Home > Features >

Australia in South Africa 2014: Alex Doolan clears first hurdle with near perfection

Alex Doolan (in picture) had come into the 1st Test as a relacement for the unfit Shane Watson. Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann will now have the tough task of choosing the No 3 when Watson is fit again © Getty Images
Alex Doolan (in picture) has to build on the good start to cement a place in the Australian XI in the long run © Getty Images

By Devarchit Varma

When Alex Doolan was caught behind on the third day of the opening Test against South Africa at Centurion for 89, one could not fail but notice the fact that the Tasmanian had the same fate which his mentor, Ricky Ponting had. Ponting was a victim of erroneous decision by Khizer Hayat in his first Test at Perth in December 1995, but at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, Doolan was responsible for the err on his part — a lose shot off JP Duminy, caught behind by AB de Villiers. He had batted exceptionally well till then, but one lose shot ended all hopes of getting that exclusive hundred on debut.

But before his dismissal, Doolan had done everything that he could to prove his selection correct ahead of George Bailey and several others in the Australian domestic circuit. Not only that he added 205 runs with David Warner to take Australia from a commanding position to driver’s seat in the match, but the manner in which his innings panned out — in fact also the one in the first innings — gave glimpse of what lies in store for the young Australian batsman.

It will be too early to predict that Australia have found their No 3 and Doolan is the right candidate, but looking the way Doolan batted in both the innings, it is can be said that he is here to stay.

On the first day morning when Graeme Smith invited Australia to bat keeping the possibility of the green tinge on the Centurion wicket helping his star bowling line up, Doolan would have felt the butterflies in his stomach. Almost every young batsman goes through that span of nervousness, sitting in the dressing room padded up, eyes glued to the action in the middle, waiting anxiously for his chance. Doolan wouldn’t be wrong if he felt so. Couple of seasons back, he did not even have the belief in him that he could play Test cricket. But the time spent with Ponting in the Tasmanian side helped Doolan to rediscover the belief. He was told by the former Australian great that he had it in him to play Test cricket for Australia, and the progress made was enough to be considered for national selection.

Early on the first day of the opening Test at Centurion, when Warner fell in the fifth over, Doolan would have felt the pressure and nervousness while walking into the middle. The early wicket had in a way stamped Smith’s decision a correct one, and being a novice, Doolan certainly had a lot to handle. But impressively, the right-hander did not look perturbed and batted with ease. He wasn’t in a rush, Doolan took time to read the wicket and started scoring runs until he mistimed a pull to Robin Peterson at short midwicket.

In the second essay, Doolan did not have to wait for his chance for long as this time Chris Rogers’s dismissal brought him early at the crease. The pitch had bit of uneven bounce and Dale Steyn was in rhythm. But Doolan’s calm approach thwarted all threats from the South Africans. On the 39th ball Doolan faced, he went into double figures.

While Warner was riding his luck and piling on runs in the second innings, Doolan crafted his innings in a calm manner, picking up boundaries on the loose ones and taking every ball as per its merit. This kind of approach would certainly have pleased the Australians, as in the past all those who came into bat at No 3 and especially on precarious situations had struggled even with the basics, let alone the fact that they had a job to do.

Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja, two players of the next generation have so far struggled. Veteran Shane Watson had success at No 3 spot in the Ashes 2013-14, but Australia needed someone more skillful and technically sound for that position. How much Watson has improved on his habit of prodding the front foot in line of the ball and getting into trouble mostly when the ball is seaming around, only time will tell, but for now, Australia have a bright prospect in Doolan. The first Test against South Africa was a perfect test for someone as new and raw as Doolan, and he has indeed cleared it with near perfection.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Naman Ojha out for 40

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: Openers extend lead on fourth morning

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Haroon Lorgat expects WICB to sort out issue before South Africa tour

Yasir Shah delighted by Shane Warne’s tweet

Zimbabwe reach 77/2 at lunch against Bangladesh on Day 1 of 1st Test

VVS Laxman: Would love to watch ISL match during my stay in Kolkata

Wasim Bari likely candidate for Pakistan chief selector, team manager

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here