Usman Khawaja scored 97 runs in the second innings    Getty Images
Usman Khawaja scored 97 runs in the second innings Getty Images

Usman Khawaja plays a much-needed knock as Australia face South Africa on Day Five of the first Test at the WACA stadium Perth. South Africa are currently in command with a terrific performance with both ball and bat and victory looks to be three Australian wickets away from them. The hosts, on the other hand, went on to lose it even after a good bowling performance in the first innings as they failed to back that up with good batting in the following innings. Khawaja’s innings somehow kept the hosts in the game after a top-order collapse. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

The hosts resumed batting as they had ended at 169 for 4 on Day Four. While South Africa had piled on a lot of runs for them to chase, they failed to reply in the same manner, losing crucial wickets early on. It was Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Marsh who were at the crease and had the onus to build up a big partnership like that between JP Duminy and Dean Elgar. But they lost the wicket of Mitchell Marsh early on Day Five morning as Kagiso Rabada got him lbw. Umpire was not interested in the initial appeal from Rabada and his team which led Faf du Plessis to take a review. Review shows the ball hitting the batsman on the pad and clipping the stump, which ended in a overturned decision and send him back.

Khawaja went on batting with wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Nevill from there on and gradually took his score to 90s. However, he could not touch the 100-run mark as JP Duminy got him lbw. The ball hitting the middle-stump got Khawaja on his back leg and getting him out for 97. The captaincy has been interesting from du Plessis. Earlier, Temba Bavuma was introduced to ball and he had almost removed Khawaja off his first ball, getting him on the middle-stump. But the dismissal was denied as Bavuma over-stepped and the delivery was declared a no ball.

The South Africa bowlers did a very good job with the ball as they could get the swing. Rabada and Vernon Philander utilised the conditions well; even Bavuma tried to get the ball pitched at the cracks to get unusual movement.

Earlier on Day Four, the South Africa put up a total of 540 for 8 before declaring the innings. While Elgar and Duminy’s centuries had already given them the edge, the middle and lower-middle-order also contributed with a lot of runs. Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander scored individual half-centuries while a 34-ball 41 cameo came from Keshav Maharaj who hit 3 sixes in his innings and remained unbeaten.

Australia could not produce any such performance. Their first wicket went down as Bavuma executed a sensational run out of David Warner. The hosts kept on losing wickets, failing to build any big partnership and at the end of the day had 169 for 4 on the board.

Brief scores:

South Africa 242 & 540 for 7 decl. (Dean Elgar 127, JP Duminy 141, Quinton de Kock 64, Vernon Philander 73; Josh Hazlewood 2 for 107, Peter Siddle 2 for 62) lead Australia 244 & 263 for 7 (David Warner 35, Usman Khawaja 97, Steven Smith 34, Kagiso Rabada 5 for 73) by 276 runs.