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Kyle Verreynne struck a pivotal half-century before two wickets apiece from Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje kept the Proteas in the mix. This is after a difficult opening day of their three-match Test series in Brisbane on Saturday.

On a day that 15 wickets fell, the tourists were asked to bat first and bundled out for just 152. The hosts replied with 145 for five at The Gabba, which witnessed its biggest first day crowd for a non-Ashes Test.

There were 29,306 people in attendance. But not too much good batting after the South Africans were bundled out in 48.2 overs. In fact, things could have been far worse had it not been for Verreynne’s 64 (96 balls, 8 fours, 1 six) and a crucial 38 by Temba Bavuma.

The pair shared in a 98-run partnership after their side lost Dean Elgar (3), Rassie van der Dussen (5), Sarel Erwee (10) and Khaya Zondo (0) in that order with only 27 on the board.

VERREYNNE SAVES THE DAY FOR PROTEAS 

In difficult batting conditions, Verreynne and Bavuma settled well, the former going on to score his first Test half-century to go with his only other 50+ score of 136 not out.

Dean Elgar proteas captain
Dean Elgar proteas captain

But once the stand was broken, the Proteas folded quickly losing their last six wickets for a poor 27 runs. Mitchell Starc (3/41) and Nathan Lyon (3/14) were the most successful bowlers for the home side.

South Africa started brilliantly with the ball. David Warner fell first ball to a fine one-handed leaping catch by Zondo at short leg off Rabada (2/50). Marco Jansen (1/15) also struck with his first ball to take out Marnus Labuschagne (11). Nortje (2/37) removed Usman Khawaja (11) with his second delivery as the Australians slumped to 27 for three.

But the in-form Travis Head counter-attacked with a stellar unbeaten 78 off 77 balls (13 fours, 1 six). The away side lost intensity. Together with Steve Smith, the pair added 117 for the fourth wicket to take the advantage away from the visitors.

Nortje eventually broke through late in the day by cleaning up Smith, with nightwatchman Scott Boland (1) dismissed by Rabada. However, the home side held all the aces at the close as they trailed by just seven runs.

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