2nd test: de Kock century gives South Africa a 203-run lead

Australia's Mitchell Starc stretchers before bowling to South Africa during their cricket test match in Hobart, Australia, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
AP

HOBART, Australia (AP) Quinton de Kock posted a century and shared a 144-run sixth-wicket stand with Temba Bavuma to guide South Africa to 288-6 at lunch Monday, extending its first-innings lead to 203 runs in the second test against Australia.

Rain prevented any play on Sunday following an extraordinary opening day in which 15 wickets fell as South Africa reached 171-5 at stumps after skittling Australia for 85 at Bellerive.

De Kock (104) resumed day three on 28 and cruised to 50 – becoming just the fifth South African to score 50s in five consecutive test innings – and then reached his second test century to usher South Africa into a commanding position.

But the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman was bowled four balls later by Josh Hazlewood (3-71), giving Australia a glimmer of hope by exposing the tail.

Bevuma, who had some half-chances, moved from 38 to 74 in the extended morning session. Vernon Philander was not out three at the interval.

Australia's pace attack didn't use the new ball with the same effect as it did on Saturday, when Mitchell Starc took three wickets in 10 balls and Hazlewood chimed in with two wickets in moist, overcast conditions. Philander did most of the damage with the ball on the opening day, snaring 5-21 with the swinging ball for South Africa.

De Kock was in command in cold, overcast conditions, stroking 17 boundaries and appearing untroubled in 140 balls until he took on a Hazlewood ball that moved off the seam and took out his stumps.

South Africa won the opening test in Perth by 177 runs and can secure the three-test series with another victory in Hobart.

Australia was ranked No. 1 in test cricket until being swept 3-0 in Sri Lanka in July and August. The loss in Perth was its fourth straight, and critics are describing the recent batting slump as a crisis. The first innings in Hobart was Australia's lowest total in a home test since 1984.