buchanan to assist him early on and that Tim Nielsen is so clueless that he is more a hinderance than a help.

    Ben is working Harris over like an old pro. Very enjoyable.

    • Agree. He will probably do better with the young blokes who respond more to the inspirational rather than strategic style?

  9. test cricket, an aging experience…

    this is like excrutiating torture…

    Because Steyn and Boucher, should the cricket gods get them in at the last together, can do it.

    AU playing SA>. its never over till stumps. . gotta love all these blokes, really. The superb Mitch, the gutsy Duminy, Smith and Ponting, 2 young blokes really, carrying tremendous responsibility at young ages.

    * gritty eyed*…

  10. oh my lord.. Boucher!!!.. HILFY YOU BLOODY BEAUTY

    • Lovely bowling by Ben. You’re right Pepp. YOU BLOODY BEAUTY!!!!

      Here’s Steyn. He’ll get plenty of short stuff.

      • Happy for Hilf. Been waiting for him for a while.

  11. Steyn is getting the short stuff in spades, nesta.. but hey, this is test cricket, it’s how it is… he is a hard man, Steyn and one not given to being too rattled.

    but by golly, get Steyn in an interview and he is truly charm in a basket.. just gorgeous.

    • Steyn is a lovely bloke who thrives on white line fever.

      I saw Siddle walking around Adelaide with a bucket collecting some cash for the poor buggers in Victoria and he was very gracious and presentable too although you could see that lurking behind his exterior was a hard arsed mongrel. Just the kind of bloke you want on your side!

  12. a horrid bouncer to Steyn.. you got to send them off for tea a bit shook up, though.. quite rational. Nice, Hilfy.

    ok Mitch. .. lay it out, Mitch.

    • Steyn did his very best to spliflicate young Hughes and it is the quicks job to give him plenty back. Steyn can handle it and it sure is entertaining.

      5 for 42 in that session. That is a thorough shellacking.

      • Steyn would expect and ask for nothing less. Thats they way SA and Aus play cricket.

  13. Steyn would be prepared for it. He would probably be disappointed if he wasnt battered and banged about a bit. .. Nesta.. simply fabulous. Fabulous.

  14. Nothing between SA and AU is ever over until stumps.. and even then… .

    • I was just thinking the same pepp. Although thrilled with the effort two wickets still need to be taken and the Saffas won’t be throwing in the towel. There’ll be plenty of time for celebrating after the match!

  15. Katich!!… heart attack stuff, that catch..

    now.. Ntini. He and Dale can bugger us up even now, nesta.

    • You can see it in their eyes pepp. They are gone if the light holds. There it is. A fantastic win. I’m cock-a-hoop!!


  17. Jap.. haha.. I loved it too. I loved your enjoyment as much as my own.

    * Me and Mango are a bit teary eyed. .

    It was a great and good win. Ricky, you little ripper. I lay this at Ricky’s feet, Nesta. He got it out of them, and pulled them on and up. Siddle, Mitch, Hilf, North, McDonald, .. some fabulous fielding, too. They held it together, and that’s the clue, really.

    oh. I loved it , so much, Nesta!!!

  18. Nothing to take away from the Saffers. A damn good game, and played out to the very end.

    • True so much respect for them l thought they could possibly do the ridiculous today.

  19. Wow that was one of the great efforts away by an Aus team.

  20. I’m going to try and settle down and write something about what I reckon is one of the most memorable wins in my quarter century of following the mighty BaggyGreens.

    Thanks Pepp and Jap it’s been a team effort at 99.94 too.

    • N an absolute pleasure to be here. Couldn’t agree more. The Windies loss in Adelaide was always my personal lowlight (and ABs l guess), far more than Calcutta and daylight to Ashes 05. And the highest for me has always been Ashes 89 as a series. But this as a singular test is just so sweet. Struggle for perspective at this point, just really enjoyable! On ya Punter!

  21. It’s about time you popped over to the GU pepp and shared the love. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it immensely.

  22. oh. they cant do without me, nesta.. they did try banning me, then making me go through a moderator for every post, but in the end, they , like Vaughan and dipshit Harmison , folded.

    Of course, I am very gracious , even so, and I share as much love as I can pour out, really.. you know.. the usual.

  23. good on Kallis.. he didnt do those 10,000 easy, , you cant help but admire him, maddening though he can be..

    I saw him giggling in Sydney, Nesta.. people dont believe me, but it’s true.

    • I believe you pepp. He is having a little giggle now.

  24. * sleep well, Nesta.. you will be inspired, I know..

    I like it that it happened at the Wanderers, too.

    no reason, I just do.

  25. Congrats Aussies.

    Huge performance from Mitch Johnson who is learning so quickly you can see it happening.

    Such a fine win for the new players. Katich and Hussey scored 17 runs between them.

    They deserve a beer tonight!

  26. Don’t want to get too carried away Toots but an old bloke that I was watching the cricket with this evening, a respected man with over 60 years of cricketing experience and not one to talk glibly reckons Johnson is reminding him more and more of Sobers every time he sees him play.

  27. That Johnson has the swing to go with the pace is a frightening prospect.

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