James Pattinson
James Pattinson

A slow Gabba wicket and a bad case of stage fright threw Australia on day one of the first Test against South Africa, according to young tearaway James Pattinson.

The Proteas were 2-255 at stumps on Friday and are in complete control of the contest in Brisbane after Australia's much-vaunted pace battery failed to fire.

Even the best-laid baggy green plans - like those in the now-infamous dossier leaked to News Limited - count for nothing if execution is lacking.

Pattinson was the only paceman to taste success on the day, grabbing the key wicket of Graeme Smith (lbw, 10).

Luck also played a part, with Peter Siddle (0-58) getting Jacques Kallis caught off a no-ball before dropping Hashim Amla a straightforward caught-and-bowled opportunity.

Both those men are still at the crease.

But Australia's inability to adapt to an unusually soft surface at the Brisbane ground and the class of South Africa's top order bats proved the difference, he said.

"We can make excuses but we lacked a bit of penetration, consistency and probably our maiden count was a big thing," he said.

"When the wicket's not playing how you want it with a bit of movement and pace, you probably want to dry up (runs) as much as you can.

"We did well in patches, but you play against world class batsmen and they're good on soft wickets at getting those balls into the gaps and rotating the strike as they did."

Pattinson was at a loss to explain why the pitch was the way it was.

"It wasn't the Gabba wicket we were probably used to," he said.

"It was a bit slow and there was no real sideways movement.

"Usually it's pretty soft on top and dries out as the day goes on, and there was a bit of sun around, so there was no reason why it shouldn't have dried out.

"It's the first time I've played on a wicket like this at the Gabba. A few of the boys were saying as well it's the first time there wasn't any catches go to slip on the first day (here).

"But as class players you've got to overcome that and have a back-up plan when that does happen.

"We were definitely too short early on, and that can happen coming into a big game, there's plenty of nerves flying around.

"It's disappointing but the good thing about cricket is there's another day.

"We come out tomorrow and if we can get some early wickets, you never know. We're keeping a positive frame of mind."

A potential injury to JP Duminy, who hurt his ankle while attempting shuttle runs after stumps, could help minimise the task ahead for Australia.

But a pragmatic Pattinson said: "I saw him getting carried off but I'm just worried about getting Amla and Kallis out to start off with."


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