AB de Villiers played another brilliant knock of 51 not out which saw South Africa reach 238-5 when bad light stopped play on day three of the third Test against Australia at Newlands.
South Africa’s lead at the end of the day was up to 294, and with five wickets in hand, they will be confident of pushing that up towards 400 on day four.
De Villiers was as solid as ever in the second innings, and it was apparent that all of Australia’s talk about rethinking their approach when bowling to him was not showing any results. He played a number of exquisite shots along the way, but his strike rate of 49.51 was what the home team needed to get to the end of the day.
De Villiers was well supported by Quinton de Kock, who was on an unbeaten 29 off 33 balls at stumps, and the two put on a brisk 37 runs for the sixth wicket.
Proteas captain Faf de Villiers, who was in desperate need of runs, scored 20 before he was back in the dressing room. The skipper had played a number of lovely shots to suggest he was about to have a big innings, but that was not to be. Temba Bavuma, another who needed a big score, didn’t stay in the middle for a long time, as he was dismissed by Josh Hazlewood having just added five runs to the team’s total.
Earlier in the day, Aiden Markram played like a seasoned veteran as he scored a mature 84 that got the home team in a comfortable position by the end of the second session. Markram shared a useful 47-run stand with De Villiers.
In the previous session, Markram and veteran Hashim Amla scored 76 for the second wicket after Australia had removed first innings’ centurion Dean Elgar for just 14.
Kagiso Rabada picked up the last Australian wicket when he had Hazlewood caught by Amla for 10.
South Africa 311 (1st innings): Dean Elgar 141*, AB de Villiers 64; Pat Cummins 4-78, Nathan Lyon 2-43
Australia 255 (1st innings): Cameron Bancroft 77, Nathan Lyon 47; Morne Morkel 4-87, Kagiso Rabada 3-91
South Africa 238-5 (2nd innings): Aiden Markram 84, AB de Villiers 51*; Pat Cummins 2-47, Josh Hazlewood 1-46
South Africa lead by 294 runs
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images