AB stands man alone as Australia take control

AB de Villiers (Gallo)
AB de Villiers (Gallo)

Cape Town - Australia took a firm grip on the first Test match at Kingsmead on Friday as the Proteas struggled first to avoid the follow on target and then get anywhere close to the visitors' first innings total on the second day.

Scorecard: Australia in driving seat after Day 2

AB de Villiers stood man alone as none of the other specialist batsmen stayed long enough to share a substantial partnership with him.

The major damage was done first by the spin of Nathan Lyon and then by the ability of Mitchell Starc to reverse swing the old ball effectively.

De Villiers was denied the opportunity to score his 6th century against Australia when he ran out of partners (71 off 127 balls, 11 fours) as the Proteas were bowled out for 162 in only 51.4 overs.

It left the Proteas with a massive first innings deficit of 189 with Australia to start their second innings at the start of the third day's play Saturday morning.

Aiden Markram's 32 was the second-best batting contribution for the Proteas.

Starc finished off the innings abruptly with figures of 5/34 in only 10.4 overs while Lyon picked up 3/50.

Starc has had a good all-round match to date as his eighth wicket partnership of 49 with Mitchell Marsh was a key contribution as well.

With Marsh falling just four runs short of his third Test match century (96 off 173 balls, 13 fours and a six) Australia were able to post exactly 100 runs for their last three partnerships and that made an enormous difference to the total that the Proteas had to face.

A total of 351 was probably a little bit better than par, bearing in mind the abrasive nature of the pitch and the spin that has been available throughout.

Keshav Maharaj claimed his fourth five-wicket haul (5/123 in 33.4 overs) and it came as no surprise that Steve Smith introduced Lyon into the Australian attack as early as the start of the eighth over.

He achieved immediate success, getting rid of Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla in the space of his first five deliveries and the Proteas never really recovered.

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