Marsh hails Starc as world's king of swing

Cameron Bancroft. Pic Getty

De Villiers's efforts were stand-alone for South Africa as Starc ran through the South African line-up with a five-wicket haul, while Lyon chipped in with three scalps.

David Warner and Australia captain Steve Smith stabilised the innings with a 56-run partnership, during which Warner brought up his half-century.

The allrounder extended his mature innings, exercising great caution after the Proteas took the second new ball to be 60 not out from 147 balls at the meal break.

"I like to go under the radar". He scored just 10 runs in 51 balls before Keshav Maharaj got Smith to edge a cut to the keeper.

Nearly as if he was mounting an argument for his reinstatement at No.8, Starc then thrashed the first six of the match, leaving a ball from Maharaj on the grass bank beyond the midwicket fence.

South Africa had used up both of their reviews - also involving leg before wicket decisions by Dharmasena - and could not challenge.

Australia have what looks a match-winning lead on an abrasive wicket that is likely to deteriorate further.

After all the hype and the build-up, all the talk of fast pitches and faster bowling, of attacks blowing batsmen away, Australia's prize fight against South Africa started with something better.

There was only a little lateral movement up front and the first wicket came out of nowhere with Cameron Bancroft (5) advancing down the pitch before nicking off to a short ball outside off from Vernon Philander.

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Usman Khawaja failed to have an impact with the bat as well as he was caught behind off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada for 14.

It was unfortunate that less than 4,000 people were at Kingsmead for the opening skirmish of this series, which doesn't involve top-ranked India yet feels like a battle between the best teams in the world.

It has grated with a couple of generations of South African players that they have not beaten Australia in South Africa since this country's return from global sporting isolation.

"I felt really good leading up to this Test", he said.

De Villiers made a welcome return to form, and Quinton de Kock (20) showed flashes of old, but the end came quickly once the Proteas wicket-keeper fell to Lyon. Rangana Herath (five times in three Tests), Ravindra Jadeja (four times in six Tests), Taijul Islam (twice in two Tests) and even Dean Elgar (once) have had success against him. "I'm glad I don't have to bowl to him because he smacks the ball that hard".

Ultimately it would be spin that undid the near immovable titan Smith (56) with Keshav Maharaj inducing an edge which deflected off De Kock's gloves and looped to De Villiers at slip.

Shaun Marsh survived an lbw appeal on 19, with replays showing he was out after the umpire turned down Rabada's appeal.

AB de Villiers said that while plenty of words had been exchanged on the field, it was not at the same level of aggression he had witnessed in the corresponding series here in 2014.

"It annoyed me that they had to sieve back through the archives and find those moments, particularly painting a bad light on our team when both teams were guilty of doing the same things".


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