On a green Gabba track and with a bit of a cloud cover overhead, Australian bowlers took full advantage after Pat Cummins opted to bat first on Day 1 of the first Test against South Africa.
Apart from a solid 98-run partnership between half-centurion Kyle Verreynne and Temba Bavuma, the Proteas suffered a fatal collapse of 27 for 4 and 27 for 6 on either side of the Verreynne-Bavuma stand. The tourists were eventually bundled out for 152, with Verreynne scoring the most, 64 runs.
Pacer Mitchell Starc (3/41) and off-spinner Nathan Lyon (3/14) were the pick of the bowlers for the hosts, bagging three wickets each. Similarly, Scott Boland (2/28) and Cummins (2/35) picked up a couple of scalps each.
In response, Australians tasted their own medicine, with South African pacers dropping absolute thunderbolts to make the survival of Aussie batters quite difficult. Kagiso Rabada sent the shockwaves right from the word go, dismissing opener David Warner on the very first ball for a golden duck.
Soon, Marnus Labuschagne (11) and Usman Khawaja (11) were also removed as the home team was reduced to 27/3 inside the 10 overs. Before the Proteas could add more pressure, Travis Head and Steve Smith took things away and formed a stunning 117-run partnership for the fourth wicket, with Head counterattacking courtesy of his full-flow batting.
Two late wickets in the form of Smith and night-watchman Boland did allow South Africa to claw back, but they still face the prospect of conceding a significant lead as Australia are only seven runs behind with Head unbeaten on 78 and five wickets in hand.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
Pat Cummins did say before this Test that Travis Head considers Australia to have a six-man attack these days on the back of his wickets in Galle & Perth. And here he is walking off with the bowlers after they’ve bowled out South Africa for 152 #AusvSA pic.twitter.com/25zoVaYyPi
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) December 17, 2022
— Alison Mitchell (@AlisonMitchell) December 17, 2022
Travis Head is like a non-keeping Adam Gilchrist
— Daniel Cherny (@DanielCherny) December 17, 2022
I'm quite sure it's not fun to face, but a green Gabba deck on day one is definitely fun to watch… #AUSvSA
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) December 17, 2022
Give me a Test where two teams are 3-27 in the first innings over a 400 plays 400 any day. #AUSvSA
— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) December 17, 2022
Lowest Test batting average for openers in 2022 (minimum 10 innings):
21.64 — David Warner 🇦🇺
23.84 — Alex Lees 🏴
26.58 — Will Young 🇳🇿
26.92 — Sarel Erwee 🇿🇦
29.75 — Mahmudul Hasan Joy 🇧🇩
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) December 17, 2022
There's no other word for South Africa's batting other than kak. This is the fifth time they've been bowled out for 200 in five Test innings. At least three of the dismissals today were the batters own making. Lack of confidence, lack of application, just kak. #AUSvSA
— Firdose Moonda (@FirdoseM) December 17, 2022
Shaheen did something like this a couple times to Warner in Pakistan. Only difference was the ball didn't fly like it does at the Gabba. Very difficult to open if top quicks know they can get you like that #AUSvSA pic.twitter.com/1mh91YukYm
— Daniel Brettig 🏏 (@danbrettig) December 17, 2022
— MI Cape Town (@MICapeTown) December 17, 2022
There’s a lot of Adam Gilchrist in the way Travis Head plays. Being a specialist batter there’s more of an expectation for Head to bat “responsibly”. Speaks volumes of the dressing room culture under Pat Cummins that he’s given the licence to play this way. #AUSvsSA
— Andrew Wu (@wutube) December 17, 2022