Australia take Head-start in first Test against South Africa | Cricket News – Times of India


Travis Head struck a belligerent half-century to give Australia the upper hand on day one of the series-opening Test against South Africa after the home side’s bowlers dominated on a green Gabba wicket on Saturday.
Australia skittled South Africa for 152 after home captain Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to field, with 15 wickets falling on a roller-coaster day.
The hosts finished 145 for five at stumps, with Head marching off unbeaten on 78 from 77 balls after combining with Steve Smith (36) in a 117-run partnership.
“Entertaining day of cricket. We fought hard, lost a couple of wickets at the end but we will take that on a very tough wicket,” Head said.
“We tried to be as positive as we could, and just hung in.”
Bowled out on the cusp of tea, with only Kyle Verreynne (64)and Temba Bavuma (38) surpassing 10 runs for South Africa, the tourists rallied with early wickets.
Pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada dismissed Australia’s under-pressure opener David Warner for a duck with the first ball of the innings, with Khaya Zondo leaping high to bring down a one-handed catch in close.
All-rounder Marco Jansen then dismissed South Africa-born number three Marnus Labuschagne with his first ball for 11.
Usman Khawaja was also gone for 11, caught in the slips off Anrich Nortje’s second ball by substitute fielder Simon Harmer.
Smith and a counter-attacking Head then thwarted the Proteas for much of the final session until Smith was bowled by Nortje.
Rabada wrapped up the day with his second wicket, having nightwatchman Scott Boland caught behind for one run.
Despite the two late wickets, Australia will be pleased with their first day’s work given the vagaries of the pitch.
Paceman Mitchell Starc and spinner Nathan Lyon had earlier taken full advantage with three wickets apiece.
It might have been worse for South Africa but for Verreynne and Bavuma who built a defiant 98-run partnership after the Proteas crashed to 27 for four under a fierce pace assault.
Starc broke their stand by bowling Bavuma and South Africa promptly collapsed, losing their last six wickets for 27 runs.
Left-armer Starc finished with 3-41, one short of a milestone 300 wickets, while Lyon had 3-14.
Lyon’s dismissal of Verreynne, with Smith taking the catch at slip, made the Australian duo the most prolific bowler-fielding pair in the nation’s history with a record 52 dismissals.
Australia’s third seamer Boland earlier took two wickets in three balls, removing opener Sarel Erwee for 10 and number five Zondo lbw for a duck.
South Africa captain Dean Elgar gave Starc the first wicket on a platter when he gloved a ball down the leg-side to be caught behind for three.
Cummins took two wickets, including number three Rassie van der Dussen, who was caught behind for five.


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