Faf du Plessis was welcomed to a chorus of boos as Josh Hazlewood struck twice to leave the Proteas on 89-3.
It was history made for the Proteas, as Stephen Cook became the first South African to face a pink ball in a Test, 25 years after his father, Jimmy, faced SA’s first white ball.
Now they chase more history, as the tourists look to condemn Australia to their first-ever series whitewash – this with the series already wrapped up.
The Proteas won the toss at the Adelaide Oval and handed a debut to Tabraiz Shamsi at the expense of the unfortunate Keshav Maharaj, opting for the more attacking option with recent matches suggesting Shamsi’s chinaman deliveries have been difficult to pick up with the pink ball.
It’s Australia, however, who have made the early inroads, as Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood got the pink ball to swing and shape, asking plenty of questions of the top order.
Cook, very much under pressure for his place in the side with AB de Villiers set to move in for the Sri Lanka series, was handed a reprieve when he was on four. Starc trapped him plum lbw, only for the third umpire to call him back for a no ball. He rode that wave of luck to fight on and eventually end the first session on 40 not out. The rest didn’t enjoy the same fate.
Dean Elgar (5) pushed at one for Starc to eventually find the breakthrough, before Hashim Amla and JP Duminy also fell for five.
Amla’s lean streak continued as he was squared up by Hazlewood, and the in-form paceman had another two overs later as Duminy played a loose shot to find the inside edge.
Duminy’s wicket prompted the entrance of Du Plessis to the crease, and it was always going to be interesting to see how the crowd would react following the ball-tampering allegations that have plagued the build-up to this match. The response? Hostile, as the boos reverberated around the ground.
Unfazed, Du Plessis strode to 26 not out by the end of the session, building up a useful 45-run stand with Cook.
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