Australia In Command Despite Losing 9 Wickets

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South Africa may have got the desired wickets in the second innings of Australia’s batting at the Kingsmead in Durban, but the visitors are in command after stretching their lead to 402 runs on Day Three. Steve Smith-led side ended the day on 213/9, but a 189-run lead from the first innings helped them secure a match-winning total.
Opener Cameron Bancroft’s 53 runs helped the Aussies get to a decent score at the end of the day. Smith (38) and Shaun Marsh (33) also contributed with the bat to make sure the lead surged past the 400-run mark. Morne Morkel neared the 300-wicket club in Tests after picking three wickets. He was well supported by Kagiso Rabada (2/28) and Keshav Maharaj (3/93).
With two more days left in the Test match, Australia will hope to add a few more runs and go from there on with a solitary target of getting 10 wickets and wrapping up the game. 19 overs were lost on Saturday due to bad light as credit should be given to the Proteas for not giving up and throwing everything at the Aussie batsmen.
It was a weird day given the DRS technology that saw Smith get a lifeline despite looking out. Commentators and analysts were left bewildered and fans too took to social media site Twitter, to express their frustrations.


Proteas bowlers dig in hard
Australia got off to a desired start in their second innings with Bancroft looking to be a lot positive and with him needing some runs under the belt, he targeted all the bowlers especially Maharaj upfront. Boundaries came at ease in the opening session of the day’s play, with Warner too looking to build on from the first innings fifty.
The duo added 56 runs for the first wicket in 13 overs and the run-rate being on the high side, saw the Aussies get the desired start. Kagiso Rabada then got the dangerous Warner miscuing a pull-shot and offering a catch to wide mid-on with substitute fielder Willem Mulder holding on to a regulation catch.
Rabada then was hit for two boundaries with Bancroft looking to continue in his tunes. Maharaj was getting the ball to turn on a slow pitch and got Usman Khawaja (6), who tried to reverse sweep the bowler. Skipper Faf du Plessis reviewed the not out decision by the umpire and had the money on his mouth with the ball showing it had hit the southpaw’s gloves.
In-form Aussie skipper Smith joined Bancroft at the crease and the duo continued to keep the tempo alive. Bancroft hit two fours off Morne Morkel, who bowled on the shorter side and the runs kept coming. He then brought up his second career-fifty after punishing Morkel for another four.

              Runs                Balls                    4/6             Strike Rate
                53                  83                   10/0                  63.86

Smith on the other hand was at his busy self and looked to get the runs flowing. He continued to dig in hard along with Shaun Marsh and the duo hoped to put on a good show ahead. With nothing happening from his bowlers, Faf got in part-time spinner Dean Elgar. The ploy worked as Smith was trapped leg-before and South Africa hit the progression button once again.
10 runs later, first innings hero Mitchell Marsh lost his wicket with Rabada picking his 2nd of the day. It was a historic moment for Hashim Amla, who got to 100 Test catches.


Shaun Marsh took his time and as the score dried up, he was happy to defend well and at times hitting the odd boundaries. He added 19 runs with Tim Paine before Maharaj picked the latter’s wicket. Marsh hit two creamy boundaries next and was looking solid leaving the ball outside the off-stump. But Morkel’s reverse swinging ball got him play at a ball close to his body and he nicked an edge to 2nd slip. After his dismissal, two more wickets were lost as bad light stopped play.
Elgar to bat despite injury

South Africa expect Dean Elgar to open the batting in their second innings despite suffering a dislocated finger.The opener suffered the injury in the process of taking the catch off Mitchell Starc. He was forced to immediately run off the field clutching his right hand.
It was later confirmed that the left-hander had dislocated the pinky finger on his right hand, but although he was unable to return to the field before the close of play, South Africa do not expect the injury to prevent him from batting.

The challenges for Proteas and poor DRS
Besides the bad light forcing play to end soon, the crowd turn-up was a disappointing factor given that it was a weekend. Meanwhile, the hosts will feel let down by the farcical DRS blunder, which saw Smith’s wicket miraculously saved.
Smith looked all but out as Maharaj slapped him on the pads in front of the pegs, but the umpire wasn’t having any of it and gave the call not-out. Du Plessis immediately went upstairs to review but was handed a shocker from the third umpire as ball tracking technology revealed the ball to have pitched a fraction outside the line and stayed with the umpire’s call.

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