James Pattinson
James Pattinson

Australian and South African pacemen have been told to lift their game after an unusually high no-ball count proved costly in more ways than one in the drawn first Test at the Gabba.

While time was the enemy in the end for Australia as they looked to pull off an unlikely win on day five, no less than three wickets were overturned because of front-foot faults.

The biggest heartbreak for the hosts came on Tuesday when Hashim Amla, on seven and with South Africa struggling at 1-26, played a wide James Pattinson delivery onto his own stumps.

The call was sent upstairs, where it was revealed Pattinson was over the crease by only the slimmest of margins.

Amla went on to score 38 in the Proteas' second dig and was a major reason why the tourists were able to resist a blistering finish to the game from Australia and hold out for a draw.

"We think there should be a hefty fine every time we bowl a no-ball front foot in our team," Australian captain Michael Clarke said with a smile.

"For there to be so many there must have been reasons. I know all the bowlers had difficulty with their rhythm.

"The pitch is actually quite high compared to where you run in, so if you start your jump on top of the pitch, generally you're over the front line for a lot of the guys with quite long delivery strides.

"If you start your jump behind the start of the pitch they seem to fall a long way short and their rhythm doesn't feel great.

"I'm making excuses for them. I haven't seen that before in a Test match."

On day one, a front-foot no-ball denied Peter Siddle the wicket of Jacques Kallis - he finished with a brilliant 147 as South Africa amassed an imposing total of 450.

The same happened to Morne Morkel - twice.

The Proteas quick thought he had Ed Cowan (136) out late on day three, when he was on just 47, before the umpire told him to curb his celebrations.

Then on day four, Clarke - who dominated with a sensational, match-saving double-century - edged behind on a no-ball.

In the end, South Africa stepped over on a hefty 23 occasions.

"No-balls played a big role in the game. They were probably the highest scorer of the game," skipper Graeme Smith joked.

"Certainly from our perspective it's not acceptable and the guys know that.

"There's a good personal responsibility there and something that does need to be improved on.

"It's potentially 70-4 overnight on day three, there was a great opportunity for us. We took some of that into our bowling the next day and we just meandered along."


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