Recent Match Report – South Africa vs Australia 1st Test 2022/23

Lunch South Africa 3 for 2 (Erwee 1*, Bavuma 0* & 152 (Verreynne 64, Lyon 3-14) trail Australia 218 (Head 92, Rabada 4-76) trail by 63 runs

Only four sessions of cricket have been played in this Test but South Africa are already in the process of setting Australia a fourth-innings target. In a fast-forward morning, seven wickets fell as Australia were bowled out for 218 to take a lead of 66, and South Africa lost two of the top three in five explosive overs by the Australian opening bowlers in reply.

The surface continues to prove challenging to bat on, with decent bounce and plenty of movement on offer, but as Travis head’s 92 proved, not impossible to score runs on.

Dean Elgar was the first to be dismissed on the fourth ball of the innings when he was beaten by a Pat Cummins length delivery and struck on the front pad. He reviewed, perhaps hoping the bounce would take the ball over the stumps but was out on umpire’s call with b;id=2;type=teamall-tracking showing the delivery would go on to clip middle-stump. That dismissal came off a good ball but the best was yet to come.

Mitchell Starc claimed his 300th Test wicket with a beauty that seamed in at pace and snuck through Rassie van der Dussen’s bat-pad gap to bowl the South African No.3. Starc is the seventh Australia bowler to take 300 Test wickets.

Earlier, Australia took the lead in the first five deliveries as Kagiso Rabada completed his overnight over. Cameron Green tucked into a half-volley and drove Rabada down the ground to put the hosts ahead. Green repeated the shot two more times in Rabada’s next two overs to force him out of the attack early. But that did not work to Australia’s advantage.

Marco Jansen replaced Rabada and struck twice in his first over to clip Australia’s brisk start. Green received another half-volley, off Jansen’s second ball, and he attempted a booming drive. He only managed a thick edge that flew to Keshav Maharaj at third slip. Maharaj parried the ball up and Sarel Erwee, from first slip ran behind him to take the catch. Two balls later, Head tried to glance a short ball down leg side and appeared to glove the ball down leg, to Kyle Verreynne. Head reviewed and though there was nothing on hotspot, snicko revealed a spike that confirmed he had hit both glove and shirt. His 96-ball innings finished on 92.

Australia’s lead was only 30 runs at that stage, and it was up to Alex Carey and the lower order to push that past 50. Starc lofted Jansen over mid-off and pulled Anrich Nortje through mid-wicket and put on 31 with Alex Carey for the eighth wicket. Carey ran well in his short innings, with no boundaries in his 30-ball 22, but 12 singles, two threes and a four, which he and Starc ran.

They took Australia’s lead to over 60 before Lungi Ngidi was introduced after the first drinks break and broke through. Starc hit Ngidi’s first ball in the air through mid-on for four and then drove the last ball aerially as well. Ngidi got down low in his follow-through and completed a good return catch.

A pumped-up Rabada then bounced Cummins out, with three short balls in a row. The first popped up to point and Cummins was given out but reviewed successfully. Replays showed the ball had hit the arm guard. Cummins nearly edged the second and then pulled the third to mid-wicket, where Nortje was waiting. In this next over, Rabada had Nathan Lyon caught at mid-on to finish with four wickets in the innings and has gone past Stuart Broad to become the leading Test seamer of 2022.

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