AB puts SA in command
AB de Villiers made a commanding, unbeaten 74 as South Africa scrapped their way to 263 for seven by the close on day two of the second test against Australia at St George’s Park on Saturday.
On a bizarre day of test cricket, where the band stopped play, Kagiso Rabada got charged and two CSA officials were under scrutiny for a mask-related incident, South Africa managed to engineer a narrow 20-run lead, but with only three wickets remaining.
Leading the dog-fight for supremacy for the Proteas was De Villiers who came in at 155 for three and then watched wickets tumble around him.
But he displayed great resolve in his 81-ball innings (14 fours) with Vernon Philander (14 not out) to ensure the Proteas surpassed the Aussie first innings total of 243.
SA resumed day two on 39 for one with Dean Elgar with Dean Elgar and nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada at the crease and by lunch had reached 110 for the loss of only Rabada’s wicket.
Rabada made a valuable 29 before Hashim Amla joined Elgar at the crease. The pair both made half-centuries at a painstakingly slow pace.
But they cut determined figures as they took the total to 153 by tea scoring 43 runs in those 26 overs after lunch.
It was a frustrating period for the crowd but they were doing a job and one, that some would argue, was probably necessary at that stage.
That was, of course, until umpire Kumar Dharmesena decided to stop play a couple of times in a bid to silence the band.
The match official eventually lost that battle and just after the unnecessary breaks in play, South Africa lost both Amla (56 in 148 balls) and Elgar (57 off 197).
That triggered a mini collapse that saw the Proteas tumble from 155 for two to 183 for six.
However, the Aussie fast bowlers also played their part in the dismissals and were rewarded for consistently plugging away at the South African batsmen all day.
It was none other than the Proteas’ tormentor from Durban Mitchell Starc who struck first, bowling Amla with a yorker.
Josh Hazlewood got in on the act removing Elgar with a beauty that found the batsman’s edge through to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
Mitchell Marsh then effected two LBWs, first trapping Faf du Plessis for seven followed by Theunis de Bruyn for one.
It was a helter-skelter period for SA but De Villiers and Quinton de Kock (9) steadied the ship for a while before Nathan Lyon bowled the wicketkeeper.