2nd Match: Australia v South Africa at Melbourne, 13 Jan 2002|
South Africa innings:
RHODES STEERS SOUTH AFRICA TO FOUR-WICKET VICTORYThroughout the summer South Africans have wondered what effect Jonty Rhodes might have had on Shaun Pollock’s team in Australia had he been available for the Test matches. On Sunday the little Natalian went some way towards providing an answer as he made an unbeaten 43 to steer South Africa to a four-wicket victory over Australia in Game Two of the VB Series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
South Africa’s victory leaves Australia pointless after two matches and with the South Africans and New Zealand due to meet in Hobart on Tuesday, there is no immediate opportunity for the home team to rectify the situation.
As was the case on Friday, Australia’s batting let them down, with South Africa being asked to score 199 to win. It was not the most onerous of tasks, but it was one that required the South Africans to sweat and they had cause to be grateful for the experience of Rhodes who went to the crease at the end of the 17th over and stayed there until victory had been secured.
At the halfway stage of their innings the South Africans were 91 for three with Rhodes and Neil McKenzie starting to build what was to prove an invaluable partnership of 65 for the fourth wicket. The visiting team had clearly targetted Andrew Symonds as the weak link in the Australian attack, at the same time choosing to treat Shane Warne with the utmost respect.
And so while Warne went at fewer than two runs to the over during his first nine, South African were able to ensure that the run rate was kept within manageable proportions by picking off Symonds, McKenzie lifting him effortlessly over long off for six at one point just as the scoring seemed to have flagged.
Warne was not to be denied completely, though, and McKenzie eventually fell for 34, top-edging a sweep that lobbed gently to Symonds at a short fine leg position.
McKenzie went at 136 for four to bring in Lance Klusener who has struggled for any kind of form throughout his tour. He was comprehensively beaten by Warne almost immediately, the ball breaking back sharply from outside off stump to beat both the batsman and the wicketkeeper before running away for byes.
But after nine overs for 15 Warne was rested with Andy Bichel coming back and Klusener was at last able to show some of his old form, heaving him for six and four over midwicket off successive balls.
It was, however, only a fleeting glimpse as Brett Lee came back into the attack to provide Adam Gilchrist with his fourth catch of the innings, Klusener departing for 18 off 17 balls at 169 for five.
All the while, though, Rhodes kept knocking ones and twos here and there and with five overs remaining, South Africa required only a further 16 to win. Australia were not finished yet however.
Lee persuaded Mark Boucher to hook at a short, fast one and Symonds took a wonderful catch off the top edge, running in from the square leg fence and diving forward to clutch the ball.
Boucher’s dismissal for 11 at 187 for six brought in Shaun Pollock, but Rhodes was on strike having crossed before the catch was taken and he was unable to eke a further run off the over as Lee completed a wicket-maiden.
With three overs left South Africa need 12 off 18 balls, but Warne, Jason Gillespie and Andy Bichel all bowled out, Steve Waugh had to turn to Symonds again. Pollock hit the second ball of Symonds’ new spell square for four and took a single off the fourth. The fifth ball was a high full toss which forced Rhodes, down on one knee, to attempt a sweep above his head. He then took a single off the sixth ball to bring Lee back on with six needed off 12.
This time Lee’s pace was not enough. Two from Rhodes off the second ball was wallowed by four leg byes off the batsman’s elbow which saw South Africa home.
An opening stand of 51 between Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten set the visiting team off to a good start before Adam Gilchrist started to make an impression on the match. Gilchrist was out to the first ball of Australia’s innings and then dropped Gibbs in the first over of South Africa’s reply before he picked up three successive catches to leave the tourists at 91 for three after 25 overs.
At the halfway stage Neil McKenzie was on 7 with Jonty Rhodes on 9.
Gibbs had his let off off the final ball of Brett Lee’s first over when Gilchrist got both gloves to a bottom edge that was dropping on him before the ball squeezed agonisingly out of his hands. At that stage Gibbs had still to open his account, but both he and Kirsten got going with boundaries as South Africa began to settle.
Gibbs produced an odd mixture of the sublime and the careless in his shot selection, and Kirsten looked comfortably the more solid partner as the South Africans scored mainly by way of boundaries during the first 15 overs.
As had been the case with both Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting in the Australian innings, Gibbs seemed to have been caught at the wicket off Lee on 11, but umpire Steve Davis was unconvinced by the Australian appeal.
The breakthrough so desperately needed by Australia came when Andy Bichel was brought into the attack for the 10th over of the innings. Kirsten cut his first delivery handsomely away for four, but when he tried to repeat the stroke off the second ball extra bounce took the top edge for Gilchrist to pouch the catch.
Kirsten went for 22 off 26 deliveries to be replaced by Jacques Kallis who hit one boundary when he turned his right ankle trying to avoid a Bichel bouncer. Kallis was clearly in some discomfort and had his ankle strapped before resuming his innings.
He had progressed only to 6, though, when he hooked at Jason Gillespie and Gilchrist took a superb catch down the leg side, diving away to clutch the ball in his left hand.
Gibbs, though, continued to hit boundaries without ever managing to suggest permanence and he had reached 38 when he was deceived by Gillespie’s slower bouncer, the thin edge carrying through to Gilchrist. New fewer then 32 of Gibbs’ runs had come from eight boundaries in a 51 ball innings.
The third South African wicket fell at 71 and there was still no sign of Shane Warne in the Australian attack when Rhodes joined McKenzie with the South Africans needing to consolidate.
Finally, in the 23rd over, Warne came on, but there were no further inroads for Australia as South Africa reached the halfway stage of their innings.
The Australian total was built largely around half-centuries from Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh with Damien Martyn chipping in with 31 towards the end of the innings. The South Africans, though, bowled and fielded with far greater purpose than had been the case throughout the Tests to leave themselves with an eminently gettable target, even if the MCG pitch had hinted at uneven bounce throughout the Australian innings.
After his early assault on Allan Donald, Ponting settled down to play a more orthodox innings. He was, perhaps, fortunate to survive an appeal for a catch at the wicket off Makhaya Ntini shortly after reaching his 50, but he was out soon afterwards, run out by Jonty Rhodes’ direct hit for 51 after being sent back by Waugh.
Ponting was out at 106 for four, bringing Martyn in to join Waugh and together their pair added 58 for the fifth wicket. Waugh, scratchy to begin with, gradually found his timing to sweep Nicky Boje high over midwicket for six.
As the innings entered its last 10 overs, however, the ball began to reverse swing with Jacques Kallis using it to great effect. He bowled Waugh for 62 with a full delivery as the Australian captain backed away to give himself room and two balls later had Andrew Symonds was caught at midwicket by Herschelle Gibbs.
Australia had slipped to 164 for six and they lost a further two wickets quickly as Lance Klusener had Shane Warne caught by Shaun Pollock at extra cover and then Jonty Rhodes took a fine low catch at backward point off Donald to get rid of Brett Lee.
Four Australian wickets had fallen for seven runs in just 19 balls and the home side now had their work cut out to bat out their 50 overs. It was a goal they did not achieve. Andy Bichel, back in the side because of the unavailability of Glenn McGrath and Brad Williams, hit 17 off 15 balls before he fell victim to an lbw decision off Shaun Pollock and then Martyn was last man out, carving Kallis straight to Neil McKenzie on the cover boundary.
Kallis was the most impressive of the South African bowlers, taking three for 30 while Pollock took three for 25. Ntini, too, was better than his return of none for 31 might suggest.
Australia had to deal with the loss of Adam Gilchrist to the first ball of the match, but Ponting started with a flurry, taking on South Africa’s senior fast bowler Allan Donald in particular.
Donald had the ill-luck to see Matthew Hayden dropped at backward point by, of all people, Jonty Rhodes at backward point off his sixth ball. But that was as close as he got to taking a wicket in his opening burst as Ponting ripped into him.
After three overs Donald had been hit out of the attack, conceding 27, but the change forced upon South Africa brought immediate reward for the tourists as Shaun Pollock switched ends and had Hayden caught, lifting a drive, by Lance Klusener at mid-off.
Hayden departed for 10 at 39 for two and the arrival of Michael Bevan at the crease had the effect of slowing down the Australian scoring rate.
Bevan was clearly struggling with his timing, taking 12 deliveries to get off the mark. More importantly for the South Africans, Bevan’s inability to pick up singles had the effect of keeping Ponting off strike.
It may have been frustration, then, that persuaded Ponting to call for a quick single after Makhaya Ntini had forced Bevan back onto his stumps with a short ball. Ntini, guilty of sloppy fielding a little earlier, was quickly onto the ball before turning to throw down the stumps at the bowler’s end with Bevan well short of his ground.
Bevan also made 10, the third wicket falling at 64, and the South Africans greeted Steve Waugh with a succession of deliveries aimed at pushing the Australian captain onto the back foot.
On 4 Waugh knew very little about a ball from Ntini that took the gloves and flew off down to the fine leg boundary, and then on 10 Ntini seemed to have got his man caught behind only to have a confident appeal turned down by umpire Steve Davis. Waugh’s response was to slash the next delivery over slip for his second boundary.
After Australia had won the toss and chosen to bat, Adam Gilchrist uppercut Shaun Pollock’s first delivery high over gully – and straight down the throat of Allan Donald at third man.
It was the perfect start for the South Africans who have not won a match in Australia since beating the ACB Chairman’s XI in Perth at the start of their tour in early December.
The Australians, meanwhile, were looking to put Friday’s 23-run defeat against New Zealand behind them as soon as possible. The home team made four changes to the side beaten by New Zealand. Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds replaced Mark Waugh and Ian Harvey respectively while Andrew Bichel and Jason Gillespie came in for the suspended Glenn McGrath and the injured Brad Williams.
Australia: Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Michael Bevan, Steve Waugh (capt), Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Andrew Bichel, Jason Gillespie.
South Africa: Gary Kirsten, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Neil McKenzie, Jonty Rhodes, Lance Klusener, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock (capt), Nicky Boje, Allan Donald, Makhaya Ntini.
Date-stamped : 13 Jan2002 - 14:43