Australia take four South Africa wickets to close in on win

Ross Houston
March 6, 2018

Aiden Markram scored an impressive 143 while Quinton de Kock remained unbeaten on 81 for South Africa but Australia are just one wicket away heading into the final day from winning the first Test in Durban.

That was never going to happen, and Australia finished off the match easily as Josh Hazelwood removed Quinton de Kock LBW for 83.

In the second inning, Australia was bowled out by South Africa in just 227 runs. Maharaj had Khawaja caught off the glove for the first of his two wickets.

Markram and Elgar put on 29 for the first wicket before Elgar edged a sharply lifting delivery from Starc to wicketkeeper Tim Paine to be out for nine.

South Africa quickly stumbled to 49/4 as the Aussie pace trio of Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins ripped through their top order.

He was the mainstay in an 87-run partnership with Theunis de Bruyn, who scored 36, and added 147 more runs with De Kock for the sixth wicket.

Morkel's decision to retire came as a shock, given he took 39 wickets in 2017, 19 of which came away from home in England as South Africa's leading wicket-taker on tour.

The chance to dismiss Markram arrived through a determined spell from Marsh, who has been a major contributor for Australia with both bat and ball. Little bit of work to do with the new ball, getting early wickets.

While most of the attention over the coming days will focus on the Warner-de Kock incident and the fallout of the dramatic second-innings run out of AB de Villiers, it should not be forgotten some fantastic Test cricket was played across five days at Kingsmead.

Aiden Markram's second innings century made him the fourth South African to score a century in his debut Test against Australia.

The opener turned a ball from Lyon behind square leg and did not respond when De Villiers called him through for a run.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis then emerges from the dressing room area wearing just a towel around his waist to apparently try and calm the situation. It was more of a lapse in concentration on the left-handers part and a brilliant decision by Smith than anything else.

Three overs later Starc took three wickets in five balls to have South Africa nine down.

Paine's instincts told him to come up to the stumps to all-rounder Mitchell Marsh in a bid to find a way through Markram.

Markram had made centuries against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, two of cricket's lesser powers, but said performing against Australia in tough conditions was a personal highlight. It was a big deflection and Paine did really well to hold onto it. [Bowl spin in bad light?] I didn't want to ... the skipper might have been trying to jag one himself.

"It's really satisfying to win the first Test match of the series, especially against quality opposition like South Africa", said Smith.

De Kock and Morkel saw the last 10 overs through but the feeling of a lost battle was there as they walked off the field at the end of day's play.

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