Australia had a perfect day at WACA, Perth    Getty Images
Australia had a perfect day at WACA, Perth Getty Images

Trailing by 137 runs in the first innings and with their all 10 wickets intact, the Australians will aim for consolidation in their first Test against South Africa which began on Thursday. On a typical bouncy and pace-friendly wicket at WACA, Perth, Mitchell Starc and David Warner rammed home the advantage for Australia, forcing South Africa on the backfoot after all the verbal battle that took place before the start of this Test. South Africa were bowled out for mere 242, and in their reply, Australia were 105 for no loss with David Warner and Shaun Marsh providing a rollicking start. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

The day belonged to Australia as they also had a little bit of luck going their way. South Africa called in for the DRS intervention against Warner off Vernon Philander on the third ball of the sixth over into the Australian innings, and the replays showed the left-hander was hit in front of the leg stump. However, umpire Aleem Dar uncharacteristically missed out on picking a front-foot no-ball, and South Africa in bargain ended up losing out on one of the reviews. That was perhaps the only blip for the hosts, who began their big home summer with their backs firmly placed against the wall. At stumps, Warner was batting on 73 not out and Shaun Marsh was on 29 not out.

To understand the extent of Australian domination, this will be a good explanation. Stephen Cook, one of the most technically correct South African batsmen was forced on the backfoot by Starc on the fourth delivery of the day, and Mitchell Marsh at gully took an acrobatic catch on his left to jolt the tourists early. The Australians kept chipping away with wickets, and had South Africa reeling at 81 for 5 with their captain du Plessis being dismissed for 74-ball 37. Towards the end of the day, boundaries came easily for Australia; with Warner getting away with some lose strokes as well. In the final over of the day, Warner hammered three boundaries off South Africa debutant Keshav Maharaj.

For South Africa, the only bright spot was the innings of Quinton de Kock. The wicketkeeper-batsman smacked 11 boundaries and a six to score 84 off 101 balls, pushing a mediocre South African score into a respectable one. When South Africa played and won at WACA in Perth the last time in 2012, they were bowled out for 225, but still managed a massive 309-run victory. The tourists will certainly keep this in mind when they will walk out to play on the second day.

De Kock added 71 runs with Temba Bavuma for the sixth wicket, but South Africa will rue missing out on the opportunity of putting up a big score on a wicket which was made to look like a batting-friendly deck by Warner. The left-handed opening batsman struck 13 boundaries and 1 six to remain unbeaten on 73, which came off just 62 balls. Warner s innings was studded with strokes which were both confident and risky, but at the same time, South African bowlers failed to beat the bat on a regular basis.

The left-handed Marsh, who is coming off two impressive centuries in Sri Lanka as well as in the Sheffield Shield, did not look dominating but he remained there till the end. Marsh took his time to get going, he did not score a single run off the first 15 balls he faced. At the end of the day, Marsh was 29 not out off 67 balls with 3 boundaries.

Keeping the outcome of this first Test in mind, the second day s play could actually define where the game is headed. Australia have all 10 wickets intact, and with 137 runs in deficit, they will aim to bat long and take a significant lead in the first innings. On the other hand, South Africa may find themselves outplayed with both bat and ball after the end of the opening day, and if they fail to restrict Australia to a total around theirs, the tourists might be in for some trouble.

South Africa will have to bag early wickets in order to apply pressure on the Australian batsmen, as a lead of even 100 will look as good as of 200 keeping in mind the way Australians bowled on the first day. Starc was the pick among the bowlers, returning with 4 for 71, while Josh Hazlewood bagged 3 for 70. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon took 2 for 38.

Brief scores:

South Africa 242 (Faf du Plessis 37, Temba Bavuma 51, Quinton de Kock 84; Mitchell Starc 4 for 71, Josh Hazlewood 3 for 70) lead Australia 105 for no loss (David Warner 73*, Shaun Marsh 29*) by 137 runs.