Mitchell Starc joined the illustrious 300 Test wicket club amid crazy scenes on the second day of the first Test at the Gabba. Seven wickets fell in a staggering hour of play before lunch as Australia collapsed from 5-145 overnight to be all out for 218.
Pat Cummins and Starc then struck straight away for Australia to leave South Africa reeling at 2-3 at lunch. Cummins then struck again after the break as the Proteas were reduced to 3-6 and still trailing Australia by over 60 runs.
Starc became just the seventh Australian to take 300 Test wickets when he bowled Proteas No.3 Rassie van der Dussen with a classic in-swinger. The ball move significantly off the pitch, making it one of the most impressive deliveries of Starc's international career.
The tall left-armer now joins an illustrious group of bowlers, including Aussie legends Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, and teammate Nathan Lyon. Entering the match needing four wickets to bring up 300, Starc took three in the first innings to leave him stranded on 299. However he quickly chalked up No.300 when South Africa came back out for their second innings on Sunday.
“What a peach to get it with, the in-swinging, full delivery, stumps going everywhere, take a bow my man,” Kerry O’Keefe said on Fox Cricket. “What a milestone to get with your signature ball, the in-swinging off-cutter to open up the gate of a right-hander. How delighted is he that he got it with that rock. Well-bowled champion.”
Cummins had earlier trapped Dean Elgar lbw for just two, making it a horror match for the South African captain after he scored three in the first innings. It marked the second collapse for the tourists in the match after they were bowled out for 152 in the first dig.
“They are in dire straits South Africa,” Adam Gilchrist said on Fox Sports.
Travis Head falls short of century once again
Resuming on the second day at 5-145, Australia lost their final five wickets for just 73 runs before lunch to be all out for 218. It gave them a 66-run first-innings lead.
After 15 wickets fell on Saturday, the game continued to move at a rapid rate on Sunday as South Africa's pace attack quickly worked their way through Australia's tail. Travis Head started the day on 78 after an impressive counter-attacking knock late on day one. But he fell agonisingly short of a century in consecutive years at the Gabba after he was dismissed by Marco Jansen for 92.
Cameron Green started in ominous fashion, middling three drives to the boundary. But his lean run continued when he was out to Jansen for 18. Jansen made up for an ordinary innings with the bat to be the pick of the Proteas' bowlers with figures of 3-32.
Kagiso Rabada was at his threatening and unpredictable best and was expensive at times, but still finished with figures of 4-76. Rabada set the tone for South Africa's fightback, removing under-pressure opener David Warner for a golden duck and first ball of Australia's innings.
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey finished unbeaten on 22, while Steve Smith's 38 was Australia's best score after Head's decisive knock.
Strike rate of less than 50 for 300 Test wickets… the guy has caught a lot of flak for a bloke that has been an absolute weapon. Congratulations, Mitchell Starc 👏 #AUSvSA
— Corbin Middlemas (@CorbinMiddlemas) December 18, 2022
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) December 18, 2022
— Pankaj Priyadershi (@BBCPankajP) December 18, 2022
What a Test match it is turning out to be! 22 wickets have fallen in four sessions. Is it going to be over in two days? Massive session coming up.
PS: Love the game when bowlers are on top. It's so better than watching teams amassing 500 plus for fun.#AUSvSA
— Ankit Kumar Singh (@skywalkerhuss) December 18, 2022
— 𝑫𝒂𝒎𝒊𝒆𝒏 𝑷𝒆𝒄𝒌 (@damopeck) December 18, 2022
Cricket pitches range from the sublime from the ridiculous—endless runs & scores in the 500s at some grounds while at the Gabba, Sth Africa's already into their 2nd innings—on Day 2! (And already down a couple of wickets!) It's why we love the game! #AUSvSA
— 𝙸𝚗𝚍𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚒 𝙱. 🐦🌿🚜🌻🇺🇦🐈 (@TheOtherIndrani) December 18, 2022
The disparity between SA bowlers n batters is insane the way this bowling attack keeps them in games if only even a couple of those guys could bat #AUSvSA
— Deeksha (@Deeksha45015326) December 17, 2022
This game will most probably end in 2 to 2.5 days and nobody will criticise the pitch, that's reserved for spin friendly wickets only. #AUSvSA
— DIVYANSH¹⁷ ॐ (@ImDivyansh_17) December 18, 2022
Australia's leading wicket-takers in Test cricket:
1. Shane Warne 708
2. Glenn McGrath 563
3. Nathan Lyon 453 (still playing)
4. Dennis Lillee 355
5. Mitchell Johnson 303
6. Brett Lee 310
7. Mitchell Starc 301 (still playing)
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.