Australia flops to leave Proteas in control


Aiden Markram made an unbeaten half-century to give South Africa a steady start against Australia in the fourth and final Test as action on the field took centre stage after the ball-tampering scandal.

"Putting three guys into a Test match, two have come from Australia and one hasn't played in a game for a while, was always going to be a little bit tough", said Australian bowling coach David Saker. Only two Australians had reached double figures and at stumps they were relying on new captain Tim Paine, who was on 5, and Pat Cummins, on 7, and avoiding the follow-on was still 179 runs away.

He has even caught the eye of perhaps the best batsman in the world today, India captain Virat Kohli having expressed his appreciation for Markram twice over Twitter, a week ago calling him a delight to watch, and on Friday responding just with emojis, words apparently unable to do justice to the South African's talents.

It won't go unnoticed that his form is red hot and that the current captain was out for a first-ball duck, after six scores of 20 or less in this series so far.

It was South Africa's day from the time Temba Bavuma and De Kock weathered a tricky period against a ball that was nearly new after resuming at 313 for six.

Warner, who has played 74 Test since his debut in 2011, said he would be seeking ways to make character changes.

South Africa lead the series 2-1 after winning the last two tests in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

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Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw opened, the first time Australia had switched both openers from the previous Test since the start of the 2013 Ashes, when Chris Rogers and Shane Watson walked out first.

Lyon finished with 3-182 from 40 overs. Off the next ball, Faf du Plessis made an error of judgement, leaving a delivery that darted back in prodigiously, to be trapped lbw right in front. While Smith and Warner received a yearlong ban, Bancroft has been barred from playing for nine months. "For us, it was to show we want to be super competitive but we also want to be respectful of the opposition".

Australia were in disarray at that stage on 38 before Usman Khawaja (53) and Shaun Marsh managed a slow recovery.

"This is a moment where we can really have a think about how we play the game, and I think you've seen we've all been pretty relaxed out there, but really competitive", he said.

South Africa, resuming at 6-313, built a formidable first-innings total of 488 as Temba Bavuma (95 not out) combined with the lower order before being stranded just short of a second Test century.

Australia, with its morale in pieces following the cheating saga of the last week, was 110-6 and 378 runs behind at stumps on the second day of the series decider at the Wanderers.