Three million dollars, five counters, zero problems. It was Cameron Green’s week, after the all-rounder followed up his Indian Premier League auction success by winning 5-27 in the Boxing Day Test in front of over 64,000 people. His contribution saw South Africa knocked out for 189 after being sent to bat again by Australian captain Patrick Cummins, confident in applying compression to a side that have now gone seven innings short of reaching 200. , Australia had moved to 45-1 by stumps.
All out for 152 and 99 to start the series in Brisbane, South Africa made just one change, bringing the versatile Theunis de Bruyn up to bat at No.3 in place of Rassie van der Dussen. Australia remained unchanged with Scott Boland given the chance to repeat his Boxing Day heroics from last year after Josh Hazlewood told medical staff he was not completely confident in his recovery from a lateral strain .
On a relatively cool morning with a few clouds around, Cummins was happy to play first on the theory that if the wicket were to offer a rebound or move, it would probably be day one. In the end, the game worked to perfection, brushing off South Africa late in the day and ensuring the visitors were lined up on day two with the forecast suggesting 37 degrees.
Things started well for South Africa, at least compared to their Brisbane debacle, with Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee at bat for the first 10 overs and Elgar surviving what should have been a comeback catch pushed back to Cummins. Predictably, Boland was the agent of change, beating Erwee with a perfect delivery before sliding him a wider ball to slide. Moments later he dug a ball into Elgar which rolled into the stumps but did not dislodge a bail.
A reasonable 56-to-1 in the 20th then South Africa self-destructed when de Bruyn played a smudged shot on a ball that was too full and outside the stump. He went high in the air for the wicket keeper. Elgar earned the niche accolade by becoming the third player to complete 5,000 tries without ever running out, then quickly ran away, directly hitting Labuschagne from cover and leaving. Temba Bavuma slashed Starc behind on the next ball, battered by the scrambled seam and a bit of movement. At a glance, it was 58-4, and not lunch yet.
It became 67-5 when Khaya Zondo hit Starc for a Labuschagne diving catch from cover, and repair work fell to versatile bowler Marco Jansen and wicketkeeper Kyle Verreyne. Beating cautiously before becoming expansive, they each made half centuries and beat well past the tea break. Jansen hits too high at No 7, looks risky in defense and is graced by a tough chance to Starc and a single to Usman Khawaja, but at times he was good in attack, driving the rapids and taking Nathan Lyon’s spin with drive and sweep. Verreyne touched the limits of the square by chaining her excellent 64 from Brisbane.
It was Green who stepped in, edging Verreyne for 52 and Jansen for 59 three-ball, then castling Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi to record his first five-wicket innings of a budding but growing Test career tremendous. Lyon had rival spinner Keshav Maharaj caught in the act, with the tail gone for single numbers. The first five wickets fell for 67 runs, the last five fell for 10, with the familiar story of only one partnership in the middle: a vital 112. A score of 189 was far below what South Africa needed and more than they could have hoped for. for some points.
Khawaja ended a bad day by pushing forward at Rabada to cut him off Verreyne for a run, but David Warner shrugged off any concerns over his recent comebacks and attention around his 100th Test match to go 32, taking Rabada’s short ball with Anrich Nortje’s shot and uppercutting to the fence. It will resume on Tuesday with Labuschagne out of five, the temperature peaking, and Australia once again in the ascendant.