Australia vs South Africa 3rd Test: 5 talking points

Josh Hazlewood

A fantastic series had an anti-climax as Australia managed to stop the Proteas juggernaut to churn out a seven-wicket victory in the day-night Test at Adelaide. The series was gone and lost but they managed to save face with a victory to make the series scoreline more pleasing to the eye at 2-1.

While the series was all about how the Proteas turned up, without their captain and strike bowler, and trumped Aussies on their home turf, Adelaide was all about Aussie seamers establishing their authority over the South African batsman and Usman Khawaja, who played a brilliant innings to win the Man of the Match.

Australia surprised themselves with this performance, least expected after their debacle at Perth and Hobart, but it seems like they had found the balanced side this time around. The debutants, Renshaw and Handscomb, had a brilliant outing and is set to get more chances this summer while Maddinson, the third debutant barely got a chance to showcase his talents after Rabada gave him a great welcome to International Cricket.

Also Read: Australia vs South Africa, 3rd Test Stats: Consolation win saves hosts from embarrassing record

Here are the talking points from the day-night Test at Adelaide.

#5 Australia make the ball talk

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were spot on in the first two Tests, but did not find the pressure building from either side unless they were bowling in tandem. In Jackson Bird, they found an able first change bowler, who was tight and created doubts in the mind of the batsmen.

Starc revelled with pace and swing and Hazlewood let rip with seam movement, akin to Philander, at a greater pace. Even South Africa's most experienced batsman, Hashim Amla had no answers to Hazlewood and was dismissed by him 5 times in the series.

Lyon also came to the party at Adelaide, troubling de Kock, who had tormented him right through the series. He found the sharp turn and flight late in the evening on Day 3 and made it count by pricing out 3 wickets.

#4 Abbott is the first choice replacement

Kyle Abbott

Kyle Abbott came to the tour as the fifth seamer in the squad, after Steyn, Philander, Rabada and Morkel but injuries to Steyn and Morkel meant he got a chance at Perth itself and returned with the Man of the Match award.

In Adelaide, he delivered the spell of the series in the first innings, troubling batsmen with seam movement and swing. His consistent line and length bowling coupled with seam movement made him a difficult bowler to handle.

Also Read: A bird's eve view of Test cricket at the Adelaide Oval

His figures at one time read 9 runs off 10 overs with 2 wickets and ended Australia's first innings with bowling figures of 29-11-49-3.

#3 Faf du Plessis

Faf du Plessis

Du Plessis stood out even before the Test and came here to prove a point and to stack up some much-needed runs. The ball tampering issue had made South Africa angry and Faf was determined to push his chest out and fight for his team.

Welcomed by boos, the Proteas skipper, went on to make a sensational hundred, smashing Australia's best bowler, Starc, for 52 runs off 48 balls. While his innings did not help South Africa post a good enough total, Faf turned a huge corner as a batsman in the venue he made his famous debut.

His declaration in the first innings was a bold, unprecedented move from a Proteas skipper that admittedly "annoyed" the Aussies. While it may not have got the desired results, Faf's innovative thinking has set a benchmark for captain's to follow in future day-night Tests.

#2 Khawaja comes of age

Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja was always touted as a Test cricketer in the making. A sensational season last year saw him in the Test team and he continued his fine form for Australia in the baggy green. However, like his mates, he suffered a slump in form in Lanka but the selectors were quick to axe him, a move he lashed out at.

Once he got an opportunity again in the series against the Proteas, he made it count. Good starts right through the series lead to one gigantic knock here at Adelaide. His 145 in the first innings paved the way for a huge lead in the first innings and eventually a face-saving win for the Aussies.

While he was forced to open in the first innings in unforeseen circumstances, Khawaja showed the grit expected from an opener as he negotiated a tricky period to ensure his team's dominance.

#1 Pink ball impresses

Pink Ball

It was a big test for the pink ball after it had swung extravagantly in the first ever day-night Test, prompting players to complain that it favoured bowlers excessively under lights.

This time around the pink ball held its own, with the extra layer of lacquer, and black seam aiding visibility. Wickets tumbled in the third session and batting was more difficult, but it was in no way unplayable.

The ball also proved that it could favour spinners as Lyon and Shamsi came more into the game in the second innings, both bowlers impressing in the latter half of the game.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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