Proteas seize the initiative in Perth Test
Australia lost ten wickets for 86 runs as the Proteas mounted a fightback despite being robbed of pace spearhead Dale Steyn who sustained an injury and had to leave the field of play.
Australia established a two run first innings lead after they collapsed from 158 without loss to 244 all out with Vernon Philander and debutant Keshav Maharaj taking the bulk of the wickets.
Before Steyn went off injured he succeeded in ‘cutting the head off the snake’ dismissing David Warner for 97 with an outswinger that the left-hander edged to Hashim Amla at slip.
With Warner gone Australia struggled to retain their initiative and when Kagiso Rabada produced a ripsnorter to demolish Usman Khawaja’s (4) castle the Proteas had their tails up.
Steve Smith (0) became Maharaj’s first Test victim in contentious circumstances in the very next over, Smith got down the pitch to a flat delivery that struck him in front, the Proteas appealed and umpire Aleem Dar raised the finger. Smith reviewed immediately but despite his position he was adjudged to be out. The ball was hitting though and the skipper can have little complaint.
When Philander struck Shaun Marsh (63) on the pads adjacent to the stumps Nigel Llong raised his finger straight away, perhaps in panic he chose to review but it was a poor decision, he was completely plumb and Australia had used both reviews.
That would leave Australia 181 for 4 at the lunch break and it would soon get worse.
Shaun Marsh’s brother Mitchell went after the break and in true younger sibling fashion his dismissal was a hand-me-down from his brother as he was trapped leg before by Philander as well to leave the Baggy Greens reeling at 181 for 5.
Adam Voges (27) and Peter Nevill would guide Australia past 200 before Rabada struck again, Voges was deceived by swing and could only get a leading edge on it with the quick completing a catch off his own bowling.
Maharaj would take just five balls to remove Mitchell Starc with the quick unable to get to the pitch of a good delivery and skewing his drive to Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis at short midwicket.
DRS drama part three would follow as Nevill (23) was adjudged by the on-field umpires to have edged one to slip off Maharaj, replays would show that he may not have nicked it but Shaun Marsh’s frankly ludicrous decision to review would rob the keeper of a reprieve.
Philander’s swing proved too much for the tailenders to handle and Josh Hazlewood (4) and Nathan Lyon (0) were both caught in the corden as the big swing bowler picked up his third and fourth wickets to wrap up the innings at 244.
Peter Siddle played well for his unbeaten 18 off 25 balls but ran out of partners.
Philander ended with figures of 4 for 56 while Maharaj was impressive as he took 3 for 56.
South Africa made a solid start to their innings with Cook and Elgar blunting the new ball attack before the Lions opener departed in the 17th over of the innings.
Cook picked out midwicket off the bowling of Siddle to bring a patient knock of 12 off 55 balls to an end.
Smith showed great nouse bringing Hazlewood back into the attack after the quick picked up Amla’s wicket in the first innings and he did it again in this innings bringing one back in to the experienced batsman to have him chop on.
Dean Elgar (46 not out) and JP Duminy (34 not out) would guide the Proteas to a strong position by the close reaching 104 for 2, 102 runs ahead of Australia.
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