Innings end South Africa 242 (De Kock 84, Bavuma 51, Starc 4-71, Hazlewood 3-70) v Australia
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Moonda: South Africa blown away by pace and bounce
Quinton de Kock led a fighting lower-order effort from South Africa, but Australia could still claim to have been on top at the WACA after dismissing the visitors for 242. Mitchell Starc took four wickets and Josh Hazlewood claimed three as the South Africans were bowled out in the 64th over, after Faf du Plessis won the toss on a good batting pitch.
South Africa resumed in the final session at 7 for 175 and added a further 67 to their total for the loss of the last three wickets. Debutant Keshav Maharaj struck a quick 16, including a daring six over long-on off Starc’s bowling, before he was the first man out after tea, caught at long-on when he tried to send Nathan Lyon over the boundary.
De Kock fell in the next over, caught at midwicket pulling Hazlewood, for 84 off 101 deliveries. At times de Kock played as if this was a one-day innings, and having come to the crease at 5 for 81, he did well to push South Africa as high as 242. His two key stands were a 71-run partnership with Temba Bavuma and then a 48-run combination with Maharaj.
The innings ended when Starc bowled Dale Steyn for 4, leaving Kagiso Rabada unbeaten on 11. Starc finished with 4 for 71, a fine outcome given his lack of match practice due to a nasty training injury sustained last month, and Hazlewood ended up with 3 for 70. Shortly before tea, South Africa had lost Vernon Philander, who played on trying to pull Starc on 10, and it could have been a quick finish after that, if not for the tail-end fight.
De Kock and Bavuma – in their 11th and 12th Tests respectively – had started the South African fightback before Bavuma was sharply taken at short leg by a diving Shaun Marsh off Lyon’s bowling. Bavuma had looked solid in reaching 51 from 86 deliveries, driving through the off side effectively and working runs off his pads.
For the 19th time since the start of last year, Starc struck in the first over of an international innings, the opener Stephen Cook his victim. Cook had been in shaky form during South Africa’s warm-up matches against second-string opposition, and it was no preparation for facing Starc with the new ball. The fourth delivery of the game moved away just enough, and Cook’s thick edge was snapped up by a diving Mitchell Marsh at gully.
A bigger blow was to come for South Africa in the fourth over, when Hashim Amla was done by the subtle variations in Hazlewood’s swing, his edge comfortably taken at second slip by Steven Smith. Like Cook, Amla had failed to score, and South Africa were 2 for 5.
Hazlewood picked up his second wicket when his accuracy left Dean Elgar muddled as to whether to play or leave a delivery just outside off stump. In the end, Elgar tried to whip his bat out of the way at the last moment, but the ball kissed his edge on the way through to Peter Nevill, and he was out for 12.
Siddle then gave Australia’s selectors reason to pat themselves on the back for his inclusion, striking in his third over when he had JP Duminy caught behind for 11. The ball nipped back in between bat and pad and Duminy, given out on field by umpire Nigel Llong, asked for a review. Replays showed the ball had indeed flicked his leg on the way through to Nevill, but suggested there had also been a thin inside edge.
Although Du Plessis and Bavuma saw South Africa through to lunch without further loss, du Plessis did not last long upon the resumption. On 37, he edged Starc to Adam Voges at slip, which brought de Kock and Bavuma together. A fightback was coming, but plenty of work remained ahead of the South Africans at tea.
South Africa were 4 for 32, but Bavuma and du Plessis managed to see off any further threats before lunch during a 46-run stand. Du Plessis was watchful, but found five boundaries when the opportunities arose, and Bavuma looked solid at the other end.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo