Australia v South Africa: first Test, day two – live

35th over: Australia 153-5 (Head 81, Green 5)

Anrich Nortje, already with 2 for 37 from his first day’s toil, is partnering Rabada and he’ll want to do better than his mate did in his opening over. He does. The first two are bang on the money and Head parries them back. He lashes at the third but it doesn’t hit the middle and Nortje fields it easily off his own bowling. Head is jumping at the fourth as it angles across his body. He wants a single but Green smartly sends him back. The youngster is happy at the none-striker’s end, still aglow from that silky drive down the ground in the previous over.

34th over: Australia 153-5 (Head 81, Green 5)

Green is off the mark, nudging Rabada down the ground for a single off the first while Head misses the chance to blaze two half-volleys through the gaps, finding the field each time. He makes no mistake off the fourth long-hop and crunches it to the rope for three. Inspired, Green clobbers the last one down the ground for a boundary. Bright start by the men in baggy greens

The players are on the field. Here comes Travis Head swaggering to the middle with the long tall drink of water that is Cameron Green trailing behind. The big allrounder is 17 Tests into his career but has looked every inch the rookie lately. Can he dust off the cobwebs and find some time in the middle? Mr Rabada, who opens the attack, will have plenty to say about it.

34th over: Australia 145-5 (Head 78, Green 0)

Congrats to Mike in East Maitland, home to that prince of the ring Les Darcy, who answered correctly that Dale Steyn is the other South African speedster to hail from Uitenhage. Like Steyn once did, Nortje tends for the title of fastest bowler in the world right now. He made his name as a T20 sensation in the Indian Premier League, but now has 57 wickets from his 15 Tests so far at the impressive average of 27.52. Doubtless the Australians studied his barrages on the flat Pakistan decks and knew he’d take to Australian conditions with gusto. He will be primed for a big morning under the Brisbane sun today.

There’s still time to catch up with all the Day 1 action. Read Geoff Lemon’s report

It’s a sunny Sunday here in Brisbane. The Gabba ground staff are lending last minute additions to this blazing green-top and South Africa’s speedster Anrich Nortje is talking about the origin of his fearsome pace: the run-up apparently, not the pantomime twirling of what is his splendid fast-bowler’s moustache. The burly 29-year-old certainly troubled the Australian batters yesterday, nudging 150km/h and finding good lines. Perhaps those lines and speed emulate that of the Volkswagen factory in his home town of Uitenhage? Q for readers: Which other Proteas pace great hailed from this town, north of Port Elizabeth?

Angus Fontaine


Morning all and welcome to Day 2 of the Gabba Test: Australia v South Africa. This is the 102nd Test between these great cricketing nations over 120 years of competition and every fibre of that fierce rivalry was on show yesterday as 29,306 fans piled into the Gabba to witness a thrilling day of seesawing action.

Under cloudy skies, Australian captain Pat Cummins, usually a proponent of solar power, made the bold gambit to bowl first. But that decision paid off in spades, as South Africa were skittled for just 152 inside 50 overs, the last six wickets falling for 27 and their blushes saved only by a brave partnership of 98 between Temba Bavuma and wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne.

Australia’s ebullience lasted one delivery, as Kagiso Rabada speared the fresh cherry at David Warner’s heart. The 99-Test opener, two years without a century and averaging 21.8 since 2020, flinched and blinked, fending the ball to a high flying Khaya Zondo at short leg for his second golden duck in 181-innings. And when Marnus Labuschagne was undone by Marco Jansen and Anrich Nortje bamboozled Usman Khawaja, Australia were three for 27 and it was game on.

But if Sandpapergate still rubs Steve Smith raw it sure didn’t show. With a typically cavalier Travis Head in tow, he put on 113 in 23 overs and wrestled back the ascendency. Then a late twist: Smith bowled by Nortje for 36 and nightwatchman Scott Boland nicking off to leave in flux at Australia 145 for five.

Will Travis Head roll on from his unbeaten 78? Can allrounder Cameron Green shuck off the rust and rediscover form? Will Australia’s tail wag like a dog at a butcher shop window? Or will the fearsome Proteas pace attack blast them out for under 200? The stage is set and the sun is shining so let’s find out shall we?

Need a primer? Here’s Geoff Lemon’s series preview…

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