South Africa lead Australia with help of AB de Villiers.
South Africa took a vital advantage on Day Two of the second Test as AB de Villiers struck an unbeaten 74 at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth. The hosts took an 20-run advantage at stumps as Aussies will fell hard done by the lead conceded after a decent day of Test cricket.
AB broke the control of the Australian bowlers to bat the Proteas out to safety into a first innings lead which will be handy going into the rest of the Test match. The Proteas were in trouble at 183/6 but they made sure they stood the difficult period out and see out the day.
Apart from De Villiers and Amla, the rest of the middle-order struggled as South Africa’s issues continued. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh took a brace as rest of the Aussie bowlers chipped in to toil hard on a productive day in Cape Town.
The Proteas finished at 263/7 taking a vital 20-run lead after bowling the Aussies out for 243. Day Three will be crucial for the hosts in terms of getting a significant lead and gaining momentum in the match. Australia lead the four-match series 1-0.
Stumps, day 2.#ProteaFire #SAvAUS #SunfoilTest pic.twitter.com/mWgdKeIWpI
— Proteas Men (@ProteasMenCSA) March 10, 2018
AB bats smartly to defy Australia
The Proteas had struggled to take the initiative in spite of a good effort by the night watchman Kagiso Rabada who helped Dean Elgar add 45 for the second wicket and then the third wicket stand of 88 between Elgar and Hashim Amla.
Both the latter batsmen reached half-centuries (Elgar 57 off 197 balls, 6 fours and Amla 56 off 148 balls, also 6 fours) but the Proteas were only able to score 43 runs off the 26 overs that made up the middle session.
But De Villiers changed the tempo of the match as the Proteas scored 110 runs in the final session and, although they lost 5 wickets in the process they stretched the lead to 20 runs by the close of play.
De Villiers reached the close on 74 (81 balls, 14 fours) and still had Vernon Philander for company to endeavour to take the lead to the three-figure mark the Proteas will want.
South Africa lead Australia is going to be exciting since the Australian seamers made effective use of reverse swing for most of the second and third sessions to pose some difficult questions for the batsmen before Steve Smith took the second new ball just over five overs from the close.
De Villiers holds the balance of power in the match in his gifted hands as it is not just the seamers who are benefiting from conditions. There was also substantial assistance for spinner Nathan Lyon who dismissed Quinton de Kock with a delivery that both turned and bounced substantially. The Proteas will not want a big fourth innings target.
Pat Cummins (2/55) was the pick of the Australian attack while Mitchell Marsh (2/26 in 9 overs) filled a vital role as fourth seamer on a day on which the visitors had to spend the entire day in the field.
Rabada faces controversy
Kagiso Rabada will be out of the remainder of the Test series against Australia unless he can overturn a level two charge for physical contact with the touring captain Steven Smith on day one in Port Elizabeth.
The on-field umpires Chris Gaffaney and Kumar Dharmasena charged Rabada for making physical contact with Smith, but South Africa have indicated they will contest the charge on the basis that contact was accidental.
Now South Africa lead Australia on day 2, Let’s see where it goes…
South Africa 263 for 7 (De Villiers 74*, Elgar 57, Amla 56 Marsh 2/26) lead Australia 243 by 20 runs