TEMBA BAVUMA led the way as the Standard Bank Proteas produced the near perfect performance on day two of the final Sunfoil Test match against Australia at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Saturday. The day could be summed up in statistics as the Proteas scored 175 runs while losing their last four first innings wicket and then Australia crashed to 110/6 by the close.
The only disappointment for the Proteas was the fact that Bavuma ran out of partners after reaching 95 (194 balls, 13 fours) when he so richly deserved to go on to his second career century and his first against Australia.
In all, he was involved in three major partnerships, the first of which was on Friday when he and AB de Villiers put on 52 for the fifth wicket. He then added 85 for the seventh with Quinton de Kock and 76 for the ninth with Keshav Maharaj who managed a career best 45 off 51 balls (4 fours and 2 sixes). But the last two wickets fell in the space of two balls, leaving Bavuma stranded.
Nevertheless, the Proteas finished the day with a massive lead of 378 runs which will make the follow on an attractive option.
Once again, the Proteas continued their revival of their lower-order batting with the last four partnerships adding 189 runs.
When it came to Australia’s turn to bat they were in immediate trouble as the three batsmen drafted into their side contributed only 12 runs between them as they made the worst possible start with 3 down for 38 runs after one ball of the 13th over and Vernon Philander on a hat trick.
Usman Khawaja led some spirited resistance in partnership with Shaun Marsh, putting on 52 for the fourth wicket before the former (53 off 84 balls, 9 fours) fell to a brilliant leg-side catch by De Kock, standing up to the stumps to Philander.
The Marsh brothers then fell in quick succession leaving new captain Tim Paine to rally the bowlers around him as best he can on the third morning.
Their only bright spot was the bowling of Pat Cummins who has been consistently outstanding throughout the series. The final two wickets gave him a well-deserved five-wicket return (5/83 in 28.5 overs), the second of his career, both of them coincidentally having happened at the Wanderers.
The Sunfoil Education Trust (SET) has benefited to the tune of 113 000 from the number of fours and sixes hit and wickets taken by the two sides in this Test match to date, bringing the cumulative series total to date to R846 000.