South Africa produced a resolute display of batting on Day 3 and continued with that in the opening session of Day 4 to snatch the game completely from Australia’s desperate clutches. Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander added to the already heavy lead and Keshav Maharaj also scored some key runs to hand Australia a whooping 539 to win.
In reply, Australia lost sets of wickets in quick intervals to be four down with the help of some excellent Temba Bavuma fielding and then Kagiso Rabada’s sensational spell late on. At close, Australia were 169/4 and still need 370 to win – an improbable task on the final day.
What happened on Day 3:
Dean Elgar and JP Duminy put visitors on top
South Africa’s JP Duminy and Dean Elgar both scored centuries in a third-wicket partnership of 250 to drive the tourists to a 388-run lead over Australia at the end of the third day of the first test on Saturday.
Australia removed both centurions around the tea break, as well as Temba Bavuma and captain Faf du Plessis in the last hour, but by then the damage had been done and the Proteas will go into day four on 390 for six.
Quinton de Kock, who was dropped by Adam Voges on one, was at the crease unbeaten on 16 at the end of a long, hot day at the WACA, along with Vernon Philander, who had made 23 not out.
South African paceman Dale Steyn was ruled out of the rest of the series with a fractured shoulder on Friday and will play no further part in the match, reducing the number of wickets Australia need to take.
Steyn was a member of the Proteas team that chased down 414 to beat Australia at the WACA in 2008 but it was a debutant Duminy who scored the three runs off Mitchell Johnson that got the South Africans over the line.
Now 32, Duminy looks to have played a key role in another Perth triumph after his brilliant 141 rammed home South Africa’s advantage after they had skittled Australia for 244 in reply to their 242 on Friday.
Duminy faced 225 balls and hit 20 of them for fours with another going for six, overhauling partner Elgar before lunch and reaching his fifth test century with two runs to deep cover soon after the break.
It was his first century in two years and his third against Australia, just reward for a masterclass of calm control and shot-making.
The end came just as it looked like the pair of left-handers would bat through to tea, Peter Siddle benefiting from a DRS review when the technology revealed a nick off the bat that carried through to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.
Elgar did not have such a good experience on his previous visit to the WACA, having got a pair when he made his test debut at the ground in 2012, albeit on the winning team.
Dogged and determined where Duminy was fluent, the 29-year-old reached his fifth test century half an hour before tea after a prolonged spell in the “nervous nineties”.
His career-best 127 came off 316 balls and he had hit 17 fours and one six when Josh Hazlewood finally winkled him out after tea when he offered a tired shot and got an edge which Mitchell Starc took at gully.
Starc should have caught Elgar on 81 when the batsman skied the ball to mid-off but he lost the ball in the Perth sun, tripped himself over trying to readjust his position and spilled it on the turf, to the despair of bowler Nathan Lyon.
The left-arm paceman also accounted for Du Plessis (32), a fine edge taken behind by Nevill, while Hazlewood had Bavuma well caught by Usman Khawaja at deep square leg for eight but the collapse Australia needed never materialised.
After Perth, the series continues in Hobart before concluding with a day-night test at Adelaide Oval.
Good morning! We’re in place for the fourth day’s place at the WACA, Perth. Another scorching day in Western Australia. There’s Quinton de Kock on one end and Vernon Philander on the other. Responsibilities with the ball handed to Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
Review taken by South Africa after Quinton de Kock is adjudged out to Josh Hazlewood. The ball misses the bat and kisses the thigh pad on the way to being taken by Nevill. Umpire gives out but neither the hotspot or the snicko suggest anything to give Australia an early breakthrough
Quinton de Kock showing that it is still possible to bat on this wicket which has some cracks developing. And Nathan Lyon bearing the brunt of it. A six and a four in two overs and South Africa are cruising along. Lead swollen up to 435 and Australia will need to chase the highest score in Tests to win this
Second inning in a row that Quinton de Kock has a fifty. Drives through the covers to pick up a couple. Survived been given out twice this morning and both times the decision was overturned after a successful review
Quinton de Kock c Voges b M Marsh 64 (100)
Australia finally have their first of the day and De Kock departs after a strong knock. De Kock looks to drive but bit of an extra bounce and he sends it low towards short cover which is picked up by Voges on the dive. South Africa are 468/7
South Africa up to 502/7 and the lead now at a fat 500 runs. Gives the Proteas five sessions to bowl out Australia if they do declare after Lunch which would be soon
LUNCH! South Africa are 508/7 and lead by 506. Plenty of runs added in that session with Quinton de Kock getting another fifty and Vernon Philander also notching up a half ton. Expect a declaration soon. Maybe after lunch?
Second session opens and there’s no immediate declaration yet. To add to Australia’s woes, Keshav Maharaj opens the session with back-to-back sixes to Nathan Lyon. Stupendous start! Brings up the fifty partnership in the process. And Smith comes on to bowl too.
Philander b Steve Smith 73 (143)
Swing and a miss! Philander tries to belt this one but misses the ball completely and is bowled out. Great innings nonetheless.
And that is also declaration from South Africa. They have just under five sessions to bowl and Australia are facing a mammoth 539 to win.
Right then. Australia’s openers are in the middle. David Warner and Shaun Marsh to open the innings and South Africa’s defense starts with Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander
Repeat of the first innings to some extent. David Warner is going all guns blazing as Australia reach 48 and he has 31 of those. Marsh on 15
DROP? Chance still! David Warner gets a massive thick edge. Full and outside off by Kagiso Rabada and it goes flying over the third slip. Desperate attempt but that was travelling
Warner run out Bavuma 35 (33)
On first instance, that looked easily home. David Warner tried to steal a single but brilliant piece of fielding by Temba Bavuma gets South Africa a big, big wicket. Quick pick and release at the non striker’s end and Warner’s bat is on the line. GONE! Australia are 52/1
Marsh c Du Plessis b Rabada 15
Little feet movement by Shaun Marsh and Kagiso Rabada strikes. Pitched outside off and a thick edge sends the ball flying to Faf du Plessis at second slip. Bit of bounce on that too. South Africa are 52/2
Steve Smith is the new man in and immediately there’s a review on Usman Khawaja. Umpire has given it caught behind for an under-edge. Flat delivery by JP Duminy outside off and Khawaja goes on the backfoot to slash it but is late to it. Gets the pad and goes back to the keeper. No caught behind. And struck him outside off so no lbw either. But nervous moments for the hosts
Final session underway now after a quick Tea break. Australia are 84/2 with Usman Khawaja on 16 and Steve Smith on 12
Australia are cruising along at this stage. At 120/2 with Smith on 26 and Khawaja on 37. With little coming for the bowlers, and one bowler short as is, Faf employs Stephen Cook now
DROP! Hashim Amla drops Usman Khawaja at first slip Pitched outside off by Kagiso Rabada and Khawaja gets a big edge which goes quickly to Amla at first slip. Its low to his right but he spills it in the end. Would have been easier for the keeper to scalp
Smith c De Kock b Rabada 34 (91)
Australia lose their captain to a woeful shot. It pitched outside off by Kagiso Rabada and a very loose shot by Smith gets a thin edge and it goes comfortably into Quinton de Kock’s hands. Some of the credit should also go to Rabada for the line and length. Gets some late swing away and Smith believes he can send it through an empty covers region. Australia are 144/3
Voges c De Kock b Rabada 1 (12)
Australia’s issues deepening as Adam Voges goes back quickly. Beautiful piece of bowling by Rabada to keep going at it to the new batsman. Getting one to jab back in, one to go away, one to maintain line and this time it moves away ever so slightly after being pitched outside off and needs Voges to have a go at it. Edges it behind and its easy stuff for De Kock. Australia are 146/4
Final few overs of the day now. Usman Khawaja on 57 and Mitchell Marsh on 13. There’s Vernon Philander on one end and Keshav Maharaj on the other
Vernon Philander with the final over of the day
End of Day 4 at WACA, Perth. Australia are 169/4 and have Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Marsh in the middle. Still 370 runs away from the target with cracks deepening and helping spin alongside the seamers. See you tomorrow!