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10-Mar-2018 15:50:00 GMT
SA v Aus, 1st Test, Port Elizabeth, day 2

AB de Villiers fifty gives South Africa a narrow lead

Port Elizabeth: AB de Villiers struck a counter-attacking 74 from 81 deliveries to take South Africa past Australia's first-innings total and into a narrow 20-run lead on 263/7 at stumps on day two of the second Test in Port Elizabeth.

After a gritty, slow-scoring first two sessions, defined by the battle of Dean Elgar (57 from 197 balls) and Hashim Amla (56 from 148), the game came alive in the evening, with de Villiers playing a different game to everyone else after a clatter of wickets post-tea.

His contribution - reminiscent of his 71* in the first innings of first Test at Durban - against unrelenting, aggressive reverse-swing from the Australian pace quartet left the game delicately poised. With Vernon Philander (14*) alongside him, the hosts will be targeting a decent first-innings lead when they come back tomorrow morning.

Rabada himself who provided the early impetus, striking six boundaries in his 40-ball 29 in a useful nightwatchman contribution before inside-edging a short ball from Pat Cummins back onto his stumps.

Australia toiled away, with reverse-swing making things difficult. But both batsmen moved to their half-centuries before tea; Amla's 39th Test fifty coming from 122 balls before Elgar reached his 11th in even slower fashion.

Despite only 43 runs being added in the middle session, South Africa were delighted to find themselves 153/2 at tea, trailing by 90 runs.

Brief scores:
South Africa 263 for 7 (de Villiers 74*, Elgar 57, Amla 56) lead Australia 243 (Warner 63, Rabada 5-96, Ngidi 3-51) by 20 runs

Mitchell Starc produced a beauty to dismiss the stubborn Amla. A quick, reverse-swinging yorker ripped out the No.3's off-stump with the fourth ball after tea to prompt memories of the first Test in Durban. Elgar's six-hour vigil was ended in the next over when Hazlewood came around the wicket and found the opener's edge with some late swing.

With the two well-set batsmen gone, Australia sensed an opening and went for blood. De Villiers, as is his way, kept scoring, but Mitchell Marsh once again proved his worth with the ball at the other end.

The all-rounder pinned Faf du Plessis (9) lbw with some reverse swing before getting a struggling Theunis de Bruyn for a single in a similar fashion. By now 155/2 had turned into 183/6.

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