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South Africa takes an 86-run 1st innings lead on day 1

14 November 2016, 19:11

HOBART, Australia (AP) — Vernon Philander took five wickets to help skittle Australia for 85 before South Africa's batsmen combined to give the tourists an 86-run lead by stumps Saturday on a dramatic opening day to the second cricket test.

A total of 15 wickets fell after South Africa won the toss and sent Australia in to bat on a green-tinged pitch in overcast conditions at Bellerive, with Philander in the thick of the action early.

South Africa was 171-5 in reply at stumps, with Temba Bavuma unbeaten on 38 and Quinton de Kock on 28.

For the first time in a test, Australia lost both openers for one run each and was reeling at 2-2 when skipper Steve Smith went to the crease. He faced 80 balls and was unbeaten on 48 when he ran out of batting partners as Philander had No. 11 Nathan Lyon caught behind to complete an innings-haul of 5-21.

The calamitous 85 was Australia's lowest innings total in a test on home soil since 1984, although it wasn't nearly as bad as its record low of 47 — inflicted by South Africa in 2011 when Philander made his debut with a stunning haul of 5-15.

Australia has lost four consecutive tests, including a 3-0 sweep in Sri Lanka, and coach Darren Lehmann said the batting was getting close to crisis point.

"When you get bowled out for 85 it probably is, isn't it?" Lehmann said. "When you're playing badly, you're going to cop it ... there's a lot of criticism out there, that's warranted.

"Four tests ago we were No. 1 (ranked), but now we're way away from that."

Leading the attack in the absence of Dale Steyn, who damaged his shoulder in South Africa's 177-run win in the series-opener in Perth, Philander had David Warner (1) out on the last ball of the first over of the day.

After Kyle Abbott removed Joe Burns (1), Philander took two wickets on consecutive balls — Usman Khawaja (4) and Adam Voges (0) in the ninth over — to have Australia reeling at 8-4 before he was forced from the field after a mid-pitch collision with Smith in the 13th over.

Callum Ferguson, making a belated test debut at 31, barely survived the hat-trick delivery but never looked comfortable before being run out for 3.

Philander returned after the lunch interval and bowled test rookie Joe Mennie for 10, triggering a second collapse as Australia lost its last four wickets for 26 runs.

"It was a magnificent all-round performance," Philander said. "I don't think there were a lot of soft dismissals."

Only Smith, who scored more than half of Australia's runs, and No. 8 Mennie reached double figures. The recognized batsmen, excluding Smith, combined for 12 runs.

South African openers Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook navigated 18 overs without any real trouble to reach tea at 43-0, but the Australians hit back in the first over after the break.

Mitchell Starc took the first three wickets, trapping Elgar (17) lbw with a perfect yorker on the first ball after the interval and having Cook (23) caught behind four balls later.

He then had J.P Duminy (1) caught at second slip by Smith in his next over as South Africa slipped to 46-3.

Josh Hazlewood chimed in with the key wicket of skipper Faf du Plessis, who unsuccessfully reviewed his lbw decision, and South Africa was in serious trouble at 76-4 until Hashim Amla (47) and Bavuma combined to put on 56 in 15 overs for the fifth wicket.

Hazlewood took the last wicket of the day when he had Amla caught behind three runs short of a 32nd test half century.

- AP

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