Even at The G After Two Days

He may be new to Test cricket, but Mike Hussey is fast becoming the “go to man” of Australian cricket. After a murderous 122 with four sixes and 14 boundaries kept Australia in the second Test. South Africa seemed to play into the hands of Hussey giving him easy singles and applying little pressure to a man playing just his 5th Test. With the fast improving Glen McGrath (11*) Hussey put on a record 10th wicket partnership of 107 the highest ever for the last wicket versus South Africa.

Resuming at 239/8, things seem to be going to plan for the Proteas with Makhaya Ntini clean bowling Stuart MacGill for four, for the addition of just nine runs. When Jacques Kallis dropped Hussey from a straight forward catch at slip, few could have foreseen it would cost over a 100 runs. Mike Hussey has now scored three centuries in five Tests and seems set to be a regular member of the Australian side for sometime to come.

In reply South Africa started off cautiously intent on cementing a solid foundation, an out of sorts Graeme Smith was adjudged LBW to Brett Lee for 22 the first wicket falling at 36. AB de Villiers and Herschelle Gibbs continued the war of attrition batting tactics, with both players playing and missing on numerous occasions. Finally a very tight Glen McGrath (14 overs for just 17 runs) trapped de Villiers LBW for a patient 61. At two for 122 Australia seemed poised to strike.

Kallis though had other ideas and seemed to be untroubled batting through to stumps and finishing 17 not out. Gibbs after a shaky start also looked in ominous form and seems to be setting himself for a big innings finishing on 54 not out. The pitch is showing signs of turn, which suggest South Africa will need a decent first inning lead to negate the Australian “spin twins”.

The players today wore black armbands in respect for the passing of Kerry Packer, the mastermind behind WSC which foreshadowed the professional era of international cricket.

Australia – 355
Ricky Ponting 117, Mike Hussey 122
Andre Nel 4/84, Shaun Pollock 3/67

South Africa – 169/2
AB de Villiers 61, Herschelle Gibbs 54*
Glenn McGrath 1/17, Brett Lee 1/65

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