Yet another day, yet another Australian fightback!
The second day of third Test at Cape Town had plenty of things on offer – Dean Elgar became the first man in history of Test cricket to carry his bat through in an innings twice in the same year, and also joining Desmond Haynes as the only men to carry their bat through three times in Test matches. The punch-and-counter-punch battle between David Warner and Kagiso Rabada set the social media on fire. Morne Morkel finally registered his name in the 300 club. In the end, there was an Australian fight back, yet again, to make the day an exciting one.
The Australian history in Test cricket has been glorified with so many fightbacks. Even when the chips are down, they always tend to rise from the ashes and scripts, some jaw-dropping displays some which have become a part of Test cricket’s folklore. Like the Germans in soccer, Australia would always strike back even when there are no hopes at all. It’s a never-ending story and the only beneficiary is Test cricket and its ardent followers.
On the first day, Australia discovered themselves in a hopeless situation. Dean Elgar and AB de Villiers were batting in such a mood, it seemed, they both would bat Australia out of the game on first day. Especially, Australia’s most successful bowlers over the years, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were tamed brilliantly and the shoulders of Australian fielders dropped.
But Australia know, how to make a comeback.
Steve Smith brought back Pat Cummins, a bowler who always delivers when the rest fails to chip in. In a dynamic spell of eight overs, he changed the complexion of the match. The cream of South Africa’s middle and lower middle-order was polished off in style as Australia left the field with a satisfactory smile on their faces.
On the second day, Vernon Philander, Rabada and Morkel set jitters in Australia’s top and middle-order and the visitors discovered were in the hot soup. When Mitchell Starc was dismissed, the last hope of a fightback from the tail was dashed and it was just a matter of time for South Africa to take a big lead in first innings.
But, an Aussie won’t stop driving until the petrol in the car is empty.
Tim Paine hung around only to support a man who’s not expected to take the South African attack to the cleaners. Lyon’s entertaining knock left South African bowlers clueless. He had luck on his side as he was dropped, but he utilized his fortune very well to counter-punch in a one-hour of exciting cricket.
Rabada was hit for fours. Morkel took the beating and in no time, the fifty-run partnership came up. The hook shot by Lyon off Morkel and the swagger against him through the cover in the 63rd over would be one of the moments to remember in this series. But it was Morkel who dismissed him in the end, but his 47 runs off 38 balls have boosted the morale of Australia a lot.
Like the first Test, the Australian tail wagged again. Their grit and attacking instinct have been masking the poor show by the top and middle order. But one thing for sure, the Australians are doing a great job for the betterment of Test cricket. Their fightbacks are helping a lot in enriching the five-day formats and attracting a lot of people to enjoy the beauty of Test cricket.