Home » Proteas in tatters as Starc explodes with milestone wicket

Proteas in tatters as Starc explodes with milestone wicket

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Travis Head fell short of a well-deserved century as Australia built their lead in warm conditions at the Gabba, but concerns remain about the form of David Warner - and his worrying slump.Australian legend Mark Waugh believes Warner needs to find some runs in a hurry, because as it stands his place in the Australian team in the near future is ‘in doubt’.Gabba factboxLUNCH: AUSSIE QUICKS RUIN SOUTH AFRICAN TOP ORDERA two day Test is firmly on the cards in Brisbane, as the utter carnage continues on the ‘green mamba’ Gabba pitch.Mitchell Starc claimed his 300th Test wicket after Pat Cummins struck the first blow, to leave South Africa 2-3 at lunch on day two and trailing Australia by 63 runs.Australia themselves were dismissed cheaply for just 218 with half an hour to go before lunch, and all signs suggest the low-scoring contest could be over sooner rather than later.The under-siege Proteas batsmen are under enormous pressure to build partnerships and try and turn a deficit into a competitive lead.Travis Head fell in the 90s for the second time this summer - out for 92 after a ferocious spell from Proteas’ demon Marco Jansen.The left-arm Jansen had already claimed the wicket of Cameron Green in the same over, and struck again two balls later to send Head packing.Alex Carey remained not out 22, but ran out of batting partners after Starc, Cummins and Nathan Lyon came and went quickly on a bowlers’ pitch.- BEN HORNE1.15pm: STARC JOINS 300 CLUBAnd that’s a piece of history for Mitchell Starc - he cleans up Rassie van der Dussen with a gem of a delivery, swinging through the gate and crashing into middle and off.“You can’t hit that,” says Allan Border on Fox Cricket.“That’s a hell of a delivery.”Van der Dussen goes for a duck, and boy oh boy are South Africa in trouble... They’re 2-3, with lunch fast approaching, and still trail by 63 runs.Starc becomes the seventh Australian bowler to take 300 Test wickets, joining Warne, McGrath, Lillee, Lyon, Johnson and Lee.It’s a phenomenal achievement, and he’s not done by any stretch.1.05PM: CUMMINS STRIKES EARLY BLOWOh boy, there really is no let-up in this Test. Four balls into his first over and Pat Cummins has struck, snaring the massive wicket of South African skipper Dean Elgar for 2.It’s a beautiful delivery, nipping back off the seam to beat the bat of Elgar and crash into his front pad.Elgar opts for a review, hoping for a miracle, but balltracker confirms his dismissal via umpire’s call - with the ball predicted to clip the bails.That’s a big blow for South Africa, who are 1-2 and still facing a big task to wipe out Australia's first innings lead.12.50pm: AUSTRALIA ALL OUT FOR 218, LEAD OF 66Australia's innings is wrapped up before lunch - all out for 218, with a lead of 66.Nathan Lyon is the last man to perish, gone for a four-ball duck after chipping a Kagiso Rabada delivery back over the bowler’s head - where it is well taken by Rassie van der Dussen.Alex Carey is left unbeatne on 22, while the bulk of the damage was done by Travis Head who fell agonisingly short of a sixth Test century. He fell for 92.A lead of 66 is not as many as Australia might have hoped they’d have in their locker after bowling South Africa for 152 yesterday, but runs have been hard to come by on this wicket and every one is vital.There’ll be a short burst before the lunch break, after a 10-minute changeover.12.40PM: CUMMINS GONE FOR A DUCKWell, that didn’t last long. Pat Cummins - given a reprieve after being given out first ball - survives just two more deliveries before throwing his wicket away.Cummins swipes at a short ball from Rabada, and misimes his pull - skying it to give a regulation chance to Nortje who tracks back to mid-on.Australia lead by 62. I think South Africa would’ve taken that sort of a first-innings deficit at the start of play today.12.35PM: WICKET! STARC FALLS TO FREAK CATCHWhat a CATCH! Lungi Ngidi has taken a belter of a caught-and-bowled to remove the dangerous Mitchell Starc for 14.Australia’s lead is now 61... with two wickets remaining, and Alex Carey the main man. Obviously Pat Cummins is competitive with the bat, so there's still runs to be had for Australia’s tail if they can hang around with Carey.But Starc’s stay in the middle is over. He pops up a low return offering to Ngidi, a big man it must be said, but the quick is able to get down low and get his big hands under the chance near his ankles.That’s a really impressive take and gives South Africa a much-needed boost.Cummins nearly goes for a golden duck - given out caught in the gully, but he immediately reviews and the decision is overturned as it’s come off his arm guard rather than the glove.12.20PM: AUSTRALIA PASS 200 AS LEAD GROWSAfter a flurry of excitement, care of a double-wicket over to Marco Jansen, Australia has got back into the groove this morning.With Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc leading the charge now, Australia has moved past 200 with three wickets in hand - and a first-innings lead of 50.How much can the Australian tail wag? Every run from here on is like gold dust for Pat Cummins’ men.11.50AM: WICKET! ANOTHER! HEAD FALLS SHORT OF TONThe wickets are tumbling once again. It’s a repeat of yesterday when 15 wickets fell - and this time it is Travis Head who has to go, after a contentious review.Head gets a faint touch down the legside from a Marco Jansen short ball, before immediately reviewing.It briefly looks like he might survive - nothing comes up on hotspot - but there is a faint spike as the ball passes the glove and that’s enough to confirm the on-field decision.He departs for 92 - eight short of a well-deserved century.11.48AM: WICKET! GREEN CAMEO COMES TO AN ENDWell, that’s a commentator’s curse from me!Cameron Green was flaying boundaries all over the place, but he’s bitten off a bit too much - and flashes at a wide delivery from Jansen. It was there to be hit, but Green gets the thick edge.It was too hot to handle for Maharaj at third slip, but he does enough to parry it skyward and Sarel Erwee has enough time to make his way across from first slip to make a nice catch.Green goes for 18, with Australia leading by 29.11.45AM: GREEN, HEAD PILE ON PAINWe’re not even half an hour into day two and it looks like the life has already been squeezed out of South Africa.While Travis Head marches on towards another century (passing 2000 Test runs along the way this morning), Cameron Green is opening his broad shoulders and putting in a knock that is ripping the contest away from South Africa.Green has pounded four boundaries to race to a run-a-ball 18, as Australia go about building a first-innings lead.They’ve added 33 runs at just under six runs an over so far this morning, to give them a 26-run lead with five wickets remaining.11.25AM: AUSTRALIA MOVE PAST SOUTH AFRICAIt took just four deliveries this morning for Australia to wipe out the remaining run deficit, having started the day seven runs behind South Africa’s first innings total of 152.Cameron Green punched a fine off drive to the boundary off Kagiso Rabada to signal his intent for the day.Travis Head, who started the day unbeaten on 78, has another century in his sights while Australia will be keen to pile on the runs and bat South Africa out of the contest.There’s also a tremendous opportunity for Green to get his summer going after watching the top order occupy the crease for much of the West Indies series. He’s started promisingly, with a pair of boundaries against Rabada. 11.05AM: WARNER’S TEST FUTURE ‘IN DOUBT’ AMID FORM SLUMPVeteran opener David Warner’s Test future is in doubt, according to Australian legend Mark Waugh as the under-fire star battles a latest form slump.Warner, one of Australia’s finest ever batsmen, hasn’t scored a Test century since January 2020 and was blasted out for a golden duck by Kagiso Rabada on day one at the Gabba – raising questions about whether his time in the baggy green is coming to an end.He’s yet to register a half-century this summer, and has passed 50 just twice in 2022, which all puts him under pressure to turn things around in a hurry according to Waugh.But it was the nature of Warner’s dismissal on Saturday – beaten by pace from a vicious Rabada bouncer – which concerned Waugh the most.“The signs weren’t good there with the technique. I do think the quicker bowlers worry him. But just the way he got out is a concern for me,” Waugh told Fox Cricket.“I think he’s lacking in confidence… he needs some runs in the next couple of Test matches to keep being picked in the Test team.“It doesn’t matter who you are: your job as a batsman is to make runs. He’ll be given a bit of leeway because of his record and who he is, but how much leeway do you keep giving a batsman?“The selectors would want to see him make some runs in the next couple of Test matches otherwise his Test future would have to be in doubt.”10.45AM: STARC’S CRUEL MILESTONE BLOWMitchell Starc is on the verge of joining one of the most elite groups in Australian cricket – the 300 club.And for a brief moment yesterday, he thought he was about to become Australia’s seventh Test bowler to take 300 wickets. Only for Travis Head to come up with the only blot on his copybook yesterday.Before he revived Australia’s batting with a superb counter-attacking knock, Head spilled a tough chance at bat-pad that would’ve given Starc his milestone wicket.The catch went in, then out, and then hit the turf leaving Starc stranded on 299 going into the second innings against South Africa.“He had a few cracks at it. (The 300th wicket) will come when it comes,” Starc told Fox Cricket.“It’s been an enjoyable journey. We’ll forgive Heady if he keeps going with the bat as he is.”10.15am - AUSSIES’ PLAN TO CRUSH PROTEASAustralia resume in a very strong position – they trail South Africa’s first innings by just seven runs, with Travis Head unbeaten on 78 and eyeing off another Test century this summer.Head added 117 with Steve Smith yesterday to put Australia well on top after three sessions, but with the sun out at the Gabba today it looks like batting conditions could be at their best.Head will need to combine with Cameron Green, who will come to the crease after nightwatchman Scott Boland’s dismissal closed play yesterday, and Alex Carey in a bid to bat South Africa out of the contest.A lead of anything north of 100 runs will look like an enormous mountain to climb for South Africa and what looks like a fairly feeble batting lineup.However if Rabada, Nortje and Jansen can regroup and knock over the final five wickets without too much damage – then make the most of the better batting conditions this afternoon – we could have a game on our hands.Watch Australia v South Africa. Every test match live and ad-break in play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >TEAMMATE’S SCARY PREMONITION OF WORLD-BEATER HEADThis Test is the one-year anniversary of Alex Carey forecasting his mate Travis Head would become one of the world’s best batsmen.It seemed a tad premature for a player who a few months earlier had lost his Cricket Australia contract but it’s time to give the fortune teller his due.In consecutive Gabba Tests the free-spirited Head has taken a century off England and then treated the decorated South African attack as if they are park bowlers.He may have floundered in Pakistan and Sri Lanka in between but his best work in Australia really is rare air.Head has always been an interesting case study, partially because South Australia has over the past decades produced three left-handed stroke-players – Darren Lehmann, Wayne Phillips and David Hookes – who played less than 30 Tests each for varying reasons despite being players of exceptional talent.Head, for several years seen as a flighty fringe player, has somehow managed to crack the Test match code on home shores.The national selectors have always liked Head but they were never sure how to get the best from him.Some people have said his stunning form surge proves he should never have lost his Cricket Australia contract – others who know him well say it was the making of him.COOL SKIPPERPat Cummins’ smooth transition to the Test captaincy has left Australia to ask itself whether it’s been seduced by fake logic for 145 years.That long held theory that bowlers were too busy to run the team meant that before Cummins took, Ray Lindwall – in one Test only – was the only other specialist fast man to lead as Australian Test team.Cummins greatest challenges are ahead with series against India and England butbut there is a calm resilience in this team and Cummins had no qualms in challenging convention by bowling first at the Gabba.There seems no doubt that Cummins encouragement of Head to play his natural game has helped him play with uplifting freedom.You wonder what other fast bowlers could have offered as Test leaders had they not been discarded because of the “batsman are best’’ theory.The great Keith Miller was snubbed because he was deemed too colourful off the field but was adored by his fellow players who enjoyed playing under him at state level.Geoff Lawson was never close to captaining Australia yet he was the most progressive Sheffield Shield captain of the 1980s and would have been an interesting choice if ever Allan Border had been injured.Lindwall got one Test as skipper. His mates reckon he could easily have done the job full-time.UNLEASH THE BEASTOccasional film producer Kagiso Rabada recently did a movie called Ring of Beasts then, for one dramatic ball, became one at the Gabba.Bowlers have been trying to tuck up David Warner with short stuff for years but he is so quick and evasive that unless you land it on the pin point, you pay.But Rabada at his best is next level. He was clearly a man with a plan.He warmed up strongly and arrowed his first ball directly at the body where Warner’s feet came off the ground, his hand came off the bat and his eye came off the ball as he fended to short leg who was on red alert for precisely that shot.Someone in the press box exclaimed “it was a really tough one to get first up but you do get those ones first up.’’South Africa have their plan for the series for Warner now.Opening the batting is a brutal professional and Warner’s recent modest form will mean at age 36 he is on trial for his future in the final two Tests of the series.Batsmen can age quickly against express pace but Warner is a renowned scrapper. Great challenges await against a fabulous South African pace attack – not simply for Warner but everyone.Updates to story
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