Mitch Marsh drops early chance in second innings0:44
Cricket: Australia needs a miracle to win the second Test, and Mitch Marsh just dropped Aiden Markham on seven.
AUSTRALIA is on the ropes in the second Test after a late batting collapse put South Africa in the box seat to level the series.
A huge performance from Mitchell Marsh and Tim Paine on the fourth morning will be needed to steer the Aussies out of a hole as they sit just 43 runs ahead of the home side with five wickets to spare in the second innings.
The top order, bar Usman Khawaja’s 75, failed to capitalise on starts and collapsed under the weight of the Proteas’ bowling attack.
Australia 243 and 239
South Africa 382 & 4/88 after 20 overs — du Plessis 0, de Bruyn 3
Runs required to win: 13
Cummins and Lyon strike
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers were comfortably guiding the South Africans to the second Test victory when disaster struck for the locals.
With only 20 runs required, Pat Cummins struck as he lured Amla into a wild shot outside of off stump which was nicked through to Tim Paine.
The very next over it was Nathan Lyon who roared as he dismissed the dangerous de Villiers after he danced down the wicket and gloved one to Cameron Bancroft.
De Villiers doing it again
After a masterclass first innings, AB de Villiers is showing the Australians why he is one of the best batsman in the world.
Australia cleaned up the South African openers but that brought de Villiers to the crease who carried his remarkable form over into the second innings.
Quickly racing to 26 runs from only 20 deliveries, the victory looks assured now thanks to his impressive hitting prowess.
AB de Villiers has absolutely no respect for these Australians. #SAvAUS
— Quinton Mtyala (@mtyala) March 12, 2018
Hazlewood claims Aussies second
Josh Hazlewood should have had the wicket of Aiden Markram in the opening five overs, but Mitch Marsh couldn’t hang on to the catch.
Thankfully for Hazlewood the second opportunity was taken comfortably at second slip by skipper Steve Smith.
While victory looks uncertain for the Aussies, they’re not going to make it easy for the locals as they tried to chase down the necessary runs.
Lyon strikes with first ball
Nathan Lyon wrapped up what was a wicket-riddled first session on day four as he caught Dean Elgar off of his own bowling.
In almost a carbon copy to his dismissal in the first Test of the series, Lyon lured him forward with a floated delivery before a leading edge found its way into his hands.
It was Lyon’s first ball after being brought into the attack in the sixth over.
Trying to restrict the South Africans from chasing a miniscule 101 total, things looked dour for the Aussies as Mitch Marsh put down a simple catch off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood to hand Aiden Markram a lifeline.
All of the pressure will be on the Aussie bowlers after the lunch break.
WICKET. Lyon gets the breakthrough just before lunch. Elgar is caught and bowled for 5. SA 22/1 (5.1 ovs), need 79 to win. #SAvAUS #SunfoilTest pic.twitter.com/xfc3cYM1mQ
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 12, 2018
Aussies cleaned up before lunch
Australia entered day four with five wickets in hand and plenty of work to do with the bat, sadly for the tourists it wasn’t to be.
Kagiso Rabada wasn’t in the mood to sit back and watch as the Aussies tried to dig themselves out of a deep hole as he terrorised the batsman from his opening ball.
After claiming three wickets on day three, Rabada added to his haul with another three wickets to take him to 11 for the Test and 15 in total for the series.
A second innings total which mirrored their first innings display is well below the required mark as the locals now only require 101 runs to claim victory and level the series.
Hazlewood takes the lead to 100 with a big six then gets out trying to repeat it the very next ball. Dunderheaded. SAf need 101 #SAvAUS
— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) March 12, 2018
Radaba handed another ICC charge
Fire ball fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is awaiting the verdict for his level 2 charge after bumping Steve Smith following a dismissal.
Sadly, the news has gone from bad to worse for the South African as he’s just been handed a level 1 charge for his over the top send off of David Warner on day three.
After clean bowling the Australian opener, Rabada emphatically screamed in his face before celebrating with teammates.
His loss to the home side would be immense as he’s currently sitting on 11 wickets in the second Test alone as he’s played the role of sole destroyer.
KG Rabada charged with a Level 1 offence for his send off of David Warner. He is also waiting for the verdict in relation to his level 2 charge #SAvAUS
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) March 12, 2018
Ngidi joins the fray
Lungi Ngidi wasn’t going to let Kagiso Rabada have all the fun on day four.
The 21-year-old star sent Nathan Lyon on his way for South Africa’s fourth wicket of the morning, leaving Australia nine down before the end of the first hour.
Lyon edged the seamer through to Quinton de Kock behind the stumps, who took a clean grab to dismiss the Aussie for five.
Rabada takes 11th, Marsh’s filthy spray
Mitchell Marsh didn’t stand a chance against Kagiso Rabada and the unpredictable day four pitch as the 22-year-old South African firebrand thundered in to start the morning.
Marsh crunched a four off the second ball of the day but was troubled by a ball shaping back into his pads, prompting an LBW shout from the home side.
Marsh survived the appeal, but it was all over next ball as Rabada skidded the ball into the 26-year-old’s back leg before it crashed into his castle.
He departed with 45 but didn’t leave without giving Rabada a piece of his own medicine with fans catching him mouthing off at the Proteas star.
We’ll let you make up your own mind on what the Aussie all-rounder said.
Mitch Marsh to Kagiso Rabada after losing his off stump. Something about James Blunt? #SAvsAUS pic.twitter.com/oYlE2sNpo0
— Andrew McCormack (@_AMcCormack7) March 12, 2018
Rabada sealed his second five-wicket haul of she match shortly after, sending new batsman Pat Cummins to the pavilion after the Aussie star jabbed a short ball to Theunis de Bruyn at gully.
Mitchell Starc was the next to fall, edging Rabada behind to Quinton de Kock and departing with one.
Defiant Lyon shuns doomsday prediction
It’s not looking great for Australia as South Africa threatens to even the series on day four.
Five wickets down, 41 runs ahead and Kagiso Rabada bowling heat paint an ugly picture for the visitors as they prepare to milk as many runs out of the deteriorating pitch — but it’s not curtains yet according to Nathan Lyon.
“As soon as you put that baggy green cap on, you believe you can win in any moment,” the 31-year-old spinner told SEN before the first session on Monday.
“I still believe we can win from this position, 41 runs in front with Mitch Marsh and Tim Paine at the crease, and the bowlers to come, hopefully we can hang in and push our lead to 150-plus.”
Lyon slotted in a cheeky piece of self-promotion while he was at it, claiming he and Australia’s seam attack were the best bowling unit in Test cricket.
“I still believe we have the best bowling attack in the world, and that wicket is starting to go up and down a bit, and it’ll start spinning a bit more.
“I believe we can still win this from this position.”
AB’s hilarious Maharaj moment
If there’s one man in world cricket qualified to give advice, it’s AB de Villiers — but even he couldn’t keep a cheeky Keshav Maharaj under wraps on day three.
De Villiers rocked back into Test form with a thundering 126 not-out, his first Test century in almost three years after being out with injury, to put the Proteas in front and in a winning position ahead of the second innings.
The former skipper was helped along by tailenders Vernon Philander (36) and Keshav Maharaj (30) on his way to his 22nd hundred.
More experienced and recognised batsmen are often seen shouting words of advice to lower-order batsmen as their side attempts to squeeze out as many runs as possible.
Maharaj was looking good facing up to Australia’s pace attack but simply couldn’t contain himself.
“I told him there were two fielders on the boundary, cow corner and long on, so preferably don’t hit it there in the air … and the very next ball he goes,” de Villiers said, laughing as he pointed to the air.
“Warner and a few of the (Aussie) guys were actually laughing, but (Maharaj) got away with it. A few balls later he did the same thing and said ‘so sorry, AB! He’s coming over the wicket and I like it when he does that’.”
Maharaj was eventually bowled by Hazlewood on 30 after 24 balls as the Proteas launched themselves ahead in the match.
“It was ten on ten. It was right up there with the best feeling ever. I was so relieved, I was very nervous in the 90s, I don’t think it showed but I was telling Vern out there that I was struggling to breathe and my legs literally went numb,” de Villiers said of his comeback hundred. “It’s funny when a guy who has played for 13 or 14 years says that, but it’s true.”
“It really meant a lot to me to get that hundred and I was constantly reminding myself throughout the 90s that it’s not about yourself. It’s about contributing to the team as much as possible, that made me feel a little bit better because the minute you focus too much on individual performance, you sort of forget about the team. But it’s difficult to forget about the team when you haven’t scored a hundred for three years. So it meant a lot to me today.”