After all the ball tampering drama and the heartbreaking press conferences of former Australia captain and vice-captain, it didn’t looked like it effected Australia on day 1 of the fourth Test. But when they came to bat on day 2, everything start to fall apart for the Aussies.
No team has lost a Test at the Wanderers after putting up 400 runs in the first innings and in scoring 488 on the back of Temba Bavuma’s unbeaten 95, South Africa had effectively sealed the series. They added an explanation mark to the impending feat by ripping out six Australian wickets in a prolonged final session to send the visitors to stumps on 110 for six.
With enough in the wicket to keep good bowlers like South Africa’s interested, the match and series could come to a rapid conclusion. The wider public and, one suspects, the Australians will be a touch grateful after such a fraught week.
The Proteas resumed on 313 for six, and although Bavuma found the going tough early on, Quinton de Kock was able to keep the scoreboard ticking over as the pair extended their partnership to 85. While Bavuma struggled to rotate the strike against Nathan Lyon, de Kock took the aggressive approach to the offspinner and for a while, the ploy paid off.
Cummins had suggested that there was something in the wicket for the best bowlers, and South Africa proved it. With Kagiso Rabada removing Joe Burns in his second over, and Philander removing Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb with successive deliveries, the three new batsmen tasked with replacing Australia’s shamed trio had put up 12 runs among them.
While there was little shame in the manner that Burns and Renshaw nicked off, Handscomb’s dismissal was ugly as he played a wide delivery onto his stumps to record a golden duck.
Mitchell Marsh scored all six of those runs before he played on off Morkel, and in the next over his brother edged Keshav Maharaj to slip. Having fought for 74 deliveries, he only had 16 runs to show for his efforts.
Brief scores: South Africa 488 (Aiden Markram 152, Temba Bavuma 95*; Pat Cummins 5-83) lead Australia 110/6 (Usman Khawaja 53; Vernon Philander 3-17) by 378 runs.