Quinton de Kock again played an aggressive innings and was the only wicket for Australia in first session of Day 4    Getty Images
Quinton de Kock again played an aggressive innings and was the only wicket for Australia in first session of Day 4 Getty Images

In the first session of Day Four between Australia and South Africa, hosts continued to struggle as South Africa lost only one wicket by the stroke of lunch. Resuming from 390 for 6, South Africa’s wicketkeeper-batsman, Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander started the proceedings for their side. They came out to bat with an aggressive intent with de Kock piling on runs quickly while Philander also followed up later. de Kock went for a well made 64 off 100 balls, before surviving a review against Nathon Lyon, and was dismissed by Mitchell Marsh. Even after that, Australia could not remove the tail-enders as Keshav Maharaj supported Philander with the latter reaching his fifth half-century in Tests. South Africa are 508 for 7, with the lead standing at 506. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

Day Three also belonged to South Africa as they did everything right with the bat. Conceding a two-run lead to Australia in the first innings, the visitors did not falter in the second innings as centuries by Dean Elgar and JP Duminy took their total near 400 by stumps. Australia were patient and were rewarded later in the day with few quick wickets in form Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma. A brief partnership by de Kock and Philander, towards the fag end of the day, lifted Proteas’ spirit.

South Africa had lost 2 wickets earlier on Day Two with 104 runs on the board. Having lost the two top-order batsmen early, the onus was upon Duminy and Elgar to bring in stability to the South Africa innings. The Perth wicket did not produce much of movement on Day Three and the two batsmen went on to pile runs, playing with much composure. The duo built up the first big partnership of the innings. The partnership added more than hundred runs before lunch on the day. After lunch, the duo came in to score their individual centuries. Duminy got to his fifth Test century while his last century in the format came in 2014. Elgar also went on to score his fifth Test ton. The partnership added 250 runs before Duminy got dismissed for 141 just before tea. While the batsman had played similar deliveries with ease in the morning, he was outwitted by extra bounce as wicketkeeper Peter Nevill made no mistake to take a simple catch as Duminy edged the Peter-Siddle-delivery to him.

Elgar soon departed for 127 as South Africa lost a few wickets from there on. Bavuma departed for 8 runs while du Plessis followed him scoring 32. Though the initial phase of the day was barely productive for the hosts bowlers, they got some success later towards the day as they scalped 4 wickets. Siddle and Josh Hazlewood remained the highest wicket-takers of the innings with a couple of wickets each. Mitchell Starc tasted some success with a solitary wicket and Mitchell Marsh also contributed with a scalp.

Marsh got the only wicket of this morning removing a well set de Kock but Australia are well and truly on the mat with them being on the park since last session of Day Two. South Africa have showed enough character, bowled and batted well after being bundled out for 242 in first innings and have been led well too. They got a chance to consolidate and did not let it go and now to lose from here will be a big task for them. Still, declaration should have been on the cards but being without Dale Steyn, they have felt the need to add as many runs as possible.

This will be Australia’s highest run-chase in Test cricket, if they achieve the target, as their previous best was 7 for 381 against New Zealand, chasing 440. They will have to bat out of their skin against a confident bowling line-up of South Africa with plenty of time and action left in the game. Meanwhile, South Africa will like to add another fifty runs and come out to bowl for the decisive innings.

Brief scores:

South Africa 242 & 508 for 6 (Dean Elgar 127, JP Duminy 141, Quinton de Kock 64, Vernon Philander 63*; Josh Hazlewood 2 for 107, Peter Siddle 2 for 62) lead Australia 244 (David Warner 97, Shaun Marsh 63; Vernon Philander 4 for 56, Keshav Maharaj 3 for 56) by 506 runs.