Kyle Abbott struck twice in the morning session before a recovery mission from Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith got Australia to 109-2 by tea.
A century and a declaration dominated the South African headlines on day one of the Proteas’ first day of pink-ball Test cricket, but now the hard graft really begins, for it was Australia who made headways in the first session on day two.
The Aussie opening pair of Matt Renshaw and Khawaja saw off a tricky 12-over spell under lights at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday night, this after Faf du Plessis’ gutsy 118 not out and declaration on 259-9.
The Australian media praised the way 20-year-old debutant Renshaw went about his work in that session, but it was perhaps a bit overzealous as he only added two runs to his overnight total before the Proteas made the breakthrough. Kyle Abbott, Man of the Match in Hobart last week for his nine wickets, stepped up once again as Dean Elgar took a decent low catch to remove the rookie.
That brought about David Warner to the crease, and it was always going to be interesting to see how he would go about his work in response to being told he couldn’t open on Thursday night. Du Plessis pounced on the declaration when he learnt that Warner was off the field for too long to go into bat straight away should the Proteas’ innings end.
He went about his work in typically brisk fashion, but Abbott struck once again, as Warner was squared up and edged one to Elgar for a more comfortable grab than the first.
Khawaja and Smith knuckled down and tucked into anything loose or short. Philander struggled to find his length and debutant Tabraiz Shamsi bowled erratically which allowed the Aussie pair to build up a 72-run stand. Khawaja brought up a well-deserved half-century just before the break, to leave his side well-placed, 150 runs behind their opponents.
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