Steven Smith (left) and Shaun Marsh added runs for the fifth wicket © Getty Images
Steven Smith (left) and Shaun Marsh added 199 runs for the fifth wicket © Getty Images


Feb 12, 2014


Shaun Marsh cracked an unbeaten century and Steven Smith reached 91 not out as Australia ended the first day of the opening Test against South Africa at 297 for four at the SuperSports Park in Centurion on Wednesday.


Australia recovered from a precarious position of 98 for four just after lunch to post a strong total after the end of the first day, riding on a brilliant unbeaten partnership of runs for the fifth wicket between Marsh and Smith.


Marsh was unbeaten on 122, which came from 232 balls and 12 boundaries. Smith too hit 12 boundaries to reach 91 not out.


The two batsmen joined forces in the middle when their side was in trouble, having lost Michael Clarke for a modest total of 23. The South African pacers had not allowed the tourists to settle in and the movement of the ball was enough to trouble the batsmen.


After putting Australia to bat, South Africa reduced the tourists to 24 for two with their strike bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel providing crucial breakthroughs.


David Warner struck two boundaries in the first over of the match off Steyn, but the South African pacer had the last laugh as he got the left-handed batsman in the fourth over. Warner tried to cut a delivery outside the off-stump, but got an inside edge and the ball went on to crash into the leg stump.


Soon in the ninth over, Morkel squared up Chris Rogers with one that bounced a bit too much, and JP Duminy took a splendid catch at the short-leg position to get rid of the Australian opener.


After the early blows, debutant Alex Doolan and Marsh combined to take their side safely into the second session. They put up an unbeaten –run stand for the third wicket, keeping the South African bowlers at bay.


Doolan started off with a boundary towards the backward point, and had his share of luck as an edge off Philander fell short of the slip fielder and went for a boundary, while another off Steyn flew over the slips.


However, close to the lunch break, on a short delivery from Ryan McLaren he went for the pull shot but was caught at the short midwicket for 27. Doolan faced 51 deliveries during his stay at the crease and hit five boundaries.


At lunch, Marsh was batting on 23, accompanied by Michael Clarke on 11.


Clarke fell just after lunch, as from then, Marsh and Smith took over the charge of rebuilding their innings and ended the day on a high with their side in command.


Brief scores:


Australia 297 for 4 (Shaun Marsh 122*, Steven Smith 91*; Dale Steyn 2 for 54) vs South Africa.


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