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The day 23 wickets fell at Newlands

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The day 23 wickets fell at Newlands

The Newlands Test has become an annual cricket trip for me, it’s usually the boxing day Test but I decided I would rather come down and watch our boys take on “the old enemy” Australia instead of Sri Lanka in the new year.

I caught the first day on T.V. from behind my desk at the office and then made my way down to Newlands all the way from Joburg. I arrived at the stadium just in time to see the wicket of Michael Clarke fall. Australia were all out for 284. Things were looking good…

It was fantastic to watch Jacques Rudolph open South Africa’s first innings, he’s traveled a long journey to rejoin the Test team and I’ve been supporting him for a long time. He got off to a great start but was soon bowled by a perfect delivery from Harris. Not to worry I thought, we had the might Hashim Amla in next.

Then Amla fell for 3, followed by Kallis for a duck, with the pressure mounting Smith lost his wicket to Harris and the next ball Prince was trapped lbw … South Africa were 73/5. By this stage I was getting grumpy, I had shelled out a bucket of cash to get down here, sacrificed sleep and this is what I got in return. It got worse.

We went from 73/5 to 77/6, 77/7 and were eventually all out for 96. Heartbreak. Australia had a first innings lead of 188, Shane Watson returning figures of 5-2-17-5, and 11 of those runs came from one over. How were we every going to compete from here, with three and a half days to play I thought it was all over, but Graeme Smith and the boys had other ideas.

Almost immediately we started the fight back, Steyn trapped Watson lbw in the first over, a few overs later Philander trapped Ponting lbw and was given out after a review by the batsman. In the next over Morkel struck twice in two balls removing Hughes and Hussey. Then Philander took another, the big wicket of Clarke who scored 151 in the first innings. Australia were in trouble, deep trouble at 15/5. The crowd was alive with anticipation of a wicket from every delivery.

By now I was trying to find out what Australia’s lowest Test score was, I was sure it would fall on this day, turns out their lowest total is 36 in 1902. The collapse continued, Haddin was out caught behind off Philander as he played a suicidal shot, 18/6, then Harris edged one to Smith at first slip, 21/7, the next over Johnson hit a delivery from Philander to Amla he was out caught, 21/8. Two balls later Philander trapped Marsh lbw giving him a five wicket haul on debut, Australia were 21/9. There was buzz around Newlands, we were watching history being written, records breaking and no one really knew how we had got to this point.

Luckily for Australia Siddle and Lyon strung a partnership together to save them from total embarrassment and were able to push the score past their lowest total to 47 before Steyn wrapped up the innings.

Australia were bowled out for 47 in 18 overs, the innings lasted only 95 minutes. A bowling display of note, one I will never forget.

By the end of the day, I was so glad I had made the mission down to Newlands, I got to witness a day of cricket that will be talked about for years to come, the day 23 wickets fell at Newlands.
At close South Africa were 81/1 needing 155 for victory.

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