Aussies pin hopes on second new ball: Mickey Arthur
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The imminent second new ball is the trump card up Australia's sleeve as they attempt to battle their way back into the rain-hit first Test against South Africa, coach Mickey Arthur said today.
He spoke as the entire second day was washed out with the top-ranked Proteas in the box seat at 255 for two after a strong opening day, with Hashim Amla (90) and Jacques Kallis (84) nearing centuries.
It was the first time in 29 years that a full day's play had been rained off at the Gabba ground since the final day of Australia's second Test with Pakistan on November 29, 1983.
South Africa will be one batsman down for the rest of the Test after JP Duminy was ruled out for the remainder of the three-Test series with a ruptured Achilles tendon, suffered during a warm-down drill after yesterday's play.
Arthur, who was South Africa's coach when the Proteas pulled off an historic 2-1 series win over Australia on their last tour there in 2008-09, said Australia would have to turn around an indifferent opening day to salvage the match.
"We first have to get seven wickets now. There's been a huge chunk of the game taken away," Arthur said.
"We've still got to play very, very well to give ourselves an opportunity to win it, and if we can't win it then make sure we don't lose it.
"There's a massive amount of cricket still to be played, so it's a bit premature to be talking about what we're going to do."
Despite his reluctance to talk tactics Arthur pointed to bowling with the second new ball, which skipper Michael Clarke attempted to take before play was ended early on Friday due to bad light.
"We've still got that second new ball up our sleeve, that's the one trump we have up our sleeve. We have to make that second new ball work for us," Arthur said.