Friday, November 9, 2012

The Keys to Day 2 of the 1st Australia versus South Africa Test

The 1st Day of the Australia versus South African Test series saw the much hyped Australian bowling attack being made to look very ordinary by the regal South African batting. You could pass it off as a bad day by an attack that has been very well performed for a while now, but crucially they need to strike back hard when play starts today.

So what will be the Keys to Day 2 of this clash?

1, The New Ball, and how the Aussies use it


This is a bit of a 'Captain Obvious', but it stood out like dogs balls on the first day on a few levels.

The Aussies seemed to under estimate the South African batting in regards to their style of play and adherence to purism. Most of the Aussie attack has had their success in Test Cricket achieved by beating up on flawed entities where lines and lengths were not so crucial for you knew a gift was around the corner.

Not so against South Africa!

Who all understand about where there off stump is and how crucial it is to leave the ball. Australia previously failed dismally against this old style batting in the Ashes and again looked all at sea in this initial clash. The only time they got their lengths and lines to what was challenging to the batsmen saw Graeme Smith get caught LBW....

Crucially here they need to be fuller with the laser on between middle and off making the batsmen play and relying on any swing or seam they might get to usurp them.

This phase will define the match for if the Aussies can get 2 or 3 wickets they might be able to escape with South Africa only scoring 350 odd with the match still on. But if they let Amla and Kallis, who have no care for strike rates just leave and leave and leave some more .....

500 plus is on the cards and game over

2, Michael Clarke's Tactics

Head in hands as we thought we were back in the Punta days of tactical dyslexia

He just gifted a day to the South Africans similar to one that would be felt on a beach in the Seychelles with no pressure at all and not a care in the World

The game was set up for South Africa to attack and push home their advantage after lunch, but Clarke instead of supporting this instinct in the covet of wickets he chose to lull them into milking mode

By bringing on the part timers and pushing the fields back

Allowing two batsmen, who are boring in the extreme when it comes to risk in Amla and Kallis be supported in what they excel at in terms of accumulating runs and discarding the occasional bad ball

From ball one on Day 2, Clarke needs to challenge them by the intelligent use of his bowlers supported by fields that strangle them and hopefully get them out.

Just quietly too- time for a bowl too Pup! 

3, The Mental Battle

Things did not look good for the Aussies on the first day with them looking like they did under Ricky Ponting in the Ashes with heads drooped and no camaraderie.

This was due to South Africa, who not only beat the Aussies comprehensively in the days play, but started to get into the Aussie heads by drawing things out a bit like a Cat does in toying with its prey. You saw this with everything set up for South Africa to attack the bowling, but they just niggled and noodled it for a single here and a two there.

There was a lovely context seen in the play for you not only witnessed South Africa doing everything in its power to set up victory in this match, but also the means to Lord it over the Aussies in the series.

If the Aussies do not challenge this today, and try to break it down. You can see not only the potential of a whitewash in the series, but a legacy in the minds of the Aussies reminiscent of 'death through a thousand cuts'

4, You cannot hide here Nathan Lyon!

Pure and simple as soon as Shane Watson was lost to the bowling unit and his meaning with it Nathan Lyon had to be dropped from the side. With Michael Clarke and Dave Warner sharing the spin role

For you can respect the lad and his performances in Tests so far, but you can see what has been behind his success in regards to Michael Clarke's use of him

In regards to being situational when Australia are on top and hidden like the crazy aunt in the cellar when they are not.

Shane Watson's bowling allowed this.

Without that pedigree, it meant Lyon was expected to be a front line bowler, and duly the South African feasted to the point where Rob Quiney was preferred to him

If the Aussies fail to flip the game to at least nil all with the new ball the focus will be on Lyon bright with him having to give the Saffers a reason to lose their obvious disdain for him.

For if he does not, they will just drift between milking him to mauling him, and with it being exiled out of the attack

Which is never good in a place like the GABBA, which is hot as Hell and humid to make you feel like you were at a wet tshirt competition.

5, The Gears need to shift South Africa


The first day was as much about context with South Africa gaining a dominance with how at ease they were throughout.

But Day 2 needs to be about the hammering home of that advantage

Meaning a dour first hour of seeing off the new ball, and then branching out

By targeting a score of 550 odd with an hour left in the day to target the Aussie batting

6, The Aussie Batting 

Barring Weather or bizarre South African tactics you know that Australia will bat sometime today.

Batting under pressure and with the fragile reputation of their top 3 they need to perform

For if they are 3 down for not much as has been a consistent trend of late

Expect an innings defeat..............

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