Australia dig deep as they return to cricket following tampering scandal

Australia dig deep as they return to cricket following tampering scandal
Coach Darren Lehmann, who fought back tears yesterday as he announced he would resign.

Australia's new-look team produced a late rally on the opening day of the fourth Test against South Africa, as they made their return to the field for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal.

Wicketkeeper Tim Paine was captain in Johannesburg, as he had been for the final day in Cape Town, as the tourists looked to move on at the Wanderers.

Peter Handscomb, Matthew Renshaw and Joe Burns came into the side, replacing former skipper Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who are all starting bans handed out by Cricket Australia.

Steve Smith emotional at press conference.
Steve Smith emotional at press conference.

Coach Darren Lehmann, who fought back tears on Thursday as he announced he would resign following the conclusion of the series, drafted in Chadd Sayers for a Test debut in place of injured paceman Mitchell Starc, out with a stress fracture in his leg.

South Africa, who lead 2-1 as they aim to secure a first home series victory over Australia since 1970, made an impressive start after winning the toss and electing to bat on a slow pitch.

However, Australia fought back during the extended closing session with some late wickets - including that of Proteas captain Faf du Plessis for a golden duck and AB de Villiers out for a battling 69 - to earn a much-needed uplift in confidence as the hosts finished 313 for six.

South Africa opener Dean Elgar has been out for 19 shortly after the drinks break when the left-hander sent a length ball from Nathan Lyon up to Sayers at mid-off.

Steve Smith and David Warner.
Steve Smith and David Warner.

Aiden Markram, though, remained composed as South Africa reached 88 for one at lunch, before Hashim Amla was then caught in the slips for 27.

The 23-year-old Markram went on to secure a fourth century from just 10 Tests when he pushed Lyon down the leg side for a single at the start of the 50th over.

Lyon then caught AB de Villiers on the pad, and Australia took a hopeful referral, which showed the ball was wide down the leg side.

When in the next over, Markram edged Sayers behind to Paine, the Australian captain asked the umpires if it had carried, which on television review showed the ball had clearly bounced into his gloves. South Africa reached tea at 177 for two from 55 overs.

After the hosts had brought up the 200, Pat Cummins looked to have trapped Markram leg-before-wicket, striking high on the pad.

Given not out, Australia again went to the referral, which showed while the line was good, the ball would have narrowly missed the top of the stumps.

Just after passing 150, his biggest Test score to date, Markram cut Cummins to Mitchell Marsh at gully to go for 152.

Du Plessis then completely misjudged the next delivery. The South Africa captain crouched down as a reversing ball came back quickly to strike him on the front pad.

Australia look the second new ball through an extra half-hour to the close, and Sayers got his first Test wicket when De Villiers edged behind, which was upheld on review.

Nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada followed two balls later, chipping the ball up to Renshaw at silly mid-off.

When stumps was finally called, Temba Bavuma had reached 25 and Quinton de Kock was on seven.

- PA

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