Published: Mon, April 02, 2018
Medical | By Mark Scott

South Africa bat on despite massive lead

South Africa bat on despite massive lead

Tim Paine was promoted to captain for the day, saying at the post-match press conference that Smith and Bancroft were "struggling" after "an absolutely bad 24 hours".

Tim Paine defied a thumb injury to hit a valiant half-century but a wounded Australia side suffered at the hands of South Africa on day three of the fourth Test.

Elgar amassed 39 from 158 balls in a patient knock that has been the glue for South Africa's second innings, as they look to build an unassailable lead with two full days remaining at the Wanderers. For large parts of Sunday, though, they had the better of their hosts after previously being thoroughly outgunned.

The Australia cricket team is facing one its toughest tests as it plays a series-deciding match against South Africa while still reeling from the ball-tampering scandal that has shredded the morale of the team.

"We were really disappointed with how things went yesterday and we spoke about that", Paine told reporters at the close.

"Then with the discipline our bowlers showed, I thought we didn't get the wickets that we perhaps deserved".

"A few guys watched it and it really cut them up".

That history might have been lost on an Australia team anxious, instead, for its future after the ball-tampering scandal from the last match in Cape Town led to long-term bans for captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft, and thrust Paine into the top job.

Newly-appointed captain Tim Paine wants to prove that Australia have learned valuable lessons from the fallout over the ball-tampering scandal and began the process on Friday by instructing his players to radically tone down their toxic sledging culture.

'I've been watching SuperSport this week and they've had the soccer on and I notice they do that (shake hands) every game, ' Paine told reporters after the day's play. "We all know how good Pat is as an all-round cricketer", said Paine. "It hurts a little bit but I've had my fair share of finger injuries and compared to a couple of others it's not too bad".

"The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore "serious" in nature", Richardson said.

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