Wayne Parnell’s return puts Australia in trouble


After their catastrophe at Centurion, where they lost the first Test by 281 runs in four days, South Africa showed why they have been the most consistent Test side over the last five years as Australia’s momentum was stopped in its tracks on the second day of the second Test in Port Elizabeth.

Centuries by A B de Villiers and J P Duminy saw the hosts reach 423 in their first innings before two wickets apiece for Vernon Philander and the recalled Wayne Parnell left the tourists struggling at 112 for 4 at the close. 

With tormentor-in-chief Mitchell Johnson restricted to just one wicket on the first day, South Africa resumed on   214 for 5 but survived a barrage of short balls to take a stranglehold on the match. Fresh from making history by becoming the first batsman in Test history to score at least a half-century in 12 successive matches, De Villiers went on to compile a classy 116, while Duminy outscored him with a battling 123 from No 7, having failed to reach a half-century in his last eight innings.

Nathan Lyon finally ended Duminy’s 286-ball stay when DRS upheld an lbw verdict and the innings was wrapped up soon after when Morne Morkel ran himself out.

Despite their domination of England in the Ashes whitewash, question marks remain about the quality of Australia’s batting and the tourists lost their first three wickets for just 41 runs. Parnell announced his Test return after a two-year absence by taking the scalps of Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh in his first three balls. 

Morkel found some serious pace but had no luck, beating the edge several times and having David Warner dropped on 43 when the ball evaded De Villiers’ grasp. But Philander’s dismissal of Australia captain Michael Clarke gave South Africa a good chance of drawing level in the series, although Warner remained unbeaten on 65 at the close.