Australia claimed four wickets including the bizarre dismissal of captain Dean Elgar as South Africa reached 58-4 at lunch on Monday after Australia chose to bowl first in the second Test of the three-match series
South African batsman Kyle Verreynne (R) cuts a delivery away as Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey (L) watches.Pic/AFP
Australia claimed four wickets including the bizarre dismissal of captain Dean Elgar as South Africa reached 58-4 at lunch on Monday after Australia chose to bowl first in the second Test of the three-match series.
On a green-tinged pitch at Melbourne Cricket Ground, South Africa's batsmen had started cautiously, advancing to 56 runs for the loss of Sarel Erwee (18) and Theunis de Bruyn (12).
Just when the touring team looked set to reach lunch with only two wickets down, captain Elgar attempted a risky single to mid-off in the penultimate over before lunch and was run out by a direct hit from Marnus Labuschagne. Temba Bavuma was caught behind for one off the next delivery, as Mitchell Starc joined Scott Boland and Cameron Green as wicket-takers in the opening session of play.
Home-town hero Boland, who made his test debut in Melbourne a year ago, struck the first blow of the day when Erwee was caught at third slip at 29-1.
South Africa had recalled top-order batsman de Bruyn for his first test since 2019, but the right-hander top-edged a pull shot off the bowling of Green and was caught behind at 56-2.
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Elgar's departure heaps pressure on South Africa's middle order for the afternoon session. Khaya Zondo and Kyle Verreynne are yet to score.
Elgar had been dropped on seven by rival skipper Pat Cummins after offering a difficult caught-and-bowled chance. The left-hander was also dropped at gully on 19, off the bowling of Green.
The risky tactic of choosing to bowl first paid dividends for Australia captain Pat Cummins in the first test in Brisbane, which Australia won inside two days. But that was on a pitch that offered alarming pace and bounce for the fast bowlers, whereas the Melbourne pitch does not appear to favour the quicks to the same extent.
"It doesn't look like a raging green seamer but see how we go," Cummins said after winning the toss.
South Africa is on the back foot after being bowled out for 152 and 99 in the first Test in Brisbane as the touring team crashed to a six-wicket loss in just two days of play.
Australia opening batsman David Warner, celebrating his 100th Test match, is also under pressure to retain his place in the side beyond this three-match series.
Warner, 36, has scored 0 and 3 in the Brisbane test and has not made a test hundred in almost three years.
Australia leads the three-match series one-nil and is aiming to secure its first Test-series win at home against South Africa since 2005-06.
The home side has named an unchanged team after pace bowler Josh Hazlewood, who missed the second Test against the West Indies and the first test against South Africa with a side strain, ruled himself out.
South Africa dropped struggling batsman Rassie van der Dussen.
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