A superb run out from Temba Bavuma and a wicket in the same over from Kagiso Rabada has left Australia on 84-2 at tea.
Faf du Plessis’ decision to only declare in the second session appears justified so far, as both Australian openers were forced to walk back to the pavilion in the same Rabada over.
A late blitz from Vernon Philander (73) and Keshav Maharaj (41 not out) took the Proteas to 540-8 dec thanks to four sixes struck off two Nathan Lyon overs after the break, handing the Australians a near-impossible 539 for victory.
There are two options for Australia. Either smash the 418-7 record that West Indies scored against Australia for victory in 2003, or do what the Proteas did in Adelaide four years ago, and bat out 140-plus overs to scrape a draw.
David Warner, in typical fashion, played only how he knows best, smashing a flurry of boundaries off South Africa’s only fit pace bowlers, Philander and Rabada. Warner, together, with Shaun Marsh, appeared to be cruising towards a 50-run stand inside 13 overs. That was until a moment of brilliance from Bavuma changed everything.
Warner nudged one for a single, and before he realised there was any danger at all, Bavuma had rushed toward the ball from point, picked it up cleanly, and throw directly at Warner’s stumps, leaving him narrowly short for 35. It was an incredible moment in the game to remove the one man who stood any chance of giving Australia a chance of victory.
Galvanised by what happened, Rabada then produced a scorching delivery to see off Marsh just four balls later. Marsh played for a bit of swing, but it held its line for the opener to edge it to second slip for 15.
The hosts, suddenly in all sorts of trouble, almost lost their third the very next delivery. JP Duminy, brought into the attack early in the absence of Dale Steyn, thought he’d found the edge. The umpire stuck Usman Khawaja, only for Khawaja to immediately review it, and successfully, with no bat involved.
Khawaja (16), together with skipper Steve Smith (11), saw off 33 balls apiece to survive till the end of the session. A lot will depend on these two if the hosts want to stand any chance of getting something out of this match.
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