When on Day 1 South Africa crumbled in front of Australian bowling line-up, the question aroused whether the visitors are ready to face a slump for the full series or not, to which Temba Bavuma replied by saying that it’s only one bad day for South Africa in Test cricket. Not many would have dared to accept these words from him as history suggests that whenever visiting teams have failed against Australia on the first day of their arrival, they have continued their performance in the series constantly but not South Africa. They have always stood up, especially against Australia with whom they’ve had on old rivalry.
Batting contrary to the hopes of the cricket fraternity, the South African team on day three surprised everyone by adding up 286 runs on the board for a loss of four wickets. In the first session, JP Duminy and opener Dean Elgar went with the flow, giving a jittery start to the Australian bowlers by not giving any of the shortest chances to them. Slowly and steadily, both of them eclipsed the short milestones of scoring half-century followed by centuries. For a combined period of more than 50 overs, they forced a proper toil for Australian bowlers on Day 3 to partly mould the game in their favour with a safe score on the board.
Sun was shining at its peak adding to woes of Australian team breaking them from inside and outside. In addition to that, a vigilant batting from both the left-dancers saw both of them piling up a record partnership of 250 runs on the board before Duminy, out of nowhere, tinkered with the ball way outside off stump handing a controversial catch to wicket-keeper Peter Nevill.
Umpire Aleem Dar did not agree to the half-hearted appeal of Peter Nevill but a tired and exhausted Steve Smith decided to have another look at it. The replays showed no spot on Duminy’s bat but there were a lot of sounds when the ball passed the bat. Riding on this little evidence, umpire Richard Kettleborough declared Duminy out. His wicket came at the stroke of tea.
In the last session of the day, the Australian bowlers had everything to say a thank you to African batsman as Dean Elgar was trapped by Josh Hazelwood falling to play a ball which was way-way outside off giving a catch to Mitchell Starc at Gully.
Just 22 runs later, Temba Bavuma pulled the ball to the man deployed to take the honours at the deep square leg. This wicket reminded of England team which was giving straight catches to fielders deployed at boundary edges during Lord’s Test against India in the year 2014. Despite losing three wickets in loose and lazy fashion, skipper Faf du Plessis didn’t learn any lessons and he also somehow gifted his wicket edging a ball on probably placed on the sixth stump. Peter Nevill was a happy man grabbing a free wicket again.
Never in the day, South Africa provided any real chances to Australian team but unwillingly fell in bowlers trap felicitating them with easy wickets which they would surely regret when the dismissed batsmen would go to bed for a sleep.
The good thing for South Africa was they had runs on the board as they still lead by a hefty margin of 388 runs with four wickets still in their hands. Currently, Quinton de Kock is on the strike along with Vernon Philander on the score of 16*and 23* respectively.
South Africa cannot risk declaring their innings as there are still two days to go and with the batting line up that Australia possesses; it is safe to say that they can overtake any target put in front of them. An early call but both de Kock and Philander will have to push the score around 500 so as to make Australia face a race against time to keep their hopes alive in the game.