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Australia Wins Heated First Test

Australia Wins Heated First Test

The highest previous successful fourth-innings chase in tests in Durban was 340 for five by South Africa against Australia in 2002.

"There was a real difference in skill with the reverse swing", said du Plessis, who singled Starc and Kagiso Rabada, the South African pacer, as the two stand-outs. The batsmen did well in the first innings to get to 350.

Confirming his availability on Sunday, South Africa's assistant coach Malibongwe Maketa said, "Dean is a tough cookie".

"Hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow, and all three of our guys are world-class reverse swing bowlers, so it's going to be hard work for South Africa".

"(Lyon) is going to be massive.really, really important", Bancroft said. "Rabada and Starc were the two standouts". Yet Starc was denied a chance to complete his hat-trick - and take his tally to 10 wickets in the match - due to bad light with the umpires only allowing play to continue if Australia used spinners. He will have an opportunity - a round of three-day provincial matches starts later this week and a round of franchise games next week - but South Africa have no guarantees of when he will be back.

It sets up an intriguing rematch in the second test, which starts on Friday at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth, with tests to follow at Newlands in Cape Town and the Wanderers in Johannesburg. As Faf Du Plessis put it, "we needed to be more ruthless against their tail-enders". Batsman Aiden Makaram scored faboulas Hundred and guided South Africa to score 298 in the second innings. South Africa then suffered blow when de Villiers, their top scorer in the first innings, was run out for nought. All these batsmen are thought to be entering the twilight or, in Elgar's case, the latter half of their careers.

Bavuma is a tenacious "resister" at the crease, a quality the Proteas require in bigger loads at present, and in his last major series, in England, kept the home attack at bay rather better than most colleagues in challenging conditions.

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.

Markram's place in the team was never under pressure‚ but his own excellence coupled with the inability to convert his 30's into something substantial was weighing down on him. Australia were trying to make sure that was something weighing on his shoulders. "That says a lot about his character". He was the mainstay in an 87-run partnership with Theunis de Bruyn, who scored 36, and added 147 more runs with De Kock for the sixth wicket.

Starc won the Man of the Match award, over all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who fell just four runs short of his second Test century in consecutive innings on Day 2 of the Durban Test. Marsh's valiant knock of 96 helped Australia recover from 177/5 to 351 all out, a respectable score on a bowler-friendly surface.

"Maybe the captaincy had something to do with it but it's something I do really enjoy If I were to establish myself‚ I think leadership would be a bit easier".

Smith said the prevention of such matters was a multi-faceted issue, with players perhaps needing stronger guidance while at the same time being more accountable for their actions, and the need for umpires to closely monitor rising on-field tensions.

In favour of keeping the team unchanged is the "shot at redemption" principle, and the related phenomenon of not wishing to be seen to be too panicky or knee-jerk in response after one early setback in a series. "That will do them well for the series".

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