Boxing Day Test live updates: Australia hunting four-day victory over South Africa at MCG

After wrapping up the first Test in two days, Australia is in the box seat to beat South Africa by more than an innings on day four at the MCG.

Live updates

Australia vs. South Africa at the MCG

33rd over – Boland again

By Jon Healy

32nd over – Lyon resumes

By Jon Healy

Huge spin back into Verreynne to start. He’s pinned on the crease but manages to keep it out.

He hits with the spin and finds a single through mid-wicket.

Lyon goes past the outside edge of Bavuma AGAIN. Just pushing outside off. Dangerous times for South Africa.

31st over – The cheers from the crowd can only mean one thing

By Jon Healy

Australia bowler Scott Boland winds up in his bowling action during a Test against South Africa.
“Oh. Great. Scott,” the South African batters say to themselves as he comes into the attack.(Getty)

First ball is typically on the money. Bavuma tries to drive on the up, gets the outside edge and the bottom hand comes off the bat as Lyon makes a good stop at backward point.

As good as he is, he’s gone at five an over to start in this innings. Can’t imagine that will continue here.

Bavuma inside edges for two, but not before an awkward stutter in the middle of the first run.

30th over – Lyon to new batter Kyle Verreynne

By Jon Healy

Verreynne resisted in the first innings. Can he do the same but better today?

Four! Verreynne gets off the mark with a superb reverse sweep to the rope. It’s a little risky playing that shot against the spin to Lyon on a bouncing pitch, but he moosed that one.

29th over – Pat Cummins bowling again

By Jon Healy

Bavuma getting worked over by the consistent captain, who’s bowled five maidens from 10 overs so far.

BOOF! This won’t be a sixth maiden, as Cummins gives some width and Bavuma lifts him over cover for four with a lovely stroke.

A perfect answer from Cummins, getting a ball to nip back past Bavuma’s inside edge and just over the top of off. That’ll teach Temba to hit Pat for a boundary.

28th over – Bavuma needs to refocus after barbecuing his teammate

By Jon Healy

Four! Cracking Lyon through cover. Good response by Bavuma.

BEATEN! Another one goes straight on and Bavuma is terribly lucky not to nick off.

ZONDO IS RUN OUT! Shocking running from South Africa

By Jon Healy

Khaya Zondo just appears in frame as the stumps are hit by a cricket ball.

Bavuma bunted to cover and Head, who’d just showed off clean hands and agility off the last ball, swooped to his left and flung under-arm and on the dive straight into the stumps.

It was really good work from Head, but a bad decision from Bavuma to take the single and then Zondo was slow out of the gates to boot. Bad cricket from them and an absolute gift for Travis Head on his 29th birthday.

27th over – Cummins has 1-4 as he starts his 10th over

By Jon Healy

Bavuma is leaving well to start, but Cummins is angling in closer and closer to that off stump. Can he get some seam movement or in-swing and knock the top off?

He gets on the stumps and Bavuma defends off the inside edge. Good awareness of where his off stump is.

A little fuller, a little more width and Bavuma drives assuredly, but Travis Head cleans up at short cover.

26th over – Lyon comes in to Bavuma

By Jon Healy

Big LBW shout! But it’s turned down, and they choose not to review. Bavuma was hit in the ribs while sweeping, but he was hit outside the line. Good call not to waste a review.

Beaten on the outside edge again. The logos are still showing on this ball, so perhaps a bit of natural variation and skidding straight on. The Kookaburra balls apparently have an extra layer of lacquer on them these days, so they stay firm a bit longer.

Good for the seamers and a spinner who relies so heavily on top spin and bounce.

25th over – Here comes Cummins once more

By Jon Healy

Australia bowler Pat Cummins bowls in a Test against South Africa.

He’s right on the top of off, with the occasional ball popping up towards the handle. Peppering Zondo.

He finishes with a short ball and Zondo leans back to avoid it.

24th over – Here’s Nathan Lyon

By Jon Healy

Oh, and the first ball is straight past the outside edge of Khaya Zondo, who was pushing a long way away from his front pad.

Zondo playing with a very open stance with a short leg, leg slip and slip in place.

He pushes to the vacant short cover region for a quick single.


By Jon Healy

go Starcy! PS go right ahead and Mankad de Bruyn. Twice in a row…

– Steph in Melbourne

I should say, the first one was ridiculous from de Bruyn and Starc had every right to call him out.

The second one was a line ball.

Starc just told Fox “he was halfway down Punt Road” and “if I have to keep my foot behind the line” so too should the batter.

Fair point. I don’t mind Mankads, but I reckon the bowler should give the blink one warning. And he should have to take them off before passing the stumps. Otherwise, I reckon the batter is entitled to leave his crease once the bowler is properly into their delivery stride.

23rd over – Pat Cummins has some liquid on board and will bowl to Khaya Zondo

By Jon Healy

Nathan Lyon is limbering up at backward point. He can’t be too far away.

Peppering away and neither batter has any chance to do anything but defend.

22nd over – Boland continues

By Simon Smale

Bavuma is beaten outside off by Boland, another ball that did not quite bounce as much as the batter would have expected.

CLOSE! That leaves the beat and flies through to Carey. What a ball. So many questions being asked by the Victorian.

Four! Driven down the ground beautifully by Bavuma.

Bavuma defends the last into the off side and that is that for the over and the first phase of play on his fourth day.

Time for a drink, and for Jon Healy to take over until lunch.

No Mankad required

By Simon Smale

Almost disappointed de Bruyn got caught – I was looking forward to Starc running him out at the non-strikers end. It might have taken a good step towards normalizing a legitimate dismissal, and reminding batter’s of their own obligation.

– Curious

Yeah, I’m with you. I was enjoying that battle and Starc was so fired up, a combination of pain and the frustration of not having taken a wicket despite his efforts thus far. It was a potent mix and de Bruyn taking liberties at the non-strikers end was the straw that broke him.

Terrific entertainment.

21st over – Pat Cummins brings himself on

By Simon Smale

Pat Cummins has turned himself around and replaced Starc, who was bowling so well he might want to break his finger before every Test.

BEATEN! Cummins has Bavuma reaching out side off. So close to the edge. Brilliant bowling but Bavuma didn’t need to play at that.

He needs to play at the next, fending to gully along the ground to a ball arrowing in at the off stump.

Bavuma pushes to cover to get a single and off strike.

Zondo defends the first couple he faces from the skipper.

wickets! Smith takes his 150th Test catch at second slip!

By Simon Smale

Key Events

Brilliant catch by Smith at second slip! He looks up at the sky because Marnus dove across him and almost put him off, but Smith didn’t need to move. It almost looked like he’d dropped it with the reaction he made.

(Getty Images)

Given that Smith didn’t get to the last one, Marnus was entitled to dive across and make an effort.

(Getty Images)

Let’s talk a bit about the ball though, what a ripper from Boland! It’s leapt up and surprised de Bruyn with his accuracy of the bouncer.

20th over – Boland to bowl again

By Simon Smale

OH MY! That’s a decent ball, seaming back in at de Bruyn and he’s edged that ball into his thigh and it’s got trapped on the flap of his pad, before falling to the ground.

De Bruyn clips off his pads and takes three to deep backward square leg.

Outside the off stump, not as much bounce as you’d expect which made it look quite dramatic.

EDGED! Past third slip and gully, Smith and Labuschagne chase hard, Smith winning the race and hauling the ball in. Three runs.

19th over – Starc to bowl his tenth

By Simon Smale

This Starc’s sixth over of the spell and 10th unchanged to start this innings.

If bowling is keeping his mind off the pain – and he’s gunna continue bowling like this – I reckon let him bowl all day.

Wide outside off first up for Bavuma, who leaves it well alone.

Bit of away swing there, Starc perhaps

De Bruyn has again drifted out of his crease and Starc reminds him of his obligations to stay put.

“Just stay behind the line … It’s not that hard,” Starc barks at a bemused looking de Bruyn.

Just run him out Mitch. That’s two warnings now.

BEATEN! Full ball outside off and that was rapid – 146kph.

The last three balls were at 145, 146 and 144 kph.

Starc barks more words towards de Bruyn as he collects his cap and re-tapes his broken finger.


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