Posted by: nestaquin | March 9, 2009

Durban Day Four: Discipline & Versatility

ouchToday in Durban, the inexperienced and versatile Australian pace attack will have the opportunity to knock over South Africa and take their team to an unassailable two-nil lead in the series for the ICC Mace. Chances of South Africa securing the title are now very dim indeed even without the added complication of finding a replacement for captain Graeme Smith at the top of the order.

For all of Phillip Hughes’ heroics and record setting it will be the bowlers that clinch this victory and it will be interesting to witness the strategies Ricky Ponting employs over the next two days to capitalize on the overwhelmingly dominant position his charges have worked so tirelessly to create.

At different stages over each of South Africa’s three completed innings Ponting has used his three main quicks, Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Siddle, in different roles and always as a combination.

It is a simple strategy of using an enforcer at one end and a miser at the other. All three quicks have alternated roles and when applied with discipline it enables Australia to control the tempo and direction of the match, a crucial component of successful Test match cricket.

It is a tactic that Australia haven’t been able to implement confidently for some time, for while Warne and McGrath were equally adept in both roles, ably supported most notably by Jason Gillespie, recent combinations that included Brett Lee, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Jason Krezja and Nathan Hauritz have been far more one-dimensional in approach.

I expect a continuation of this difficult to sustain and highly skilled method on days four and five at Kingsmead and with three quicks that can do both roles at different stages of the innings, Ponting has the elasticity required to ram home the advantage and reap the rewards his team so richly deserve.

Image: Getty


  1. McKenzie 4 off 38 balls. Is it as grim on television as it appears on cricinfo?

  2. Well the bowling is very accurate and beating the bat at least once an over but I should admit that I did have a little after dinner kip between the eighth and twelfth over such was my excitement.

  3. I think I slept through some of McKenzie’s batting at Lord’s in July and I’d paid £75 for the ticket!

  4. Mckenzie……………………..

  5. If Bucknor wouldn’t have given McKenzie a life after Billy gave him out then we’d have the flashing blade of Kallis to entertain us instead!

  6. Changed their mind over lunch, going for the win now?

  7. oh… Marcus… a dropper.. !@.#(*&$%^HF

  8. The Siddle Sizzle! A day and a half to go and three down including the crocked skipper. If another falls in the next hour it could be over today.

  9. that was awfully nice of Rick to let North have a shot at it, ey, nesta? tee hee..

    it could well be over today, indeedy. I hope it isnt, I like this kind of stuff to go on forever.

  10. Well on the way. Any storm clouds? Real ones l mean….

  11. I don’t know who the bloke is doing the cricinfo stuff but I think he must be American.

    Earlier I read that he reckons South Africa should bat out the day and have a go at 550 tomorrow and just now I had another peak and he wrote that South Africa need a 100 run partnership to get back in the game.

    Where do they get these blokes? I don’t think they’ve played or watched much cricket. Ever since Disney bought the site it has steadily gone downhill.

  12. Johnson generates such awkward bounce. Not just this pitch at all, he has done it consistently for a while now. Has taken me quite a while to wrap my head around his bowling in some ways. Now that he has it swinging back in as part of his arsenal he is deadly. D.K. was spot on again.

  13. Roebuck has been blithering on about the cricinfo stuff. He says it comes out of Bangalore, and someone wont be lasting too long in the job.

  14. This is a different sort of test for them. Can they hang in there and maintain the pressure when wickets are not coming. They seem to be doing OK so far, and it will only be a matter of time before the breakthrough comes.

    • You’re right fred. Still 360 in front and plenty of time left. They’ll keep plugging away and even if a breakthrough doesn’t eventuate this session the new ball is due first thing tomorrow. Should make for a good day and you never know Smith might cut off the cast again and try and save the match in the last session.

      Even if South Africa draw, the mace is safe so to disappoint me they need to chase down the lot. The fields have been attacking and even though Kallis and de Villiers are both 50 it’s been hard work for them and Australia are still well in control. Patience and discipline are what’s required and win or draw I think we’ll see McGain in the next Test. He’d be very handy in this situation.

  15. The third option of a Saffers win in this test match is quite remote of course.

  16. The Australians have come back strongly after their dismal performance back home. However, there is no doubt that the Springboks are batting below par.

    Neil Johnson has troubled Graeme Smith with his inswingers from the word ‘go’. Kallis’ reflexes seem to desert him at crucial moments and Duminy, though a gutsy and talented cricketer lacks the experience to steer a side through trouble. Hashim Amla has promised much but delivered little. South Africa has very little chance of picking things up in this series. They will have to wait for another series in future.

  17. Thanks for popping in Joy. That Neil Johnson bloke is a corker when you can find him. And it would be nice if Jacques would desert the crease. He’s been there so long today it’s starting to resemble a trench. As for Duminy well he couldn’t steer a dinghy through Sydney Heads we all saw that on Day two and in Melbourne and Perth too. You should apply for a gig at cricinfo. I reckon you have what it takes.

    • Goodness, today seems to have made you quite grumpy nesta:)

      • It’s Neil Johnson’s fault.

        • no wonder we’re winning, we must have 12 players on the park.

  18. That new ball is critical tomorrow. Take it from an Englishman, closing out Tests without an attacking spinner isn’t easy at all.

    SA have shown great heart at last even if they are rolled from here.

  19. If memory serves me correct at this late hour it is a similar situation as the last two Tests. Two wickets in the morning session would set it up nicely and if it goes to the wire I’m sure we will see Smith bat one-handed again.

  20. Looking on the bright side, its good for the team to have to grind things through sometimes too. Character forming and all that stuff. It will make the beers taste sweeter tomorrow night.

  21. I know Neil Johnson, actually. He is my local vicar.

    I fell over last night, Nesta.. oh well.. But I’ll be there for the great gettin up day tonight!!

  22. As for Joy’s take on Duminy.. pulease… Dooms could do this on his own, dead drunk in a thunderstorm on one leg.

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