Recent Match Report – South Africa vs Australia 2nd Test 2022/23

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lunch South Africa 58/4 (Zondo 0*, Verein 0*) Vs. Australia

Australia put South Africa out to bat in the morning session on a pitch that offered favors to the batsmen more than anything else to the fast bowlers. He dismissed South Africa’s top four – three of them for dismissals of his own making – to leave the visitors in danger of another sub-par Test innings.

Until ten minutes before lunch, South Africa were in the process of enjoying their best season of the series so far. They were 58 for 2 with their most experienced hands, Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma, at the crease, but an inexperienced middle-order and the pair were removed in successive deliveries to leave the tail coming. Khaya Zondo and Kyle Verrein both went to lunch scoreless.

His dismissal justified Pat Cummins’ decision to bowl first and made up for the two chances that went down. Elgar was dropped twice on 7 and 19 and passed 5,000 Test runs before being run out for the first time in his Test career. The first chance came when Elgar stepped forward to give Cummins a comeback but the ball went out of the hands of the Australian captain. Then, Elgar was on 19 when he slashed the first ball from Cameron Green and gave a difficult chance to Nathan Lyon at point. Lyon went full to his left but could not hold on.

Between those two occasions, Elgar lost his opening partner, Sarel Ervi, who moved away from his body against Scott Boland, who delighted his home crowd with an early wicket. Things were never easy for Elgar, who nearly cut Boland onto his stumps and made several plays and misses, but the conditions seemed tailor-made for him to grind out a tough innings.
It ended when he pushed Mitchell Starc to the right of mid-off, where Marnus Labuschagne was quick on the ball, turned and released in a move and fired a direct hit past Elgar to clear his ground.

The ball after that, Starc found the edge of Bavuma with a ball that pounced on him and chipped away, leaving South Africa to face a familiar batting crisis at the lunch break.

It didn’t always seem like it was going to happen. Following Ervy’s dismissal, Elgar and new number 3 Theunis de Bruyne enjoyed a period of relative promise. Elgar drives Starc through mid-off while De Bruyne pulls off the shots of the morning – two straight drives from Green. Elgar brought up his 5,000 runs with a drive off Boland and the pair looked quite settled. The partnership was 27 when De Bruyne, against the run of play, was lured to pull a Green delivery that was not short enough and top-edged.

Australia will look to De Bruyne’s wicket as reward for his consistency in length. They stuck to full length for most of the morning session and used the back-of-a-length ball with discretion without shying away from the bounce on offer and now have the opportunity to run through South Africa again.

Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Usman Khawaja, 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Travis Head, 6 Cameron Green, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Pat Cummins (c), 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Scott Boland

South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar (c), 2 Sarel Ervy, 3 Theunis de Bruyne, 4 Temba Bavuma, 5 Theunis de Bruyne, 6 Kyle Verreynne (wk), 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Lungi ngidi

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