Majestic AB, Rabada put Proteas in control


The Proteas, powered by a majestic century from AB de Villiers, found themselves in prime position to level the Test series against Australia after a very satisfying third day of the second Test in Port Elizabeth.

De Villiers struck a brilliant unbeaten 126 as South Africa were bowled out on the stroke of lunch for 382, an overall lead of 139 after the first innings.

It was De Villiers’ 22nd Test hundred, and his first since January 2015, as the hosts took more of a lead than they would have hoped for after resuming the day on 235/7.

De Villiers shared in a stand 84 with Vernon Philander (36) and 58 with Keshav Maharaj (30) which proved to be valuable and swelled the lead.

The Proteas bowlers, paceman Kagiso Rabada in particular, came out with their tails up and struck early.

David Warner (13) was clean bowled by Rabada while, after a bit of resistance, Cameron Bancroft (24) chopped onto his stumps from Lungi Ngidi.

62/2 became 86/4 as Steve Smith (11) was caught behind off spinner Keshav Maharaj while Shaun Marsh (1) edged Rabada to keeper Quinton de Kock.

At that stage, the Aussies were really staring down the barrel as they were still in a deficit of 53 runs with only six batsmen in the sheds.

Usman Khawaja and Mitch Marsh added 87 to take the Aussies into the lead but Rabada got rid of Khawaja for a well-played 75  just two overs before stumps.

Rabada, who took five wickets in the first innings, has figures of 3-38 in 16 overs in the second and looks the most threatening bowler on this surface.

Mitch Marsh (39 not out) will resume with Tim Paine (5 not out) with the Aussies on 180/5, a lead of 41 with five wickets remaining.

Nasri Alexander in Port Elizabeth