Report Cards: Australia at St George's

Australia

Australia would have gone into the Port Elizabeth Test confident of recording a series win. But with the pitch not playing how they'd expected, and the Proteas finding form with bat and ball, they were quickly brought down to earth.

Australia would have gone into the Port Elizabeth Test confident of recording a series win, given their dominance in Centurion. But with the pitch not playing how they'd expected, and the Proteas finding form with bat and ball, they were quickly brought down to earth.

The Aussies' top order frailties were brutally exposed, with only the openers showing applications, while the fast bowlers looked tired and without bite, leaving the spinners to take the wickets.

<b>Chris Rogers</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 7.5<br><b>Runs:</b> 5 and 107

Poor Bucky. When he was run out just minutes before the close of day four, having spent all day in the middle as others fell around him, even the most ardent Proteas supporter would have felt a twinge of sympathy for him. Because his coach, Darren Lehmann, looked murderous on the balcony as Rogers' departure signalled the end for the Aussies. He batted for 72.1 of the 73.4 overs the Aussies were in the middle, and his ton was beautifully made, but alas, in vain.

<b>David Warner</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 8<br><b>Runs:</b> 70 and 66

The diminutive opener's love affair with South African tracks continued in PE, and he was one of the few visiting batsmen to make the wicket look playable, while the rest of the order floundered. But his side needed him to score centuries, and once he was out in the second innings, trapped LBW to JP Duminy, the collapse followed at demolition-style speed.

<b>Alex Doolan</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 3<br><b>Runs:</b> 8 and 5

Bats at three, rated three out of 10. After his rather good debut at Centurion, Doolan kept his place thanks to Shane Watson's continued injury. But now that Watto's fit to bowl, coupled with Doolan's dire effort in PE, he's likely to have plenty of time to look at the clouds on top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, given his expected position as drinks carrier.

<b>Shaun Marsh</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 0<br><b>Runs:</b> 0 and 0

So, that was a quick drop in form, eh? After his century in Centurion, Marsh's pair would have come as a bit of a shock to him. It shouldn't have though, given that of the 15 Test knocks he's played, six have been ducks, and four more have been under 20. So basically, he either goes big or goes home. And on this effort, he should go home and Phil Hughes should be given a shot because it couldn't get any worse.

<b>Michael Clarke</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 4<br><b>Runs:</b> 19 and 1<br><b>Wickets:</b> 1

This does not seem to be a good series for the skippers. Like Graeme Smith, Pup is in a severe dip in form, failing to score more than 24 runs in 11 innings, going back to the Ashes Test in Adelaide. The Oz top order used to be saved by the skipper, but he's become part of the problem, and in the Ashes Brad Haddin saved his bacon repeatedly. Not so here, though he did take a wicket… He also lost goodwill and a rating point for shouting at Graeme Smith for waiting for the SA anthem to end. Grumpy when he loses, this guy.

<b>Steve Smith</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 5.5<br><b>Runs:</b> 49 and 0<br><b>Wickets:</b> 1

You can't expect the same guy to save the day over and over, and while the baby-faced batsman did a good job in the first innings, he was part of the rot in the second, as their non-opening batsmen scored 22 runs between them. Devereux was out for a duck first ball, removed by Steyn, and his lone wicket was not enough to negate that failure.

<b>Brad Haddin</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 3<br><b>Runs:</b> 9 and 1

Poor Hads had zero clue against Dale Steyn. He wouldn't have been able to keep the ball from smashing into his stumps even if he had a barn door in his hands. Middle stump out the ground twice, in almost carbon copy deliveries, and it seemed that his Ashes run had well and truly come to an end. His keeping was its usual standard though: solid and dependable.

<b>Mitchell Johnson</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 5<br><b>Runs:</b> 27 and 6<br><b>Wickets:</b> 1/70 and 2/51

'Not a Mitch Pitch' indeed. While Steyn showed his number one credentials, Johnson was stymied by the slow, low track on days one and two. Aside from the early wicket of Hashim Amla, which was a wonderful delivery, MiJo looked out of sorts for much of the game. He just didn't seem threatening, and there were a few deliveries where you kind of hummed 'He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right…' His batting in the first innings was typically dangerous, but nipped in the bud, and the second went the way of everyone else.

<b>Ryan Harris</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 4<br><b>Runs:</b> 26 and 6<br><b>Wickets:</b> 1/63 and 0/74

Everyone's been wondering when Harris would run out of steam, and the train did not reach PE. The first innings saw the Aussies bowl more overs that they had since the Ashes in England, and it showed. Harris was ponderous and sulky, grimacing after each delivery later in the game. Whether he was feeling the effect of his previous injuries, or just felt out of sorts, is tough to say. He went at nearly six runs to the over in the second inning, which was quite bizarre to witness.

<b>Peter Siddle</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 4.5<br><b>Runs:</b> 11 not out and 3 not out<br><b>Wickets:</b> 0/96 and 2/89

Sid was not so Vicious in this match, especially in the first innings. Like the other Oz bowlers, he wasn't quite sure what to make of the deck, though he did put the ball in the right places and was relatively economical. He bowled more overs than the other pacemen, and took two good wickets in the second innings, having Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar caught behind, but it was a forgettable game for him.

<b>Nathan Lyon</b><br><b>Rating:</b> 8<br><b>Runs:</b> 15 and 0<br><b>Wickets:</b> 5/130 and 1/48

The skinny spinner's five-fer in the first innings saw him remove every batsman that scored a milestone, though many of those dismissals were due to the batters losing their minds on the slow track, though Lyon won't have cared about that. He put in over after over, mostly in the right areas, and was rewarded. Once the pitch sped up, he was tapped a bit, but was still the best of the attack. His batting was also valiant in the first innings. He came in as night watchman and wore the short balls into his ribs for as long as he could, until he couldn't any more the next day.

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>

Latest