Ponting glum as Aussies flop

Australian cricket’s attempt at recovery after last year’s Ashes humiliation hit a spot of turbulence in South Africa. Feeling chirpy after bowling out the hosts for 96, Australia’s second innings mustered just 47 runs.

Even that doesn’t tell the full story of Australia’s woes. At one point they were 21 for 9, and under threat of posting the lowest Test score in history. Only some desperate bat-flinging from the tail-enders Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle avoided that ignominy. New Zealand remain the unhappy holders of that distinction, with the 26 they scored against England in 1954.

Lyon was Australia’s top-scorer in the second innings with just 14. Of the recognised batsmen none even made it into double figures. Former captain Ricky Ponting, now just another batsman, had another miserable match, getting a duck to add to his 8 from the first innings.

It was an astonishing second day of the Test Match in Cape Town, witnessing the fall of 23 wickets, with the statisticians getting excited about the possibility of several records for low scoring being eclipsed.

Ponting’s replacement as captain, Michael Clarke, had been feeling pretty happy with himself after a first innings of 151. His team’s collapse immediately puts him under pressure from the critical Australian press and supporters.

Despite the testing wicket at Newlands, South Africa knocked off the runs they required for victory in smooth style on day 3. An unbeaten century from captain Graeme Smith and another from Hashim Amla carried them to the win with the loss of only 2 second innings wickets.

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