Australia v South Africa live updates, stream, Mitchell Starc injury, David Warner, Faf du Plessis

blank 2.05pm CANDICE WARNER ON DAVID’S CENTURY

Candice Warner says her husband David’s first century in almost three years would serve as a reminder to his critics to not “write David off.”

Speaking minutes after Warner reached triple figures for the first time since January, 2020, Candice told Fox Cricket the family’s entourage had descended on Melbourne for the opener’s milestone 100th Test.

“I think it will mean so much to everyone that’s here, that’s come to support him,” she said. “His mum and dad are here for his 100th Test. His school friends, family. Just everyone. It’s such a big milestone and for him to be able to do it while his back’s against the wall means even more.”

She added: “You’d think by now writing David off is probably the wrong thing to do. He thrives on that and we have just seen today the class batsman that he is. To be only the 14th person for Australia to make 100 Tests is testament to himself.”

Warner said the family’s three daughters told David to “score a hundred like Marnus” before his Boxing Day Test heroics.

The drought is over! David Warner has his first ton in almost three years after reaching triple figures in his 100th Test. His last Test hundred was January, 2020 in the New Year’s Test against New Zealand. Warner opened with Joe Burns in that Test and Cameron Green had yet to debut for Australia. “Worrysome times for the South Africans,” says Shaun Pollock in commentary.

2.10pm AUSTRALIA CLOSES IN ON LEAD `

Steve Smith is given out, reviews straight away and Kagiso Rabada is found to have overstepped. Smith would have been given not out anyway as the ball struck him on the arm. But for a brief moment Rabada thought he had a much-needed breakthrough. Talk about rubbing salt into the wounds for the visitors. Australia is about to claim a first-innings lead with eight wickets still in hand.

This has been a searing spell from Nortje. He is regularly clocking 150km/h and is making David Warner and Steve Smith work for every run. His speed went as high as 155km/h in the last few minutes and one of his short balls sailed well over wicketkeeper Kyle Verryenne. David Warner is edging closer to his first hundred in Test cricket since January, 2020.

1.30PM UPDATE PITCH LATEST

There are already footmarks appearing on the MCG pitch in the second session of day two.

No doubt Nathan Lyon will fancy his chances in the second innings, but it emphasises how important Keshav Maharaj will be if South Africa is going to make any inroads.

Assessing the pitch at lunch on Channel 7, Trent Copeland said: “This (the footmarks) is not a regular occurence at the MCG. And if you think about the ball missing that my a small margin, that will carry on with the arm. If the ball hits that, that’s going to then start to turn. This is day two lunchtime and we have already got footmarks appearing.”

Nortje has the ball again. And a glorious moustache. I don’t know about you but I have serious moustache envy right now.

12.55PM PM PREDICTS WARNER CENTURY

Ben Horne

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has predicted a David Warner century after lunch on day two at the MCG.

The PM stepped into the Fox Cricket commentary box for a stint with Adam Gilchrist and Kerry O’Keeffe and feels it’s Warner’s day.

As a boy from blue colour Marriackville in Sydney, Albanese believes Warner from a housing commission in Matraville is poised to prove his doubters wrong in his 100th Test.

“That’s exactly right. He comes from a tough area of Sydney,” Mr Albanese said on Fox.

“The whole of Australia is hoping he hits a ton in his 100th Test.”

The PM – a South Sydney Rabbitohs tragic – then ribbed Warner for being a Sydney Roosters supporter when he was born and raised in South Sydney heartland.

“He should be a South Sydney supporter coming from Matraville,” Mr Albanese said.

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South Africa burned a review late in the first session after Marco Jansen caught Steve Smith pad first with an in-swinger. The Proteas immediately appealed and while their feeling was correct about pad beating bat, the ball struck Smith outside the line of off stump. Marco Jansen has bowled brilliantly in the half-hour before lunch, giving Smith plenty of headaches. Australia trails by 53 runs.

12.15PM WARNER REACHES CAREER MILESTONE

David Warner has become the eighth Astralian to pass 8000 Test runs before lunch.

Warner joins Ricky Ponting (13378), Allan Border (11174), Steve Waugh (10927), Michael Clarke (8643), Matthew Hayden (8625), Steve Smith (8467*) and Mark Waugh (8029) in the 8000-run club.

12.12PM IS CHRISTMAS BBL COMING?

Cricket Australia could be on a collision course with players as it prepares to investigate playing a Big Bash League match on Christmas Day.

More than 7000 supporters turned out to Sydney Kings’ historic NBL clash with Melbourne United, success which could pave the way for other sports to follow suit.

Melbourne Stars captain Adam Zampa said on Monday he had no interested in playing on Christmas Day, while his Sixers counterpart Moises Henriques said he was “glad I didn’t play” on December 25.

Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley said on Tuesday a Christmas Day match would be a discussion point when the current BBL season was reviewed.

“That’s a good question. I think it’s something we’ll definitely talk about between the end of the season, as we obviously do the season wrap on the Big Bash,” he said on SEN Cricket.

“It is something we’ll talk at length to players and also to the clubs and the venues (about).”

Hockley added: “For me, it would have been nice to turn on the TV and watch a bit of TV cricket. But at the end of the day it is a really crowded schedule for, particularly our T20 players.

“It’s unlike football season where you’re playing every weekend. They’re playing a match pretty much every two, two-and-a-half days.

“There’s lots of considerations but we won’t be making any decisions without really extensive consultation with the players and the clubs.”

On Monday night, Zampa said: “I don’t really want to play on Christmas Day.

“Our schedules are hectic enough as is, particularly for the Stars. Obviously the Boxing Day Test is on so we’re not in Melbourne, we’re away quite a bit this time of year.

“To add in a Christmas Day game would be out of the question.”

The temperature has soared to 34 degrees in Melbourne and it’s only expected to get even hotter. The expected high today is a sizzling 37 degrees. You sense Australia’s plan — understandably — is to bat all day in the heat and wear South Africa down. Keshav Maharaj time soon? It’s been all the quicks so far.

11.35AM GREEN’S PLAN FOR IPL RICHES

Newly-minted IPL millionaire Cameron Green has revealed his modest plans for $3m salary he will receive from his new franchise.

Green became one of the most expensive players in IPL history when he was snapped up by Mumbai Indians for $3.15m, a new Australian record.

The 23-year-old said the auction experience had been “pretty surreal” and his hefty price tag had already led to some good-natured ribbing from teammates.

“We’re staying in a pretty nice hotel and there’s a few nice cars out the front,” Green told Fox Cricket.

“A few of the guys have been giving me a bit of stick saying ‘it’s already the new car that Greeny’s already got’. It’s a bit of light humour.”

But he doesn’t yet have any grand plans for the money, instead confirming an iPad was on his wishlist.

Considering you can pick one of those up for about $750, Green will have a fair bit of spare change left over.

Green watched the auction and said his nerves only kicked in about 30 minutes before bidding.

“Yeah I did (watch it). Maybe a day before I was just curious about what was going to happen, I wasn’t that nervous,” he said.

“Then probably half an hour before it happened I was like ‘jeez, this feels real now’.

“It was pretty surreal. Definitely pinching yourself that it’s happening.

“You don’t know if you deserve it or not. Hopefully I can repay obviously the king gesture they gave me. It should be a good opportunity.”

EARLIER NEWS: STARC POISED TO MISS SCG TEST

Mitchell Starc is set to miss the Sydney Test match with tendon damage to his finger and will only bowl in the rest of the Boxing Day Test if required.

News Corp understands Starc is all but certain to miss the final Test of the summer at the SCG and will be rehabbing his finger in a bid to be right for the start of the Indian Test tour next month.

Starc could still bowl if required in the second innings in Melbourne, and may not do further damage to his bowling finger on his left hand if he does.

However, Australia would be mad to risk Starc unless they need to and the team will be hoping the batting unit can build a big enough lead that the left-armer can be rested for the rest of the match.

Starc’s injury opens the door for the potential that Lance “The Wild Thing” Morris could make his Test debut in Sydney.

Although Josh Hazlewood may also be fit to push his case for inclusion, selectors may consider a second spinner like Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa or Mitchell Swepson if conditions at the SCG look like turning.

David Warner gets to his half-century from 72 balls. He’s been so proactive since late on day one. Can he turn it into a drought-breaking century in his 100th Test? His last Test century was in January 2020, against New Zealand. The photo below might serve as a reminder.

A horror mix-up for the Aussies between David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne. Warner sent Labuschagne back and despite a valiant dive he was caught short of his ground. “It’s a real bonus wicket this for South Africa,” says Shaun Pollock in commentary. Trying to complete the second, Warner and Labuschagne crossed about two thirds of the way up the wicket, Marnus took off but was caught well short.

blank DAVID WARNER MIC’D UP

Check out this great insight from Fox Cricket on day one with David Warner wearing a microphone in the field and during his innings.

Former Australian batter Mark Waugh has accused South African spearhead Kagiso Rabada of “just rolling his arm over” on what has so far been a forgettable tour for the Proteas.

The 27-year-old took eight wickets in Brisbane, including four in a memorable burst to rattle Australia during its second innings.

But Rabada was the most expensive of the South African seamers on the Gabba green top and Waugh questioned whether he was going through the motions.

“For a world-class bowler Rabada has bowled some very ordinary spells on this tour,” he said on Fox Cricket.

“And his body language, we know he’s a laid-back sort of character, but you just want to see a bit more energy from the get-go.

“It’s got to affect the rest of the fielding side and the captain when he sees his strike bowler just rolling his arm over.”

Nortje to Labuschagne to get day two underway with Australia trailing by 144 runs. And the third ball of the day flies wide of third slip. An early life for Labuschagne.

STARC CLEARED TO CONTINUE

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc has been cleared to continue in the against South Africa at the MCG.

Starc was hit on the tip of the middle finger on his left hand by the ball in the field yesterday. After leaving the field initially, Starc bowled in the nets before returning to play.

His condition will be reassessed at the completion of the match.

SOUTH AFRICA’S SOS TO FAF?

Faf, where are you?

He’s with the Perth Scorchers, that’s where.

And doing nicely enough that each time he scored runs for them it creates a little storm of Tweets from South Africa saying even at age 38 Faf du Plessis should be in the South African Test team.

It won’t happen but we get the point.

It took keeper Kyle Verreynne and fast bowler Marco Jansen to hoist South Africa from total misery to something a little better against Australia but each side of their century stand there was batting chaos.

Playing Australia, and particularly David Warner, meant so much to du Plessis that he felt no other team could wind his intensity enough up to the same level.

Du Plessis, who retired from Tests nearly two years ago after South Africa hinted they would not need him, has become a T20 journeyman and his plush new house in Cape Town is evidence to how well he is doing.

One thing that du Plessis has that none of the top order bar Dean Elgar has is a decent technique.

He knew when to play and when to leave, when to be patient and when to dominate.

Sadly, the current top order have none of that.

This is the weakest South African batting team to leave home in 90 years. There are five batsmen averaging 50 or more in South Africa’s domestic system but they have been overlooked in the feeling that they have not done enough.

South Africa’s dismal 189 followed innings of 151, 179, 118, 169, 152 and 99 in Tests,.

It’s sad. They say you can make what you like of statistics in cricket but over time they rarely lie.

To think Sarel Erwee could handle this Australian attack on the back of a Test average of 25 is beyond wishful thinking.

The same for Temba Bavuma (34), Khaya Zondo (25) and Theunis de Bruyn (19).

It’s hard to defy gravity in Test cricket.

Bavuma has played the same number of Tests as Don Bradman – 52 – and scored just one century and that came seven years ago.

Zondo has played 138 first class matches over 15 years and averaged 31 – so how could he possibly be expected to be a Test star?

The sad thing for South Africa is that Test cricket is a decreasing priority for the Proteas will play only 28 Tests in the next four year cycle.

Things are grim now. They are likely to get worse.

CAN WARNER FINALLY BREAK CENTURY DROUGHT?

South Africa beware … David Warner might just have found his missing mojo.

Warner is celebrating his 100th Test and for one pulsating hour took fans back to his snap-crackling zenith.

The feet were moving sharply. The running between wickets was fearless and frantic. The shot making was firm and precise.

The old Warner was replaced by the Warner of old.

Clearly, Warner wants a century here badly. He is pumped for this match and is feeding off the 100th Test vibe.

South Africa has often brought out the best in him. He has four centuries in 13th Tests against them and a whistling strike rate of 80 runs per 100 balls.

His positive intent was evident in the way he took on Kagiso Rabada, his nemesis from the first Test, with two strong pull shots to the fence.

Even when he left the ball Warner did so aggressively, occasionally sliding down on one knee to accentuate his actions.

Warner will resume on 32 with Australia 1-45 against South Africa’s paltry 189 and will be the centre of attention until he gets out.

Warner looks like a car which has just had a tune-up but older players can have these little bursts and the challenge for him is to reignite the fire on day two.

South Africa’s world class bowling line-up is a threat under any conditions but they are perpetually under pressure because of the constant failings of their batsmen who scored their seventh consecutive sub-200 total.

Their side resembles the West Indies team of two decades ago when the batsmen would disappear in a heartbeat and leave great fast men Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh to clean up their mess.

When Ambrose surprisingly retired on 98 Tests in the year 2000 he privately told friends that the strain of having to try and launch a miracle recovery with the ball every match had taken its toll.

Souths Africa’s outstanding attack may soon get to know this vibe – if they don’t know it already.

Originally published as Australia v South Africa: Follow all the action from day two at the MCG

https://www.codesports.com.au/cricket/australia-v-south-africa-follow-all-the-action-from-day-two-at-the-mcg/news-story/5f47fa43592cf831aa29d00cd5c40db7?nk=1170fff3a9f7274618ad6a424af48334-1672112778 Australia v South Africa live updates, stream, Mitchell Starc injury, David Warner, Faf du Plessis

Ryan Sederquist

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