Steven Smith scored 34 before getting out © Getty Images
Steven Smith scored 34 before getting out © Getty Images

The spectators at Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground, Perth remained witness of yet another eventful day as Australia faced visitors South Africa on Day Four of the series opener. The game has taken a 180 degree turn and the advantage is with the visitors now as they put up brilliant performances with both bat and ball. South Africa did not have a very good start to the Test though, as they were bundled out for a par score of 242 on Day One. What followed was a great performance by Aussie opening pair David Warner and Shaun Marsh, who remained unbeaten at stumps. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

The following day initiated the change in command. South Africa bowling spearhead Dale Steyn removed Warner in his 90s, which triggered further wickets falling in regular interval. Australia, who were going strong with more than 150 runs without any loss of wickets, collapsed soon for 244, with a lead of 2 runs. Steyn went out of the field with pain in shoulder but Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj took the cue from there and completed the work Steyn had started. Philander picked up 4 wickets while Maharaj had 3 and Rabada got 2 wickets. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 4 at Perth

The momentum of the game was with the visitors, thanks to the bowlers and the batsmen did not let the efforts go in vain. They lost two quick wickets in Hashim Amla and Stephen Cook but Dean Elgar and JP Duminy filled in for that, scored individual centuries. The partnership added 250 runs; Duminy scored 141 while Elgar added 127. South Africa again lost a few wickets within a short span but Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander put up another important partnership, remaining unbeaten at stumps of Day Three. Here are the highlights from what happened next in Day Four of the match —

Quinton de Kock’s half-century: Quinton de Kock is one of the most consistent players of the side and was the highest run-getter for the side in the first innings. The way the batsman had performed after a top-order collapse was commendable and he continued with his form in this match as well. De Kock built up a crucial partnership with Vernon Philander while he himself scored 64 runs.

Vernon Philander’s half-century: Philander has proved himself to be one crucial member of the side with his all-round performance in the match. He led the side with the ball in Steyn’s absence and later on contributed with the bat as well, serving as the perfect partner to de Kock while playing his own game. He had slowed down his innings with the potent batsman at the other end but after the latter departed, he paced his innings up and added some quick runs with boundaries and a six.

Keshav Maharaj’s cameo: While the batsmen scored big, the contributions coming from the all-rounders were also important, especially the fireworks by Keshav Maharaj. Maharaj had earlier hit Mitchell Starc for a six in the first innings and continued with the similar style of aggressive cricket, hitting three more sixes in the innings. Maharaj took 34 balls to score 41 runs and remain unbeaten at the end of the day.

South Africa’s huge lead: When skipper Faf du Plessis declared the innings, the visitors had 540 runs on the board with a lead of 2 runs. Australia have never chased more than 440 runs in Tests and with two centuries and two half-centuries in the innings, the touring party posted quite a challenging target for the hosts.

Temba Bavuma’s freak run out: If batting and bowling were not enough to impress the spectators, South Africa had more in store. As Australia started their massive chase, David Warner and Shaun Marsh looked confident playing their strokes and were doing the right thing while Warner committed a big mistake of going for a quick single. Bavuma effected a flying run out and Warner was sent back for 35, giving South Africa their first breakthrough of the innings.

Kagiso Rabada’s 3-for: While a run out started the fall of wickets, Kagiso Rabada added more to it, bagging 3 wickets and helping the visitors dominate completely against Australia. In the same over which had Warner getting out, Rabada removed the other opener Shaun Marsh to make it harder for Australia batsmen to survive the bowling. He kept on producing chances and bowling in the perfect areas and later claimed the wickets of Steven Smith and Adam Voges to put the visitors in driver’s seat.

Usman Khawaja’s half-century: With wickets falling at the other end, Usman Khawaja took up the responsibility and held the innings together. Though he was dropped once by Hashim Amla, he played carefully and Gradually got to his half-century, a much-needed one for the hosts.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)