South African bowlers bowled with a lot of heart but Keshav Maharaj impressed the most    Getty Images
Vernon Philander took four-for but Keshav Maharaj impressed the most on his debut Getty Images

On Day Two, second session of the first Test between Australia and South Africa, Proteas stunned hosts with a solid fightback triggered by their bowlers which reduced Australia’s lead to two runs. From being 158 for no loss, Australia lost their wickets in hand by adding by 86 runs. David Warner was the first batsman to get dismissed after which Australia also lost their skipper, Steven Smith. Well set opener, Shaun Marsh, departed just before the stroke of lunch for the score of 63. The second session was entirely dependent on Adam Voges and Peter Nevill to stage a comeback and while the pair got to starts and remained in the middle for sometime, they couldn’t muster enough runs to take a big lead in the first innings. The match is now evenly poised as South Africa are not yet on top but have also not let Australia run with an effective lead. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

The session had a lot of excitement as Faf du Plessis captained the side well by rotating his troops. South Africa lost Dale Steyn in the first session after he removed Warner for 97. His shoulder injury popped up again and he may be out for a while again in this vital tour. Australia had a mini collapse after Warner’s exit as Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh could not do anything while effective tail-enders like Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle also failed. Kagiso Rabada bowled with a lot of heart and also requested for more overs from his skipper as he was getting the ball to move in the air and bowling in right areas. Vernon Philander took the mettle after Steyn’s exit from the field as he started bowling everything on the off side and gave a little margin of error. He got edges from the batsman’s blade and picked up vital scalps. Nonetheless, it was debutant, Keshav Maharaj, who picked up three essential wickets of Neville, Smith and Starc. He tossed up the ball, bowled with a lot of courage and was evident that he was well supported by du Plessis. ALSO READ: de Kock on verge of registering mark among modern-day greats

Earlier in the match, on Day One, Australia kept on getting regular breakthroughs with South Africa getting off to a precarious start. From 32 for 4 and 81 for 5, South Africa managed to get 242 courtesy 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 till the result of the match comes out. ALSO READ: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2 Lunch Report: Proteas fightback in exciting session

No one else stood a chance expect Temba Bavuma’s gritty 51. Starc and Josh Hazlewood shared seven scalps in between as they struck with regular blows. South Africa still managed some sort of score and showed immense fighting spirit to dent Australia’s chances of scoring big. Now the match is out in the open with no team leading completely. South Africa will have to bat out really well in the last session of Day Two to ensure they do not lose much wickets and spoil all the hard work of their bowlers.

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) trail Australia 244 (David Warner 97, Shaun Marsh 63, Adam Voges 27, Vernon Philander 4 for 56, Keshav Maharaj 3 for 56) by 2 runs.