Published: Tue, April 03, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

South Africa in control despite Oz fightback

South Africa in control despite Oz fightback

South Africa moved into a powerful position despite a fightback by Australia and an injury to Morne Morkel, the fast bowler in his final global, on the third day of the fourth Test at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday (April 1).

South Africa have all but shut Australia out of this fourth Test match and a historic 3-1 series victory is within touching distance.

Australia need a win to share the series, an outcome that would provide hollow comfort after the chaos that engulfed the team in the wake of their ball-tampering in the third Test in Cape Town and the crisis that followed this week. Here, Australia were 378 runs behind and the pressure was very different.

Tim Paine, the Australian captain who was last man out for 62, and Pat Cummins, who made his maiden Test half-century, kept South Africa in the field longer than expected.

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The home side have a fitness worry as seamer Morne Morkel, playing in his final test before retirement from worldwide cricket, was forced from the field with a left side strain, but he did return to the pitch after the interval and will be monitored overnight. A South African team spokesman said the injury was in the same area that he damaged in a Test against Bangladesh in October, keeping him out of action for two months.

South Africa did not attempt to force the pace in the second innings, although Aiden Markram again struck the ball crisply in making 37 off 56 balls.

Du Plessis arrived on the crease after De Villiers was caught behind by stand-in captain Tim Paine from the bowling of Cummins who has been Australia's best player on this troubled tour where Steve Smith‚ David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned for ball-tempering. However, the lead has gone past 400 and South Africa are in total control of this Test match.

Markram's dismissal left him with 480 runs from eight innings‚ the highest score of 152 he scored on day one here on Friday and he is nearly guaranteed to end as the leading scorer and he is serious contender for the player of the series. Opening batsman Dean Elgar was particularly obdurate, scoring 39 not out off 158 balls.

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