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Australia v South Africa: Day 3 in review

South African is set to make history in the Champions Trophy. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Roar Guru
5th November, 2016
2

We entered Day 3 at the WACA almost back at square one. Everything to play for after two incredible days of Test cricket.

The battle between bat and ball was as evident as it ever had been with regards to past Australian summers.

Dean Elgar, the grafter with a point to prove, Jean Paul Duminy, the talent the world forgot, up against an Australian attack desperate to prove its critics wrong, salivating at the prospect of proving they were more than a one-trick pony.

South Africa owned the first session with Australia unable to nab the quick-fire breakthrough they desperately needed.

JP Duminy played with the talent and sophistication promised when he arrived on the scene nearly a decade ago. This was an innings off incredible temperament and mental fortitude, an innings in stark contrast to his career batting average of 33.

Duminy is a natural stroke maker, able to play equally well off the front and back foot, with a wide repertoire of shots to prey on a bowler’s mistake.

In many ways, this innings seemed to underline the fact Duminy is a born-and-bred number four, a position he should make his own for the rest of his series.

Dean Elgar is a batsmen Australian’s would love, tough and unrelenting, he demonstrated incredible resilience as the Australian bowlers through everything at him.

While normally a free-flowing batsman in one-day cricket, Elgar showed a different side to him, as he blocked and prodded his way to a Test fifty, redemption for the pair he made in his last Test in Australia.

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The century partnership had South Africa in a comfortable position at lunch of 2 for 183 with a lead of 181.

There were questions over the Australian attack concerning how prepared and fit the likes of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were and after the first session, it seemed the critics were right.

Australia’s bowling attack appeared largely uninspired, appearing to settle for mediocre balls outside off-stump and to go through the motions. The calls regarding Smith’s captaincy may continue to grow over the summer if Australia’s bowling unit remains this dull.

The day played out as an extension to the first session Duminy continued to combine with Elgar to pummel Australia’s bowling attack into submission with Duminy eventually departing for a terrific knock of 141 after edging a Peter Siddle delivery. Elgar was dismissed soon after, miscuing from a Josh Hazlewood delivery to finish on 121.

The new ball bought new hope to the Australians as Mitch Marsh captured the wicket of Temba Bavuma and bowled a solid spell of fast bowling. Mitch Starc lifted to get Faf Du Plessis nicking to Peter Nevill. However, Quinton De Kock and Vernon Philander, the star of South Africa’s bowling attack in Australia’s first innings, steadied to guide South Africa to 6 for 390 with an imposing lead of 388.

It was not a horrendous bowling performance just a mediocre one and South Africa, as all good sides will do, took full advantage with some exceptional batting.

Today started all-even but ended in South Africa domination, miles ahead in the match and odds on to claim victory in the days to come.