Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Brilliant De Villiers puts SA ahead

South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada right eventually made contact with Australia captain Steve Smith. Mike Hutchings  Reuters South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada right eventually made contact with Australia captain Steve Smith. Mike Hutchings Reuters
Ellis Copeland | 11 March, 2018, 03:31

A gastro virus continues to play havoc with the second Test in Port Elizabeth after one of the umpires replaced Mitchell Marsh in the sick bay.

When spinner Nathan Lyon (1/29) bowled Quinton de Kock (9), South Africa still trailed by 16 runs with three wickets remaining, but De Villiers continued to play positive cricket as he looked supremely comfortable at the crease, in stark contrast to just about every other batsman in the game.

South Africa fought hard to end day two slightly ahead of Australia, finishing on 263 for 7 at the close of play on Day 2 in the second Test against Australia at Port Elizabeth on Saturday (March 10). That replicated Australia's first innings, when the tourists were 161-3 and 243 all out in a similar late slide. The first session of Day 1 produced 98 runs and one Australian wicket off its last ball and South Africa carried that momentum forward.

However, the action was overshadowed by events away from the pitch, including Cricket South Africa issuing an apology to Cricket Australia after an incident involving two of their employees being photographed with fans wearing Sonny Bill Williams masks in an apparent attempt to embarrass David Warner.

Yet the pair struggled to keep the scoreboard moving in the afternoon and, after just 43 runs were added in a turgid second session, the tea break triggered a flurry of wickets. Although Amla was twice given out lbw, on both occasions he reviewed and the decision was overturned - first because he was struck outside the line, then because of a thick inside edge that umpire Kumar Dharmasena failed to spot.

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The visitors were well and truly back in the contest when, nine balls after Amla's wicket, Elgar edged Josh Hazelwood to go for 57 (197 balls). Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh both took a couple of wickets each.

Amla also hailed the quality of the cricket. Marsh trapped South Africa captain Faf du Plessis and Theunis de Bruyn lbw in successive overs.

Rabada did take the attack to the Australians in the morning session with six fours in his innings, proving an irritation with the bat following his excellent 5-96 with the ball on the first day.

Rabada's participation in the remainder of the series is in doubt, though, after he was charged by match officials for misconduct after bumping into Australia captain Steve Smith with his shoulder when he dismissed Smith on the first day. By the close he had faced 81 balls and hit 14 boundaries.

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