Sunday, 19 August, 2018

'Amazing' De Villiers bats South Africa into lead

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South Africa were 263 for seven at the close, a lead of 20 runs after Australia were bowled out for 243 in their first innings.

Elgar was 57 not out and Amla 54 not out in an 86-run stand for the third wicket at St. George's Park.

South Africa lost just one wicket in the first two sessions, nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada for 29, after starting the day on 39-1.

But once De Villiers came to the wicket, he immediately started scoring all round the wicket, injecting urgency into the South African innings and putting the pressure back on the Australian bowlers. "South Africa batted extremely well to get through that period when the ball was reverse swinging and then we got our rewards later in the day", added Marsh.

Even though Elgar and Amla put on 88 for South Africa for the third wicket, that stand took almost 3 1/2 hours and 278 balls. Rabada will have a disciplinary hearing in Port Elizabeth later on Saturday, the South African team said.

It was the second outstanding innings in the series by De Villiers, who made 71 not out in the first innings of the first Test in Durban before being run out for nought in the second innings as South Africa slipped to a 118-run defeat.

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Amla also hailed the quality of the cricket.

De Villiers, who had not scored a ton in his last 13 tests, featured in an 84-run partnership with Vernon Philander for the eighth wicket as the pair saw off any potential impact of the new ball from an Australian attack that looked exhausted after their exertions on Saturday.

Amla was the first to go, bowled by a Mitchell Starc delivery that moved away late, before Elgar fell in the next over, edging Josh Hazlewood through to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.

He had Smith and Shaun Marsh out lbw, with both failing with reviews, and Mitchell Marsh was caught behind by de Kock attempting an expansive drive at an inopportune moment just before tea.

Warner, who suffered a fractured left thumb in 2015, had heavy strapping over much of his left palm on day two of the second Test at Port Elizabeth. The first session of Day 1 produced 98 runs and one Australian wicket off its last ball and South Africa carried that momentum forward.

The on-field umpires Chris Gaffaney and Kumar Dharmasena charged Rabada with making physical contact with Smith, but South Africa have indicated they will contest the charge on the basis that contact was accidental.

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