A day that saw Australia ruling ending with along with drama © Getty Images
A day that saw Australia ruling ending with along with drama © Getty Images

An eventful final Test, that saw from Faf du Plessis’s century to Australia’s comeback over past two days, witnessed Day Three heading towards the Australian way. The day once again belonged to Australia as they extended the lead and left South Africa reeling at 194 for 6, leading by 70 runs at the Adelaide Oval. There was nothing that South Africa could celebrate about barring their lone batsman Stephen Cook being unbeaten on 81. However, the Adelaide spectators had much to talk about and were entertained thoroughly. Be it Usman Khawaja’s 145, Mitchell Starc’s fifty, the streaker’s entry or Nathan Lyon’s final touch to end the day. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 3rd Test at Adelaide

South Africa had the game under their belt earlier in the day, grabbing four wickets and heading for early tea. But the batsmen failed to capitalise on the opportunity and left Cook stranded. After Khawaja’s dismissal, it was Starc who held on to his nerve and stretched Australia’s lead to 124 from 48. If South Africa stand any chance of winning this match, they will need to build a lead of at least 200 to prove a tough competition for Australia. There was some friendly commentary punching lines from Kevin Pietersen to the loud Matthew Wade along with other highlights on Day Three:

Mitchell Starc’s cameo: Khawaja, who was aiming for double century, exited in disappointment despite the warm send-off that he received from the Adelaide spectators. It all zoned down to Starc with Hazlewood around as morale booster. Starc entered Day Three on 16 and cruised to his seventh Test fifty in no time. He went for the big shot off Philander besides the five fours along the way to keep the hosts in the race despite Khawaja’s absence.

Starc’s knack of getting early wickets found no end as this time he was spot on and got the big man Dean Elgar for a duck. Unlike the first innings where he overstepped, Starc ensured this time it was a clean chit.

Josh Hazlewood vs Hashim Amla – a bitter-sweet competition: No competition has witnessed a rivalry that has intensified to such an extent where a bowler picks a batsman five times in a series. Yes, this happened between Amla and Hazlewood once again. Amla, who was flowing with the stream and was approaching his fifty, was held by Hazlewood for the fifth time in this series. Amla at Hobart was prevented from achieving his fifty as Hazlewood could not resist picking his big wicket.

This time Amla was victimised to Hazlewood’s lbw delivery, that grazed his back pad and right-hand batsman’s referral went in vain. Amla has never been dismissed earlier by the same bowler beyond four times. This time Hazlewood would be pleased to break the record.

Kevin Pietersen’s commentary zinger: The moment Nathan Lyon was introduced into the attack; Wade was charged-up and began with his running commentary in the background. With Pietersen in the commentary box, Wade was picked in particular to understand the reason behind his expression: “Nice, Garry.” Based on the Aussie Rules Football player named Garry, Lyon was called “Gazza.”

The punch line from Pietersen could not be ignored to Wade’s comment on Hazlewood that said, “We are on a roll here. One man short, our life is in a dory, boys.” To which Pietersen could not resist saying, “One man short is going to bring Faf du Plessis in mate. Du Plessis just got a 100 and is in pretty good form, Matty.”

Test match just got better with this.

 

Streaker alert: Cook was playing on 48 and Starc was the man into attack in the second over of the final session. Before Starc could proceed, Adelaide Oval was laughing and players could not control their laughter as a streaker entered the field to add some entertainment on Day Three. But no cricket is ever complete without a streaker or an animal, isn’t it?

The streaker entered on post dinner-break on Day Three of the final Test © Getty Images
The streaker entered on post dinner-break on Day Three of the final Test © Getty Images

Stephen Cook’s gritty knock: South Africa  hoped to start the second innings with positive intent but were soon stuttering at 1 for 1. If it was du Plessis to carry the bat in the first innings, this time Cook took over the responsibility and remained not out on 81 in the second nnings. After Duminy was dismissed at 134 for 3, South Africa witnessed downfall with du Plessis, Bavuma and Abbott gone in quick succession.

Cook was last seen playing a gritty knock against England earlier this year at home achieving his maiden Test century.

Australia’s comeback: With the game tilting towards Australia, there is no doubt that the hosts are on the brink of wrapping South Africa’s second innings soon. Khawaja’s century and his consistency this series or Smith, Handscomb and Starc’s fifties that changed the course of the game entirely, kept Australia much ahead in the competition despite series loss by 2-0 margin against Proteas.

South Africa’s batting that saw new heights in the first Test with Elgar, Duminy and de Kock’s centuries coupled with Philander’s fifty was seen shackled by the Australian bowlers toppling over in no time. The last one hour by Lyon on Day Three added dramatic twists and proved Australia were here to win, finally at home.

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