Cricket carnage at Cape Town

In a bizarre passage, South Africa and Australia played all four innings of a Test match inside the six possible hours of action on a single day. There was only one other instance in the history of 2,016 Tests pla­yed thus far when all four innings were played on the same day. Lord’s witnessed that unqiue occasion in 2000 on the second day of the second Test between England and the West Indies eventually won by the former by two wickets. It was also the 100th Test played at the most famous cricket venue.

Cape Town joined Lord’s in history books but the beginning of the second day didn’t offer any hint of the upcoming mayhem. South Africa were in absolute control after reducing Australia to 214 for eight overnight, and they had to go through several frustrating moments before eventually bowling the visitors out for 284. Skipper Michael Clarke led the way for Australia with an uninhibited 151. A Protean romp was very much on the cards at that juncture. But it didn’t pan out as expected. Australian pacers produced a massive effort to splinter the home side for 96 to give their team a dream first innings lead of 188. Common cricketing wisdom would have prompted one to envisage Australia tightening the screws in emphatic fashion.

 In the blink of an eye, the South African quicks, led by five-wicket man Vernon Philander, produced a zippy spell to reduce Australia to 21 for nine. The Aussies were dangerously close to getting bundled out for the lowest score in Test cricket history, an embarassing record owned by New Zealand (26 all out against England at Auckland in 1955).

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