, 2022-12-28 14:23:00,
Early on the third day of the Melbourne Test, despite their scorecard advantage, you wondered whether an Australian team that more resembled a medical ward could adequately function in the match. Instead, when they finally declared two sessions later, two batters with busted hands were the ones in the middle landing the punches. Moving to 575 for eight, Cameron Green ignored his fractured finger to face 171 balls for an unbeaten 51, while the blow Mitchell Starc’s finger took while fielding didn’t stop him carting a six in his 10 not out. Alex Carey had notched his first Test century to help build the lead to 386 runs, and South African captain Dean Elgar was caught behind for a duck before rain ended play at 15 for one.
The day had started in a rush for the visitors, already 197 runs behind but soon with hopes of limiting the damage after Anrich Nortje’s opening burst. First he smashed through Travis Head on 51, jagging the ball off the seam to hit Head’s back pad and deflect onto his stumps. David Warner returned, restored by a night’s rest after retiring with severe cramps on reaching 200 the evening before. He departed just as quickly, a Nortje yorker swinging into his ankle and again onto the stumps.
Patrick Cummins survived the hat-trick ball, but was soon ruled caught behind off Rabada thanks to a marginal umpire review decision. South Africa would have thought that the end was in sight, with 400-6 effectively meaning 400-8 given the injuries. But after…
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