Duminy, Elgar score tons as South Africa lead nears 300

Tea South Africa 242 and 3 for 295 (Duminy 141, Elgar 112*) lead Australia 244 by 293 runs
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Brettig: ‘Sensible batting on steaming hot day’

JP Duminy and Dean Elgar both moved to patient centuries on the third day at the WACA, where the Australians wilted in the Perth heat and failed to claim a wicket until the final over before tea. If the first day was dominated by Australia, every session since then has belonged to South Africa, who at tea held a lead of 293 runs with eight wickets in hand, Elgar on 112, and the total on 3 for 295.

Duminy had fallen immediately before the break for 141, driving outside off against Peter Siddle, and although Aleem Dar rejected Australia’s appeal, Steven Smith had no hesitation in asking for a review. Hot Spot did not detect a mark but there was a loud noise on Snicko, and Duminy’s innings was ended after 225 balls at the crease.

The 250-run Duminy-Elgar stand was the third-highest partnership Australia had ever conceded at the WACA – the biggest came last year when Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson put on 265 in a high-scoring draw. The second new ball had done nothing for Australia, and a cracking pitch with some variable bounce did not faze the batsmen.

There had been one genuine chance earlier, when Nathan Lyon drew Elgar into lofting down the ground towards long-off, where Mitchell Starc should have at least got a hand on the ball, and probably caught it. But whether it was the sun or the need to run with the flight of the ball, or the breeze, Starc circled like a dog chasing his tail and failed not only to catch it but even to touch it.

Elgar was on 81 at the time, and going over the top in such a way was a rare move in an innings that had otherwise been perfectly watchful. Elgar brought up his hundred from his 255th delivery, with a drive through cover for four off Lyon – it brought a celebration, but one that was about as understated as much of his strokeplay. It was a magnificent return to the WACA for Elgar, who made a pair on Test debut at the same ground four years ago.

Four years earlier again, Duminy had also made his Test debut at the WACA, though his was a more memorable occasion. Back in 2008, Duminy scored an unbeaten 50 and hit the winning runs as South Africa chased down 414 for victory. In the following Test at the MCG he made a hundred, and was well ensconced as a Test cricketer.

Duminy here had come in at 2 for 45, with Elgar on 27, but he overtook his more cautious partner and reached his century nearly 15 overs earlier than Elgar. Duminy’s milestone came from his 169th delivery with a drive through cover for two off Mitchell Marsh, and it was his first Test century since July 2014.

Duminy had been strong through the off side, driving impeccably and he struck 20 fours and one six over the course of his innings. It was hot work for the batsmen – though chairs and an umbrella brought out by the 12th man at drinks helped them cool down – but much more so for Australia’s bowlers, especially the fast men, who did all of the work in the opening session as Steven Smith waited until after lunch to give Lyon his first chance of the day.

Added to Australia’s concerns was the fact that Adam Voges appeared to hurt his hamstring while diving to save a boundary; he initially stayed on the field, though had to leave later for treatment. Australia’s fast men tried their best to use the cracks in the surface and also extracted some reverse swing with the old ball, but Duminy and Elgar were up to the task.

South Africa’s healthy lead by tea placed them in a very strong position in the match, even allowing for the fact that their best bowler Dale Steyn had been ruled out due to a shoulder injury.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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