March 3, 2018 / 2:59 PM / 6 months ago

Cricket-Australia still on top, S.Africa's Maharaj takes three wickets

DURBAN, March 3 (Reuters) - Australia edged further ahead in the first test against South Africa as they moved to 175 for six at tea on the third day after left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj picked up three wickets.

The tourists extended their second innings lead to a commanding 364 but were pegged back by some tight South African bowling in the middle session of the day.

Australia added just 63 runs in almost 28 overs for the loss of key wicket Steve Smith (38), first innings top-scorer Mitchell Marsh (6) and Tim Paine (14).

Shaun Marsh (25) and Pat Cummins (0) will resume in the evening session, seeking to take the tourists’ lead well past 400 and likely out of sight of South Africa at Kingsmead.

The hosts were poor in the morning session, erring in line and length with the ball, but still managed to pick up three wickets, and then strangled the scoring rate after lunch with Maharaj (3-78) and Kagiso Rabada (2-23) especially impressive.

Australia began their second innings at the start of the third day as Cameron Bancroft (53) and David Warner (28) put on 56 for the first wicket before the latter miscued a pull off Rabada to substitute fielder Wiaan Mulder at mid-on.

Usman Khawaja (6) never looked settled at the crease and he was caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock having gloved a ball from Maharaj, before Bancroft fell five balls before lunch, walking past a delivery from the spinner to be stumped.

Smith was troubled on a number of occasions by the home bowlers and managed just three fours in his 38 before he was out leg before wicket to part-time spinner Dean Elgar.

It is the second time in tests that Elgar has dismissed Smith, having captured his wicket in Cape Town four years ago.

Rabada then had Mitchell Marsh caught by Hashim Amla at first slip, a 100th test catch for the latter who joins Jacques Kallis (200) and Graeme Smith (169) as only the third South African to reach that mark.

And with the ball before tea, Maharaj induced an edge from Paine for a simple chance to AB de Villiers at slip.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat in the first of four tests and posted 351 in their opening innings, before skittling South Africa out for 162 in reply on day two. (Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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