Temba Bavuma’s 10th half-century kept the Proteas in charge as they reached 400-7 by lunch on day two at the Wanderers.
David Warners’ apology statement caused a faint buzz prior to day two of the fourth Test, but this soon blew over when Australia, Bavuma and Quinton de Kock took to the field.
The Proteas pair had a tough battle early on, with the overcast conditions enhancing the movement for Australia’s three seamers. The forecasted 40% chance of thundershowers meant that the Proteas needed to pile on the runs in case of possible stoppages in play.
De Kock led the charge as Bavuma struggled to find his groove, the former adding 23 runs to his overnight score as their 50-run partnership brought up the Proteas’ 350 by the drinks break.
The roles reversed once Bavuma got his eye in as he picked up the pace towards his 10th half-century.
De Kock chased his middle-order partner but to his own detriment, as he scooped a Nathan Lyon delivery for a simple catch to Mitchell Marsh at mid-on.
Bavuma continued to bind the Proteas’ innings together as they trotted to the 400-run mark while keeping a consistent 3.5 run rate throughout the first session. This is the first time the Proteas reached an innings total of 400 since the Bangladesh series in October 2017.
Vernon Philander’s status as an all-rounder will surely be tested. A supporting role will be needed from the 32-year-old as Bavuma stomps his authority further on the match. A target of 450 is a mouthwatering prospect.
The Proteas mission should be to get as many runs as possible before tea, send Australia in to bat and topple over their top order by the end of the day’s play.
South Africa 400-7 (1st innings): Aiden Markram 152, AB de Villiers 69, Temba Bavuma 61*, Quinton de Kock 39, Pat Cummins 3-81, Chadd Sayers 2-71, Nathan Lyon 2-124.
Photo: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images