Aiden Markram led the way as the Proteas had one of their most consistent days of the Sunfoil Test Series to stay well in front of Australia by the close of day three of the third Test match at Newlands on Saturday.
The Proteas could claim to have had the better of all three sessions as they first needed just 17 balls to take the final Australian first innings wicket while 10 runs were added to the total before moving on to 65 for the loss of Dean Elgar’s wicket by lunch.
They then scored 86/2 in the second session and 87/2 in the final one to reach the close on 238/5 for an overall lead of 294 runs.
Importantly, they still had AB de Villiers (51 so far off 103 balls, 6 fours and a six, which was his first scoring stroke) and Quinton de Kock at the crease. Both players will be critical to getting the Proteas through the second new ball which falls due in 8 overs time.
With two full days still left in the game the Proteas will want to take their overall lead well clear of the 400 mark.
De Villiers reached a notable landmark when he went past Jacques Kallis as South Africa’s leading all-time runs scorer in Tests against Australia and a further 19 will take him to 2 000 against these particular opponents.
Markram had earlier looked well set to score his second century of the series and his fourth overall in a stunning first season of international cricket and it came as a surprise when he fell 16 runs short, getting out for 84 (145 balls, 10 fours and 2 sixes). His role in getting the Proteas through the new ball was vital during a second-wicket partnership of 76 with Hashim Amla.
His maturity continues to make a huge impression and he has now gone past 800 runs from his first 9 Test matches.
Pat Cummins (2/47 in 19 overs) was again the pick of the Australian attack.
At the start of the day Kagiso Rabada (4/91 in 20.5 overs) took the last Australian first innings wicket so that both he and Morne Morkel finished with 4 wickets.
The Sunfoil Education Trust (SET) has benefited to the tune of R179 500 from the number of fours and sixes hit and wickets taken by the two sides in the first three day’s play, bringing the cumulative series total to date to R658 500.
Cricket South Africa