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Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 3 – 5 Talking Points

Dean Elgar of South Africa
Dean Elgar of South Africa celebrates his century during day three of the First Test match between Australia and South Africa at the WACA. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

After a stunning comeback on day 2, South Africa was on top in the first Test against Australia at the WACA, Perth. Having finished day 2 at 104/2, the onus was on the overnight batsmen Dean Elgar and JP Duminy to extend the lead further. They responded to the responsibility beautifully and did not give an inch to the Aussie bowlers.

The duo added 250 runs for the 3rd wicket and virtually batted Australia out of the game. Both got to their individual centuries and ensured that the day went completely in favor of South Africa. Both batsmen contrasted each other well as Duminy was fluent and at the other end, Elgar was intent on the defense.

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Australia struck thrice in the last session but the lead had mounted to 388 at the end of the day. The hosts will have their work cut out in their last innings having to chase a huge total. Elgar and Duminy showed that if the batsmen apply themselves, there are still runs on offer and with the injury to Dale Steyn, there will a bit of relent on the Aussies. But the South African innings is yet unfinished at 390/6 and they would look to extend the lead further on day 4 beyond the reach of the Australians.

Here are the 5 major talking points from the 3rd day’s play:

Also check out- Twitter Reactions: South Africa command control after Duminy, Elgar tons

1. Duminy’s revival as a Test batsman:

The left-hander had shown a lot of potential the last time he toured down under in 2008 when he scored a magnificent 166 at Melbourne which enabled a series win for his side. But since then, he hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations in Test cricket.

He had just above 1500 runs in his account in 36 Tests before this game. But Duminy might just have resurrected himself here at the Test level with a knock 141 runs. He looked all at ease throughout the innings and made batting look easy on a tough pitch. He timed the ball superbly, especially towards the off-side. His 225 balls innings included 20 fours and a six.

2. Elgar’s perseverance paid dividend:

The opening batsman was determined to stay out there for as long as he could and played a magnificent innings of 127 runs. The surface was offering some assistance to the fast bowlers and the ball was misbehaving every now and then. South Africa needed someone to dig in and pile on the lead and Elgar answered the call perfectly.

He was gritty against the pacers and kept defending the good balls. He did not shy away from cashing in on the loose deliveries and hit plenty of boundaries through the leg side. He was patient all the way and took 316 balls to score the runs as the innings lasted for over 3 sessions.

3. Bowlers’ long day out in the field:

Generally, the WACA is known as a paradise for the fast bowlers but the story of day 3 scripted differently. The batsmen were on top and the bowlers did not taste too much success as they managed to pick up only 4 wickets in the entire day. Every bowler toiled hard under the scorching sun and all the four fast bowlers Starc, Hazlewood, Siddle and Marsh bagged wickets apiece.

The pitch had something in it for the bowlers and a few balls did make life uneasy for the batsmen. But the skills of Elgar and Duminy were terrific that gave South Africa the edge. There was no doubt about the efforts that the bowlers put in, but the fielders missed a few chances that put them further into despair and the pace dropped considerably during the late stages of the day.

Also read- Australia v South Africa, 1st Test Day 3 Review: South Africa builds a huge lead

4. The sun took its toll on the pitch:

The pitches normally wear out till day 4 and 5 on all grounds. In the subcontinent, few dust patches are created which assist the spinners whereas, in countries like Australia, hard pitches crumble to form cracks. Here in Perth, a long crack is widening on dead center of the pitch that could be worrisome for the Australians batting last.

The temperatures were high all day in Perth which had a huge effect on the pitch. The commentators also talked a lot about how the crack could be disturbing for a batsman. You never know what the ball might do after landing on it, it could stay low or bounce very high causing all sorts of problems while batting. The Australian would have to bat out of their skins to get anywhere near the target that South Africa would ask to chase.

5. The Hot Spot went cold again:

There have been a lot of talks over the use of technology in the game to enhance the DRS. But from time to time, there have been glitches in the hot spot that have given people reasons not to support it. One such incident happened in this game in the 95th over on day 3. Duminy slashed at a wide delivery outside off from Siddle and the ball went into the gloves of the wicketkeeper. There was a noise as the ball went past the bat and the Aussies erupted into an appeal.

The umpire ruled in favor of the batsman but Steven Smith sent the decision upstairs. The third umpire demanded the hot spot from the off-side as well as the front-on angle but none of those showed any signs of the bat making contact with the ball. But RTS (Real-Time Snickometer) that followed showed a huge deflection and the decision was overturned. In the end, the right decision was made but not before raising question marks on the hot spot again.

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