Australia were thrashed by South Africa by an innings and 80 runs in the second Test at Hobart, as a result of which the Proteas clinched the series. The match lasted for less than four days. But, to put things into perspective, it must be noted that the second day’s play was entirely washed out due to rain, and yet the South Africans hardly broke a sweat as they overcame the hosts. It was a hugely disappointing performance from Australia, as they registered their fifth consecutive Test loss in a row. Some serious corrective measures are needed as far as the Aussies are concerned.
It was Australia’s batting that let them down very badly in the Test. On the opening day, they were rolled over for 85. From that point on, there was only going to be one winner. Not a single player got a fifty in the first innings, and only one crossed it in the second innings. The experienced players let them down in a big way. David Warner was a big let-down. He gave his wicket away in the first innings, and in the second, he was worked over very smartly. Australia were expecting much better things from him.
Australia’s overall batting was something that just wasn’t up to the mark, and the poor numbers clearly tell the story. Joe Burns, replacing the injured Shaun Marsh, managed only one run across two innings. Further, Adam Voges finished with one run in two innings while Callum Ferguson had the most forgettable debut, with four runs in the Test. Peter Nevill, who was impressive in the previous match, failed to reach double figures in either innings. From 79 for 1, they collapsed to 161. These numbers clearly tell the sorry tale.
Usman Khawaja’s 64 was the only score of note for the Aussies. When he and Warner were at the crease in the second innings, Australia showed some fight. But, once the partnership was broken, they precipitated rather swiftly. Steven Smith’s captaincy once again came under fire. He made an unbeaten 48 in the first essay, but was dismissed for 31 in the second, when a lot more was expected of him. The pressure is clearly growing on Australia will every loss that they face. Apart from Josh Hazlewood’s six-four and Mitchell Starc’s three wickets, there was nothing really to cheer for the Aussies at Hobart.
In contrast, South Africa were on top of their game. Kyle Abbott stood out with his six-for in the second innings. And to think of it, he wouldn’t even have been playing had Dale Steyn been fit. Vernon Philander was brilliant on the opening day, and set the Test up with his five-for. Kagiso Rabada chipped in with four second-innings wickets. In the batting department, Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock once again stood out for the team with significant knocks. South Africa have won the series without AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn. That is perhaps their biggest achievement.
--By A Cricket Analyst