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Australia on the brink despite defiant Markram ton

Aiden Markram scored a defiant century to lead a resolute Proteas fightback on the fourth day of the first Test against Australia in Durban but the visitors just need one more wicket to take the lead in the four-match series.

Set a massive target of 417, Markram struck a brilliant 143 as the Proteas recovered from 46/4 to be 293/9 at stumps, still requiring another unlikely 124 to win, before the players came off the field for bad light.

The Proteas were set back early in the chase as Dean Elgar (9), Hashim Amla (8), AB de Villiers (0) and captain Faf du Plessis (4) all fell cheaply with a victory for the Aussies before the tea interval on cards.

Elgar was the first to go when he edged Mitchell Starc to wicketkeeper Tim Paine and he was followed soon after by Amla, who went lbw on review to seamer Josh Hazlewood.

Calamity then struck for South Africa when De Villiers was run-out when he was rightfully sent back by Markram after looking to steal a single.

Markram and Theunis de Bruyn then showed plenty of courage as they withstood the Australia bowling attack for a partnership of 87 for the fifth wicket.

De Bruyn made his way to 36 but, after barrage of verbals from the opposition, edged Hazlewood to Paine.

Quinton de Kock and Markram then showed great application at the crease as they added 147 for sixth wicket but it was Mitchell Marsh that broke the stand when he had Markram caught behind.

Starc then gave another example of his impressive reverse-swing skills when clean bowled Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada in one over.

Morne Morkel survived 27 balls with De Kock still on 81 at the other end when it just got to dark and the umpires were forced to take the players off the field.