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Australia dominate at Tea, Day 1 of 3rd Test, despite Morne Morkel’s barrage

David Warner has batted splendidly so far © Getty Images
David Warner has batted splendidly so far © Getty Images

Mar 1, 2014

David Warner and Michael Clarke saw off a fiery spell from Morne Morkel to see Australia safely to 195 for two at tea on Day One of the third Test against South Africa. The tourists lost Alex Doolan early in the second session, but Warner and Clarke saw them safely to tea. To add to the woes of the tourists, they were severely hampered when Dale Steyn pulled a hamstring and left the ground during his eleventh over.

Doolan gifted his wicket away after getting his eyes in when he top-edged Vernon Philander to Steyn at mid-wicket. Warner brought up his seventh hundred by pulling Kyle Abbott to the fine-leg fence, and Australia seemed to be on top, especially after Steyn left the field with a pulled hamstring mid-over.

Then came Morkel for what it seemed like a single-minded intention to smash the Australian captain to pulp. When Michael Clarke ducked into one the ball hit his arm, and a few minutes later the substitute fielder ran in with the armguard.

Coming from round the wicket Morne bounced again, Clarke ducked again, and this time the ball hit the grill of his helmet. Clarke reeled in pain but resumed batting after a couple of minutes or so. Morkel unleashed an encore, and this time the glove took a rapping. The last ball of the over nearly singed Clarke’s nose.

Smith probably missed out on a trick when he decided to persist with Dean Elgar at the other end to partner Morkel, taking the pressure off Clarke as he gradually saw himself in. The key question remains: when will Steyn be fit to bowl again?

Brief scores:

Australia 195 for 2 (David Warner 121*, Chris Rogers 25; Vernon Philander 1 for 42) vs South Africa.

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