Proteas

Injury-stricken Proteas set Aussies mammoth total

2018-04-02 14:55
Faf du Plessis (Gallo)

Johannesburg – The fourth and final Test between the Proteas and Australia has finally ended its final chapter, with South Africa having set the visitors a mammoth target of 612 to save the series.

The Proteas, though, have injury concerns. 

Morne Morkel is in pain, suffering from the side strain he picked up on Sunday, while Kagiso Rabada has a stiff back.

Rabada is still expected to bowl, but he will be in discomfort and nowhere near his best while Morkel might not even attempt to bowl in what is his final match for South Africa before retirement.

Vernon Philander, meanwhile, has his groin strapped.

While an Australian win is near-impossible from here regardless of who takes, South Africa will have to be smart about how they use their bowlers.

Both sides, it seems, would be happy with a draw.

The highlight of the day from a South African perspective has been skipper Faf du Plessis getting to his eighth Test century.

It had been a nightmarish series for Du Plessis before this innings, but he can now at least leave knowing he has contributed.

Du Plessis, himself batting with an injured finger, was eventually out for 120 when he edged Pat Cummins (4/58) to slip.

Dean Elgar (81) was next to go when he tried to slog-sweep Nathan Lyon (2/116) only to top-edge to Shaun Marsh at mid-off.

Quinton de Kock didn’t last long, and he was out for just 4 when he was trapped LBW by Cummins.

That was Cummins’ ninth wicket of the match and the Australians would have been lost without him on this tour.

Temba Bavuma and Vernon Philander then got together and got the scoreboard moving along nicely.

95* in the first innings, Bavuma was given out LBW on 0 facing just his second ball against Cummins, but he reviewed immediately, and replays revealed an inside edge.

Both players were looking to be positive, and they brought up their 50-run partnership off just 56 balls.

At tea on day four, South Africa were 344/6 with Bavuma 35* and Philander 33* as Du Plessis declared.

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