61st over: South Africa 175-5 (Verreynne 50, Jansen 58) Cummins needs a spark of inspiration and he turns to Cameron Green to locate it. His young allrounder responds with a line and length maiden. “Gee, it looks like a nice batting pitch now, ” coos Ricky Ponting on the telly. Australia have an hour and a half or so to avoid an inquest into Cummins’s decision at the toss. 50 to Verreynne60th over: South Africa 175-5 (Verreynne 50, Jansen 58) Back-to-back first-innings fifties to Kyle Verreynne, who milks Lyon to long-on.
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Ai, I just don't know anymore... #AUSvSA— Firdose Moonda (@FirdoseM) December 26, 2022 68th over: South Africa 186-9 (Nortje 0, Ngidi 0) Ngidi sees off the remainder of the over to allow Green his dip at a five-for. WICKET! Maharaj c Cummins b Lyon 2 (South Africa 186-9)Absymal from South Africa. Either side of one tremendous partnership the Proteas have been garbage.
64th over: South Africa 179-5 (Verreynne 52, Jansen 58) Verreynne absorbs most of Lyon’s over before peeling off an easy single. There’s little going on for the fielding side out there but the concentration from the South Africans in the middle deserves commendation. 63rd over: South Africa 178-5 (Verreynne 51, Jansen 58) Just the one off the bat to Verreynne from Green’s over, but the scoreboard also benefits from a couple of byes, one of which the product of Steve Smith’s misfortune chasing the runaway ball. Most of Green’s deliveries are aimed at Jansen, who Australia are convinced is susceptible to deliveries targeting his ribs (as am I) but he deals with those ok, only to almost perish chasing a wide one.
Jansen is showing real fortitude today, wearing plenty of deliveries without losing his head. 56th over: South Africa 154-5 (Verreynne 43, Jansen 45) Australia now have two men out for the sweep so Jansen only earns a single for his efforts. Verreynne, who is rarely on strike, is no sooner on it than he’s off it, cutting to the point sweeper for one. Lyon then finds the edge of Jansen’s bat with a delivery that keeps low, but the allrounder jabs down just in time to squirt the ball along the turf to Smith at first slip. The atmospheric noise is now quintessential Boxing Day afternoon at the MCG. The low rumbling sound of thousands of inebriated patrons just about keeping it together to pay attention to a slow-moving game of cricket.
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