Australia in command in Durban
Australia is in a very strong position at stumps on day two of the first test in Durban.
Following a respectable innings total of 351, Australia rolled through South Africa for just 161, with Mitchell Starc (5-34) and Nathan Lyon (3-50) doing the majority of the damage.
Lyon’s dismissal of Hashim Amla for naught edged the off-spinner ahead of legendary quick Craig McDermott on the all-time Australian wicket taker leaderboard.
The tweaker now sits in sixth position and is fast approaching Brett Lee (310).
Earlier in the day all-rounder Mitchell Marsh fell agonisingly short of a third test century, caught by Morné Morkel off the bowling of Vernon Philander.
Although disappointing, the knock will prove invaluable in the minds of selectors, with Marsh proving that he can continue his rich vein of home form in overseas conditions.
It would seem that Australia’s troubles with left-arm spin are not yet dealt with, with Keshav Maharaj (5-123) the standout bowler in a disappointing South African attack.
Only veteran AB de Villiers showed any lasting grit with the bat, unbeaten on 71* at the close of the innings.
South Africa have become reliant on their bowlers in recent times, particularly their quicks. The recent series against India was, by and large, a low scoring contest dominated by the seamers.
The same will not necessarily apply in the present series, with a number of the selected venues known for their slightly slower decks. South Africa’s batting must improve if they are to contend with Australia over the coming days and weeks.