Markram shines as scandal-hit Australia toil in fourth test

05 April, 2018, 01:58 | Author: Judith Dennis
  • Punters have deserted Australia heading into the 4th Test against South Africa

Vernon Philander put Australia in deep trouble after Temba Bavuma was left stranded agonisingly short of a century as South Africa took a strong grip of the fourth Test on day two at the Wanderers.

Batsmen Peter Handscomb, Matthew Renshaw and Joe Burns were returning to the team as a result of the scandal.

Australia were feeling the pressure when Markram and de Villiers took South Africa to 247-2, setting the crowd off with the tampering taunts.

With the match being overshadowed by the fallout of the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test the Proteas got off to a bright start against their weakened opponents.

Only the rain forecast for the next three days on the Highveld appears likely to prevent an early finish to proceedings at the Wanderers after Australia's new-look batting order offered up little resistance.

The very public fallout has already led to 12-month global and Australian domestic cricket bans for Steve Smith and David Warner, the former deemed to have had knowledge of a plan to alter the condition of the ball allegedly orchestrated by Warner and carried out by Bancroft, who was hit with a nine-month sanction.

After scoring just one run in the first hour on Saturday, the right-handed batsman added 175 runs more to the South Africa total on day two along with the tail.

"Putting three guys into a Test match, two have come from Australia and one hasn't played in a game for a while, was always going to be a little bit tough", said Saker.

The brilliant Markram cashed in as the series' top run scorer constructed a brilliant innings for his fourth Test century, while De Villiers continued a fine run of form with a valuable 69. At drinks, South Africa were 35/0 at drinks.

A 3-1 series defeat, their first in South Africa since the end of apartheid, now seems inevitable, although given the events of the past week it is really a side issue.

The Proteas right-hander looked on course to reach his milestone before tea but things fell apart spectacularly when overzealous Keshav Maharaj was recklessly removed by Pat Cummins on 45 leaving Bavuma having to negotiate his way with last man Morne Morkel.

Even though Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers were dismissed for 16 and six runs respectively, Elgar and captain Faf du Plessis ensured South Africa didn't lose another wicket as they forged an unbeaten 40-run partnership before stumps was called. Both Burns and Renshaw had been batting in Brisbane on Tuesday, rushed to South Africa, and were in the Test team by Friday, and if that was flawless preparation for a Test then everyone would do it.

Quinton de Kock (7*) joined Bavuma (25*) and the duo took South Africa past the 300 mark and made it through to stumps without any scares, putting on 14 runs in the closing 4.2 overs.

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