After rejoicing Ashes success, Aussies landed a mighty blow by winning the first test against host South Africa. They won the game by 118 runs with whole day’s play left. The host were bundled out for 162 in first innings which was the key factor for their loss.
Lately South Africa’s batting has been very ordinary in Test cricket. It is surprising to know in last 18 months only once they manage to score big (400 plus). Nevertheless after that loss in Durban, South Africa batting improved, they manage to bat for 100 plus overs(only once they did v/s India) and posted competitive score of 382 this in reply to Australia paltry score of 243.
Australia had batted first and were cruising on lunch(Day 1) at 98/1 but collapsed to excellent reverse swing by Rabada who was ably supported by Ngidi. A lead of 139 was sufficient for host to defeat Australia by 6 wickets with one and half day to spare!.
The series was level at 1-1 following a 10-day break before the series resumed at Cape Town for the 3rd test match. This game would be remembered for ball tampering episode as Steve Smith, captain of Australia conceded breaking the law. They lost by 322 runs – scoring only 362 runs in 2 inns. Host batted deep into their innings scoring. They scored 684 runs in 210.1 overs in the match!
The 4th test was a different story altogether – Cricket Australia banned their captain Steve Smith, deputy David Warner, and their opener Cameron Bancroft for trying tamper the ball. Hence they had make drastic fast changes and call up 3 players from Australia. Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns replaced and opened the batting, Handscomb was inducted in middle order and Chadd Sayers made his test debut for injured Mitchell Starc. Injury to Starc was the last nail in the coffin.
Once again South Africa won the toss and posted their first 400 score of the series (At home first in 8 Tests) – 488 in 136 overs. This was match winning score and tourist folded meekly. As match went on, South African bowlers suffered few niggles, therefore they didn’t enforce follow-on, and batted again to piled target of 612 for Australia to chase 4 sessions!.
There are couple of new analysis I have come up with here :
- Reverse Swing victims
- Wickets falling within one over of either side of a break
Team's performance(partnerships and playing XI) - A comparison of first 2 Tests v last 2 Tests. First time in 20 years Australia finished a series without a hundred or more runs partnership!.The series will be remembered for downfall and rise of two teams. Australia had fallible characters(in deputy David Warner and rookie Cameron Bancroft) who let their team down. Host South Africa too had behaviour issues with their striker bowler Kagiso Rabada. However he escaped punishment and proved his worth as match winner by picking the series award for most wickets in the series.
The end of 2nd Test was the turning point of the series. Hence i separated first 2 test performances and compared it with last 2 test matches. Below table is comparison of the same(first half v second half)
The same is done with Batting partnerships, and playing XI
Player's Performance. Rise and fall of match winnersFor batting analysis i added fundamental stat -ie Runs/Inns - It gives better clarity of batsman's performance. Its calculation includes No. of not outs. Interesting comparing it with Batting Avg(which only includes No. of dismissals). Markram's Avg and Runs/inns remains same, because he was dismissed in every innings.
In Bowling i have added two stats analysis(see above table) RS(Reverse Swing wkts) and Wickets falling within one-over of either side of a break.
Australia – won the toss twice and batted and lost one game -(1st, 2nd test)
SA – won the toss twice and batted and should win both games (3rd , 4th test)
To conclude this analysis. This is the 4th time in last 30 years that Australia lost 3 successive test match(2 consecutive). They lost this series 1-3, losing the last three. Previously they lost 0-3 in Sri Lanka in 2016, and 0-4 in India in 2013 and in 1988 in Australia v/s West Indies losing 1-3
All data updated at end of Australia in South Africa 4-Test series- March 2018