An aggressive Travis Head put Australia in charge after the first day of the opening Test against South Africa at the Gabba in Brisbane on Saturday. After bowling out the visitors for 152 on the stroke of tea, Head came to the crease with the Australian score a precarious 27-3. But on a wicket that all batters found difficult to score on, Head looked a different class, smashing an unbeaten 78 from just 77 deliveries. At the close Australia were 145-5 after nightwatchman Scott Boland was dismissed last ball of the day, trailing by just seven runs.
“It was an entertaining day of cricket,” Head said.
“It’s disappointing to lose the two wickets at the end there but we fought hard.
“It was a difficult wicket, so I think we’ll take that — we have to come out and have a good couple of hours in the morning.”
Australian captain Pat Cummins earlier won the toss and chose to bowl on a green wicket under cloudy skies.
The decision was vindicated after a stunning start when South Africa were reduced to 27-4 after 11 overs, a position from which they never recovered.
But once Bavuma fell for 38 midway through the second session, South Africa lost steady wickets on a surface that got faster as the day wore on.
‘A bit behind’
Verreynne said getting the wickets of Steve Smith and Boland late in the day had given his side some hope of salvaging something from the match. “We’re probably still a bit behind the game but those two wickets bring us back into it a little bit,” he said.
“There’s a window open for us now. If we start off well I think we are in with a chance of setting something up hopefully.”
The morning conditions had looked ideal for Australia’s potent pace attack, but Mitchell Starc and Cummins were wayward early, causing no real problems for the batters.
Cummins began to find his line and length and was next to strike, with Rassie van der Dussen getting a faint edge to a ball that moved off the seam to leave South Africa 27-2.
Two balls later it was 27-4 when Boland trapped Khaya Zondo lbw for a duck.
But Verreynne decided to play his strokes, and with Bavuma grafting at the other end, they began a recovery.
After reducing South Africa to 27-4 in 11 overs, Australia found themselves 27-3 after nine overs.
But whereas South Africa’s batting line-up looked vulnerable heading into the match, the Australians have been in great touch against the West Indies and Head and Steve Smith rarely looked in trouble.
But just when it looked as though they would see Australia to the close, Nortje got a ball through Smith’s defences to rattle the stumps.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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