Faf du Plessis secured his 6th century and completed 2,000 Test runs    Getty Images
Faf du Plessis secured his 6th century and completed 2,000 Test runs Getty Images

From an alleged convict of ball-tampering to a man of substance, Faf du Plessis walked out to bat at the Adelaide Oval amid boos, and ensured that his affair with the venue continued. For the second time after four years, du Plessis made Adelaide his own and that too in style. Day One of the final Test saw the clock moving from Australia to South Africa, with the hosts trailing by 245 runs at the end. Josh Hazlewood, who grabbed 6 wickets against New Zealand in 2015 in this very venue and ultimately bagging Man of the Match reward, ended up with figures of 4 for 68 against Proteas. Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird also shared two wickets each. But a surprise call from du Plessis, declaring the innings at 259 for 9, added pressure on the hosts as the teams headed towards dawn. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, third Test, Day One at Adelaide

South Africa have already provided Australia a reality-check in this series, coming dangerously close to their first-ever home Test series whitewash. Unless Australia come out to bat with more intent, South Africa will remain in control. Australia have lost five Tests so far since their series whitewash against Sri Lanka and with another one on cards, it adds to further trouble. For the Adelaide Test, apart from the usual, Australia added three debutants to their side who will be playing in the top six. This happened last during the Second World War phase in 1946. All this just emphasises on the pressure that Australia have gone through over the past week.

With the inclusion of three new players to the side, it can be either an advantage for Australia s batting unit or complete opposite of the situation. Meanwhile, here are some of the highlights that caught the eye on Day One:

Reality-check for South Africa: The Proteas might have had clean sweep over Australia at home in the ODIs, it was time for the visitors to get a reality-check. The day belonged to hosts as the bowlers were off the mark with the shiny pink-ball. The first to draw blood was Mitchell Starc, as the centurion from the first Test Dean Elgar was gone cheaply for 5. Hazlewood s love for pink-ball was evident as he got two instant wickets of Hashim Amla and JP Duminy, both grabbed for 5 each. The scoreboard before heading for tea read the South African Nos. 2, 3 and 4 scoring 5 runs each barring Stephen Cook s 40 and du Plessis 26.

Josh Hazlewood vs Hashim Amla: There has been strong competition between Hazlewood and Amla since the beginning of the series. It was not just because Amla was knocked off by Hazlewood on Day One of the final Test. This has been a clash that is difficult to miss grab eyeballs. Amla was caught at the slips by newbie Matt Renshaw diving across and snapping a beauty. The first Test also saw Amla being caught at the slip, pretty similar to what one could witness at Adelaide. The same bowler and the same victim there was. The third incident was when Amla was caught by Peter Nevill and Hazlewood rejoicing, leading to a karmic connection between these players.

Australia s evolution of top-six: Having three new debutants in top-six is exceptionally rare. The last one witnessed such incident was during the World Series Cricket and it happened in 1946 as well, six years since World War II. But one will fondly remember this rare incident that occurred in 1936 when Don Bradman s first Test captaincy. However, that rare moment was when Australia had to tweak their playing XI in the second innings. This time, Australia were in dire need of victory.

After losing five consecutive Tests, Australia are on the brink of whitewash with the sword heavily lying on South Africa s favour after the captain s century. With the chief selector s resignation and Greg Chappell along with Hohns entering the picture at the time of crisis, is this the time of evolution for Australia in Test arena?

Josh Hazlewood and his tale with pink-ball: Adelaide and Hazlewood carry history with regards to pink-ball. With Australia playing one day-night Test against South Africa and the other lined-up against Pakistan, Hazlewood is all set to witness sweet summer. Hazlewood is enjoying the form of his life as he recently bagged the Man of the Series reward in the tri-series against South Africa and West Indies. He has experienced playing with the pink-ball and has earned Man of the Match award against New Zealand in 2015 with 6 wickets then.

With his 4-for in the first innings and the second innings remaining, Hazlewood is already in contention to earn the Man of the Match award. He is already leading for Australia with 11 wickets. With 4 more, he is already 15 wickets ahead amongst the seamers and this could be perfect end for the youngster in his favourite ground.

Faf du Plessis the man of substance: When Proteas were 44 for 3, du Plessis entered with the crowd booing the skipper after the ball-tampering incident. Du Plessis performance has been minimalistic this series and with his 6th Test century, he has silenced the critics. In the process he also completed 2,000 Test runs. He not only achieved personal feat but also built healthy partnership along with Stephen Cook, Kyle Abbott of 50 runs and a surprising 10th wicket partnership of unbeaten 39 runs with debutant Tabraiz Shamsi.

Du Plessis, who went through tough week for breaching ICC Code of Conduct, was fined 100 per cent match fee. However, he was cleared to play the day-night Test in Adelaide Oval. The 32-year-old was found guilty after hearing representations and evidence from the umpires as well as Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Despite the absence of AB de Villiers, du Plessis has held his nerves and taken South Africa to new heights against the once upon a time No. 1 Test team – Australia.

(Shruti Hariharan is a Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)