- The South African batsmen did not have any answers to the pace of Johnson in bowler-friendly conditions at the SuperSport Park. Barring AB de Villiers, who showed a lot of fight, the home-team batters struggled to cope with the paceman, who was breathing fire. However, things were quite the opposite at the St George’s Park as the Proteas batted superbly. de Villiers extended his good form while JP Duminy showed why he is rated a quality batsman by scoring a brilliant ton in the first innings. Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis too came up with strong contributions to help the hosts post a good total. In the second essay, it was Hashim Amla’s turn to find form and the right-hander got back to his run-accumulating ways with a fine hundred. Their only worry right now is the form of skipper Graeme Smith, who is due for runs, and the hosts will be hoping that he delivers in the crucial game at Newlands while they will also bank on the rest of the batters to do well.
- The South African pacemen were mediocre in the opening game, but they did a splendid job in the match to follow to turn the tide in favour of the hosts. If Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell did the damage in the first innings, Dale Steyn was like a man-possessed in the second as he triggered an Australian collapse. With the ball reversing and the lethal pace with which he delivered, the Aussie batsmen were completely at sea as the quickie wreaked havoc. His performance on the fourth day is something South African fans will not forget for a long time as he out-classed the visiting team batsmen with a brilliant spell. The hosts will be hoping that he bowls with the same venom in the final game while the Proteas will also bank on the rest of the bowlers to go hard at the Australian batters.
- Just like South Africa, Australia’s batting in the first and the second Tests were in stark contrast to each other. The visitors were bundled out twice within 250 in the 2nd Test, despite David Warner’s twin fifties and Chris Rogers’ fighting hundred in the second essay. The reason for Australia’s below-par showing was because the middle order failed in both the innings. Shaun Marsh bagged a pair, Alex Doolan fell for single-digit scores both times while form has deserted Michael Clarke since his hundred against England in Adelaide. Steven Smith, who scored a brilliant hundred in Centurion, failed to impress in this game while Brad Haddin has been unable to replicate his Ashes success, registering three single-digit scores in this series. Clarke will be eager that the batsmen put the Port Elizabeth defeat behind them and show better application in the final Test.
- A slow pitch frustrated the Australian bowlers, especially Johnson, whose decimating performance in the first Test was followed by an average showing in the second. While it must be said that he tried his heart out, the left-arm pacer could not do as much damage as he would have hoped for. Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle too found the going tough and ended up bowling a lot of overs without much returns. Apart from Nathan Lyon’s five-wicket haul in the first innings, there was nothing much that Australia could take from their bowling performance in Port Elizabeth. They will now head to Cape Town eager to make amends and get back to their dominating ways.