Rain washes out play of Aus­tralia, S Africa Test

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Rain pre­vented any play on the sec­ond day of the sec­ond cricket test be­tween Aus­tralia and South Africa yes­ter­day af­ter an ex­tra­or­di­nary open­ing day in which 15 wick­ets fell.

South Africa won the toss on Satur­day, bowled Aus­tralia out for 85 and then reached 171-5 be­fore stumps to take an 86run lead on day one.

Or­ga­niz­ers can­celled play at Bel­lerive yes­ter­day when heavy rain started in the af­ter­noon. Temba Bavuma re­mains unbeaten on 38 and Quin­ton de Kock is 28.

The South Africans won the open­ing test in Perth by 177 runs and can se­cure the three-test se­ries with an­other vic­tory in Ho­bart. With three days of sched­uled play re­main­ing, there’s still the chance of a re­sult in the sec­ond test.

Af­ter the open­ing day, when Aus­tralia captain Steve Smith scored more than half the to­tal with an unbeaten 48, coach Dar­ren Lehmann said he was con­fi­dent his team could take the re­main­ing five South African first-in­nings wick­ets and set up a proper con­test.

“I’m re­ally con­fi­dent they will play bet­ter than they did in the first in­nings,” he said.

South Africa has only beaten Aus­tralia twice in test se­ries since be­ing re-ad­mit­ted to in­ter­na­tional cricket in the 1990s. Both vic­to­ries have been in Aus­tralia.

The last was in 2012-13, when South Africa clinched the se­ries 1-0 with a vic­tory in the third test in Perth af­ter Aus­tralia had the bet­ter of the first two tests but was un­able to force a vic­tory.

Aus­tralia was ranked No. 1 in test cricket un­til be­ing swept 3-0 in Sri Lanka in July and Au­gust. The loss in Perth was its fourth straight, and crit­ics are de­scrib­ing the re­cent bat­ting slump as a cri­sis.

To make mat­ters worse, Aus­tralia hadn’t lost a se­ries-open­ing test on home soil since 1988 un­til last week, and its form de­te­ri­o­rated badly in Ho­bart when it was dis­missed for its low­est to­tal in a home test since 1984.

Kim Hughes, who quit as Aus­tralia captain dur­ing that se­ries against the West Indies in 1984, was among the for­mer play­ers crit­i­ciz­ing the na­tional hi­er­ar­chy for only sched­ul­ing one round of do­mes­tic first-class cricket be­fore this test se­ries against South Africa.

Cricket Aus­tralia’s high-per­for­mance man­ager, Pat Howard, con­ceded on Sun­day that he, Lehmann, the na­tional se­lec­tors and the play­ers were all un­der pres­sure un­less there was a fast turn­around in form par­tic­u­larly from the bat­ting group.

“Aus­tralians ex­pect that fight and that’s a fair ex­pec­ta­tion,” Howard said. “I’ll give you an in­sight into the Sri Lankan re­view. There are two key themes: re­silience and adapt­abil­ity. I want to see some re­silience now and see the guys who can step up.”

Also Sun­day, Cricket Aus­tralia con­firmed it had banned a 25-year-old man for three years from matches across the country af­ter he al­legedly wrote racist graf­fiti di­rected at South African bats­man Hashim Amla dur­ing play on Satur­day.

Tas­ma­nia state po­lice in­spec­tor Doug Ros­siter said the man would face court over the in­ci­dent. — AP

HO­BART: A se­cu­rity of­fi­cial walks in the Bel­lerive Oval as the sec­ond day’s play of the sec­ond Test cricket match be­tween Aus­tralia and South Africa was called off due to con­tin­u­ous rain in Ho­bart. Play was aban­doned on the sec­ond day of the sec­ond Test be­tween Aus­tralia and South Africa with­out a ball be­ing bowled fol­low­ing in­ces­sant rain in Ho­bart. — AFP

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