1. Three Deliveries, Seven Minutes, Two Ducks, No Runs, One Pair
Question marks, invariably, will hang over Shaun Marsh’s head at the end of this match. Superb in Centurion, the recalled left-hander was abject in Port Elizabeth. Fellow batsman Phil Hughes is waiting in the wing, as is all-rounder Moises Henriques, should Australia require an additional bowler in Cape Town.
2. Peterson’s Nemesis
Aspiring full-time spinner JP Duminy’s success is not promising for discarded specialist Robin Peterson. In truth, it has been a long time coming – and perhaps this is what will push Peterson out of the frame entirely. As disappointing as it is, for a country that has only recently really grabbed onto the ethos of selecting a frontline spinner, Duminy seems the man for the job – in conditions that don’t necessarily demand an all-pace attack.
3. Smith Supremacy
No doubt, the decision to return Dale Steyn to the attack after the tea break would have been done in consultation with bowling coach Allan Donald and the rest of the leadership circle, but ultimately the choice lay with Graeme Smith. And what an inspired move it was. Steyn ripped through the opposition middle order, exploiting all the reverse swing on offer, and ostensibly removed the Australians from the contest.
4. Steadfast Harris
Steven Smith, Brad Haddin and company can take example from Ryan Harris. The tail-ender’s shot selection and stroke play was far from orthodox or pretty, but defied Steyn’s reverse swing time and time again. Keeping his front pad from harm’s way, the right-hander stood and delivered – inelegantly but successfully.
5. Amla Back At It
South Africa’s talisman was in the middle of a drought, until Sunday’s century answered doubters and restored the status quo. ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’ professes the old adage – and this certainly counted in Port Elizabeth. 21 centuries into a prolific career, his role has become even more important in the absence of Jacques Kallis and promotion of Faf du Plessis.