Australia v South Africa – Adelaide Test, Day 2: Usman leads as Australia takes command

It was Australia’s day at the Adelaide Oval despite a late fight back from the South Africans. Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb and unbeaten centurion Usman Khawaja put Australia in a dominant position before a mini collapse saw South Africa find themselves back in the game late in the day with Khawaja and Mitchell Starc holding on to reach 6-307 at stumps with a lead of 48 runs.


The match was evenly poised on a perfect Adelaide afternoon as Queensland pair Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw returned to the crease to continue Australia’s innings at 0-14. Following their bold declaration the previous evening, South Africa were hunting early wickets and Kyle Abbott’s first spell was inspired. After a number of play and misses and edges from both openers Abbott removed debutant Renshaw for 10 with a tight catch in the slips that had to go upstairs to be confirmed. The plan to unsettle David Warner appeared to work as Abbott removed the prize wicket soon after for 11 to continue his rampage knocking Australia back to 2-37 with personal figures of 2-7.


With Captain Steve Smith joining Khawaja at the crease the pair steadied the Aussies despite Smith appearing vulnerable early against a feisty bowling attack. After surviving the brilliant bowling of the morning, the pair both moved past 50 and appeared to gain complete control of the game with South Africa turning to the bowling of JP Duminy to try and unsettle the batsman. Smith appeared to become a victim of a lapse in concentration as he was dropped off a Duminy delivery before a mix up saw him run out for 59 ending the partnership at 137 runs.


Debutant Peter Handscomb then entered the ground to a roaring crowd and seemed well composed against some quality bowling before eventually getting off the mark. Usman Khawaja knocked his way to the first century of the summer for the Australians in a brilliant innings in which he anchored the Australian innings with composure. The pair made it through to the main break with Australia well on top of the game at 3-209, trailing by just 50 runs.


The South Africans began the final session seeming to reserve their strike bowlers for the new ball. Part-time bowlers Dean Elgar, JP Duminy and Temba Bavuma each partnered with Tabraiz Shamsi to start the final session as Australia batted themselves into a commanding position in the game. Handscomb announced himself to test cricket with a half century with the Adelaide crowd standing as one as they roared in support. An optimistic DRS review from South Africa at 3-243 on Handscomb seemed to unsettle the debutant and when the new ball was taken the next over an inspired Abbott begun another spell of terror. After managing to survive for 6 overs Abbott sent down a sensational ball to end Handscomb’s night for 54.


With the night conditions enhancing the new ball’s swing, batting conditions became extremely difficult. Debutant Nic Madinson never looked comfortable in his stay at the crease, falling victim to the tough conditions for 0, while Wade also fell cheaply shortly after. South Africa seemed to have gotten themselves back in control when Mitchell Starc was given out LBW on 4 with the score seemingly 7-289. However a successful DRS review saw Starc survive and make it to stumps. Khawaja and Starc battled through the last overs of the day making it to stumps at 6/307 with a 48-run lead. Australia now appear well in control of the game with an opportunity to bat in more friendly conditions to start day 3 to push their lead towards 3 figures and really take control of the match.


  1. Very good debut innings, Scana.
    As I type, I can only say how glad I am that Mitch Starc’s DRS review was successful last night.
    The Aussie lead is currently 98 and hopefully Starc & co. can push that up towards 150.

  2. Oh dear, the moment I typed the above comment, Starc hit a return catch straight back to Rabada.
    I’ll desist from further optimistic comments.

Leave a Comment