Australia vs South Africa, 1st Wanderers Test, Day 1

I don't recall going into a Test series with quite the sense of foreboding I've had with this one. Okay, I confess a tendency to desert my team at the first sign of trouble (who will forget my panic attack when we nearly lost a Test to Bangladesh). But Australia is truly at a crossroads. The team is bristling with debutants - Phillip Hughes, Marcus North and Ben Hilfenhaus (has Hilfy played a Test yet?).

Phillip Hughes (pictured here in a Joan of Arc like pose) is not only playing his first Test, he'll be facing the opening delivery of the Australian innings. I like his moxie. When I opened the batting in the Under 12's and Under 14's, I always made a point of starting the innings at the bowler's end. Let's hope Hughes' first Test turns out better than Justin Langer's 100th Test which happened to be in South Africa and ended very early in the first morning, hospitalised by an Ntini bouncer.

My biggest disappointment? Bryce McGain being overlooked. Australia needs legspin. World cricket needs legspin. Humanity in general needs legspin. It's cricket's greatest artform, if done well. But Bryce has managed to make a hash of this tour so far. He missed the plane, got hammered in a tour game against a second rate team then came down with a tummy bug. Come on, Bryce, get it together for leggies everywhere!

According to my calculations, the game should start at 6.30pm Brisbane time. I'm not certain ABC Radio are broadcasting but I'm quietly confident :-)

Posted by JC on Thu 26 Feb 79 comments
Moses, no, not going to the Gabba (didn't even know about Love's game to be honest).
Posted by JC on 2009-02-26 14:15:13
To clarify, I have to admit I'm fairly myopic when it comes to supporting sports teams - there are only two must watch teams I support - the Australian cricket team and the Brisbane Broncos. I may take an academic interest in Sheffield Shield games (mostly sussing out potential Aussie players) and tried valiantly to be interested in the IPL (but failed). But the fire in the belly exists only for those two teams. I'm very passionate about always seeing the Broncos play each weekend and get very snarly when Channel 9 don't broadcast the game.
Posted by JC on 2009-02-26 17:42:12
Well, ABC radio didn't start broadcasting in Brisbane until 30 minutes into the game. Unfortunately Phil Hughes didn't even make it that far - out for a duck in the first over of the day. Bad start, Australia :-(
Posted by JC on 2009-02-26 21:01:50
Beautifully tense Test cricket. 5 minutes before lunch, Ponting and Clarke steady the ship, Ponting edges a sitter to Smith at 2nd slip... dropped! Next ball, Ponting hits Steyn for six. It's a cruel game.
Posted by JC on 2009-02-26 21:26:52
shock horror, phil hughes goes 1st over playing a 20/20 shot. did anyone not see it coming?
marcus north will save us, but mcdonald being picked over bollinger really worries me.
i used to love boony but being the toruing selector he has me seriously worried where his mind is at.
Posted by offcutter on 2009-02-27 02:41:33
Last debut top-order batsmen for Australia with a shorter first innings? Don't know the answer to that one. Worst short to get out by a top-order batsmen on debut - I know the answer to that one!

I wanted him to do well, but when I've seen him bat previously, he tends to slog early. Sure enough first over.

He does tend to make 2nd innings runs so hopefully he can put something together later in the test.

Ponting looked in unbelievable touch. Apart from the drop catch. And never leave a ball from Ntini when he's bowling with such 'swangle' (swing and wide on the crease angle!)!

Clarke looked great as well. Hussey should bat 5 - I think he bats far better there. When did they swap this around? I'm sure Clarke used to bat 4?

North looked very good and it was a shame they went off as he'll have to start again now. Proteas brain trust will be working overnight on how to bowl to him - after having no idea on the first day.

The Ranga in for Bollinger was a big mistake. Ask the Proteas who they'd rather face on that deck, Bollinger bowling big inswingers and cutting away at high 130's or Ranga bowling mid 120's stump to stump. Ronald will make a ton now - and I'll happily eat my words!

McGain left out was the right call. Harris didn't turn one and McGain isn't a bigger spinner of the ball.

By the way, anyone else think that McGain looks like Geoffrey Rush?!

Big day 2 coming up. If we get to 350 we're in the box seat.
Posted by Hewy on 2009-02-27 14:02:59
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