Australia vs South Africa 2016: 3rd Test Day 3 - 5 talking points

Australia v South Africa - 3rd Test: Day 3 : News Photo
Lyon has picked up 3 wickets in the second innings
rohit sankar

Australia entered Day 3 with a clear advantage to ensure that they will not face the ignominy of a whitewash at home. South Africa need a miracle to win from here with their batsmen looking undone against top quality bowling from the Aussie quicks.

At stumps on Day 3, the Proteas were at 194/6, effectively 70/6, given that they had conceded a 124 run lead in the first innings. If Khawaja was the hero on Day 2, Starc, Lyon and Hazlewood held South Africa back with probing spells. The final session of play completely undid the hard work by Amla and Cook, although the latter still remains unbeaten at the crease.

Here is a look at talking points from Day 3 of the third Test at Adelaide.

#5 Starc adds on to the pain

Australia v South Africa - 3rd Test: Day 3 : News Photo
Khawaja and Starc piled on valuable runs in the latter part of the Australian innings

Australia had an ideal start to Day 3, as Khawaja and Starc piled on the misery on South African bowlers. But Khawaja's wicket was expected to open the floodgates. Instead, Starc got stuck and started swinging wildly to notch up a half century.

He started playing his strokes after Usman's wicket and launched a pull off Philander deep into the stands for a six. He also started taking on Shamsi and lofted over mid-on twice to get a couple of boundaries.

While his knock can be termed a cameo, he was more authoritative today, unlike yesterday, and soaked up 91 balls for his half-century and took Australia's lead to 124.

#4 Amla entertains then fails in a familiar manner

Australia v South Africa - 3rd Test: Day 3 : News Photo
Amla and Cook put on a solid partnership

Hashim Amla walked out to the middle and was greeted by Josh Hazlewood, as he has so often been in this series. Hazlewood had the better of Amla four times in the series in just 33 balls.

He played and missed a Hazlewood peach first up and almost gifted a catch to Renshaw off Starc, but the debutant dropped him. The drop seemed to spur Amla on as he batted with much more assuredness since then. He changed his movement across the stumps to cover for the seam movement. Lyon was smoked for a six and a four and Amla seemed set for a biggie.

But Smith brought Hazlewood back and the tall seamer found the outside edge of Amla's bat with a ball that seamed away after pitching on middle stump. Even a review did not save the South African.

#3 The wasted reviews

Hashim Amla
Amla wasted a review after a clear nick

What was a pretty ordinary day for South Africa turned worse when Hashim Amla decided to review the caught behind decision off Hazlewood. The hotspot revealed a clear edge off Amla's bat and the third umpire upheld the onfield call.

Amla did not even check with his partner, Cook before going upstairs and South Africa lost a review. Bavuma was next up as he top-edged a sweep off Nathan Lyon, ricocheting off his bat onto his arm guard and looping skyward for an easy take.

He thought long and decided to review after almost 15 seconds, prompting an unhappy look from Steven Smith. But the final verdict was a pretty easy one as Bavuma had a big edge and it would have made Smith happy as the Proteas lost a review.

#2 Cook finally makes runs

Australia v South Africa - 3rd Test: Day 3 : News Photo
Cook was 81 not out at the end of day’s play

Stephen Cook finally came into his own and made some crucial runs for South Africa, acting as an anchor as wickets kept tumbling around him.

The opener had looked completely out of sorts in all his innings so far, and while the start was all about uncertainty, he grew in confidence in the company of Amla. While he remains not out on 81, Proteas need him to be more assured and act like a proper holding batsman, which he is finding difficult to do.

Cook may have got some runs under his belt and may save himself from being dropped for the home series against Lanka later. But his technique and on the move defence has come in for severe criticism. At this age, he may not get many more chances.

#1 Australia find their groove

Australia v South Africa - 3rd Test: Day 3 : News Photo
Starc picked 2 vital wickets for Australia

Once again Australia dominated the day's proceedings and are all set to be free from yet another whitewash as a South African victory looks pretty unlikely from here on unless de Kock and Cook have other ideas.

Australia may have been completely outplayed in this series, but this match proved that they had enough firepower in them to unearth a victory against the run of play. Hazlewood and Starc need to get a lot of credit for this turnaround as the duo bowled impeccable lines to trouble South African batsmen.

Lyon also joined forces today as his spell under lights on Day 3 was one of the best he had delivered all summer. Australia need many more such performances with the ball and Khawaja-like grit with the bat to win more Tests.

Edited by Staff Editor


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