Cricket: Bevan strikes late in day to justify recall

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South Africa 197 for 5 v Australia

Michael Bevan revived the Australia bowling attack as South Africa were reduced to a crawl on the opening day of the second Test in Sydney yesterday.

The part-time spinner, recalled because of his bowling on the spin-conducive pitch after being dropped as a front-line batsman last year, claimed two wickets as Shane Warne toiled for no reward.

At the close of a snail-paced scoring day, the South African skipper, Hansie Cronje, was on 56 and Shaun Pollock on one. Cronje took nearly four hours to score his half-century off 189 balls as South Africa scored at just over two runs an over.

Embarrassingly for the SCG authorities, play started 30 minutes late because the inexperienced groundsman overwatered the square.

Gary Kirsten was the only wicket to fall in the shortened first session of play. He was beaten by movement off the pitch in Glenn McGrath's seventh over and edged to Mark Taylor at first slip to be out for 11 with the score on 25.

Bevan removed the recalled Herschelle Gibbs and Brian McMillan to end with figures of 2 for 41 off 20 overs.

Gibbs, who displaced Daryll Cullinan, who has a terrible record against spin and Warne in particular, scored his first Test half-century, making 54 before he was caught by wicketkeeper Ian Healy while slashing outside the off-stump late in the day.

Bevan then lured McMillan into hitting a full-toss straight to Matthew Elliott at mid-off.

Gibbs put on 97 for the fourth wicket with Cronje. Gibbs, who batted for 149 minutes and hit five boundaries off 137 balls, helped restore South Africa's fortunes after they lost two wickets in one over.

Greg Blewett's opening over half an hour after lunch, the 31st of the innings with the score 70 for 1, brought instant results. With his second ball, Blewett trapped the opener Adam Bacher lbw for 39 and three balls later Kallis was run out by a superb piece of fielding by Ricky Ponting.

Cronje played an uppish shot to Ponting at short midwicket. Kallis loitered out of his crease and was slow to back up and Ponting's throw broke the stumps with Kallis a metre short.

South Africa won toss

SOUTH AFRICA - First innings

G Kirsten c Taylor b McGrath 11

A M Bacher lbw Blewett 39

J H Kallis run out 16

*W J Cronje not out 56

H H Gibbs c Healy b Bevan 54

B M McMillan c Elliott b Bevan 6

S M Pollock not out 1

Extras (b4, lb2, w1, nb7) 14

Total (for 5, 97 overs) 197

Fall: 1-25, 2-70, 3-70, 4-167, 5-174.

Bowling: McGrath 14-5-31-1, Reiffel 16-6-24-0, Warne 22-5-46-0, Bevan 20-3-41-2, Blewett 13-5-30-1, S R Waugh 8-4-10-0, M E Waugh 3-1-5-0, Elliott 1-0-4-0.

To bat: D J Richardson, P L Symcox, A A Donald, P R Adams.

AUSTRALIA: *M A Taylor, M T G Elliott, G S Blewett, M E Waugh, S R Waugh, R T Ponting, M G Bevan, I A Healy, P R Reiffel, S K Warne, G D McGrath.

Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and P Willey (Eng).