Sport

Proteas win toss and bat first, debut for Sayers

Proteas win toss and bat first, debut for Sayers”

Returning to cricket came as relief to a beleaguered Australian side who have endured a week of high drama after their captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft were handed heavy bans and sent home for a ball-tampering plot in the third test in Cape Town.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc has a fracture in his leg and was replaced by Sayers.

The Australia players stood in a circle before play began on the first day at the Wanderers Stadium to congratulate bowler Chadd Sayers as he was selected for his debut and awarded his test cap.

Markram (53) and Hashim Amla (13) will resume in the afternoon, looking for a sizeable total on a wicket that is already taking turn and showing widening cracks as they seek a first home series win over Australia in nearly 50 years. Renshaw and Burns were flown in from Australia this week to help out a team in crisis. South Africa were 400 for seven at lunch, with Bavuma on 61 not out.

But Cummins found the energy after a draining week to remove Markram and South Africa captain Faf du Plessis in the space of two balls, du Plessis for a first-ball duck.

The spinner had taken the first two catches himself, but this time the ball was snatched at mid-off by Sayers.

That is reflected in the starting team for the fourth Test which features four changes.

But he was more expansive after the drinks break as South Africa looked to drive home their growing advantage.

Although they are seemingly unaffected by the scandal having not been in Cape Town, they could be struggling with jet-lag having arrived in South Africa only in the last few days.

The Australians had been holed up in their team hotels in Cape Town and Johannesburg since Monday as an internal investigation was carried out into the actions of Smith, Warner and Bancroft.

Coach Darren Lehmann will be in charge for his last game after making a tearful announcement on Thursday that he is quitting in the wake of the tampering saga.

He'd said a day before that it would be hard, but his team would "be doing everything they possibly can to play and make people proud of them".



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