Controversy mars Australia's success

South Africa 277 Australia 126-0
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The Independent Online

The in-form openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden have steered Australia into a strong position in the second Test against South Africa, but yesterday's proceedings turned on a controversial umpiring decision.

At stumps on the second day, Australia were 126 without loss in their first innings after bundling out South Africa for 277. South Africa had resumed on 89 for 3 and, with Jacques Kallis and Neil McKenzie at the wicket, advanced to 131.

Kallis had dealt confidently with the short-pitched bowling and looked to have settled in on 38 when a short ball from Andy Bichel reared up. The ball flew through to Adam Gilchrist behind the stumps. However, the Guyanese umpire Eddie Nicholls responded to what appeared to be no more than a joke appeal from Shane Warne at second slip.

Gilchrist showed no interest and Mark Waugh appeared to say "Oh, no" when the umpire's finger went up. The new batsman Lance Klusener was caught and bowled off the very next delivery ­ Bichel taking a sharp catch ­ and the spine of South Africa's order was broken.

McKenzie went on to hit 67, Mark Boucher made a spirited 43 and though Shaun Pollock and Mornantau Hayward added 44, South Africa were dismissed for 277, a total made to look pathetic as Langer and Hayden carved out another century opening partnership.

A memo on how best to play South Africa's opening bowler Allan Donald was apparently mistakenly pushed under a journalist's hotel room door the day before the Test. It focused largely on his bowling, and under batting it simply said: "Kaboom". The wayward memo pointed out that Donald "is not on top of his game" and although he was capable of bowling "line and length at pace", the Australian batsmen could "wear him down by being patient". It also added that Donald "can over-attack at times which gives us plenty of scoring opportunities".

Langer and Hayden wasted no time trying to wear Donald, and Pollock, down. The captain conceded 41 runs from 10 overs, Donald 34 from his nine while Hayward went for 33 off five overs. Langer was unbeaten on 67 and Hayden 55 at stumps.

Second day; Australia won toss

SOUTH AFRICA ­ First Innings

(Overnight: 89 for 3)

J H Kallis c Gilchrist b Bichel 38

N D McKenzie lbw b Lee 67

L Klusener c & b Bichel 0

ÝM V Boucher c Bichel b M E Waugh 43

*S M Pollock not out 42

C W Henderson run out 5

A A Donald c Ponting b Lee 0

M Hayward c M E Waugh b Bichel 14

Extras (b1 lb10 nb7) 18

Total (103.5 overs) 277

Fall: 1-24, 2-36, 3-59, 4-131, 5-131, 6-198, 7-220, 8-225, 9-233.

Bowling: McGrath 26-8-70-2; Lee 31-10-77-3; Bichel 19.5-6-44-3; Warne 19-3-56-0; M E Waugh 8-1-19-1.

AUSTRALIA ­ First Innings

J L Langer not out 67

M L Hayden not out 55

Extras (nb4) 4

Total (for 0, 32.1 overs) 126

To bat: R T Ponting, M E Waugh, *S R Waugh, D R Martyn, ÝA C Gilchrist, S K Warne, A J Bichel, B Lee, G D McGrath.

Bowling: Donald 9-0-34-0; Pollock 10-1-41-0; Hayward 5-0-33-0; Kallis 6-1-13-0; Henderson 2.1-0-5-0.

Umpires: D B Hair and E A Nicholls.