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Rabada takes 3 quick wickets to leave Australia reeling

Kagiso Rabada recovered from an expensive opening spell before lunch to trap Australia captain Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh lbw.

Proteas' players celebrate after Kagiso Rabada (centre) took the wicket of Australia’s Mitchell Starch. Picture: @OfficialCSA/Twitter.

PORT ELIZABETH - A half-century from Australian opener David Warner could not prevent South Africa from gaining the upper hand on the opening day of the second Test on Friday as Kagiso Rabada claimed three quick wickets to peg back the visitors to 170 for six at tea.

Rabada recovered from an expensive opening spell before lunch to trap Australia captain Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh lbw, before then taking the wicket of Mitchell Marsh at the end of the second session to change the complexion of the contest in the space of two overs.

Rabada (3-67) trapped Smith, ranked Test cricket’s top batsmen, in front of his stumps for 25 and then claimed the Marsh brothers in his next over.

Shaun Marsh (24) was also out leg before wicket before Mitchell Marsh went three balls later, edging through to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

Warner, who hogged the headlines in the build-up to the game following an ugly confrontation with De Kock in the first Test, overcame a slow start to score 63 before being bowled by fast bowler Lungi Ngidi.

Smith had raised eyebrows at the toss with his decision to bat in what were clearly bowling conditions but stated that if the batsmen could get through the first hour a big first innings score is on the cards.

Overcast conditions on a pitch with a healthy grass cover meant the tourists scored just 23 runs in the first 14 overs as the home bowlers found prodigious movement but then Warner seemed to switchgear and, together with Cameron Bancroft, plundered 75 runs in the remaining 12.4 overs of the session.

Australia, who won the first Test in Durban by 118 runs, looked as though they would make it through the opening session unscathed, but on the stroke of lunch lost Bancroft, caught by wicketkeeper De Kock off seamer Vernon Philander for 38.

Usman Khawaja followed quickly after lunch for four as his travails in Test cricket continued and then Warner was clean bowled as Ngidi was brought back into the attack.

The 21-year-old was picked ahead of the more experienced Morne Morkel in a surprise selection by the South Africans.

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