Mitchell Starc swings first Test Australia’s way as South Africa crumble


Durban:-Mitchell Starc produced high-quality reverse-swing to claim five wickets against South Africa as Australia seized control of the first Test in Durban with a first innings lead of 189 at the close on day two.

Australia were all out for 351 after Mitchell Marsh top-scored with 96 before Starc, who took five for 34, and the off-spinner Nathan Lyon (3-50) skittled the hosts for 162 in their reply.

AB de Villiers (71 not out) was sublime for South Africa but his was a lone battle; he ran out of partners as Starc ripped through the middle and lower order. Australia have what looks a match-winning lead on an abrasive wicket that is likely to deteriorate further.

Marsh was dismissed four short of his century as Australia took their overnight tally from 225 for five to post an imposing score. Marsh steered them through a difficult time in the first session after South Africa had taken the second new ball and snagged three wickets before lunch.

His solid batting, coupled with a cameo from Starc who scored 35 off 25 balls, took Australia towards 350 and Marsh to the brink of a third Test century. However, he fell trying to hit Vernon Philander (3-59) over the top of mid-on, only for Morne Morkel to pluck a catch out of the air.

The South African spinner Keshav Maharaj grabbed the last wicket, of Lyon, to complete a five-wicket haul.

The spinner had been the most effective of the home bowlers on a slow wicket, which Lyon wasted no time in utilising to his benefit as he came on in the eighth over of the South African innings.

His second delivery found a leading edge from Dean Elgar (7) as he tried to play against the spin and Lyon made a diving catch to his right. Hashim Amla followed three balls later. playing onto his pad to be caught by Cameron Bancroft at short leg.

Australia picked up wickets at regular intervals through the afternoon with only the opener Aidan Markram (32) and Quinton de Kock (20) offering serious support to De Villiers.


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