The Proteas completed a remarkable comeback to win the first Test against the Aussies in Perth with a session to spare, led by the indefatigable Kagiso Rabada. By MAX BENSON
09:43: Thanks for being there throughout what has frequently felt like a scarcely believable game of cricket. It’s off to Tasmania we go. Have a great week and we’ll see you there. But before you go, here’s the best run out you’re ever likely to see in cricket.
Perhaps one of the best run outs in cricket history, by Temba Bavuma, South Africa. pic.twitter.com/smAbnOBE0D
— Gautam Trivedi (@Gotham3) November 7, 2016
09:37: Just think back to an hour or so into day two. Australia were 158 without loss, having bowled the Proteas out for 242 on a dispiriting first day.
Dale Steyn then smashed open the door by removing David Warner for 97, before removing himself with a broken shoulder shortly after.
Step up Rabada, Philander and Maharaj – who were nothing short of incredible to roll the hosts out for the addition of just 86 more runs on a good pitch.
Then the second turn of the batsmen, who atoned for their first go with centuries from Duminy and Elgar – plus tremendous knocks from Philander, De Kock and Maharaj as the home side wilted in the heat of their own back yard.
That they have picked up another ten wickets, without Steyn, is testament to huge heart, perseverance and no little skill – not least from captain Faf du Plessis.
Man of The Match? Has to be Rabada. With very honourable mentions to all of the above.
South Africa go to rainy, cool Hobart (Saturday, 01:30 start) with a very warm feeling indeed.
09:33: DRS ALERT AND… WICKET! SOUTH AFRICA WIN BY 177 RUNS! It’s Maharaj who returns, rather than Rabada. He slips one past the hapless defence of Lyon and it’s another one gone LBW. Pointless review from the Aussies and it’s done and dusted in Perth. What a performance!
09:30: Right then, time for Philander to return to finish the job. Hopefully. The bowling speeds are down, the resources well and truly drained. But it’ll all feel very worth it indeed when that last wicket drops…
09:25: DRS ALERT AND… NOT OUT! Bavuma can’t resist demanding the third umpire’s involvement after his LBW shout is turned down by umpire Nigel Llong. It’s speculative at best as the ball is shown to be snaking down the leg side.
Australia 361-9: Nevill 60*, Lyon 8*. SA need one wicket to win.
09:22: Dane Vilas is doing a stint under the lid at short leg and he’s just been clobbered between the shoulder blades by an errant throw from Du Plessis. There’s gratitude for you.
09:09: WICKET! BAAAAVVVUUUUUMMMMAAAAA! After softening up Hazlewood with a beamer, the little fellah finds a leading edge that pops up to midwicket where Dean Elgar safely pouches the catch.
That’s broken a thoroughly irritating stand – and brings last man Nathan Lyon to the crease. Tea will be delayed by half an hour, giving the Proteas a chance to polish things off and crack open a can with theirs.
Australia 349-9: Nevill 52*, Lyon 0*. SA need one wicket to win.
09:01: DROPPED! Amla shells another one, this time one-handed to his right as Bavuma takes Hazlewood’s outside edge. What a rotten game the great man is having.
08:58: 50 UP FOR NEVILL! Well that’s quite an effort as the under-fire gloveman reaches his third Test match half-century. He edges to third man, before clipping away through midwicket to reach the landmark and breath a personal sigh of relief, even with his side still in a hole bigger than Kimberley’s.
Australia 340-8: Nevill 50*, Hazlewood 27*. SA need two wickets to win.
08:49: It’s getting a little bit tricky for South Africa on the Rabada-front. He’s obviously on his last legs – two wides from bouncers in his most recent over haven’t helped – and they would really, really rather not bowl him again before Hobart on Saturday. The Aussies are digging in, but chances are still coming.
We have a very 21st century delay, too, as the spider cam almost snaps off its cables, thankfully by the boundary and not anyone’s head. Anyway, they fettle that and the boy Bavuma is back on for another crack. Bowling from tight to the stumps, he’s aiming for the yawning chasm running roughly down the off-stump line of Nevill.
Australia 323-8: Nevill 37*, Hazlewood 27*. SA need two wickets to win.
08:36: RUN OUT APPEAL AND… NOT OUT! Bavuma is at the stumps this time and is quick to whip the bails off as Nevill scrambles for his ground. A direct hit from Maharaj would have done for the keeper, but he sneaks home.
08:32: Well Australian cricketers are nothing if not annoying. These two take their ninth-wicket stand to 30 as Rabada is, curiously, replaced by Maharaj after a solitary over in order to switch ends.
Australia 310-8: Nevill 37*, Hazlewood 16*. SA need two wickets to win.
08:20: They pause for a drink in Perth before Duminy returns for a twirl with the wicket of would-be centurion Khawaja already to his name. He completes a tidy over as we pass the halfway point on day five. And that’s only half the story as Bavuma is in the thick of it at short leg again, parrying a sharp chance away off his left hand.
Even more excitingly, Rabada returns to start his 29th over of the innings. Come on KG, lad!
Australia 302-8: Nevill 35*, Hazlewood 10*. SA need two wickets to win.
08:11: 300 UP! Australia need just 238 for victory (haha!) as Nevill and Hazlewood try to grind something out. ‘Taking it deep’ is the modern cricket gobbledygook for what they’re attempting.
Their brave and noble effort nearly bites the dust as the latter edges a good ‘un from big Vern, but it drops short of Amla at first slip.
Australia 301-8: Nevill 34*, Hazlewood 10*. SA need two wickets to win.
08:07: He’s not The New Ntini… he’s just Kagiso Rabada.
08:02: Philander is more than doing his bit at the other end, by the way. Rabada has to be pretty damn tired by this point, but you can bet he’ll be itching to get back on. The South African management will be dearly hoping he doesn’t have the opportunity.
Australia 292-8: Nevill 30*, Hazlewood 6*. SA need two wickets to win.
07:54: Maharaj is yelping and leaping around at regular intervals here, as Hazlewood plays him with no conviction whatsoever. A couple of leg before shouts, a hint of an edge behind and a clip to leg just out of the grasp of the little magician Bavuma. It’s coming.
07:41: WICKET! Philander is wheeled out once again with the new ball in hand and pins Siddle LBW. That’s eight down, two to go…
Australia 280-8: Nevill 24*, Hazlewood 0*. SA need two wickets to win.
07:18: They’ve kept Maharaj on before taking the hard new ball which, if Michael Clarke had done it, would probably be labelled ‘funky captaincy’. It’s more born out of necessity with captain Faf nursing his Steyn-less attack through to the end. Anyway, he starts with a maiden after Lunch.
07:14: Rabada’s third ball after the break suggests we may not be hanging around too long for victory. Nipping off the seam and whizzing over Peter Siddle’s middle peg. Marvellous.
Australia 264-7: Nevill 21*, Siddle 0*. SA need three wickets to win.
06:33: LUNCH! That’ll do nicely for the Proteas, who nip off for a sandwich with half of their required wickets safely in the bag. The sight of Rabada heading off to be iced up after his first spell was a scary one, but he returned to snaffle his eighth wicket of the match just before the break to leave the Aussies teetering. At least no one in Perth has bothered to turn up to bear witness to their nation’s sporting humiliation.
We’ll continue this fun in just over half an hour. If you’re just waking up to begin your week, scroll down to see how things have panned out this morning. We’ll be delighted to show you. You can also drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org any time. Now, time to get that kettle fired up.
Australia 263-7: Nevill 20*, Siddle 0*. SA need three wickets to win.
06:25: DRS ALERT AND… WICKET! Rabada is down on all fours, kissing the WACA pitch. He’s speared Starc with another yorker, right on to the back foot. It was a review straight out of the Shane Watson School of Self Preservation – plumb as anything and the lanky left-hander is on his bike.
That’s just the ticket with five minutes to go before the interval and Rabada has picked up five wickets in an innings for the fourth time in Test cricket. He’s only played nine matches.
Australia 262-7: Nevill 19*. SA need three wickets to win.
06:18: Right then, just time to crank it up for a couple of overs before Lunch. Rabada comes back into the attack to extract the last remnants of reverse swing from the old ball and you’d never know he’d been away – straight back in the groove as he catches an edge that flies through the cordon.
The new ball is available, but Maharaj continues.
Australia 259-6: Nevill 18*, Starc 11*. SA need four wickets to win.
06:03: Mitchell Starc is out there and, far more excitingly, so is Rabada! Whether it was just a bit of psychological warfare with the opposition or what, we may never know, but he looks alright. We’ll know for sure if they take that shiny new ball in three overs’ time.
Australia 247-6: Nevill 16*, Starc 1*. SA need four wickets to win.
05:58: DRS ALERT AND… OUT! He’s been dropped, an overstep away from LBW and was nearly caught playing a daft shot down the ground last night… and Khawaja has finally perished, leg before to wily old JP Duminy. He sends it upstairs – partly because he’s three away from a century, partly because he’s just about Austrlia’s last hope. But to no avail. He stood tall while other around him threatened to crumble, but it’s ancient history now with four wickets to go and a new ball in the offing.
Australia 246-6: Nevill 16*, Starc 0*. SA need four wickets to win.
05:50: Get behind your sofa and watch.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) November 7, 2016
05:45: Good grief! Temba Bavuma is on, with South Africa running out of bowling options. His first ball in Test cricket barely bounces, hits Khawaja flush on the pad and would have been stone dead LBW… except Bavuma’s little legs had somehow managed to overstep. We’ll let him off because of yesterday’s genius run out, but that’s a huge opportunity passed up.
Australia 233-5: Khawaja 90*, Nevill 14*. SA need five wickets to win.
05:36: Aussie whine… stick a cork in it!
Just saw Mitch Marsh’s lbw…. what a crock of $&@! DRS system = Failure.
— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) November 7, 2016
05:29: Ah man. You’ll never guess what. Rabada has joined Steyn in the WACA shoulder clinic. He’s up in the dressing room, ice pack on, with Neighbours doctor Karl Kennedy presumably on his way to sort it. Which brings the end to our Aussie soap references for the day, but hopefully not the end of our star. Pray for precaution, everyone. Vernon Philander’s on to join Maharaj.
Australia 221-5: Khawaja 83*, Nevill 10*. SA need five wickets to win.
05:16: Millions of Rands’ worth of universally approved technology may have sent Marsh packing, but Tom Moody and desperate-to-be-Australian-yet-still-impossibly-English Mark Nicholas have decided on the telly that having played cricket once upon a time means they know better.
Big fan of how Hawkeye only works when it gives decisions that favour your team. Otherwise, very unreliable. #AUSvSA
— Dan Liebke (@LiebCricket) November 7, 2016
05:08: DROPPED! This is a really special spell – again – from Rabada. After whizzing another off the crack that has Quinton de Kock guessing with the gloves, he catches the edge of the uncertain Peter Nevill. Unfortunately, Du Plessis leaps across Hashim Amla at slip, probably rightly, spilling the dipping ball just off the ground.
Australia 209-5: Khawaja 75*, Nevill 6*. SA need five wickets to win.
04:58: DRS ALERT AND… OUT! Rabada wangs down a searing yorker that dips late into Marsh’s toe. The fielding side yell, umpire Aleem Dar says: “Nope.” Captain Faf sends it up for review, which means third umpire Richard Kettleborough has to switch over from the Neighbours omnibus to have a look. And would you believe it was clattering into leg stump. It’s a fourth for the young tearaway and we’re up and running!
Australia 196-5: Khawaja 70*, Nevill 0*. SA need five wickets to win.
04:54: Hmm. Khawaja is picking off Maharaj a bit too often here. A six down the ground becomes the third of an impressive knock so far, prompting the debutant to switch to over the wicket. He stays around to Marsh, who drives him through the covers for four. D’oh.
Australia 195-4: Khawaja 69*, M Marsh 26. SA need six wickets to win.
04:48: If you haven’t seen any images from the WACA, by the way, there’s a whacking great crack right down the middle of the wicket. It’s been opening it under the sun for the last four days and Rabada has just used it to bowl a 140 kph off-spinner to the unwitting Marsh. It whistles over the off-stump and the Aussie task looks as huge as Michael Clarke’s ego.
Australia 184-4: Khawaja 62*, M Marsh 22*. SA need six wickets to win.
04:39: After a brace of boundaries in Keshav Maharaj’s first over – one off bat, one off pad – the Aussies haven’t scored a run since, with Rabada into his groove at the other end already.
Australia 177-4: Khawaja 58*, M Marsh 19*. SA need six wickets to win.
04:25: Well hello there. If you’re joining us in almost any time zone that isn’t Australian, congratulations on surviving this far!
All we need after four days of gripping cricket is the fitting finale. The man to provide it may well be South Africa’s dynamo Kagiso Rabada, leading the attack after Dale Steyn pulled up lame on day two. He has three of the four Aussie second innings wickets to fall so far. The other belongs to Temba Bavuma, who produced a snapshot of sheer brilliance to run out David Warner yesterday afternoon.
The hosts resume in a couple of minutes on 169-4 with Usman Khawaja and Mitch Marsh the unbeaten batsmen overnight. They technically require 370 more runs to win, but don’t worry about that. It’s all about six more wickets… DM.
Main image: Perth, AustraliaCricket – Australia v South Africa – First Test cricket match – WACA Ground, Perth, Australia – 6/11/16 South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada celebrates after dismissing Australia’s Shaun Marsh at the WACA Ground in Perth. REUTERS/David Gray
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