A 99-run partnership between Tim Paine and Pat Cummins helped Australia reach 201-7 at lunch on day three of the fourth Test at the Wanderers.
Australia began the day on 110-6, still 378 runs behind the Proteas. Paine and Cummins showed some good fight early on, before taking on the bowling of Keshav Maharaj and Morne Morkel.
The South Africans were uncharacteristically lacklustre, as if they believed the match was already won and they simply had to pitch up to finish off Australia’s innings in overcast conditions.
The Proteas thought they had dismissed Paine in the seventh over of the day when Vernon Philander appeared to trap him plumb lbw. Umpire Ian Gould thought so too, raising his finger, but the Australia captain reviewed quickly and Ultra-Edge showed there had been an inside edge.
Maharaj was brought into the attack soon after, with Paine hitting him for two fours in his first over and a flat six in his second. The 50-run partnership came off 97 balls and another boundary from Paine then took Australia past 150.
At the other end, Morkel was inconsistent with his line and length, being hit for two fours by Cummins in an over that went for 10. At drinks, Australia were 160-6, having batted at 3.5 runs per over during the first hour.
Morkel was more accurate after the break, but he was forced to leave the field two balls into his 12th over with a left side strain (similar to the one he sustained against Bangladesh), leaving the Proteas with just two recognised seamers. While Morkel did return to the field just before the lunch break after receiving treatment, it remained doubtful whether he would bowl again.
Cummins then climbed into Maharaj, hitting him for two fours and a six in one over, as the Proteas’ frustration grew. An on-drive off Rabada’s bowling then brought up his maiden Test fifty.
In the next over, with the partnership on 99, umpire Gould turned down a huge lbw appeal from Maharaj against Cummins. The Proteas reviewed the decision and Hawk-Eye showed that the ball, which hit the batsman’s back foot, would have gone on to hit the stumps.
Paine and Nathan Lyon then saw Australia safely through to the lunch break.
South Africa 488 (1st innings): Aiden Markram 152, Temba Bavuma 95*, AB de Villiers 69, Quinton de Kock 39, Pat Cummins 5-83, Nathan Lyon 3-182, Chadd Sayers 2-78.
Australia 201-7 (1st innings): Usman Khawaja 53, Pat Cummins 50, Tim Paine 47*, Vernon Philander 3-30, Keshav Maharaj 2-83.
Australia trail by 287 runs
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix