Marsh helps Australia to 351 before Lyon pins back Proteas

Marsh helps Australia to 351 before Lyon pins back Proteas

The spin of Nathan Lyon and the reverse swing of Mitchell Starc sent South Africa crashing on the second day of the first Test against Australia at Kingsmead on Friday.

David Warner and Australia captain Steve Smith stabilised the innings with a 56-run partnership, during which Warner brought up his half-century. I'm pretty sure the wicket is going to get harder over the next two or three days.

This was Maharaj's 4th five-wicket haul in the Test format; the joint-most by a South African spinner since their readmission to Cricket.

Smith, who was prolific with the bat in leading Australia to success in the Ashes, scored 56 while Warner contributed a characteristically quickfire 51.

Marsh steered them through a hard time in the first session after South Africa had taken the second new ball and snagged three wickets before lunch.

"I like to go under the radar".

"I was really excited to get his wicket", Maharaj said. To gain the reward is a really nice feeling. "We put a lot of work in behind the scenes".

Nearly as if he was mounting an argument for his reinstatement at No.8, Starc then thrashed the first six of the match, leaving a ball from Maharaj on the grass bank beyond the midwicket fence.

Ball-tracking replays suggested the sharp-turning delivery was missing leg stump by some margin, although not everybody was convinced.

Having been retained in the Australia side despite an underwhelming Ashes campaign in which technical faults around the off stump were exposed by the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Bancroft walked down the wicket to his second delivery from the precise Vernon Philander and edged behind.

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"It was an important innings for me and also for the team", said Marsh.

Warner was also vocal when youngster Theunis de Bruyn was at the crease, reminding the recalled batsman he was "playing with the big boys now".

Test matches between Australia and South Africa, particularly in the last decade, have been bruising affairs - and not just because it's left participants with a variety of fractured bones and physical scars. The two Australian sponsors are in competition with Emirates (sponsor of the ICC and its umpires) and the South African brewer Castle, which is an official supplier to Cricket South Africa.

Lyon collected a third from around the wicket when Quinton de Kock (20) missed a straight ball and was bowled.

And Starc's late rampage ensured Australia should take a 1-0 lead in the much-anticipated four-Test series.

"Starc was swinging the ball one way and I felt I had him covered".

The spinner saw the back of the left-hander with a beauty after tea, De Villiers again taking the catch, but the positive Mitchell Marsh and Paine (21no) ensured no further damage was done before play was cut short.

"It annoyed me that they had to sieve back through the archives and find those moments, particularly painting a bad light on our team when both teams were guilty of doing the same things".

Maharaj did get Marsh with a classic left-arm spinner dismissal, though, enticing him forward and getting enough turn to flick off the bat edge to de Villiers at slip.