Test agony and ecstasy leaves for Aussies

Depending where you were born, not winning can't get more agonising, or glorious, than that.

South Africa's steel to steal a draw in the second Test against Australia will, rightly, be hailed as momentous.

And it left Australian cricket with some serious questions that need answering, and soon.

Not least, what to do with Ricky Ponting?

Who will come to the rescue if Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey fail?

Is Mitchell Starc's left arm the right thing to replace injury-cursed quick James Pattinson?

Was Matthew Wade's shaky glove-work just a blip?

Will spinner Nathan Lyon ever be more than an honest toiler?

Can paceman Peter Siddle recover in time for Perth?

Things, surely, won't go so wrong for the tourists in the third bout, in Perth, for the heavyweight championship of the world.

South African superman Jacques Kallis won't tear his hamstring in the first hour and the Proteas won't lose the world's second-ranked bowler Vernon Philander to injury on the morning of the game.

But back to Australia.

Ponting admits his gloried Test career hangs by a thread after 20 runs in three digs this series.

Quiney and his pair of Adelaide ducks appear destined to become a Test trivia answer: who was the Australian batsman who played three Test innings, and didn't score in two of them?

The woes of Quiney and Ponting put an unhealthy reliance on Clarke and Hussey, who have made three substantial partnerships at substantial pace this series.

Their feats helped protect wicketkeeper-batsman Wade, hailed for his batting but this series yet to play an innings of note - and notably, being unsure with the gloves.

Wade botched a first innings stumping when Proteas skipper Graeme Smith was 46. He made 122.

Wade also dropped Faf du Plessis before tea on the last day. More than two hours later, the South African walked from the field a drawn hero, unbeaten on 110. 

AAP

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop