Marcha 23, 2018

Australian batsmen kept in check in South Africa

03 Marcha 2018, 04:48 | Benedicto Grullon

Vernon Philander took two wickets in an absorbing first session at Kingsmead

Vernon Philander took two wickets in an absorbing first session at Kingsmead

Maharaj also dismissed Smith in Perth while helping the Proteas record a series win that humiliated Australia in 2016-17.

South Africa started off the proceedings of the first Test in a dismal manner as they lost three early wickets that included the dismissals of Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla. In the competition, Proteas faced a ODI and a T20I series defeat against Men in Blue.

He didn't, and Marsh pushed the Aussies on and well beyond 300 despite a slow wicket that's given the opening test of a much-hyped series a grinding feel over the first two days.

The last four-match series, in 1970, was won 4-0 by South Africa but since South Africa's readmission to global cricket after apartheid, Australia have been supremely successful in the country, winning five of their seven series and drawing the other two for an unbeaten record.

The 26-year-old dug Australia out of a hole and his brilliant 96 spearheaded the tourists into a strong position, considerably strengthened with a blistering bowling display in the backend of the day.

Mitchell Marsh and Tim Paine batted out the overs as the light faded, adding 48 before play was called off before the scheduled close. He played 173 balls and it seems that he played actual Test there.

Taking a liking to the South African left-arm spinner, he then pummelled him for another maximum to the same part of the ground as lunch approached.

Smith, who was prolific with the bat in leading Australia to success in the Ashes, scored 56 while Warner contributed a characteristically quickfire 51. In 15 runs Bancroft was gone with individual 5 runs. England tried many different strategies, from trying to starve him of run-scoring opportunities and make him chase balls outside off-stump, short balls at the body with catchers on the leg side behind square, balls at the legs with catchers on the leg side in front of square, short balls outside off with catchers in the gully etc all proved relatively unsuccessful. Faf du Plessis and Co had tried everything in their arsenal to counter Smith, but in vain, until they chose to back the statistics and threw Maharaj at Smith.

The prolific Smith looked ominously comfortable from the outset, punishing loose deliveries on both sides of the wicket in a patient knock with support from Shaun Marsh.

Shaun Marsh survived an lbw appeal on 19, with replays showing he was out after the umpire turned down South Africa's shout. Mitchell Marsh, who had got to his fifty, exploded after lunch but missed his hundred by four runs, falling at mid-on off Vernon Philander. Australia had added just 12 runs when Paine edged to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

But once de Kock fell, bowled by Lyon after he played down the wrong line, the hosts collapsed, as Starc weaved his magic with a devastating spell of reverse swing bowling at serious pace.

It was an inelegant way to end his innings, which featured sharp chances on 42 and 66, but the West Australian's dig was the difference between a sub-par total and something far more respectable.

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