Below are live updates from day one of the first Test between South Africa and Australia at Centurion as they happened on Wednesday.
17:51 STUMPS What started off as a very positive morning for South Africa, ended up in a bucket of disappointment. Marsh and Smith have put on 199 runs between them and pushed Australia into the pound seats. Disciplined bowling early on helped the hosts, but Robin Peterson’s spell let the Aussies back in the game and gave them a massive confidence boost. Now SA are in the soup and will have to keep fighting back over and over again. It’s not like they haven’t been in a situation like this before. There’s much time left in the game, it’s the mindset that will be the difference. We’ll be back tomorrow with more updates. And a Five-For report. Bye fo rnow.
17:35 Pow! Angry bouncer from Morne Morkel, pops Marsh in the grill. Lots of “oohs and aahs” from the crowd here.
17:27 Philander got just one over with the new ball, Steyn was creamed throught he covers by Smith, now the ball has been handed to Morkel and Marsh gets an edge past a flying point fielder for four more. Gulp. Australia 280-4.
17:16 THERE IT IS! A sight for sore eyes, the second new ball has been taken. Philander has it. Australia 263-4
17:11 NEW BALL READY….but it hasn’t been taken….
16:59 Here’s the 250 for Australia. Marsh moves to 104 and Smith is on 66. Peterson and Duminy now trying to rush through the overs to get to hat second new ball. It’s four overs away.
16:51 If you are looking for a way to feel better about this whole Steve Smith thing, his middle nameis Devereux.
16:41 The second new ball is eight overs away. That’ll be some positive for South Africa. Australia now 263-4
16:37 Smith gets 50 and Marsh gets a hundred. Do not adjust your resolution. Smith has a 50 and now Marsh has a hundred. South Africa getting spanked a bit.
16:05 100-run partnership Well, Australia were never goingto just roll over and die. These two have taken back control. Partnership ton up off just 117 balls.
15:57 Marsh on the charge. Whacks Steyn to long off for four. He moves to 77. Australia 195-4. To put it all into context. Marsh wasn’t even supposed to be on the tour. He failed a fitness Test after being named in the squad. Then Shane Watson got injured and Marsh was drafted in and selected ahead of Phil Hughes. In 85 first-class games, he had averaged just 35.02 with only eight hundreds to show for his efforts. Well, cricket, eh?
15:43 Something strange is happening. Baby-cheeked Steve Smith is playing proper cricket shots. An upper cut to third man and a sigh-inducing drive have both just gone for four. Australia 185-4.
15:36 Final session about to kick off. Or rather, it has kicked off. Morkel and Steyn resuming. Australia 177-4. Marsh on 68.
15:10 Tea time and that session belongs to Australia. Marsh, hobbling and limping, has started to edge a little bit of favour back towards Australia. Much of that is thanks to Robin Peterson who was meant to put the pressure on but released it instead. If these two carry on until the close of play, South Africa will be back under the cosh.
14:41 Marsh brings up his half century with swipe down to fine leg off McLaren. Australia 145-4, pressure releasing.
14:37 Peterson has been bowling, but not very well. Smith and Marsh using their feet and slapping his lollipops all around the park. He’s a nice guy, Peterson, an Arsenal fan, even. His bowling today, though, isn’t exactly nice.
14:15 There’s the spinner. Peterson into the attack. South Africa probably aren’t brave enough to bring Duminy on from the other end to try and get through overs yet though.
14:00 Drinks break. Marsh has looked the most solid out of all the Aussies out there today. The pitch is dreadfully slow, but the run rate has remained steady and just over 2.5 runs an over for the last 12 overs. Important for Australia to make it to tea without losing another wicket. Probably time for the spinner soon.
13:43 WICKET! With pressure building, that was coming. Clarke fails at playing a hook shot and is caught by Philander at fine leg. Antoher wicket for Dale Steyn. Here’s Steve Smith. Australia 98-4
13:22 Back from lunch and not much has changed. Australia still pottering about, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philande steaming in. Australia 85-3.
LUNCH DAY ONE: Definitely South Africa’s session. After a curious decision to bowl first on a track that’s quite dry, it’s paid off. Steyn, Philander, Morkel and McLaren ahave all been patient, persistent and accurate for the most part. Australia’s openers were roughed up and the rookies looked far more composed. As it stands, there’s no chance of weather disrupting anything here today and we should get the full 90 overs in. Important session coming up. Clarke’s wicket is key. Australia 83-3; Shaun Marsh 23 (57), Michael Clarke 11 (19); Ryan McLaren 5-2-8-1, Morne Morkel 6-2-20-1
12:18 Statoid time. Centurion hasn’t been kind to openers. Since 2006, the average opening pair averages just 24.74 here, which is lower than all other venues barring Jamaica. That stat takes into account a miminum of 15 partnerships. South Africa last played here a little under a year ago, when they beat Paistan by an innings and 18 runs. Greaeme Smith and Alviro Petersen managed 13 runs together.
12:14 WICKET! Stunner of a catch from Peterson at midwicket hands McLaren his first wicket of this Test. McLaren has been patient, persistent and very good at turning the screws to build pressure. Short of a length and Doolan mistimes a pull, Peterson dives to take a blinder. Doolan gone for 27 off 51. Australia 72-3, here’s Michael Clarke.
12:11 Sight screen problem alert! These usually happen early on in the day, but the umpire has just asked for the screen to be changed with a signal that looks like he’s indicating a free hit. Two Aussie rookies still showing their top order how it’s done. Australia 72-2.
12:06 Steady partnership building between Marsh and Doolan. Marsh in particular has started looking more confident earlier. McLaren’s just been whacked for four, much to the delight of the flag-waving Aussies in the crowd. Australia 69-2.
11:54 Robin Peterson into the attack. McLaren’s bowled just two overs – both maidens. Impressive stuff.
11:41 McLaren into the attack for the first time.
11:39 Bounce. There’s a lot of that for Morkel at the moment. Looks a bit like they’re playing on a tennis court. Maybe that’s why Michael Clarke hasn’t come out to have a bat yet….
11:30 DRINKS Lots of chatting and a litlt ebit of bouncing from Morkel and co, but the two rookies are looking remarkably calm. 50 on the board with Marsh hitting through extra cover.
11:13 Doolan and Marsh were both on tour to SA in the winter last year. On a flat deck, neither managed a 50 against the SA A team. Doolan averaged 23 in two games and Marsh 13. Both have now managed to get a boundary, both have been quite lucky. Australia 35-2.
11:07 Morkel comes into the attack. And he strikes immediately. A while back, we published this piece on why he is so important to the SA line-up. He gets Rogers right after bouncing him. Was short from Morkel and he got a fair bit of extra bounce, Rogers tries to defend it but it hits his glove and Duminy takes a good catch at short leg. Rogers gone for 4 off 19. Australia 24-2.
11:06 Questions? Thoughts? Insights? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org – we might even go find Michael Holding to answer them for you.
10:56 A debutant on strike facing the number one and two bowlers in the world is something quite spectacular. Doolan looks a bit like a bambi on ice at the moment. He’s only faced eight balls but Philander and Steyn aren’t exactly going to make it comfortable for him. Australia 16-1.
10:48 WICKET Steyn has his first stick, Warner tries to cut and drags it onto his stumps instead. He’s gone for 12 off 16. Australia 15-1. That’s not exactly the kind of bolwing you should be getting out to on the first morning of a Test series.
10:37 LBW? Huge appeal from the South Africans for a leg before off Rogers. Umpire not interested, though. Perfect ball from Philander, though, just shaped to nip his pads. Australia 11-0 after 2.
10:34 First over done and dusted and Warner has taken two fours off Steyn already. Australia 9-0.
10:31 Three slips and a gully for Steyn. Who is welcomed by POD’s “Boom”. This jingle might have been a better option
10:30 First ball will be bowled by Dale Steyn, Chris Rogers is facing, David Warner at the other end….
10:14 Teams are as follows
South Africa: Graeme Smith (c), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (w/k), JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel
Australia: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Alex Doolan, Shaun Marsh, Michael Clarke (c), Steven Smith, Brad Haddin(w/k), Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon
10:02 Clarke says he would have batted first. There will be some juice in the surface for the first few hours, but it’s a slightly strange decision to bowl first. Perhaps it’s a few mind games from South Africa…
10:01 Conservative selection as expected with Ryan McLaren coming in for Jacques Kallis. The rest all stays the same. In other words, Robin Peterson plays.
10:00 Toss time Huge cheer here as Graeme Smith wins the toss and bowls first. Says a good opportunity to put Australia under pressure.
09:52 Alex Doolan will make his debut today. He’s been presented his Baggy Green by Andrew Symonds. His family has been taken to the side of the field. Nobody told his girlfriend that there’s no gate to get onto the field, though. Instead, she had to climb over an advertising board while wearing high heels and a micro mini.
09:37 The pitch has just a smattering of green on it, compared to the glaring green surface it had a few days ago. Overall, it’s pretty dry, though. Win toss and bat first kind of day. The Aussies are jogging around, South Africa are playing soccer.
09:30 Hello and welcome to day one of the first Test between South Africa and Australia. Warm ups are on the go and the toss is 30 minutes away. We’ll keep you updated.
Stephen Hawking held a party for time travellers. He sent the invitation out the day after. Nobody attended.