Australia steamroll Proteas in two days on questionable Gabba pitch
South Africa began the second day of the first Test match against Australia very much on the back foot. Sitting at 145 for five, Australia were just seven runs off the Proteas’ first-innings total, with Travis Head (78) still at the crease.
However, some late wickets on day one, including that of Steven Smith, had given South Africa hope that there could still be life in the game. And the Proteas bowlers, and specifically their batting lineup, had it all to do when play got under way.
A questionable pitch
With 34 wickets falling in two days of cricket, the Gabba’s grassy pitch, providing a plethora of bounce and movement, proved to be a nightmare for batters — raising questions about the fairness of the pitch.
Just two batters passed the half-century mark during the match, with Head’s outstanding 92 in the first innings earning him the Man of the Match award.
“You’ve got to ask yourself the question: is that a good advertisement for our format?” said the Proteas’ captain, Dean Elgar, in the post-match press conference.
“I’m obviously a purist of this format and we want to see the game go to four, five days. And just the nature of how it started to play, with some seriously steep bounce with the old ball. I mean, you’re kind of [on a] hiding to [nothing] as a batting unit. If you think about it, only two batsmen, maybe three batsmen, applied themselves half-decently and scored runs. So, I don’t think it was a very good Test wicket.”
A fighting chance
With 23-year-old Cameron Green and Head at the crease, the day’s play got off to a fine start for the Baggy Greens. The pair navigated the first six overs with ease, scoring at a healthy run rate to take Australia’s tally to 178 for five, with Head sitting on 92 not out and Green on a run-a-ball 18.
In the seventh over of the day, Marco Jansen was brought into the attack, and suddenly the momentum shifted.
First, Green (18) was gone after edging one to the ...