South Africa keep Australia under check with regular wickets


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Hosts South Africa would have been a happy lot after keeping Australia in check on the opening day of the first test of the four-Test series on Thursday. Australia ended the day at 225/5 after bad light,  a regular occurrence at tests in Durban, forced early stumps at the end of 76th over of the match.
Australia will rue the fact that none of their batsmen went on to score big runs at the Kingsmead in Durban after skipper Steve Smith and David Warner made half-centuries. None of the batsmen went on to get big scores, though, giving South Africa reason to be positive.
Smith, who ended the Ashes 2017-18 as the highest scorer with 687 runs, continued his Test form. The world No. 1 made a good looking 56. Keshav Maharaj looked good and produced a decent spell with 2/69. Vernon Philander was the pick of South African bowlers with 2/36 to his name.

This was Smith’s fifth straight score of 50 or more in Test cricket.
Aussies fail to gain the momentum
Smith won the toss and opted to bat first in the series-opener, with Australia comfortable enough to keep the same team that beat England by an innings in the final Test of the Ashes. The Aussies lost Cameron Bancroft and Usman Khawaja early on and from there on the visitors found some resistance.
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Smith and Warner added 56 runs between them and just before lunch the latter departed. Warner by then had got to his fifty but will rue the fact he could not convert it into a big score. Warner was caught off a flying outside edge to AB de Villiers at slip last ball before lunch, giving Philander his second wicket of the session and South Africa the first momentum of the contest.

 Bowler                   Overs             Maiden           Runs             Wickets
V Philander                     17                8              36                  2
K Maharaj                     24                4              69                  2
K Rabada                     16                1              58                  1

Warner had hit six fours when he was cramped for room and nicked to de Villiers, who fell back as he took the catch around chest-high. Smith and Marsh continued to fight on and added another 51 runs for the fourth wicket. Smith’s dismissal came at the wrong time. He tried to cut a ball from Maharaj that was too close to him. A thin edge deflected off de Kock’s gloves and ended up at de Villiers in slips.
The Aussie captain earlier hit 11 fours in an 156-ball stay at the crease.Shaun Marsh survived an lbw appeal on 19, with replays showing he was out after the umpire turned down South Africa’s shout. However, the home team had no TV reviews left after using both, and losing them, in the first session.

 Batsman                   Runs              Balls           4/6              S/R
D Warner                     51                79            6/0              69.56
S Smith                     56                114            11/0              49.12
S Marsh                     40                96            6/0              41.67

Marsh did go, though, off an outside edge to de Villiers at slip of Maharaj for 40 runs. The Proteas were floundering at 177/5, when Mitchell Marsh and Tim Paine steadied the ship with a 48 run-stand. When an early stumps was called, Mitchell Marsh was  unbeaten on 32 with his partner Tim Paine on 21.


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