Australia beat South Africa by 118 runs in first Test in Durban

07 March, 2018, 00:34 | Author: Judy Cobb
  • Mitchell Starc reality

Morkel (3-42), who has announced he will retire from all worldwide cricket after the four-match series, produced some excellent deliveries on a slow wicket at Kingsmead as he took his tally of test wickets to 297.

Australia had been told it was too dark for fast bowlers to continue, which threatened to ruin the chance of Mitchell Starc to finish the match off with a hat-trick after he rattled through the South African tail with three wickets in five balls.

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.

Former South captain Graeme Smith questioned whether the light had changed sufficiently from the start of Starc's devastating over to make such a radical decision - and suggested the umpires had been influenced by the collapse of wickets.

South Africa had their backs against the wall when their second innings got underway during the first sessions of day four.

Australia was forced to wait for the one wicket it needs to confirm a commanding win over South Africa in the first test after a odd end to the fourth day on Sunday. He still took 22 wickets in four Ashes Tests.

AB De Villiers has been one of the greatest ambassadors of South African cricket.

South African captain Faf du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada entered the hallway as the situation came to a close. Josh Hazelwood then broke an 87-run partnership between Markram and Theunis de Bruyn in the afternoon. They resulted in a fine for David Warner for accusing AB de Villiers of roughing up the ball with his wicketkeeping gloves to help Dale Steyn bend the ball dangerously in a Proteas win at St George's Park, the same venue for the second Test this time around.

The second Test starts in Port Elizabeth on Friday, with the hosts insisting their day-four fightback is a moral victory that is cause for some confidence.

Markram was at the centre of some animated flashpoints out in the middle, as Australia's explosive recent history with South Africa bubbled to the surface. The duo attacked the bad balls and defended the good ones and slowly and steadily kept the scorecard ticking.

"Obviously, there are techniques used by both sides to get the ball reverse and that's just the way the game goes". Markram looked to run the ball down to third man but ended up guiding it straight into Paine's gloves. "They were playing really well", Paine said.

"I know you shouldn't be thinking "going to win anyway" but there's a lot of issues to take into account".

But if one of the pace trio are to be dropped, the prime (only?) candidate would be veteran, soon-retiring Morne Morkel, who took a long time to get into the wickets column at Kingsmead (0/75 in the first innings), although he did finally grab three toward the tail-end of the Aussie second knock. It later lead to heated argument between de Kock and Warner while heading to the dressing room at tea.

That most freakish scenario was set up by an extraordinary fourth evening in which South Africa's No.11 Morne Morkel survived for 40 minutes in fading light alongside Quinton de Kock against nine overs of spin from Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith.

With a four-Test series it allows individual battles to develop as the teams learn about technical and mental deficiencies, players poke and prod at opponents hoping to identify and exploit any kind of weakness with which to pounce and use against them in the upcoming Tests.



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