Northern Exposure

It’s hard to believe but after two days of the Wanderers Test, Australia seems to be in charge. However, we have seen that before. Australia started well with their big challenge – bowling South Africa out – but it looks like their work is cut out.

It’s also hard to believe that Marcus North’s wonderful achievement is in danger of being over shadowed by Mitchell Johnson. Let’s start with North. He made 117 in his very first Test innings. The first Western Australian (player) to score a century on debut. The 17th Australian to do so and the first Australian against South Africa. He showed ice cold composure, even during the nineties. His defence was rock solid and shot selection excellent even if some of his off driving was, let’s say, streaky.

And I saw it all. God Bless Maddie (daughter) for pointing out that I could watch the cricket on my phone! I’ve said before that I don’t have pay TV and I still don’t. My phone had previously only showed free-to-air coverage. This time they are really giving my money’s worth. I lay in blissfully in bed watching Johnson and North showed real spine as North crawled towards 100 big ones.

Unfortunately, as I drifted off to sleep listening to Aunty (good old ABC), the last thing I heard was North getting out to Harris (Harris loves Australian left handers, it seems). Harris had completed 17 overs, 1-38 (2.24 rpo). I say it was unfortunate that I drifted off to sleep because at the end of Harris’ next over, he had figures of 1-64 (3.55 rpo) and Johnson had progressed from 57 to 83. That’s right: Johnson wrote himself into the record books with 26 runs from a single over 4-4-6-.-6-6. Steyn replaced Harris and Johnson smashed him for three fours. Johnson’s express trip towards his first century was curtailed next over when Siddle and Hilfenhaus lasted just four balls of it, Hilfie just one ball.

So there you have it: Australia’s debutants batted at one, six and eleven and they made 0, 117 and 0. For that matter, it was a funny old scoreboard. Five scores over 62 and six scores under ten! So here’s one for you all, how many times have there been three debutants and one made a century and the other two, ducks? Haha.

Luckily, I regained consciousness just as Johnson’s day got even better when he dismissed Smith for a duck. Bloody beauty – 1 for 1. Hilfenhaus’s day also got better when he took a wicket with his second ball in Test cricket. Bloody beauty 2 for 2. Siddle chipped in, claiming Kallis for just 27 (but past 10,000 Test runs) and South Africa was limping at 3-51. At stumps the score is 3/85.

Way over in the Caribbean, old Engerland has rattled off another huge score (6/600) and captain fantastic, Strauss, has rattled off another super century (142). The Windies have lost Gayle (6) and it’s hard to see them holding out this time (well, I do have more British readers than in the Caribbean).

I’ve died and gone to cricket heaven.

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