First Test: Australia hammer South Africa by 118 runs

Aiden Markram showed the Australian bowling attack doesn’t quite have the requisite answers when the attack is taken to them.

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Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc and South Africa batsman Theunis de Bruyn also had a series of verbal exchanges during one over. Although the match finished in four days, South Africa knew that it had to, because the forecast for the fifth day was bad.

The Proteas had been asked to nearly better the Test record run chase of 418. But it dried up after lunch, however, and Australia lost six more wickets while eking out another 101 runs in 44.4 overs before the umpires took the players off the field. In fact, in the last 7 innings that Amla has played against Australia, he’s got out to Hazlewood on 6 occasions. Maharaj’s 4/102 in the second innings bolstered his match figures of 9/225 – a career-best. Markram batted for nearly the entire day, only falling late on to a catch up at the stumps by Paine off Mitchell Marsh.

Removing the resoluteness of Elgar was a big wicket for Australia, and 29/1 soon turned into 39/3.

South Africa were 135 runs off their victory target when a exhausted Markram tried to guide the ball down to the third man and was caught behind by Tim Paine off Mitchell Marsh’s medium pace bowling.

De Kock, who made 81 not out, and Morne Morkel survived for nine overs against Smith and Nathan Lyon before play was finally called off, a decision which Paine said was fair.

Earlier, a fired-up Warner ran de Villiers out for a duck at the non-striker’s end following a calamitous mix-up between the gun batsman and Markram. However, he couldn’t find any support from the other end.

South Africa captain Faf Du Plessis was very impressed by Mitchell Starc’s outstanding performance against his team. Mitchell Starc managed to take three wickets in a row and was on a hat-trick. “The incident was discussed between the two team managers and the match referee last night and it is now in the hands of the on field umpires and the match referee”, CA said later on Monday.

“Not as far as I’m concerned”, Smith said.

Currently, they are perhaps too accepting of the Australia behaviour, and maybe the de Kock incident will fire them up.

The partnership on the fourth day between Markram and de Kock was as competitive a period as South Africa showed throughout the Test – but that came at a stage when the Test had all-but certainly drifted away from them. But Starc broke through for the visitors as Elgar edged one to the wicketkeeper. De Kock raised his bat during the same over after reaching a timely 50.

As Vernon Philander entered the crease with South Africa 133 runs shy, a successful chase looked like a mountainous challenge once more.

Instead, on a worn pitch, it was Starc’s reverse-swing that did the damage. (Bowl spin in bad light?) I didn’t want to. the skipper might have been trying to jag one himself.

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Australia got to 351 from their batting innings thanks largely to Mitch Marsh’s brilliant 96, with Steve Smith contributing 56 as well.

Relations between the Proteas and Aussies have been soured.  AFP