The GOAT’s ‘unnecessary’ gloat
AUSTRALIA is on the verge of victory in the opening Test after a rollercoaster day in the field in Durban.
After the visitors claimed four wickets in the opening session and had South Africa on the ropes, the locals fought back and owned the middle session along with the first hour of the final session before bad light again forced an early end to the day's play.
Opener Aiden Markram looked an unstoppable force as he almost single-handedly outscored his side's first-innings total before being removed for 143.
Mitchell Starc was again the chief destroyer with the ball in hand as he claimed 4/74 to give him 9/108 in the opening Test.
Here were the major talking points from the day's play.
LYON AND WARNER SLAMMED
Nathan Lyon and David Warner will surely capture the attention of the ICC after stepping over the line with their celebrations after dismissing AB de Villiers.
After opener Aiden Markram worked a ball from Lyon off of his pads into the leg side de Villiers was in no man's land halfway down the pitch.
De Villiers was sent back and unfortunately, couldn't make up the ground as Lyon whipped the bails off and sent the South African star packing.
After the run-out and caught in the mayhem was the over the top celebration from both Lyon and Warner.
As de Villiers lay on the ground, Lyon looked down at him before delivering a few choice words and then dumping the ball near him.
The moment wasn't picked up by either the umpires or commentators initially, but many watching on saw the action unfold and were quick to slam Lyon for the move.
Warner appeared to give both de Villiers and Aiden Markram a spray, presumably critiquing their running between the wickets after a horrible mix-up led to the former being dismissed for a duck.
ICC laws dictate that players must not use "language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his/her dismissal."
Crowe is also likely to look into South African speedster Kagiso Rabada's send-off of Warner on day three, which attracted the attention of the umpires.
Warner and Lyon have no recent charges, meaning it's likely both will escape with a slap on the wrist if they are booked, while Rabada risks a two-Test ban if he is charged.
Tim Paine insisted there was "nothing aggressive" about Warner's rampage. Markram, who was responsible for the mix-up after being caught ball watching, went on to score 143 and also had no issues with the withering spray he copped.
"It's natural when you play against the Australians that there's a lot of chatter on the field," the 23-year-old opener said. "I certainly don't mind.
"It never really gets out of line either, not a lot of swearing or things like that happen.
"There are a few here and there, but it's not the end of the world. I believe it's part of the game. That's how it should be played, nice and hard, and it makes success that bit more rewarding." Markram was unaware of Lyon's ball drop.
Paine, who was full of praise for Markram's knock that no doubt created some nerves among the visitors, laughed that Warner's words clearly didn't work. "We spoke to Aiden about running out their best player and one of the best players in the world," the wicketkeeper said.
"Just reminding him of what he had just done, trying to get him off his game, the same as they do to us.
"Had someone had run Smithy (Steve Smith) out in our team you'd cop a fair bit of a ribbing. It was nothing aggressive ... I've seen David a lot more animated than that.
"The boys were certainly pumped up ... it was a big moment in the game." Rabada's send-off of Warner on day three attracted the attention of both umpires, while Starc gave recalled batsman Theunis de Bruyn a gobful in Sunday's post-lunch session.
"It was good to see actually. We enjoy it when Starcy is up and about like that," Paine said.
HAZLEWOOD COLLECTS HIS BUNNY
After a first innings duck, Hashim Amla was brought to the crease nice and early and once again, he failed to deliver.
Thankfully for the South African he managed to put some runs on the board and not be knocked over for a pair.
He faced two deliveries from Mitchell Starc before Steve Smith made the masterful decision to bring in Josh Hazlewood.
The move paid quick dividends as Hazlewood struck with a ball that skidded on a touch before clattering into the pads of Amla.
Amla sent the decision up for review but the DRS couldn't save him and he was sent packing.
Hazlewood has now claimed the wicket of Amla on six separate occasions over seven innings.
The only time he hasn't removed him was in the first innings of this Test when Lyon broke the streak he holds over one of the games best batsmen.
Mitchell Starc has been the chief destroyer so far during this Test but when asked prior to the series getting under, the left-arm quick knew what his strategy would be for Amla.
"I'm going to tap Josh Hazlewood on the shoulder and go 'Here mate, he's all yours'," Starc said to cricket.com.au.
The remarkable run of Hazlewood having the wood over Amla began last summer when he claimed his wicket five times over five innings in the three-Test series.
MARKRAM THE SOUTH AFRICAN SAVIOUR
Aiden Markram was the backbone of the South African second innings and he brought up a much-deserved century.
He very nearly ran himself out on 99, which would have made it twice the 23-year-old has fallen short in the nervous nineties, but a slight misfield saw him get through and raise the bat.
As he watched the rest of his teammates crumble, he stood tall, bringing up three figures for the third time in his short Test career.
His efforts swung the momentum of the Test in the favour of the South Africans and had the Aussies incredibly frustrated as they searched for a way to remove the youngster.
Sadly once he fell to Pat Cummins, the rest of the innings fell apart for the locals.
The fighting effort will give the team a huge boost ahead of the final three Tests and could spell trouble for the Australians as Markram's confidence will now be through the roof.
"That is a brilliant, brilliant hundred," one commentator proclaimed.