Tuesday, 31 January, 2023

Carey hits maiden century as Australia take second Test away from South Africa

Carey hits maiden century as Australia take second Test away from South Africa

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Alex Carey struck a maiden Test century Wednesday to give Australia a vice-like grip on the second Test against South Africa at tea on day three in Melbourne.

After losing four wickets before lunch, the hosts were in charge during the second session, declaring at tea on 575-8 with an ominous lead of 386 after South Africa were bowled out for 189.

Wicketkeeper Carey was superb in reaching three figures for the first time in his 14th Test before he was caught and bowled by Marco Jansen for 111.

At the declaration, a battling Cameron Green was not out 51 despite having a fractured finger, alongside Mitchell Starc on 10.

Carey and Green piled on the misery in a 117-run partnership after South Africa had a glimmer of hope when they took early wickets, including David Warner first ball after he resumed on 200.

Australia began on 386-3 with Travis Head on 48 and Carey nine after a herculean unbeaten double century from Warner in his 100th Test in gruelling heat on day two.

The veteran opener retired exhausted with severe cramp after making his third Test double ton, but he resumed his innings when Head was out for 51, walking out to huge applause.

He told host broadcaster Fox before play began that he had a "rough night's sleep".

"I probably woke up six or seven times," he added, and was bowled first ball by an Anrich Nortje yorker as Australia lost three wickets for five runs.

Temperatures were much cooler than the 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, with conditions overcast and humid -- generally favourable to the bowlers.

And the ever-dangerous Anrich Nortje took advantage, bowling Head in the third over before snaring a bewildered Warner next ball.

Pat Cummins fended off the hat-trick delivery, but he did not last long.

The Australian skipper fell to the third ball he faced when South Africa successfully reviewed a caught behind decision off Kagiso Rabada's bowling that was initially denied by the umpire.

Carey was joined by Nathan Lyon and they steadied the ship.

Lyon made an entertaining 25 before holing out to Khaya Zondo off Lungi Ngidi

Ahead of play, Green, who took 5-27 in South Africa's first innings, was ruled out of bowling again in Melbourne -- and the third Sydney Test -- with a fractured finger, but he bravely came out to bat.

After a slow start, he began playing his shots in an admirable supporting role to Carey, who counter-attacked after the early wickets fell to consolidate Australia's advantage.

Carey was the first Australian wicketkeeper to make a Test century since Brad Haddin in 2013 and only the second at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after Rod Marsh.