An aggressive Travis Head put Australia in charge after the first day of the first Test against South Africa at the Gabba in Brisbane on Saturday. After dismissing the visitors for 152 at tea, Head came to the crease and Australia’s score was 27-3. But on a wicket on which all batsmen were finding it difficult to score runs, Head looked a different class, hitting an unbeaten 78 off just 77 balls. Australia were close to 145–5 after nightwatchman Scott Boland was dismissed on the last ball of the day, trailing by only seven runs.
“It was an entertaining day’s cricket,” said Head.
He said, ‘It is disappointing to lose two wickets in the end but we fought hard.
“It was a tough wicket, so I think we’ll take it – we’ve got to come out and spend a good few hours in the morning.”
Australian captain Pat Cummins won the toss first and decided to bowl on a green wicket under cloudy skies.
The decision was upheld after a promising start when South Africa were reduced to 27–4 after 11 overs, a position they were never able to recover from.
The only batsmen to defy the Australian attack were wicket-keeper Kyle Verreynne, top-scorer with 64, and number four Temba Bavuma, who saved the visitors from complete destruction.
But once Bavuma fell for 38 in the middle of the second session, South Africa lost steady wickets on a surface that got firmer as the day progressed.
‘a little behind’
Vereyn said the late wickets of Steve Smith and Boland had given his team hope of something to salvage from the match. “We’re probably still a little behind the game, but those two wickets put us back in it a little bit,” he added.
“There’s a window open for us now. If we start well I think we’re in with a chance to set up something hopefully.”
Morning conditions looked ideal for Australia’s potent pace attack, but Mitchell Starc and Cummins were quickly out of whack, causing the batsmen no real problems.
Starc began the rout with the first ball of the third over when South African captain Dean Elgar edged a delivery down the leg side to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
Cummins began to find his line and length and was next to strike, getting a faint edge to Rassie van der Dussen off the ball leaving South Africa 27–2.
It was soon 27–3 when Sarel Ervi got a thick pass from Boland to Cameron Green, taking a spectacular catch down and to his left.
Two balls later the score was 27-4 when Boland got Khaya Jondo lbw for a duck.
But Vereene decided to play his strokes, and with Bavuma grafting in at the other end, he began a recovery.
Australia’s reply began disastrously when David Warner fell on the first ball of the innings after deflecting a ferocious Kagiso Rabada short ball to short leg, where Jondo took a brilliant catch.
The in-form Marnus Labuschagne was about to fall, dismissing Marco Jansen’s first ball to Elgar at second slip for 18.
Anrich Nortje replaced opener Lungi Ngidi and hit his second ball when Usman Khawaja was caught at third slip by substitute fielder Simon Harmer.
After dismissing South Africa for 27–4 in 11 overs, Australia found themselves at 27–3 after nine overs.
But while South Africa’s batting line-up looked weak in the match, the Australians were in great touch against the West Indies, with Head and Steve Smith rarely seen in trouble.
But just when it looked like they would see Australia close, Nortje got a ball through Smith’s defense to rip the stumps.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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