Recently signed IPL silver medalist Cameron Greene has woken up from his summer slumber to career-best figures and will give Australia the power to box on the day against South Africa.
The young all-rounder destroyed the Proteas by four wickets in the final session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday, claiming 5-27 as South Africa were dismissed for 189.
Australia went to bat on day one at 45-1 with veteran David Warner unbeaten on 32 in his 100th test match.
Proteas opener Kagiso Rabada partnered Warner’s Usman Khawaja (1), leaving world No 1-rated men’s test batsman Marnus Labuschagne (5no) to go out and face the last six overs.
Three days after being bought by Mumbai Indians for a record $3.15 million in the IPL auction, Green helped the second Test back in Australia’s favor after a brief fightback from the Proteas.
The 24-year-old has barely claimed three Test victories for Australia this summer as they struggle to compete with bat or ball.
However, Green made a stunning return to form, demolishing South Africa’s fragile tail to trigger a dramatic 5-10 collapse.
Western Australia’s towering first Test record of 3-21 against England in Hobart last January improved.
The Proteas’ tail could not show any resistance after an impressive 112-run sixth-wicket stand between rounder Marco Jansen (59) and wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne (52) raised the visitors’ hopes of reaching the top of the competition.
Jansen looked unimpressive at times, and was dropped three times, but still finished with a career-best Test in a rare spot for the Proteas.
South Africa slumped to 4-58 at lunch, claiming Australian captain Pat Cummins’ decision to bowl first for the second consecutive match after winning the toss.
From 5-67, Jansen and Verreynne in the second session with 5-144 could have revived the hopes of the Proteas, but they soon fell apart.
South Africa had made an encouraging start at 1-56 after being beaten at the Gabba on two days, but lost three wickets, including captain Dean Elgar, in the last half hour of the first session.
Elgar endured a nervous moment after playing into the stumps from Scott Boland’s delivery, playing the ball so slowly that the guns didn’t deflect.
The left-handed opener, who passed the five-thousand-wicket mark in his knock, was dropped shortly after, but Elgar capitally ignored his luck and succumbed for 26 days.
South Africa’s innings took place in similar circumstances to their performances in Brisbane last week when they were bowled out for 152 and 99.
It was the seventh straight Test innings in which the Proteas reached 200.
Australia’s star quick Mitchell Starc (2-39) left the field in about 30 minutes after injuring his finger trying to hang a slow catch in the deep.
But Starc, who last week became the seventh Australian to reach 300 Test wickets, returned to the field before the end of South Africa’s innings.
There was an emotional start to the Boxing Day test as tributes were paid to legendary spin king Shane Warne, who died suddenly in March.