Home > Features >

South Africa vs Australia 2014: Michael Clarke’s men are the real deal

Michael Clarke-led Australian setup beat South Africa 2-1 in their own den © Getty Images
Michael Clarke-led Australian setup beat South Africa 2-1 in their own den © Getty Images

Michael Clarke led Australia to a monumental Test series win over South Africa away. This team has now won two important blockbuster Test series on the bounce. After thrashing England 5-0 in the Ashes 2013-14, Australia have come away with a 2-1 win over the Proteas. Shrikant Shankar believes that Clarke’s Australia are the real deal.

When Australia went nine Test matches in-a-row without winning, they were ridiculed by the foreign media and lambasted by their own. Players kept coming in and going out and there was no set of players who one would have thought as the core bunch. Michael Clarke was the one exceptional player in the side and the rest just added the numbers. There was quality, but either some were out of form and/or some were injured. England were supposed to win the Ashes 2013-14 series regardless of the final score- line. But what happened next was not foreseen even by the staunchest of Australian fans and even players.

Australia thrashed Alastair Cook’s England in all of the five Test matches and won back the urn with a 5-0 margin. The credits started pouring towards Clarke and his Australian team. Mitchell Johnson was singled out as the best player for taking a staggering 37 wickets at a ridiculous average of 13.97. But the bane of Australia’s woeful performances prior to the series — batting — came good against England. The top six run-scorers in the Ashes were Australians. David Warner led the way with 523 runs while Brad Haddin and Chris Rogers scored above 450 runs each.

 


England were down right poor. There were many issues that were there prior to the series and just kept increasing as it progressed. At the end, team director Andy Flower stepped down and star batsman Kevin Pietersen was told the England team did not need his services anymore. But let us not discuss England here and let us focus on Australia. Due credit was given, but somewhere England’s no show was also taken into context. The real test would be against South Africa away in a few weeks’ time. People said against the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, Australia would lose.

But Australia stunned the world’s No 1 side and won the three-match Test series 2-1. Johnson blitzed South Africa in the first Test as he took seven and five wickets in each innings respectively. Shaun Marsh, Steven Smith and Warner scored the runs as Australia won by 281 runs. South Africa brought out all their grittiness and talent to the fore in the second Test to win by 231 runs and level the series. There were still some impressive performances with Nathan Lyon taking five wickets and Warner and Rogers scoring the runs.

Then in the third Test, Clarke finally decided to buckle down and get a big century. He withstood a lot of body blows, but remained unbeaten. Rogers and Smith again got amongst the runs. Johnson and Ryan Harris took the bulk of the wickets and Australia beat South Africa by 245 runs. They played spoilsport in Graeme Smith’s last international appearance, just as the Proteas did in Ricky Ponting’s for Australia. The margin of victories is incredible against the best Test side for the last six years.

Warner ended the series with 543 runs — 20 runs more from the Ashes while playing two matches less. He scored three centuries and two half-centuries. Warner scored two centuries in the third Test. Johnson took 22 wickets — 10 better than the best bowler in world cricket for the last six years in Steyn. Steven Smith’s consistently scored runs as well. Australia have really done well in the last two series at home and away; and against two very different teams. The jokes towards them have stopped. Clarke’s Australia are the real deal.

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

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

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

More

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

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Geoff Marsh and other Father-Son trios to have played Test cricket

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Why did Mohammad Hafeez go for a shocking review?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 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

Tillakaratne Dilshan’s luxury hotel inaugurated by Mahinda Rajapaksa

Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq half-centuries ensure Pakistan advantage against Australia at Lunch on Day 2 of 1st Test

West Indies cancel tour to India: Ian Bishop calls tour collapse a ‘wake-up-call’

Brad Haddin turns 37

Virat Kohli and other cricketers wish Happy Diwali on Twitter

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

Joginder Sharma: When an over eclipses a career

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Diwali special: Check out what gifts Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha, Hrithik Roshan should exchange this Diwali!

Lenovo RocStar music-focused Android KitKat smartphone with Dolby Digital Plus audio launched in India, priced at Rs 6,499

Narendra Modi to celebrate Diwali with soldiers at Siachen Glacier

Google’s new Inbox app is the Google Now of Gmail

इबोला : अंतर्राष्ट्रीय लड़ाई में क्यूबा का साथ देगा अमेरिका

इबोला से संक्रमित अमेरिकी फोटोग्राफर विषाणु मुक्त घोषित

How are Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt celebrating Diwali?

Diwali 2014 Special: Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sunny Leone – Top 7 Bollywood patakas we love!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here