Fifties from Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock carried the Proteas to 175-7 by tea on day one on the first Test in Perth.
It was a much-improved performance from the Proteas in the second session considering they were at one point on 32-4. They had Bavuma and De Kock to thank for that, who both looked at relative ease until Bavuma fell two balls after he notched up his half-century.
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were lethal with the new ball as Stephen Cook and Hashim Amla both fell for ducks, before Dean Elgar (12) and JP Duminy (11) feathered edges to the keeper to leave their side reeling, this after winning the toss at the Waca.
The visitors, looking to maintain their unbeaten record at Perth, appeared to have steadied matters as Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma went to a 45-run stand at lunch. Du Plessis looked in good touch, but he would fall without troubling the scorers in the second session, attempting a slap through the covers only for the ball to jump up on him and edge through to Adam Voges in the slips.
With the slide looking set to continue, the emergence of De Kock brought about more fluidity to their innings as he found the boundary with ease, albeit with a couple of plays and misses in between.
That brought the best out of Bavuma as his compact style of play complemented De Kock’s aggressiveness. Their 71-run stand took their side somewhat out of danger, before Bavuma was brilliantly caught at short leg by Shaun Marsh, two balls after notching up his third Test half-century.
De Kock then brought up a fifty of his own off just 67 balls, showing once again just how valuable his natural attacking flair is to the Proteas unit.
The tourists might have considered it to be their session if it weren’t for Vernon Philander dragging one on off a ball that was too full to pull to depart for 10, bringing an end to the session. With the ball starting to show signs of reverse swing, Starc should be confident of adding to the three wickets he already has.
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