Rampant Starc puts Australia in dominant position

Rampant Starc puts Australia in dominant position

With only one wicket to fall and a deadly Starc waiting, only a miracle can save South Africa from going down 1-0 in the four-match series on the last day.

It was hard to argue with the umpire's call to prioritise player safety, but the fact red tape has stopped organisers from starting play earlier in the morning each day seems ridiculous given the amount of time lost to bad light in this match and in the history of Durban Tests.

To be fair‚ there always was a sense of inevitability about Australia's 118-run win in the first Test that concluded in its now infamously distasteful manner. We just thought if we got one wicket, the way Starc bowls to the tail, it will happen very quickly.

But even if he had dared to imagine that moment might arrive in less than four years when the Australians made their quadrennial visit, surely he would have recognised as pure fantasy an inkling that he would score a century in his maiden Test appearance against such a vaunted foe.

Former Test player and respected commentator Brendon Julian was critical of Khawaja's meek dismissal also to Maharaj, where the Australian No. 3 attempted a reverse sweep to the spinner only to spoon one up off his glove.

Markram and Theunis de Bruyn were positive against the Australian bowling after lunch in an 87-run partnership for the fifth wicket that was filled with as many flourishing strokes as it was with chances for the visitors to snag a wicket.

"You hear every word out on the field, but I don't speak back", Markram said shortly after he was dismissed for 143 in the gloaming of day four as South Africa stared bleakly at defeat.

"It was just getting darker and darker".

"It's part of the Australian side to keep chatting to batters". You don't be like that if you not at your best mentally all the time. Crucially, Maharaj shapes as the bowler most capable of working over Smith, the world's number 1 Test batsman.

Katich, a veteran of 56 Test matches between 2001 and 2010 thinks Crowe needs to stamp his authority.

The left-armer slapped a quickfire 35 with the bat on day two then hammered home Australia's advantage, slicing through the tail while claiming five wickets in a session.

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Markram had made centuries against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, two of cricket's lesser powers, but said performing against Australia in tough conditions was a personal highlight. Little bit of work to do with the new ball.

"Had someone had run Smithy (Steve Smith) out in our team you'd cop a fair bit of a ribbing".

"In the first innings we thought the short ball was a real weapon for us, and we still think that's the case".

The esteem in which Markram is held in South Africa is summed up by last month's decision to - when du Plessis suffered a fractured finger - install him as captain of the nation's ODI outfit even though he had just two worldwide matches to his name in the 50-over format.

It comes after dramatic footage emerged on Monday of Warner being restrained by teammates in an off-field confrontation with de Kock during the first Test.

The convincing victory was sealed in the fourth over on day five.

"So it was incredibly challenging for me".

"I think winning the toss and batting was ideal".

"For what reason I'm not so sure, I haven't worked it out just yet".

That most weird scenario was set up by an extraordinary fourth evening in which South Africa's No.11 Morne Morkel survived for 40 minutes in fading light alongside Quinton de Kock against nine overs of spin from Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith.