Australia v South Africa live updates, stream, Mitchell Starc injury, David Warner, Faf Du Plessis
Boxing Day belonged to Australia’s new three million dollar man Cameron Green who snagged his first Test five-for, but will day two belong to David Warner?
The opener hasn’t made a Test century for almost three years but is well on his way as play resumes.
Follow all the live coverage from the MCG here.
Former Australian batter Mark Waugh has accused South African spearhead Kagiso Rabada of “just rolling his arm over” on what has so far been a forgettable tour for the Proteas.
The 27-year-old took eight wickets in Brisbane, including four in a memorable burst to rattle Australia during its second innings.
But Rabada was the most expensive of the South African seamers on the Gabba green top and Waugh questioned whether he was going through the motions.
“For a world-class bowler Rabada has bowled some very ordinary spells on this tour,” he said on Fox Cricket.
“And his body language, we know he’s a laid-back sort of character, but you just want to see a bit more energy from the get-go.
“It’s go to affect the rest of the fielding side and the captain when he sees his strike bowler just rolling his arm over.”
Nortje to Labuschagne to get day two underway with Australia trailing by 144 runs. And the third ball of the day flies wide of third slip. An early life for Labuschagne.
STARC CLEARED TO CONTINUE
Fast bowler Mitchell Starc has been cleared to continue in the against South Africa at the MCG.
Starc was hit on the tip of the middle finger on his left hand by the ball in the field yesterday. After leaving the field initially, Starc bowled in the nets before returning to play.
His condition will be reassessed at the completion of the match.
SOUTH AFRICA’S SOS TO FAF?
Faf, where are you?
He’s with the Perth Scorchers, that’s where.
And doing nicely enough that each time he scored runs for them it creates a little storm of Tweets from South Africa saying even at age 38 Faf du Plessis should be in the South African Test team.
It won’t happen but we get the point.
It took keeper Kyle Verreynne and fast bowler Marco Jansen to hoist South Africa from total misery to something a little better against Australia but each side of their century stand there was batting chaos.
Playing Australia, and particularly David Warner, meant so much to du Plessis that he felt no other team could wind his intensity enough up to the same level.
Du Plessis, who retired from Tests nearly two years ago after South Africa hinted they would not need him, has become a T20 journeyman and his plush new house in Cape Town is evidence to how well he is doing.
One thing that du Plessis has that none of the top order bar Dean Elgar has is a decent technique.
He knew when to play and when to leave, when to be patient and when to dominate.
Sadly, the current top order have none of that.
This is the weakest South African batting team to leave home in 90 years. There are five batsmen averaging 50 or more in South Africa’s domestic system but they have been overlooked in the feeling that they have not done enough.
South Africa’s dismal 189 followed innings of 151, 179, 118, 169, 152 and 99 in Tests, .
It’s sad. They say you can make what you like of statistics in cricket but over time they rarely lie.
To think Sarel Erwee could handle this Australian attack on the back of a Test average of 25 is beyond wishful thinking.
The same for Temba Bavuma (34), Khaya Zondo (25) and Theunis de Bruyn (19).
It’s hard to defy gravity in Test cricket.
Bavuma has played the same number of Tests as Don Bradman – 52 – and scored just one century and that came seven years ago.
Zondo has played 138 first class matches over 15 years and averaged 31 – so how could he possibly be expected to be a Test star?
The sad thing for South Africa is that Test cricket is a decreasing priority for the Proteas will play only 28 Tests in the next four year cycle.
Things are grim now. They are likely to get worse.
CAN WARNER FINALLY BREAK CENTURY DROUGHT?
South Africa beware … David Warner might just have found his missing mojo.
Warner is celebrating his 100th Test and for one pulsating hour took fans back to his snap-crackling zenith.
The feet were moving sharply. The running between wickets was fearless and frantic. The shot making was firm and precise.
The old Warner was replaced by the Warner of old.
Clearly, Warner wants a century here badly. He is pumped for this match and is feeding off the 100th Test vibe.
South Africa has often brought out the best in him. He has four centuries in 13th Tests against them and a whistling strike rate of 80 runs per 100 balls.
His positive intent was evident in the way he took on Kagiso Rabada, his nemesis from the first Test, with two strong pull shots to the fence.
Even when he left the ball Warner did so aggressively, occasionally sliding down on one knee to accentuate his actions.
Warner will resume on 32 with Australia 1-45 against South Africa’s paltry 189 and will be the centre of attention until he gets out.
Warner looks like a car which has just had a tune-up but older players can have these little bursts and the challenge for him is to reignite the fire on day two.
South Africa’s world class bowling line-up is a threat under any conditions but they are perpetually under pressure because of the constant failings of their batsmen who scored their seventh consecutive sub-200 total.
Their side resembles the West Indies team of two decades ago when the batsmen would disappear in a heartbeat and leave great fast men Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh to clean up their mess.
When Ambrose surprisingly retired on 98 Tests in the year 2000 he privately told friends that the strain of having to try and launch a miracle recovery with the ball every match had taken its toll.
Souths Africa’s outstanding attack may soon get to know this vibe – if they don’t know it already.
Originally published as Australia v South Africa: Follow all the action from day two at the MCG