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Cricket | South Africa

Dale Steyn © Gallo Images

SA strike back after batting collapse

South Africa shrugged off a disappointing first-innings total of 225 by striking early to reduce Australia to 33 for two at stumps on Friday on day one of the thrid test at the WACA in Perth.

The visitors won the toss and elected to bat, but suffered a horrible middle-order collapse as they slumped from 61 for one to 75 for six in eight overs while adding only 14 runs.

They were dismissed for 225. The destroyer-in-chief was the off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who captured 3-41 in 12 overs.

Faf du Plessis scored a mature undefeated 78 off 142 balls with 12 fours and rallied the lower order, notably Robin Peterson and Vernon Philander, to steer South Africa to 225.

In the Australian first innings, Dale Steyn struck in the first over with the new ball when he had Ed Cowan caught at second slip by Jacques Kallis for a duck.

Philander added to his wicket tally when he defeated Shane Watson with an in-swinger and referred the decision. He trapped Watson in front for 10, leaving the hosts on 18 for two.

The night-watchman, Lyon, survived until stumps and will resume on seven with his senior partner, David Warner, who has 12.

Steyn, with 1-22 in six overs, and Philander, with 1-8, both bowled expertly in pitch conditions conducive to seam.

In the SA innings, captain Graeme Smith was the first to go for 16 when he pushed at a Watson delivery going across him, only to edge a catch to Michael Clarke at slip.

However, it was left-arm swing bowler Mitchell Starc who did most of the early damage when he bowled Alviro Petersen for 30 in his second spell.

He removed Kallis in similar fashion in the next over to reduce South Africa to 63 for three. In both instances, Petersen and Kallis contributed to their demise with indifferent foot movement.

After lunch, poor judgment between the wickets by AB de Villiers resulted in Hashim Amla being run out for 11, leaving South Africa on 67 for four. Amla was run out by a direct hit from Warner in the cover-region.

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De Villiers’s poor foot movement then contributed to his own demise as he was caught by Clarke for four off the bowling of John Hastings as South Africa slumped to 67 for five.

The debutant Dean Elgar was subjected to a hostile spell of short-pitched bowling by Mitchell Johnson, and he eventually succumbed for a duck when he was caught off the gloves on the leg-side.

From 75 for six, Du Plessis came to South Africa's rescue and his excellent undefeated 78 was largely responsible for the fact that the Proteas eventually managed 225.

He was involved in two half-century partnerships. The seventh-wicket stand of 57 runs with Peterson saw the visitors recover to 132 for seven.

Peterson attempted an ambitious cut off Lyon and he was caught off the top-edge by Matthew Wade for 30.

Du Plessis and Philander added another 64 runs off 118 deliveries to add stability to the Proteas’ score.

Philander, Du Plessis and Peterson played with assurance and used their feet excellently.

That was one of the problems with the top-order. They looked tentative and their lack of assured foot movement contributed to the demise of De Villiers, Kallis and Petersen.

Philander eventually succumbed when Lyon bowled a shorter, loopy delivery and the right-hander mistimed his drive. He was caught at deep mid-on by Michael Hussey for 30.

Du Plessis was stranded as Dale Steyn succumbed to Mitchell, while Lyon accounted for Morne Morkel.

It was Du Plessis's third excellent batting contribution. It was based on sound foot movement, excellent judgment outside his off-stump, and exhilarating stroke play on both sides of the wicket.

Starc finished with 2-55 in 16 overs, while Johnson captured 2-54 in 17 overs.

SOUTH AFRICA: Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (w/k), Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Vernon Philander, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morné Morkel.

AUSTRALIA: Michael Clarke (capt), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.


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