Cummins leads Australian fightback after Elgar hundred

Dean Elgar held fort for South Africa with an unbeaten century even as Pat Cummins led a stunning Australian comeback in the final session of Day 1 of the third Test match between South Africa and Australia.

Elgar was unbeaten at 121 along with No. 10 Kagiso Rabada (6) as South Africa went to stumps at 266 for 8, undoing all the hard work of the left-handed opening batsman.

South Africa were going strong at 220 for two with Elgar and de Villiers making no attempts to hide their positive intent against the struggling Australian bowling attack when Cummins changed everything with one spell.

The fast bowler picked up four wickets that triggered a staggering collapse in the South African batting line-up in which they lost six wickets for 37 runs in the final session. The youngster from Tasmania accounted for de Villiers (64), du Plessis (5) Bavuma (1), and de Kock (3), in his eight over spell after being re-introduced into the attack in the 63rd over.

Philander and Maharaj too fell for single figures to Marsh and Starc, leaving Elgar stranded with Rabada.

Cummins’ 4 for 12 on a pitch that looked rather dead till he came into the attack, meant Australia went to stumps with their noses slightly in front, especially considering the fact that du Plessis decided to first make use of the placid surface after winning the toss.

Earlier, Elgar struck his 11th Test hundred and also got past 3000 Test runs in what was a display of admirable patience combined with calculative stroke play.

Elgar’s innings was laced with 17 boundaries and one six and he stitched the biggest partnership of the match with de Villiers for the third wicket. Elgar and de Villiers ensured smooth passage and engineered the hosts to a strong position at tea only to come face to face with a charged-up Cummins in the dying stages of the opening day.

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