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Elgar, Amla steady SA after early wicket

Dean Elgar of South Africa and Hashim Amla of South Africa at drinks during day 2 of the 2nd Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and Australia at St Georges Park on March 10, 2018 in Port Elizabeth.
Dean Elgar of South Africa and Hashim Amla of South Africa at drinks during day 2 of the 2nd Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and Australia at St Georges Park on March 10, 2018 in Port Elizabeth.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Gritty batting by Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla steadied South Africa after the early loss of Aiden Markram at Newlands on Thursday.

The home side, who won the toss and chose to bat, were 75/1 at lunch on the first day of the third test against Australia.

Elgar was 40 not out with Amla on 31 in a stand of 69 that has endured for 146 balls.

Markram went for an 11-ball duck in the fourth over when he edged Josh Hazlewood to Steve Smith, diving low at second slip, to reduce South Africa to 6/1.

Mitchell Starc and Hazlewood began with a maiden each, and when Markram was dismissed there had been only two scoring shots.

But, given a pitch docile enough for off-spinner Nathan Lyon to be introduced as early as the ninth over, the bowlers struggled to challenge the batsmen for the rest of the session even though they kept runs to a trickle.

South Africa made two changes to the team who won the second test by six wickets at St George’s Park, replacing Theunis de Bruyn with Temba Bavuma and Lungi Ngidi with Morné Morkel.

De Bruyn has scored 58 runs in his four innings in the current series.

Bavuma, who has recovered from a hand injury, last played for South Africa in the Boxing Day test against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth.

Ngidi took five wickets in the second test against the Australians at St George’s Park, but has a minor toe injury.

Morkel, who is set to retire after the series, needs three more wickets to become the fifth South African to take 300 in tests.

Australia retained the XI who played in the first two tests.

The four-match series is level at 1-1.

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