Rabada's strikes take South Africa closer to win

South Africa's Kagiso Rabada celebrates after dismissing Australia's Shaun Marsh in the first Test match on Sunday.
South Africa's Kagiso Rabada celebrates after dismissing Australia's Shaun Marsh in the first Test match on Sunday. David Gray/Reuters

Australia were tottering on 169 for 4 at the end of the fourth day of the first Test match against South Africa in Perth on Sunday. Pace bowler Kagiso Rabada struck three crucial blows in Australia’s second innings after South Africa set an imposing target of 539 runs.

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Resuming on their overnight score of 397 for 6 in the second innings, South Africa motored along thanks to fifties by Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander. Keshav Maharaj joined in the action with a brisk 41.

The visitors declared their innings on 540 runs, setting Australia a near impossible target of 539 runs.

Australia started their second innings with opening batsman David Warner attacking right from the word go. The pair of Warner and Shaun Marsh put up 52 runs for the first wicket before a brilliant piece of fielding resulted in Warner’s dismissal.

The left handed opening batsman set off for a quick single. But Temba Bavuma moved in quickly from cover and threw accurately while still horizontal and in mid-air to knock down the stumps at the non-striker’s end that saw Warner short of the crease by a few centimeters.

Marsh was dismissed soon as Rabada induced an edge from Marsh’s willow into the hands of the second slip.

Australian captain Steven Smith and Usman Khawaja put up some resistance with a 92-run third-wicket stand. Their partnership was broken by Rabada who had Smith caught behind the wicket. The South African paceman removed Adam Voges in the successive over.

Khwaja was the only batsman who stood firm against the brilliance of Rabada scoring an unbeaten half century.

Australia still need to score 370 runs on the fifth and final day with six wickets standing.

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