Australia in South Africa 2014: 3rd Test Day 1 … Warner’s Wonder and the Captain’s Courage

Everything went Australia’s way on the first day of the third test at Newlands overnight: right from the minute Australia won the toss and batted they had the advantage in the game.

David Warner, much maligned by many during the week including me, finally did what many want from him: he let his bat do the talking. This was another innings of quality from Warner that mixed outright aggression at the start with graft to get to his hundred when the South Africans lifted their performance. Now if only he could stop doing all the things that fail to endear him to fans of the game he could be a world beater!

The loss of Dale Steyn with a hamstring strain is a massive one for the South Africans who, as happened in Port Elizabeth, find themselves a bowler down. Morne Morkel was excellent for the Proteas on what was a tough day at the office otherwise for them.

The highlight for me, despite the Warner hundred, was the innings of Michael Clarke: it has been a long time since a fast bowler has attacked a batsman as overtly as Morne Morkel attacked Clarke early in his innings and whilst he looked equal parts ungainly and lacking in technique he deflected the blows Morkel struck, got through the tough period and the thrived. Out of form going into this fixture it was almost as though the speed of Morkel energised Clarke and it now looks like there is little to stop another hundred for him on Day 2.

A final note: I see no other result in this game other than a draw. The pitch is flat. Scratch that: the pitch is very flat. It does no favours to cricket and its fans when wickets like this are trotted out in such important fixtures.

Play commences at around 6:30pm tonight Brisbane time.

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