1. South Africa vs Australia, 2nd Test
Dec 26 – Dec 30
4:30 AM at Melbourne, Melbourne Cricket Ground
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South Africa may boast an excellent pace attack, but it won’t matter if their batsmen can’t score runs. This is their fourth setback in a row, and with each loss, qualifying for the WTC final gets farther away. They still have a Test left on this trip, so there is yet hope. Australia has defeated South Africa at home for the first time in 17 years, and this deserves to be celebrated. They may be missing several regulars for the Sydney Test, but expect them to try for the clean sweep. That’s all we’ve got. We hope you found our coverage useful. Stay safe and have a great new year till next time. Goodbye!
Australia captain: Pat Cummins It (the victory) is right there. We’ve had some terrific games with South Africa, and we hadn’t won at home against them in 20 years, so it was pretty amazing. I think Warner and Smith batted bravely in the heat. Starc and Green, too, pushed their ailments aside and showed their. Davey was fantastic; you could feel his intensity from the first ball, and to accomplish it in his 100th Test is incredible. He (Carey) has definitely confirmed his position in the Test team, and a century on Boxing Day is something remarkable. He’s OK (Lyon), he simply got winded. Starc and Green will almost certainly miss the Sydney Test. Boxing Day is a big deal, and this year was extra special since we were celebrating Warnie.
South Africa captain: Dean Elgar It’s not easy right now. That was quite a thrashing. We need to do a lot of reflecting before we go forward. This Test yielded a few favorable results, but not many. We lost a lot of hitters in the previous several years, so inexperience with the bat has played a factor. However, this provided a chance for newbies to come out, perform, and make a permanent claim in this batting group. But it is absolutely harming us right now. There’s a lot on the line in Sydney, South Africa is a proud cricketing country, and 2-1 sounds a lot better than 3-0
Player of the Match: David Warner The lads worked quite hard to complete the task. Green and Starc did some insane things, while Carey had a tremendous hundred. What a contest it turned out to be, the 100th Test in front of a full MCG. For me, the knock will be right up there. I’ve always known I had what it took to perform on a huge platform. (When asked whether this was his last Boxing Day Test, he said, “I’m committed to playing in next year’s World Cup (50-over competition in India), I’ll keep myself healthy, try to keep scoring, but if they (team management) slap me on the back and say it’s time, I’m ready” (to quit)
Mitchell Starc We take satisfaction in our performances over the previous 18-24 months, and this week was another important triumph for us. It was great to overcome the injuries and contribute to the victory. I wasn’t sure (about his finger injury), I wanted to see if I could bowl through the agony; I’ll be out of commission for a few weeks, but it was worth it. I’ll have to investigate the problem and determine the extent of the harm. With the next India trip, I obviously want to return as soon as possible. He (on David Warner) and Alex Carey set up the game for us after going through a lot with all the outside noise and then delivering in such a way. It was good to not bowl under 38 degrees after winning the toss and bowling. We put them under pressure, and it was fantastic to build up this victory.
The day began with Erwee and Theunis de Bruyn holding off the Australian pacers. They were batting without much difficulty until Starc bowled a blistering yorker and they lost three wickets in a row. Bavuma and Verreynne began the rebuilding process once again, adding a 50-plus partnership for the fifth wicket, but as expected, one brilliant ball from Boland ended their relationship as well. Bavuma went to fifty, but he sacrificed two partners and threw it away when playing a slog sweep. The rest was simple since the tail was not prepared to fight and wanted to get it over with by playing their shots. All of the Australian bowlers took a wicket, with Lyon taking three. Keep an eye out for the presentations.
South Africa needed a miracle to tie the series, but they could have shown a little more fight and prolonged the game to day five, instead of surrendering meekly in little over two sessions. The same script had played out in the previous four Tests: hitters putting themselves in but not showing enough effort to turn it into a huge score. Without the final couple flinging their bats about, South Africa would have gone eight innings without reaching 200. However, Australia deserves credit for getting the job done despite losing Green to a finger injury and Starc bowling with a broken finger.
2. South Africa vs Australia, 1st Test
Dec 17 – Dec 21
5:20 AM at Brisbane, The Gabba
RSA: 152 & 99
AUS: 218 & 35-4
Australia won by 6 wkts
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That concludes our coverage of Australia’s first Test against South Africa. The hosts take a 1-0 lead after just two days of play!! Will there be a similar post-mortem to the last time we played a two-day Test, the terrible turner in Ahmedabad? We’ll find out soon enough, but in any case, the fact that these incredible quicks get a few days free before the Boxing Day Test at the MCG is a blessing in disguise. That should be another exciting match, perhaps with a more equal bat and ball match. For the time being, Saurabh Shankar is signing off on behalf of Sagar Chawla and Vinod Kumar.
Cummins, Pat: It’s a tricky wicket. I believe the way Head and Smith batted brought us to this point. (On the pitch being tricky) You’re asking the wrong person. I’m a bowler. But it was a challenging wicket, and Head deserves respect for the manner he played – he almost reached a century. (On Mitch Starc) He’s a key part of our squad, demonstrates his longevity, and continues to improve. I’m looking forward to a few days off, enjoying Christmas with my family, and then getting ready for the Boxing Day Test, which is always a huge deal.
Elgar, Dean: We would have been in the game if we had scored another 60 runs. I’m still trying to make sense of what occurred. Bowlers were licking their lips on this tasty wicket. It’s challenging for the hitters, which is OK, but I don’t think this is a fair battle. To be honest, I don’t believe we could have prepared any better. Even though the conditions were not favorable to the hitters, the collaboration of Smith and Head proved decisive. We have an unforeseen additional three days, which is a fantastic thing. People want to see two excellent bowling assaults, but they want to watch them for the whole five days.
Player of the Match: Travis Head A challenging pitch with ample of opportunities for bowlers. That was evident throughout the game. It’s great to be able to contribute and win. When we were batting, we spoke about being optimistic, and they bowled in the appropriate locations. We knew we’d have to hit and miss, and we’re hoping for some good fortune. This was one of the most difficult pitches I’ve ever played on. Enjoy a few days off to rest and rejuvenate.
Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje put up a brave fight, but let’s face it. A 34-point objective was never enough!! Nonetheless, Rabada used his back-of-the-length bowling to exploit the pitch and worry the Australian hitters. That’s how he took all four wickets, and Australia would have been nervous, but SA gave away too many extras while attempting to bounce out the opposition. They eventually arrived with six wickets in hand.
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It was a bowler’s heaven, a spicy track with too much bounce and seam movement. South Africa responded in the first innings with Verreyenne’s fifty, but the majority of those around him were too tepid, with Starc and Lyon picking three wickets each. Australia struggled as well, and in retrospect, a counter-attacking 92 from Travis Head proved to be the difference between the two teams. Perhaps it is the blueprince to play on a surface with so much to offer.
Australia led by 66 runs after the first innings, while South Africa scarcely fought back in the second. Khaya Zondo remained undefeated, but the rest of the field was blasted away by the speed, with Pat Cummins taking a fifer. Australia then chased it down in eight overs, despite losing four wickets. A two-day Test match, the issue is if questions will be raised about this pitch today. Keep an eye out for the presentations.