South Africa vs Australia 1st Test Day 4: Starc’s triple strike puts Australia on the brink of victory

Mitchell Starc four wickets South Africa Australia 1st Test Day 4 Durban cricket

Mitchell Starc took three wickets in five balls

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Mitchell Starc struck thrice in an over towards the end of the day to leave Australia just one wicket away from going 1-0 up in their four-Test series against South Africa.

However, prior to Starc carving through the lower order, Proteas opener Aiden Markram and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock fought brilliantly as they scored 143 and 81 not out respectively.

Starting off the day on 213/9, Australia managed to add 14 runs to their overnight score before Pat Cummins was clean bowled by Keshav Maharaj for 26.

Maharaj was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Morne Morkel took three, Kagiso Rabada got two and Dean Elgar chipped in with one.

With Australia being bowled out for 227, it set South Africa a target of 417 to win.

However, the Proteas found themselves in all sorts of trouble early on as Elgar was caught behind off the bowling of Starc for nine runs before Josh Hazlewood trapped Hashim Amla lbw for eight runs.

Amla reviewed the decision, but it didn’t go in his favour as replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and clipping the top of leg stump.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts as AB de Villiers was run out for a duck, while captain Faf du Plessis was cleaned up by Cummins for four runs.

Markram and Theunis de Bruyn halted Australia’s charge with an 87-run partnership, during which Markram surpassed his fifty, before De Bruyn was caught behind off the bowling of Hazlewood for 36.

Markram and De Kock kept the runs flowing with a 147-run stand, during which Markram sailed past his hundred and De Kock his half-century.

Aiden Markram 143 South Africa Australia 1st Test Day 4 Durban cricket

Aiden Markram celebrates after scoring his third Test century

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

With the Proteas in cruise control, Australia tried to do everything in their power to get a breakthrough. In the end, it was Mitchell Marsh who got the job done as he had Markram caught behind for 143, which came off 218 balls and included 19 boundaries.

Starc took over three overs later as he removed Vernon Philander on the second ball of the over before taking out Maharaj and Rabada on the fifth and sixth deliveries respectively.

With the Baggy Greens just one wicket away from victory, De Kock and Morkel managed to put together an unbeaten three-run partnership before stumps was called.

De Kock finished on 81 off 138 balls, which included 11 boundaries, while Morkel has yet to get off the mark.

Quinton de Kock 81 not out South Africa Australia 1st Test Day 4 Durban cricket

Quinton de Kock raises his bat after bringing up his half-century

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Starc was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Hazlewood took two. As for Cummins and Marsh, they claimed one wicket each.

South Africa, who still need 124 runs to win, ended day four on 293/9 and will continue batting on Monday at 10:00 local time or 08:00 GMT.

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