Maharaj claims big cheese Smith as his first Test wicket at Kingsmead

01 March 2018 - 15:07 By KHANYISO TSHWAKU at Kingsmead
Steve Smith, Captain of Australia watches Keshav Maharaj of South Africa bowl during day 1 of the first test between South Africa and Australia at Kingsmead Cricket Ground in Durban on 1 March 2018.
Steve Smith, Captain of Australia watches Keshav Maharaj of South Africa bowl during day 1 of the first test between South Africa and Australia at Kingsmead Cricket Ground in Durban on 1 March 2018.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Keshav Maharaj's first Test wicket at his home ground was the big cheese Steven Smith as South Africa again kept Australia on a leash.

The visitors ended the afternoon session on 170/4 in 56 overs even though they punched boundaries with alarming regularity.

112 of Australia's runs came in boundaries but Smith's loss was a significant one in the context of Australia trying to run away with the game.

The captain looked ominous and the Proteas looked to be running out of ideas in terms of prising him from the crease.

Smith (56) was the ringleader with 11 fours even though his 50 came off 94 balls. The Proteas resorted to bowling dry and it worked.

Australia's run-rate‚ which hovered at around 3.9 per over but it was pulled back to an even three by the end of the session.

Alongside Smith's crucial scalp‚ it was a job well done as Australia threatened to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Smith had a life on 47 when AB de Villiers shelled a tough chance at slip off Vernon Philander. Such chances have to be taken considering the quality of Smith but he added only nine to his score. In his attempted to square cut Maharaj‚ the ball lobbed to De Villiers at first slip via Quinton de Kock's gloves.

The fact the Australian captain didn't convert represents a failure for him if his score is measured up against his career average (63.57)

His dismissal left the run-making onus on the Marsh brothers‚ Shaun (34) and Mitchell (eight)‚ to guide the visitors to tea.

There's also a school of thought that Australia's batting unit is over-reliant on David Warner and Smith to provide the bulk of the runs.

The brothers have the rest of the day to dispel that line of thinking.

Shaun was unbothered for the better part of his innings but was discomforted by Morne Morkel's short balls while the ever improving Mitchell was solid in attack and defence.

While Australia's tail wagged vigorously during the Ashes series‚ they'll have a different set of questions they'll need to answer against South Africa's bowling attack.

The attack bounced back well after the mauling at Smith's hands but the Marsh brothers remain the clear and present threat.


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