Caution paying off for Proteas

2014-02-20 16:16

South Africa: 145/3 (Elgar 61*, Du Plessis 55, Harris 1/31, Lyon 1/33, Johnson 1/35)

Australia and South Africa kept things even in the afternoon session with neither team wanting to cede advantage to the other.

It could have been South Africa’s session if it had not been for Faf du Plessis losing his wicket in the first ball after the drinks break, which proved the theory about striking after the interval.

Du Plessis, with the resolute Dean Elgar, put on 112 runs for the third wicket off 226 balls, blunting what has been a sharp Australian attack in the process.

Du Plessis’ dismissal, edging one to Steven Smith at short leg off Nathan Lyon, showed up the Proteas’ folly of going into a coastal test match without a front-line spinner.

Lyon extracted turn and bounce from a dry day-one wicket which will turn progressively as the game wears on.

In Elgar and JP Duminy, they have two part-time spinners with a knack for breaking partnerships. They will be called on to do more than that, especially with the kind of form the Australian batsmen are in.

However, losing only one wicket while more than doubling their first session runs return is very healthy for the home team, especially after the travails of Pretoria.

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