Trent Copeland

Australian Test & NSW SpeedBlitz Blues Cricketer

Nothing like a bit of Aussie spirit!

Johannesburg and the beautiful Wanderers Stadium is the setting, as we bid to level the test series 1-1.

We arrived at the Sandton Sun, one of the worlds finest hotels which is atop a Westfields like shopping complex named Sandton City (Google it, the place is massive!). Beautiful restaurants in Mandela Square, designer stores, good coffee and for a few boys – a nice hair salon. The boys do like to look fresh for a test match, Huss and Hadds in particular. No Table Tennis or FIFA at this hotel though, so the final rankings are as they were in the previous blog. Well done to Usman, undisputed champion.

The build up to this test match within our tightly knit group was focused solely on proving how we could bounce back from last weeks loss and in particular the second innings batting and bowling. A lot has been said, particularly in the media about how we are struggling but I can assure you this team is not far away from winning consistently. Pup has a real drive and determination for us all getting better every day, and I must say following the loss in Cape Town I really did learn a lot (even though I didn’t play) about how in tune our Australian Captain is with his goal of captaining the best One-Day and Test Team in the world. Pup spoke of things like learning from losses like this, using this as motivation for working harder in the coming weeks, learning how each and every one of us individually copes under pressure, and most of all – how can we help our mates out if they are struggling. 

Training this week has been intense as always, Craig ‘Billy’ McDermott running all the quicks through our paces and also meeting ‘Hoolio’ as he called one of our net bowlers. This bloke was in a women’s size 8 singlet and tight white shorts and most notably, bowled reasonably quick and was happy to bowl bouncers at our boys! We did hear he had been dragged from bowling at the proteas due to bowling 5 bouncers in a row to Jaques Kallis – I think we would have been happy for him to keep going… Another memorable net bowler along the way.

Shaun Marsh had gone home early in the week to be replaced by the Ashton Kutcher of the side (I’ll explain later) - Usman Khawaja in the team. With Ryan Harris unfortunately missing out through injury this test, that left myself and the youngster Pat Cummins to fight for a spot. Unfortunately for me, I missed out again. Tough to be on tour and not be able to contribute on the field, but as I mentioned in my last blog there are many things I can do to contribute off the field. The youngster was raring to go and no doubt is a superstar of the future!

Superstar of the future? Hmmm. How about Superstar right now! Debutant Pat Cummins became the youngest ever Australian to take 5 wickets on debut. Yes, that’s right… EVER. Pretty proud of the 18 year old from the Blue Mountains in NSW, he is no doubt going to set the Australian summer alight.

The Wanderers aka ‘Bull Ring” was a beautiful setting with a fast bouncy wicket for Cummo to make his debut. All the bowlers did a good job to bowl South Africa out on day one, Sids taking 3 wickets was particularly patient and got rewards late in the day.

After bowling South Africa out on day one, our two openers Watto and Hughesy formed one of those memorable partnerships that both of them will be very proud of, as will Justin Langer our batting coach who has worked tirelessly to help the batters get past last week and push on backing themselves. This stand of over 150 is one that no doubt shows the character of these two, and will be the first of many big partnerships.

A little collapse at the end of the day meant we had a lead of 30 going into the second innings minus Watto bowling wise with a slight tear in his hamstring.

The crowd at the wanderers was growing each day, the third day being Saturday which was not only a great day of cricket, but also recognised Breast Cancer Awareness in South Africa teaming up with the McGrath Foundation of Australia to raise funds and “Paint the Wanderers PINK!” – much like the Sydney Test each year. A great cause and one that the whole crowd and all players from both teams got behind, with the proceeds being split evenly between the two organisations. Well done to all involved.

With the extra numbers in the crowd came a few jeers and sometimes VERY loud heckling of our boys. All in good fun and something that Dave Warner and I sitting in the dugouts on the edge of the ground were loving, as I am sure were you through the television microphones. The other thing that I really enjoyed this week in the dugout was the chance to sit with people like Allan Donald, Mike Young and Paul Harris and talk to them about their opinions on just about everything from cricket, to golf, to peanut butter and jam on toast. Yes there is a lot of time killing in between running gloves and drinks.

It seems though Davey and I were not the only ones with time on their hands. After day three’s play had finished, Usman Khawaja – for those of you who don’t know Uz, he is a prankster, always taking the mickey out of people – pulled one of his Ashton Kutcher like ‘Punk’d’ moments on poor old me! Playing a video that he aptly named a ‘Khawaji Production’ in front of all in the change room to which I had no response. Clearly too much time. Well it is here that I say well played Usman, but I suggest you sleep with one eye open as I am on the case to get you back! All in good fun and an essential part of a good team environment, ahem, maybe not picking on me the whole time though.

Day four and this is where the main man, or should I say young man, Pat Cummins stood up and showed the cricket world that he is here to stay. The spell hitting Kallis in the head and then having him edge to pup at first slip is a true sign of how special this kid is. 6 wickets later, a superstar is born and Australia require just over 300 to win the Test match and level the series. Nathan Lyon, on his 24th birthday took two wickets and was well supported at the other end by Johno and Sids. Johno swung the ball most of the day and has been working very hard will Billy in the nets on his arm path and run-up. I have no doubt the rewards are not far around the corner.

After discussions with Pup and coaching staff, Davey Warner and I were on a plane that night to get home to Australia to give ourselves the best preparation – The Aussie A game for Davey, and I will be playing in the Sheffield Shield match starting Friday at the SCG against WA in order to get some bowling in a match before hopefully being a part of the squad in Brisbane for the First Test Match against New Zealand on December 1. Very common sense approach and will hopefully help me get back into the Test Team. I can’t wait to pull on the Baggy Blue again.

Unfortunately that did mean that I had 23 hours on a plane with Davey Warner via Dubai back to Sydney. Only kidding, it was unfortunate because we would be in the air while the last days play was on!!! Ahhhh. Luckily, I was able to get regular updates from my Fiancé Kim at home through the Emirates SMS in the air, and headlines from BBC sport (as the photo shows) this was how Davey and I found out that we won!

What a win! Two wickets to spare and exactly what we needed after last weeks loss and a lot of criticism. Pup and the whole group will be over the moon and I wish I could’ve been there to see it. Congrats to all the boys, Usman on his maiden Test half-century, Punter with 62 showing his true class and hopefully that will take the pressure off the man who is one of the greats and is infectiously positive around the group. Well done to the boys at the end, Hadds, Mitch and Patty Cummins for getting us over the line also, standing up in pressure situations is what we need in order to get back to number one in the world. This is a great start!

One other shout out must go to Troy Cooley as interim coach for this tour, a tough job to be thrust into, but a very switched on relaxed character who definitely helped getting the best out of the boys. The new head coach being named today – Mickey Arthur, very exciting times ahead! A well decorated coach internationally, and one who all of the playing group are looking forward to working with.

So it is home for the Australian Summer, New Zealand and India awaits! I am very glad that I am getting home to see Kim for the first time in 8 weeks. Kim has recently won the Holden International Player of the Year for the Aussie Diamonds Netball team following their World Champs and Test series win over New Zealand and England. Yes I am a little proud. Just a little!

Good luck to the Aussie A boys this coming week against the Kiwis. No doubt some young players looking to push for higher honours throughout the Test and One Day series.

Well, that is it for my blogging from South Africa, we are about two hours away from touching down in Sydney. I hope you have enjoyed the read. I will be blogging throughout the home summer also, so keep an eye out for that on , or at .

Until next time,


Posted 517 weeks ago