Markram steady as South Africa extend lead | Cricket | Cricket Bats | Australia




Pat Cummins made the breakthrough with the new ball © Getty Images

Lunch South Africa 311 and 65 for 1 (Markram 36*, Amla 15*) lead Australia 255 (Bancroft 77, Morkel 4-87, Rabada 4-91) by 121 runs
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South Africa strengthened their already solid grip on the third Test in Cape Town, where they extended their lead to 121 runs with nine wickets in hand by lunch on the third day. The morning had started with Australia nine down and 66 runs in arrears, hoping to close the first-innings gap as much as possible, but they could add only 10 runs before Kagiso Rabada had Josh Hazlewood caught at slip to end the innings on 255.

By lunch, South Africa had moved to 65 for 1 in their second innings, with Aiden Markram on 36 and Hashim Amla on 15. Australia had missed a chance to get Markram in the first over of the innings when his thick edge off Mitchell Starc flew to gully, were Usman Khawaja failed to cling on to a one-handed attempt.

The only South Africa wicket to fall was that of Dean Elgar, who had carried his bat for 141 in the first innings. Elgar managed only 14 this time around before he edged Pat Cummins to second slip and was snapped up by Steven Smith, who took his match tally to six catches, having equalled the Test record of five catches in an innings in the first innings of this Test.

By lunch, the partnership between Markram and Amla had moved on to 37, with Markram having struck five fours along the way. The Australians will need to make inroads into the South Africa middle order soon if they are to avoid being faced with a hefty chase later in the match.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo @brydoncoverdale


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