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Australia kept in check despite Warner fifty

Vernon Philander took two wickets in an absorbing first session at Kingsmead.
Vernon Philander took two wickets in an absorbing first session at Kingsmead. © Getty
Australia made all the right moves early in the first Test at Durban right from winning the toss and opting to bat. On a pitch that offered very little to the bowlers, the visitors raced away to 95 for two with David Warner going strong on 51 before Vernon Philander struck for the second time to get Warner, and tilt the balance.
South Africa had their moments throughout the first session with Philander and Kagiso Rabada picking up a wicket each early, and then came close enough to go for reviews twice, but both of those were lost. Cameron Bancroft was under early pressure from Morne Morkel who forced a review after striking the opener on the knee roll in his first over. That, however, was tracked to be going over the leg stump. Keshav Maharaj had a better shout off his first delivery of the match against Warner, striking him on the back leg with a big turner off a footmark. That was adjudged to be turning too far down the leg side.
Between the reviews, Philander and Rabada struck. Bancroft was out nicking behind against Philander after attempting to walk down the track while Usman Khawaja was done in by one slanting across him from Rabada, with Quinton de Kock taking a stunning one-handed catch.
Khawaja's wicket got Steven Smith coming in to face Rabada in just his first over but that contest died down as quickly as the bounce on this pitch. A far cry from the green tops that India was handed recently in South Africa, this one got progressively docile with de Kock even standing up to the stumps for Philander in his second spell.
Warner had seen enough by then to get into a good groove and lashed out at any ball missing its mark. A fierce cut off Philander got him his sixth successive Test fifty in South Africa while Smith looked imperious lofting Maharaj over the infield.
The duo added 58 for the second wicket and dominated the second hour right until the last over before the break. Philander, however, managed to force an edge off Warner in that over and had him caught sharply at second slip by AB de Villiers to pull things back once again.
Brief Scores: Australia 95/3 (David Warner 51; Vernon Philander 2-22) vs South Africa

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