South Africa are well on top after 1st Day debacle as their bowlers pulled things back    Getty Images
South Africa are well on top after 1st Day debacle as their bowlers pulled things back on Day 2 Getty Images

On Day Two of the first Test between Australia and South Africa, Proteas stunned hosts with a solid fightback triggered by their bowlers which reduced Australia to 244, leading the visitors by just two runs. From being 158 for no loss, Australia lost their wickets in hand by adding only 86 runs. David Warner’s wicket led to a top-order collapse as no one apart from the other opener, Shaun Marsh, got going. South Africa bowled really well in tight lengths and showed enough character even after Dale Steyn left the ground due to shoulder injury. Kagiso Rabada bowled some in-swingers while Vernon Philander kept pitching everything on the off side along with contribution from Keshav Maharaj. South Africa ended the day at 104 for 2, with the lead standing at 102 runs. They will still have to bat out really well with someone playing a big knock as there is plenty of time and action left. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

The first two sessions had a lot of excitement as Faf du Plessis captained the side well by rotating his troops. South Africa lost Steyn early in the first session after he removed Warner for 97. His shoulder injury popped up again and just before stumps, the news came out that he is out of the reminder of the series. Reports confirmed that there is a fracture to the bone in the shoulder. Meanwhile, Warner’s exit led to a collapse as Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh could not do anything while effective tail-enders like Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle also failed.

Rabada bowled with a lot of heart and got movement in the air by suddenly nipping one inside the stumps. His delivery to get rid of Khawaja was brilliant. Philander took the mettle after Steyn’s departure as he started bowling everything on the off side and gave a little margin of error to the batsmen. He got edges from the batsman’s blade and picked up four vital scalps.

It was Maharaj’s day with the ball who picked up three essential wickets of Peter Nevill, Smith and Starc. He tossed up the ball, bowled with a lot of courage and enjoyed good support of his skipper, du Plessis. ALSO READ: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2 Tea Report: Inspired tourists limit Australia with slender lead

Earlier on Day One, Australia dismissed South Africa for 242. The visitors managed some sort of score after being reduced to 81 for 5, thanks to wicketkeeper-batsman, Quinton de Kock‘s 84 off 101 balls. No one else stood a chance expect Temba Bavuma’s gritty 51. Starc and Josh Hazlewood shared seven scalps as they struck with regular blows.

Now the match has completely moved from one team’s grasp to another. Nonetheless, with three days of cricket still left, anything can be possible. Australia have a quality bowling line-up and have already removed two South African wickets. Stephen Cook and Hashim Amla departed soon but since then JP Duminy and Dean Elgar have piled on an unbeaten fifty run stand. ALSO READ: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2 Lunch Report: Proteas fightback in exciting session

Australia will have to take regular wickets whereas South Africa need their batsmen, or someone in particular, to play a big innings on Day Three. If Australia dominated Day One, South Africa came back to take the honours on Day Two. Day Three can well set the tone of the match and give a clear indication as to which side will have the last laugh. South Africa are now without Steyn and will have to repeat a similar performance without him with the ball.

Brief scores:

South Africa 242 & 104 for 2 (Dean Elgar 46*, JP Duminy 34*; Josh Hazlewood 1 for 31, Peter Siddle 1 for 12) lead Australia 244 (David Warner 97, Shaun Marsh 63, Adam Voges 27, Vernon Philander 4 for 56, Keshav Maharaj 3 for 56) by 102 runs.