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Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Day 4 – 5 Talking Points

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 27: Matthew Renshaw of Australia talks to David Warner of Australia during day four of the Third Test match between Australia and South Africa at Adelaide Oval on November 27, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 27: Matthew Renshaw of Australia talks to David Warner of Australia during day four of the Third Test match between Australia and South Africa at Adelaide Oval on November 27, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

After overwhelming victories in the Perth and the Hobart Test, one would have expected the Proteas to steam roll the hosts in the 3rd Test as well in Adelaide but it was not the case. The hosts came back strongly to win the Pink ball Test by 7 wickets. Beginning Day 4 on 194/6, the Proteas folded out for 250 in their 2nd essay, giving Australia 127 to chase in the fourth innings. Stephen Cook was the top scorer for the visitors scoring a brilliant century as the rest around him surrendered meekly.

Swashbuckling opener David Warner scored a quickfire 47 of 51 balls to bring down the deficit pretty quickly. The southpaw was eventually run out by Temba Bavuma before taking Australia to a position of strength. Debutant Matt Renshaw and captain Steve Smith played sensible innings and guided the hosts to their first Test win after suffering five crushing defeats in a row. Smith was dismissed at the score of 40 with Australia within striking distance of the total. Another debutant Peter Handscomb hit the winning runs as Australia made a terrific comeback.

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Here we look at 5 talking points from the 4th day of the 3rd and the final Test.

1. Mitchell Starc’s brilliant spell

Starc has been the leader of the Australian pack for quite a long time and has been the only bright spot for the Australians in an otherwise pretty disappointing summer. The tall fast bowler was also the highest wicket-taker during their 3-0 drubbing against the Sri Lankans.

Starc who had already dismissed the South African top order during the 3rd day of the match, added one more to his tally after trapping Vernon Philander plumb in front. South Africa folded out for 250 in their 2nd essay as Starc finished with 4/8 in 23.2 overs.

Starc who has been a standout performer for Australia in the recent past played a vital role in ensuring Australia made a terrific comeback after surrendering the series to the visitors at Hobart.

2. Stephen Cook’s superb century

Stephen Cook, who was batting on 81 overnight, went on to notch up his second Test century despite losing partners at regular intervals. Cook was pretty stubborn in his approach and defied the Australian bowlers for a long time.

He spent 7 hours at the crease on scoring a brilliant 104, an innings which was constructed with 8 hits to the fence. Opening the innings, Cook almost carried his bat through the innings but eventually could not as he was the last man to be dismissed.

The right-hander, who was losing partners at the other end, wanted some quick runs and was castled by Mitchell Starc to bring down the curtains on the Proteas 2nd innings. Courtesy his century, South Africa managed to set the hosts a total over hundred.

3. David Warner’s brisk 47 of 51 balls

Chasing a paltry 127 to win the final Test, David Warner began on a positive note. He took on the visiting bowlers with disdain and smacked seven boundaries during his whirlwind cameo. The start given by the southpaw was enough to ensure that the hosts didn’t had any hiccups and were on their way to winning their first Test after suffering five morale-shattering defeats on a trot.

Though Australia already surrendered the series after losing by big margins in Perth and Hobart, it was a terrific turnaround by the hosts after the team management dropped as many as six from the original squad. Warner who was going great guns was run out by Temba Bavuma at the score of 47 but his innings paved the way for an Australian win in the Pink Ball Test.

4. Captain Steve Smith chipped in with a quick 40

Smith joined Matt Renshaw in the middle after the fall of Khawaja’s early departure. Warner had already provided the hosts with the ideal start and Smith continued the merry way scoring runs at a brisk pace.

He struck five boundaries during his short innings but it was enough to guide Australia to a much-awaited victory. Smith was, unfortunately, dismissed with Australia just two runs away from the victory target.

Smith who has been the lone performer for Australia as far as the batting department is concerned in the recent past was pretty happy with his boys after making a dramatic turnaround. Smith was dismissed with Australia within striking distance of the target.

5. Debutant Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb finishing off the match

Matt Renshaw, who is often compared to his idol Matthew Hayden for his built, impressed one and all with his grinding approach and his ability to bat under pressure. Renshaw’s selection at the age of 20 came as a surprise to may but the youngster did his reputation no harm.

Renshaw opened the innings with Warner and allowed his partner to take the centre stage. He played the sheet anchor’s role and was very happy to defend and give back the strike to his partner. He was joined by Peter Handscomb during the last stages of the match after the fall of Smith’s wicket.

Handscomb who had an outstanding domestic season hit the winning runs, flicking the left arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi for a boundary.

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