South Africa ended the second day of the second Test against Australia well and truly back in the series after largely dominating the tourists with both bat and ball on a sluggish pitch.
The overnight pair of AB de Villiers and JP Duminy both completed hundreds and took their sixth-wicket stand to 149 and the Proteas to 423. Australia - David Warner apart with an unbeaten 65 off 67 balls - then struggled in reply and closed on 112 for four as Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell each struck twice.
It could have been even better for the hosts had they chosen to review a caught behind decision late in the day off night-watchman Nathan Lyon or had Duminy clung onto a catch in the gully in the final over. As it was, Lyon survived to reach stumps alongside Warner on 12, having earlier ended with marathon figures of five for 130 from 46 overs.
It was the South Africa seamers, as it had to be given their lack of a frontline spinner, who did the damage when Australia batted. Philander bounced back from his largely innocuous showing in Centurion by having Chris Rogers trapped LBW despite the left-hander calling for a review.
Alex Doolan then partnered Warner and took the score to 41, but Parnell struck twice in quick succession. He induced Doolan (8) to edge behind with his very first delivery and then had Centurion century-maker Shaun Marsh caught behind second ball to leave the tourists on 41 for three.
Warner, though, was counter-attacking at the other end and found support, for a while, from his captain Michael Clarke to add 40 during a breezy fourth-wicket stand. Clarke, though, became Philander’s second victim when he was caught by Dean Elgar for 19. Warner’s 11th Test half-century came off just 55 balls as he took his side through to stumps.
South Africa had earlier resumed in their first innings on 214 for five following a battling performance on day one. Runs were a little easier to come by today as Duminy and de Villiers survived the second new ball, which Australia took immediately, and batted throughout a slightly extended first session to add 109 runs.
De Villiers brought up Test ton number 19 off 201 balls shortly before the break, but would not add too many more as, with the score on 349, he chipped a return catch back to Lyon. Philander (6) and Parnell (10) both kept Duminy company for a time as he brought up his third Test century off 199 balls around an hour before tea. He would perish trying a reverse sweep off Lyon just before the break, with Morne Morkel last man out early in the final session.
Lyon’s fifth Test five-fer was the highlight of the day for Australia’s bowlers as the nature of the pitch largely negated their pace attack. Ryan Harris (27-6-63-1), Mitchell Johnson (25-5-70-1), Steve Smith (8-0-30-1) and Clarke (7.5-2-16-1) were the other wicket-takers.
© Cricket World 2014