FLEM’S VERDICT: Gulf in a class as big as MCG itself with Aussies spinning rings around clumsy Proteas


At least we got a four day test this time, I much prefer them to a two day affair.

Day four of the second Test at the MCG with Australia knocking out South Africa highlighted the huge class divide between these two sides.

For the Australians, they were clinical and a few of their players managed to reach milestones.

But for the Proteas, there is not much to tell.

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Anrich Nortje can hold his head high with his fast bowling spells, Marco Jansen continues to show promise and Kyle Verreynne and Temba Bavuma battled it out, but that was about it.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The routs they spat out against Australia were just basic stuff, junior level mistakes.

To fall back on the non-attacking side, to go blind, to be precise in your call – that’s what we are taught under 12s, but they were terrible at those things.

Theunis De Bruyn drifted off his crease and got booked twice, but it wasn’t like he was trying to steal a huge lead, he just didn’t seem to be on.

Bavuma went blind in the race with Keshav Maharaj, those are the basics.

I would make it a goal of their training all week before the Sydney test, not just for running between the wickets, but for batting and bowling.

Stuff like accumulating maidens that aren’t just down to the bowler – the captain can’t always send a point or square-legged defender as a sweeper to allow Aussie batters to pinch an easy single every time they have the opportunity.

There was a huge drop in their batting from previous teams that toured Australia, but in some ways their lack of impact with their bowling was greater in the first two Tests.

Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi were under par and Maharaj didn’t do much for a spinner with lots of Test wickets and suffered from negative pitch settings.

For the Aussies, this one leg win is significant given that it’s been 17 years since we beat the Proteas in a series in Australia.

Nathan Lyon of Australia appeals.

Nathan Lyon of Australia appeals. (Photo by Graham Denholm – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

There were lots of highlights with a few key milestones.

David Warner’s 200 in his 100th game was remarkable and Alex Carey’s first test hundred will be the first of many judging by the way he conducts himself in the crease.

Cameron Green getting his first five-wicket haul and adding an unbeaten half-century was the first time he had set up an all-around contribution with a bat and a bowl rather than just a wicket here or there.

He’s racked up some big scalps in his Test career so far, but he’d only taken three in one run before this game.

Poor old Mitchell Starc has been battling the pain of his finger injury and he’ll likely take a lot more wickets and bowl worse than his 1-60 in the second inning.

If he hadn’t been able to bowl, the South Africans would probably have been able to make it a fifth day.

This ground didn’t break stump to stump, he played pretty well for a day four wicket. There wasn’t much of a seam or turn for Nathan Lyon, so Starc’s 18 overs were important in the context of late in the game.

I really hope we have a traditional spinning pitch in Sydney next week and Australia play two spinners. I love the land like the good old days testing everyone in the different cities of Australia.

It looks like they’ll be playing Lance Morris as Starc’s replacement with Josh Hazlewood playing ahead of Scott Boland.

It would be a bit tough on Boland, but he has improved his reputation further in recent Tests, so he will have more opportunities in the near future if he is not executed in Sydney.

Morris would love to make his debut on a fast, bouncy ground like Optus Stadium in Perth, but with his ball speed and reverse swing abilities he can still make his mark at SCG even if it doesn’t quite suit him.

I would go with Ashton Agar as Green’s replacement and propel Carey to No. 6. Just with the Indian tour approaching it’s so important to get everyone fit so the best way to make sure Agar is up to the task in India would be to play it in Sydney.

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