Five-fer: Talking points from day two

Day two of the first Test at SuperSport Park was one filled with wickets and without much joy for the South Africans once they were put in to bat, finding themselves 140 for six at the close.

Day two of the first Test at SuperSport Park was one filled with wickets and without much joy for the South Africans once they were put in to bat, finding themselves 140 for six at the close.

After getting the Aussies out for 397, taking the final six wickets in the first three hours of the day, Mitchell Johnson scared the living daylights out of the best batting line-up in the world.

<b>1. It's Just A Game</b>

The day began on a sombre note as we noticed the Aussie players wearing black tape armbands. It was revealed that they were in memory of 11-year-old Luke Batty, who was killed by his father at cricket practice in Melbourne.

The story was dominant online during the day, as people struggled to comprehend how a dad (who himself died after being shot by police) could beat his own son to death with a cricket bat, in front of onlookers at a children's nets session.

It was a stark reminder that for all the IPL auction hoopla, and excitement surrounding Mitchell Johnson v The Proteas, there was a little boy who just wanted to play a few more minutes of cricket with his dad, and lost his life for it.

<b>2. Wrapping Up The Tail</b>

The Proteas have an interesting habit of being a bit rubbish on day one, and then firing on all cylinders in the morning of day two, and this was no exception. They bagged both centurions, Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh, before lunch.

Dale Steyn, despite still feeling the after effects of gastro on Wednesday, took the final two wickets by sending the stumps flying, while Morne Morkel battled through a shoulder niggle to keep things tidy after his scan.

It was a demonstration on how to wrap up the tail, which England failed to do more often than not, and it was rather a shock to see Brad Haddin out for a duck. To Robin Peterson of all people, and Hads couldn't believe it himself. His review was wasted and the tail failed to wag.

<b>3. MiJo's Mojo</b>

Unfortunately for the hosts, despite taking six wickets and giving up just 100 runs on the day, they were not able to avoid becoming cheap wickets themselves as the Mitchell Johnson Machine ground them into the gears.

The moustached pace maestro lived up to all the hype, and it's not clear if fans at the ground were gutted or pleased about that. MiJo bagged Biff, Alviro and Faf in quick succession, and then Ryan McLaren and it was clear he well was inside their heads.

Johnson was sending it down at 150kp/h, ram-slamming it into the bodies of the batsmen, and made Peter Siddle look positively pedestrian in comparison. And then, to add salt to the Saffer wounds, he took a brilliant catch to remove JP Duminy.

<b>4. Pitch Imperfect</b>

Johnson's formidable pace was enough to scare the pads off the Proteas top order, but added to that the Centurion deck behaved in a rather unusual manner, showing early variable bounce.

Johnson's deliveries later in the day went flying over wicketkeeper Brad Haddin's head, and while they were fast and short, they weren't THAT fast or short that they went for five wides.

The wicket, usually resembling a tar road on days two and three, played nice and flat on day one, but day two saw cracks influence the situation, with a number of deliveries rearing up and leaving batsmen from both sides without answers.

<b>5. AB: The Final Barrier</b>

At the close of play, half an hour early thanks to Gauteng thunderstorms, AB de Villiers was still in the middle with one of the more hard-fought fifties of his career. He'd been at the crease for nearly three hours to score 52 off 94 balls.

It was his 12th score over 50 in his past 15 Test innings, and he averages over 88 over the same span of time, so the Proteas will need him and Robbie P to play out of their skins and keep Johnson out of their minds on day three.

He also got the ultimate celebrity endorsement when Kevin Pietersen, suddenly finding himself with lots of time to Tweet his own, unrestricted opinions, said De Villiers was one of his favourite batsmen to watch.

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>