Five-fer: Talking points from nasty Newlands

Australia

A capacity crowd under Table Mountain watched as the hosts failed to replicate the 47 not out they subjected the Aussies to in 2011, as the ball failed to swing and the Oz top order found their feet after their PE punishment.

Day one of the third and deciding Test between South Africa and Australia in Cape Town belonged to the visitors, as they reached stumps on 331 for three, thanks to big efforts from Michael Clarke, David Warner and Steve Smith.

A capacity crowd under Table Mountain watched as the hosts failed to replicate the 47 not out they subjected the Aussies to in 2011, as the ball failed to swing and the Oz top order found their feet after their PE punishment.

<b>1. Mean Morkel Continues</b>

In one of the five-fers during the Port Elizabeth Test, I wrote that Morkel has suddenly found a reserve of Rottener spirit, and this was again on show in Cape Town on day one, where one particular over had Michael Clarke playing like a tail-ender.

Morkel sent bouncer after bouncer at the Oz skipper, hitting him on the arm twice, and then on the side of the head, sending Pup to the deck in a heap. He then sent one slightly fuller, into his stomach, and the Oz physio wasn't sure if he was coming or going. It was one of the more brutal spells of pace bowling that had the NEwlands crowd behaving like Colosseum spectators, baying for blood.

<b>2. Clarke Breaks His Drought</b>

Before this innings, Clarke had not score more that 24 in a knock for 11 trips to the middle, since the Ashes Test in Adelaide. As was the case with Hashim Amla in PE, where he scored a ton with a dislocated the thumb, the pain seemed to focus Clarke and break his bad run.

His knock was characterised by two stages: The first, where he looked terrified of the ball and just looked to survive until tea, and the second, where he displayed the form that saw him score the most runs in Tests last year. He scored only nine fours in his 92, but only one was on the leg side, showing his strength despite a battered forearm.

<b>3. His Bat Does The Talking</b>

Before the Test, David Warner opened his big mouth yet again, and was fined for what came out of it, yet again. But as has often been the case with the diminutive opener, he thrived on the controversy and ignored the banter.

Warner seems to have some of the thickest skin in world cricket, and he used the aggression thrown his way to drive him towards yet another century. His 135 was his second of the series, and his fourth 50-plus score in a row. He is the top run scorer in the series by more than 100 runs.

<b>4. Steyn Removed</b>

A worry for the Proteas was the hamstring injury premier fast bowler Dale Steyn picked up early in the day. He was only able to bowl 10.1 overs, at a pretty expensive rate, before being taken off for scans and missing the rest of the day.

After his heroics in PE, it was odd to see him so out of sorts, as his first ball of the day went well wide, and the second was smacked for four. He took the wicket of Chris Rogers, was not his usual Expressive self, and the rest of the attack had to compensate, hence the tired legs at the end of the day.

<b>5. Baby Proteas Provide Distraction</b>

While the play was going on at Newlands, another set of Proteas were doing the job somewhat more successfully. The Under 19 side won the final of the Junior World Cup, beating Pakistan in Dubai to claim the title for the first time. They'd beaten Australia in the semis.

Skipper Aiden Markram was the man of the hour, scoring 66 not out and ending the tournament with an average of 123, with two tons in the bag. If past evidence is an indicator, he will be a senior Protea one day, as Hashim Amla (2002) and Wayne Parnell (2008) were the skippers the last time SA reached the event's final.

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>

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