Test evenly poised after SA fightback
PERTH, Australia (AP): South Africa staged a remarkable comeback and shrugged off the loss of fast bowler Dale Steyn to injury in the first cricket Test at the WACA yesterday. After Australia’s openers piled up 158-0, swing bowlers Vernon Philander (4-56) and Kasigo Rabada (2-78), and left arm spinner Keshav Mahraj (3-56) exposed the vulnerability of the Australian batting to dismiss the host for 244 runs. South Africa were bowled out for 242 after winning the toss and batting first on the opening day. The visitors were in trouble at 45-2 in the second innings after losing opener Stephen Cook (12) and Hashim Amla (1). But opener Dean Elgar (46 not out) and Jean-Paul Duminy (34 not out) guided South Africa to 104-2 at the close, a lead of 102 runs. Mahraj bowled with guile and control to claim the wickets of skipper Steve Smith, Peter Nevill and Mitchell Starc. Australia lost ten for 86 before and after lunch following an aggressive stand between David Warner (97) and Shaun Marsh (63). Warner was racing toward his 17th career century when he pushed at a delivery from Steyn away from the body, and was caught by first slip Amla. Warner’s dismissal triggered a top-order collapse as Australia lost Usman Khawaja (4), Smith (0), and Marsh in the space of 23 runs before lunch. Khawaja was yorked by Rabada, and two overs later, Mahraj dismissed Smith leg before wicket for his maiden Test wicket. Soon after dismissing Warner, Steyn left the field. Maharaj completed Steyn’s unfinished over and in his very next over trapped Smith, who unsuccessfully reviewed the on-field decision. “Losing nine for 80 is disappointing in any context in this game,” Warner lamented. “I accept responsibility as well as a top order batter. We always talk about one guy going on and getting a big hundred.” Steyn was taken to a nearby hospital for scans and was diagnosed with a rare bone stress which may force him out of the game for at least six months, according to team officials. Steyn will return home at the end of the first Test.