South Africa: 46/3 (Cook 23, Elgar 17, Starc 3/19)
Hobart - Lightning does indeed strike twice and it was once again Vernon Philander sending down the spectacular bolts.
The South African opening bowler famously played a big part in dismissing Australia for a record lowest Test score of 47 on debut in Cape Town in 2011. On Saturday morning Philander once again tore through the Australian top-order here to summon of the ghosts Newlands past.
Under cloudy skies with moisture in the pitch, and armed with a new Kookaburra ball after skipper Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bowl, Hobart might as well have been heaven for Philander.
The 32-year-old certainly collected his rewards when along with the impressive Kyle Abbot, who was called up to replace the injured Dale Steyn, removed both Australian openers before the first two overs were completed.
If that was all too much for a strong home crowd stunned into silence to digest, there was nothing that could have prepared them for what was still to come.
Philander struck with consecutive deliveries in his fifth over to remove both Usman Khawaja and Adam Voges to leave Australia reeling at 8/4 with debutant Callum Ferguson to come.
Fersguson denied Philander a maiden Test hat-trick, but only a couple of overs later he was not quick enough to make his ground when substitute fielder Dane Vilas brilliantly threw down the stumps from backward point. Australia were now 17/5.
Vilas was only on the field after Australian captain Steve Smith had accidently taken out Philander while attempting a leg-bye. The collision was accidental, but it required Philander to leave the field until after the lunch interval. It was some respite for Australia as the opening bowler’s figures were 3 for 3 from 6.2 overs at that stage.
The pre-lunch collapse was not over yet though. Perth hero Kagiso Rabada also wanted in on the act and duly delivered when he trapped Peter Neville to complete the most amazing session of Test cricket for the South Africans in Australia ever. The scoreboard at lunch read 43/6 with the only consolation for the home side was that their skipper Steve Smith was still at the crease unbeaten on 20.
Unfortunately for the Aussies the “Ravensmead Wrecker” was back on the field after the interval having had some treatment from Proteas physiotherapist Brendon Jackson and had some unfinished business to take care of.
Philander had not taken a five-wicket haul since 2013 and realised the opportunity to atone for that statistic was right here and now.
He immediately removed another debutant Joe Mennie after the interval before Abbott gave him a scare by snaring a couple of wickets too though the brilliance of JP Duminy at gully and Hashim Amla at first slip.
However, it was only fitting for Philander to wrap up the innings. Aided by the athleticism of wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock, who flew acrobatically to his right to claim a one-handed diving catch, the South African seamer got his much-deserved “five-for” to close the Australian innings on just 85.
South Africa made a solid start in reply with openers Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook taking the visitors to 43 without loss by the time of the tea interval was reached.
Australia, though, hit back immediately when Mitchell Starc speared a yorker into Elgar’s pads with the first ball after the break. Starc dragged his team further into the contest when Cook edged the left-armer behind only three balls later.
Like Philander earlier, Starc was now in steaming in and enjoyed further success when WACA centurion JP Duminy too edged behind to bring Australia right back into the contest.
Thirteen wickets have already fallen on an action-packed day and one thing is for certain that the atmosphere has certainly warmed up inside the Bellerive Oval after a chilly start to the day for the home supporters.or certain that the atmosphere has certainly warmed up inside the Bellerive Oval after a chilly start to the day for the home supporters.
Independent MediaLightning does indeed strike twice and it was once again Vernon Philander sending down the spectacular bolts.
Original source: Philander tears the Aussies apart