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Feb 20, 2014
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, South Africa got off to a nightmarish start on a rather flat deck by losing their captain, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla for just 11 on the board, inside six overs.
But then, Dean Elgar, who is making a comeback to Test cricket in this match, along with Faf du Plessis initiated South Africa’s recovery, and rebuilt the innings. Both the batsmen played cautiously in the morning session, not letting any chance to the Aussies to snare another wicket and then, post-lunch, they batted much more fluently and upped the tempo as well.
They took the team total past 100 before du Plessis reached his fifty. Soon after, Elgar too reached his fifty — a knock he will remember for some time because he fought for each and every run. They soon brought up the 100-run partnership as well, as the South African dressing room finally lit up.
Both the batsmen faced barrages of bouncers from Mitchell Johnson, yet they yield nothing till the mid-session drinks break. After the drinks break, du Plessis lost his wicket to an absolute nothing of a delivery. He prodded forward to a straight ball from Nathan Lyon, and ended up inside-edging it to Steven Smith at short-leg. It was a huge breakthrough for the Aussies because both the batsmen were set, and were able to negate everything. Michael Clarke needed a mistake from the batsman and he got it.
After du Plessis departed for 55, AB de Villiers joined Elgar at the centre, and what followed was an interesting phase of play between de Villiers and Lyon. de Villiers was not being able to get the spinner away, and it was getting to his nerves. Clarke kept catching fielders on both sides of the field, as Lyon was asking de Villiers to go after him. De Villiers finally got off the mark on the 17th ball he faced.
Elgar has looked ever composed and South Africa will be hoping he can remain unbeaten tonight and guide the team’s first innings.
South Africa 145 for 3 (Dean Elgar 61, Faf du Plessis 55, Ryan Harris 1 for 31) vs Australia.
Also on cricketcountry.com