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Australia stretch lead to 402 before bad light leads to early end on third day

Morne Morkel (centre) picked three wickets late in the day
Morne Morkel (centre) picked three wickets late in the day

Australia 351 & 213-9 (Bancroft 53) v
South Africa 162 (Starc 5-34)
First Test, Durban, day three

Morne Morkel and Keshav Maharaj picked three wickets apiece to restrict Australia to 213 for nine before bad light brought a premature end to the third day's play in the first Test in Durban.

Despite, a strong bowling performance, Australia clearly have the upper hand in the game having stretched their lead to 402 runs.

Earlier, Australia started their second innings after gaining a 189-run lead. David Warner (28) and Cameron Bancroft (53) started the innings cautiously scoring just 14 runs in the first six overs before the boundaries started to come freely.

Both the players went severe on left-arm-spinner Keshav Maharaj (3-93) as the 50-run opening stand came in the 12th over. Kagiso Rabada (2-28) provided some respite for South Africa when he had Warner caught at mid on and soon South Africa used a review to have Usman Khawaja (6) LBW with Maharaj being the bowler.

With four boundaries in five overs, Bancroft went on to complete his second Test fifty but was stumped off Maharaj at the stroke of lunch during which Australia were placed at 112 for three and a lead of 301 runs.

Steven Smith (38) and Shaun Marsh (33) tried to show resilience in the final session looking to grind the Proteas attack and in an eventful 35th over, the Aussie skipper survived a tight call of LBW with South Africa opting for a review.

South Africa had to turn to the part-time option of Dean Elgar (1-10) to have Smith trapped LBW and with Rabad dismissing Mitchell Marsh (6), Australia were placed 156 for five before Morne Morkel (3-42) produced a terrific spell to dismiss Shaun, Mitchell Starc (7) and Nathan Lyon (2) in quick succession.

As Australia reached 213 for nine, stretching their lead to 402 runs, the officials decided to take the players off the field due to bad light and eventually led to stumps on day three.

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