It was the turn of David Warner’s tears to take attention away from the action here Saturday, but many questioned his sincerity.
Warner has been cast as the instigator of the drama that unfolded in Cape Town last week, when Cameron Bancroft tried to scuff up the ball using a piece of sandpaper. The plan was concocted by Warne a Cricket Australia investigation found, and Warner took responsibility for his part in the affair but revealed little else.
Whether his former teammates still here in Johannesburg watched or believed him will only be known later. For now they find themselves in an uphill battle as South Africa, continued to build what is turning into a large first innings total.
At lunch the home team were on 400/7 having added 87 runs runs in the session in 27 overs.
The morning session was dominated by an 85-run seventh wicket partnership between Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock. The former really struggled, probably still battling due to a lack of proper game time this year.
There were certainly some raised eyebrows – even from the national selectors – when Bavuma didn’t pad up for the Cape Cobras in the penultimate round of matches in the Sunfoil Series. It was understood he needed time off to handle a personal matter, but it meant that going into the the third Test in Cape Town last week, he’d only had three matches under his belt since last Christmas, one of which was a club game.
He had missed six weeks with a fractured finger, sustained in a domestic limited overs match, in February. He scored 1 and 5 at Newlands, and looked like a batsman struggling to locate his off-stump.
He struggled here too on Saturday, but through grit and luck he was able to stick it out as he and De Kock, who enjoy batting together and have shared some crucial partnerships in recent years, put South Africa well on top.
Bavuma scored just one run in the first hour of play, leaving De Kock to do the remainder of the scoring with some delicious on-drives and late cuts. De Kock was also more adept at rotating strike.
After drinks Bavuma came into his own, picking up singles and driving nicely as he moved to a 10th Test 50. At lunch he was not out on 61, while Vernon Philander is on 6.
De Kock was the only wicket of the morning’s play, as one from Lyon, who was finding prodigious turn, bounced and spun viciously as De Kock went to pull, and he skied a top edge to Mitchell Marsh at mid-on. De Kock scored 39 off 74 balls, hitting four fours in 117-minute stay at the crease.