Half tons pepper SA scorecard in PE

Australia

South Africa were on 214 for five when bad light brought about stumps on day one of the second Test in Port Elizabeth, as Australia took two late wickets to negate the trio of half centuries the hosts scored.

South Africa were on 214 for five when bad light brought about stumps on day one of the second Test in Port Elizabeth, as Australia took two late wickets to negate the trio of half centuries the hosts scored.

Dean Elgar was the top scorer by the close, having made a neat 83 upon his return to the side, while Faf du Plessis had made 55 earlier in the day when they shared a century stand. AB de Villiers was on 51 at the close.

Proteas skipper Graeme Smith won the toss, after some quick drama around Vernon Philander's fitness, and chose to bat first, hoping that the early pitch movement would make way for a flat track soon enough.

The call was one Michael Clarke would have made too, he admitted, but the hosts got off to a dire start when Smith was out for nine. He was trapped LBW by Ryan Harris and didn't bother to review.

This brought Hashim Amla to the middle to join Elgar, in the side for a sick Alviro Petersen. Amla was out for a duck though, also LBW, but this time to Mitchell Johnson, who thus took his tally since his return to 50 wickets in six-and-a-bit Tests.

Elgar and Du Plessis put on 53 runs in a slow yet solid hour and a half before lunch, just building the score and looking to get used to the slower-than-expected pitch. Meanwhile, the change room balcony saw debutant Quinton de Kock watch the action closely.

The afternoon session was slightly more fruitful in terms of runs, especially when Elgar and Du Plessis took advantage of the one bad ball per over the Aussies gifted them with. They upped the scoring rate to nearly four in the first hour after lunch.

But then Du Plessis was out against the run of play, getting an inside edge off Nathan Lyon, who wasn't turning the ball much, and it popped off Faf's pads to Alex Doolan at short leg. De Villiers then to 17 balls to get off the mark.

Despite his slow start, ABdV was soon into his rhythm on his way to a record-breaking feat. His half century made sure he scored at least a fifty in 12 consecutive Tests, overtaking the stat held by Viv Richards, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir previously.

Elgar's composed (sorry!) innings came to an end when he played a rash stroke off Lyon, top edging the ball high in the air for Ryan Harris to catch as the light faded even further.

This brought De Kock to the middle for the first time in Test whites, and the pressure was on the free-scoring 21-year-old. He looked nervous, even against the innocuous spin, was out for seven to part-timer Steve Smith, skying it to sub fielder Moises Henriques.

At the end of play, the Aussies had not yet taken the new ball, and when they asked to do so the umpires said: Pick. New ball or stay on the field. They picked the former and departed the murky ground, with AB and JP Duminy trooping off too.

<b>South Africa:</b> Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn.

<b>Australia:</b> Michael Clarke, Alex Doolan, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, David Warner.

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