Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

AB de Villiers looms over second Test

AB de Villiers looms over second Test

Opener Dean Elgar was 38 not out as South Africa lost just one wicket in the morning session - nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada for 29 - after resuming on 39-1.

South Africa moved on to 110-2 in its first innings by lunch on Day 2 of the second test against Australia on Saturday, cutting the deficit to 133 runs.

There was a farcical episode during the early part of the final session when the umpires stopped play because the music band in the stands, synonymous with playing at St George's Park, was asked to stop playing because the officials could not concentrate on the game.

Australia's captain Steve Smith had indicated prior to this second Test that they had special plans to contain De Villiers after his undefeated 71 in the first innings at Kingsmead.

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On a weird day of test cricket, where the band stopped play, Kagiso Rabada got charged and two CSA officials were under scrutiny for a mask-related incident, South Africa managed to engineer a narrow 20-run lead, but with only three wickets remaining.

Amla was twice given out lbw and twice overturned the decision using video review, surviving on 7 and 40. The left-hander's riskiest moment came when he pushed at a wide delivery from Mitchell Marsh and edged through vacant third slip.

Amla, normally more fluent, took 122 balls to reach fifty and by tea had faced 144 balls. The resulting boundary brought up his half-century in 164 balls.

That replicated Australia's first innings, when the tourists were 161-3 and 243 all out in a similar late slide. Once again it was Starc providing the spark for Australia, knocking Amla's off-peg over with a vicious yorker that was delivered from around the wicket. On a pitch on which every other batsman in this Test bar David Warner has laboured, De Villiers made run-scoring appear elementary.

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However, Amla made a decision to review the call and despite giving up and nearly walking off the field, replays ultimately saved him.

Naturally it was de Villiers who led the counterattack, taking 14 runs off the next over from Cummins. Mitchell Marsh joined the act when he trapped both Proteas captain Faf du Plessis and Theunis de Bruyn lbw from the Park Drive End.

When de Kock was undone by a classic offspinner's dismissal to a left-hander - the delivery from Lyon from around the wicket dipped and turned past the outside edge to hit the top of off-stump - de Villiers reined himself in a touch. But AB de Villiers continued with his fluent touch and found an able partner in Philander to prop South Africa.

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