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Proteas left to rue rash shots

Port Elizabeth - South Africa were left to rue the loss of cheap wickets after battling to 214 for five on the opening day of the second test against Australia on Thursday.

Bad light brought a premature end to the day after 83 overs bowled with AB de Villiers not out on 51 and JP Duminy on two at the close.

AB de Villiers of South Africa bats in front of Brad Haddin of Australia during day one of the Second Test match between South Africa and Australia at AXXESS St George's Cricket Stadium in Port Elizabeth. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images). Credit: Getty Images

De Villiers passed 7 000 test runs and became the first player in history to score half-centuries in 12 tests in a row.

It might well have been a better day for the hosts after they won the toss and elected to bat, but Dean Elgar (83) and debutant Quinton de Kock (seven) gave their wickets away with rash shots.

The pitch did not have the devil of Pretoria and rendered Mitchell Johnson less effective, the South Africans playing him with relative comfort once the shine had been taken off the new ball.

Proteas captain Graeme Smith (nine) said at the toss his side wanted to bat first and put Australia under pressure, but it was South Africa who felt the early heat.

Smith was struck on the back leg by Ryan Harris with the total on 10 and the umpire had no hesitation in giving him out lbw. In the next over, Johnson breached the defence of Hashim Amla who was also trapped leg before for a duck.

But Elgar and Faf du Plessis (55) batted patiently for a third-wicket partnership of 112 before the latter gave a catch to Steve Smith at short leg off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.

Left-handed opener Elgar, brought back into the side for the sick Alviro Petersen, added a further 58 with the fluent De Villiers before he tried to smash Lyon to the boundary and skied the ball to Ryan Harris at mid-off.

That brought De Kock to the crease one place higher than expected, with Duminy slipping down to seven, and the confident 21-year-old got off the mark in test cricket with a boundary.

But the brashness of youth got the better of him and presented with the part-time leg-spin of Smith, he too tried a mow the ball over the boundary but succeeded only in lofting it to substitute fielder Moises Henriques at mid-off.

Lyon (two for 47) was the pick of the Australian bowlers, while Johnson, so ferocious in the 281-run victory in the first test in Pretoria, managed just a single wicket at a cost of almost three runs an over.

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