South Africa has won the first test match at the WACA, defeating Australia by 177 runs in five days.
The opening day for Australia got off to a great start when they dismissed the Proteas all out for 242 runs off only 63.4 overs. Mitchell Starc got the first wicket, dismissing opener Stephen Cook for a duck but it was Mitchell Marsh who took a spectacular two-handed leaping catch. Starc and Hazlewood were on fire and their deliveries were extremely accurate and consistent. Quinton De Kock was the highest scorer in the first session with a strong 84 runs.
The Australians looked strong as Dave Warner laid into the South African bowling, piling on boundaries. But Australia’s hopes of a big lead essentially died with Warner when he went for 97, caught Amla when edging a ball from Dale Steyn. The Aussies then collapsed, losing 10 wickets for 86.In the end they managed just two runs more than the Proteas. The South Africans lost their top bowler, Steyn, who broke a bone in his shoulder and will miss the rest of the series.
In the second innings, the momentum shifted very swiftly, the Proteas made a whopping score of 540 to set Australia a record target of 539 to win. Australia tried gallantly to bat for a draw, with Usman Khawaja leading from the front to score 97. The middle order again collapsed, but the tail wagged strongly to see Australia through to 361 runs in 119 overs but wickets kept falling and the resistance ended just before tea.
South African youngster Kagiso Rabada, stepping up to fill Steyn’s shoes, took five for 92 on the final day to earn himself the man of the match award.
Australia and South Africa will start the second test in the three-game series at Hobart this Saturday. Shaun Marsh has fractured a finger and will miss the second test in Hobart. Adam Voges is also in doubt after a suspected hamstring injury. This paves the way for Joe Burns and Callum Ferguson to enter the squad as back-up. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of Kagiso Rabada celebrating with his teammates from the Cricket South Africa Twitter feed.