Proteas recover after shaky start

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South Africa won the toss and elected to bat

 

PROTEAS captain Faf du Plessis received a hostile reception when he walked out to bat on Thursday when the Adelaide Oval crowd jeered him all the way to the crease in South Africa’s maiden pink ball Test.

Du Plessis, who has been fined 100% of his match fee for ball tampering during the second Test in Hobart, has been the centre of attention here in Australia leading up to this third and final match of the series.

The 32-year-old has though professed his innocence even after being fined by the ICC, stating that he was only using saliva mixed with the sweet in his mouth to shine the ball.

"There's two ways of looking at it, either ball-shining or ball-tampering. For me, if you talk about ball-tampering, that is something that's wrong. It's picking the ball, scratching the ball.

"Shining is something that all cricketers would say is not in that same space. It is something all cricketers do and I think there will be a lot of emphasis after this incident on where the game is going, what the ICC is going to do about it. I don't believe shining is wrong. It's not like I was trying to cheat or anything. I was shining a ball and I see no problem with that."

At Wednesday’s pre-match conference Du Plessis was warned that he should expect an unwelcome greeting, but the skipper had hoped “cricketing sense would prevail”.

"I'm hoping that cricketing sense will be prevail. It's obviously something that if you are a cricketer and you understand cricket that this is not actually that big of a deal," Du Plessis had said.

Du Plessis was at the crease after earlier winning the toss and electing to bat. South Africa had already lost the wickets of opener Dean Elgar (5), Hashim Amla (5) and JP Duminy (5) and needed their captain to play an innings of substance.

Elgar was the first to depart when the left-hander was caught in two-minds in regards to leaving or playing an away swinger from Mitchell Starc. Ultimately he did neither particularly well and the ball clipped his outside enroute to Usman Khawaja, who took a comfortable catch at third slip.

It was just reward for Starc as the big left-armer was unlucky not to dismiss Stephen Cook earlier already. Cook was trapped on the crease and was on his way back to the pavilion when television footage appeared on the big screen indicating that Starc had not kept his front foot behind the popping crease.

The much-discussed pink ball was certainly moving around and Josh Hazelwood, who claimed a match haul of nine wickets in the maiden floodlit Test here last year, was certainly enjoying having it back in his hand.

Hazelwood has particularly enjoyed bowling to Hashim Amla in this series and he kept up the pressure on South Africa’s No 3 this afternoon when he sent down a delivery on a good length that held its line just enough to clip Amla’s outside edge. Australian 20-year-old debutant Matt Renshaw made sure he held onto his first Test catch at first slip. It was the fourth time Hazelwood had dismissed Amla in four consecutive Test innings.

South Africa plunged into further trouble moments later when JP Duminy also edged behind after just playing a glorious cover to kickstart his innings.

It was then that Du Plessis walked to crease and begun the rebuilding job with Cook. The pair have stabilised the innings thus far but will need to spend a lengthy time together if South Africa are to post a formidable first innings total.

The Proteas has earlier handed Titans left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi a Test debut at the expense of Keshav Maharaj in the only change to the side that won the first two Tests.

TEAMS:

Australia: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (capt), Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.

 

South Africa: Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis (capt), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.

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A partnership of 45 runs between Stephen Cook and captain Faf Du Plessis saw the Proteas reach tea on day one of the third Test against Australia on 89 for the loss of three wickets.

Original source: Proteas recover after shaky start

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