Hazlewood gets 4 wickets; du Plessis unbeaten on 65 for SA

Australian cricket player Nic Maddinson bats in the nets during a training session in Adelaide, Australia, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. South Africa and Australia play the third cricket test of their series starting Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Rick Rycroft/AP

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) ��� Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood snared four wickets as South Africa's batsmen struggled against the pink ball in their first innings of the day-night third test, reaching 165-7 at the dinner break on day one.

Skipper Faf du Plessis was holding the South Africa innings together with an unbeaten 65, prolonging his almost immovable record at the Adelaide Oval where he was player of the match on debut four years ago.

Australia, which won the first ever day-night test match in a low-scoring outcome against New Zealand here last year, took three wickets in the first session and four in the second in a positive start for the new-look lineup.

The home team made five changes to the XI which surrendered the series with an innings and 80-run loss in Hobart last week, bringing three uncapped batsmen into the top six. But after losing the toss and being asked to field first, it was the established new ball pair of Hazlewood (4-36) and Starc (2-50) who did the early damage.

All three batsmen out in the first session went for five, with Starc removing Dean Elgar in the 7th over and Hazlewood striking on either side of the first drinks break to dismiss Hashim Amla and J.P. Duminy as South Africa slipped to 44-3.

Du Plessis combined with Stephen Cook (40) in a 51-run stand which ended when Starc had the opener caught behind, having earlier trapped the batsman lbw, only for the replay to show it was a no-ball.

Recalled seamer Jackson Bird got his first wicket when he had Temba Bavuma (8) caught behind before Hazlewood and recalled wicketkeeper Matthew Wade combined to dismiss Quinton de Kock (24) and Vernon Philander (4).

Du Plessis won the toss and decided to bat, chasing a series sweep. He made a memorable test debut at the Adelaide Oval in 2012, scoring 78 in his first innings before batting for the entire last day and facing 378 balls for an unbeaten 110 to salvage a draw.

It has been a tumultuous week for du Plessis, who was fined but avoided a suspension after being found guilty by the International Cricket Council of ball tampering in the second test. He was loudly booed as he strode to the crease on Thursday but settled in quickly and was untroubled as he faced 115 balls ahead of the night session.

Du Plessis admitted having a mint in his mouth when he licked his fingers to shine the ball in Hobart, but disputed the finding against him and said he'd been unfairly cast as a cheat for doing something that cricket teams all over the world have done for years.