It will be a test of charcater of Australia's lower middle-order against a quality bowling line-up of South Africa    Getty Images
It will be a test of character of Australia’s lower middle-order against a quality bowling line-up of South Africa on Day 5 Getty Images

On Day Four of first Test at Perth between Australia and South Africa, Proteas are well on top with just six wickets away from taking a lead in three-Test series. Chasing a stiff and monumental target of 539, Australia ended Day Four on 169 for 4. Kagiso Rabada‘s sharp bowling led to four wickets of the Australian team with plenty to ponder on final day. Starting Day Four at 390 for 6, Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander struck respective half-centuries as South Africa gave a stiff target of 539 for Australia to chase. In reply, David Warner and Shaun Marsh gave a fitting start to their side but the former departed for 35, courtesy a brillaint run-out by Temba Bavuma. Steven Smith recovered the innings with Usman Khawaja but got out for 34 before stumps. His dismissal was followed by Adam Voges departure as Australia are in tatters with one full day to bat on. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

Day Four began with an aggressive intent carried out by South Africa’s overnight pair of de Kock and Philander. The pair added 116 runs for the seventh wicket before de Kock scored yet another fifty in the match. Philander led charge after his dismissal along with a vital supporting innings from Keshav Maharaj. Maharaj remained unbeaten at 41 while Philander got out for 73 after which South Africa declared.

South Africa had done all the hard work in their second innings with the bat after getting dismissed for 242 in their first attempt. Dean Elgar and JP Duminy’s centuries bailed South Africa from 45 for 2 with some classy batting and cautious approach. They, however, lost few wickets in form of Faf du Plessis and Bavuma but again were still in commendable position. ALSO READ: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 4 Report: Kagiso Rabada’s vital breakthroughs put Proteas on top

Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh and Peter Siddle picked up two wickets each while Mitchell Starc and Smith picked up one scalp each. Australia have a big task to save the test with three full sessions left tomorrow and Khawaja will have to play a career defining innings along with the lower-order. This, however, looks unlikely given the kind of character shown by South Africa.

Losing Dale Steyn in the middle of the match, South African bowlers showed will to fight by giving a lead of only two runs to Australia in the first innings and struck again in the second innings to put themselves in dominant position. Rabada was most impressive on Day Four as he pitched everything on the off side and made the batsmen play at the deliveries. His late scalps have eased the workload of the team heading into the final day’s play. South Africa, for now, look set to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series with just six wickets left to grab.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)