Despite battling an elbow injury, David Warner notched up his third half-century of the Bangladesh Premier League season from just six matches.
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The ICC dropped a bombshell a day before the third Test. South African fast bowler and man of the match of the last Test, Kagiso Rabada, was cleared of the charges.
Now, what was advantage Australia going to the third Test has become advantage South Africa with the No.1 ranked Test bowler now cleared to play the third Test.
It’s a real shame that off-field talk has taken precedence over the on-field exploits. Few of the notable performances we haven’t spoken of as much have been stump mic comments, verbal volleys or fights between two individuals from either side.
Some notable performances include Mitch Starc’s devastating spell in the first Test, the all-round performance of Mitch Marsh, AB De Villers fantastic innings in both Tests to go with fight shown by young guns of South Africa in the second innings of the first Test.
What’s more is Steven Smith, David Warner are yet to get big scores – along with Hashim Amla and Faf Du Plessis – so there is a lot to look forward to the upcoming match. Instead, the focus has been on the David Warner-Quinton De Kock spat after the first Test and then the Rabada ban, appeal and clearance after the second Test.
The noise around the off-field incidents has been so much that people have forgotten that a series between two extremely competitive sides is going on. Players would no doubt enjoy few days off after the second Test.
But a tweet from Vernon Philander accusing Steven Smith of being guilty equally stirred up controversy again. And Australia has made no bones about the fact that they will try and get under the skin of Philander next time on the cricket field.
For Australia, Mitch Marsh has put up all-round performances in both Tests. Their bowling led by talismanic Starc has done well with Nathan Lyon chipping in as well. Tim Paine has carried on his good form to South Africa and got vital runs batting with the tail.
David Warner has got half-centuries in both Tests and looks like a big one is around the corner.
Rabada has been the standout pacer for Proteas while Lungi Ngidi justified his inclusion in the second Test,
Philander has given the Proteas their first breakthrough more often than not.
Their bowling has looked in good shape but it was their batting in the first innings of the Durban Test which made them behind the game. With a pitch for third Test not expected to aid reverse swing as said by match curator, Australian bowlers can lose their edge.
With Rabada back in the fold, it’s advantage South Africa.