South Africa reaches 89-3 in 1st session, day-night test

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) Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood exploited the pink ball's early swing and the pitch's green tinge and combined to take three wickets in a confident start for Australia's new-look team in the day-night third test against South Africa.

Chasing a series sweep after victories in Perth and Hobart by 177 runs and by an innings and 80 runs, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis won the toss Thursday and elected to bat in his country's first test in the day-night format.

Australia was dominant in the first 15 overs before du Plessis (26 not out) joined opener Stephen Cook (40 not out) in an unbroken 45-run stand to lift South Africa from 44-3 to 89-3 by the end of the first session.

Australia made five changes to the lineup which surrendered the series in Hobart last week, bringing in three uncapped batsmen in the top six.

But after losing the toss, it was up to the experienced new-ball pair of Starc and Hazlewood to make inroads for the hosts.

Starc trapped Cook lbw in the third over, when the opener was hit plumb in front and walked toward the pavilion, but the decision was overturned when TV replays showed the Australian bowler had delivered a front-foot no-ball.

Cook was edgy, but faced 84 balls and survived while three of his top-order partners were each out for five.

Starc (1-24) had Dean Elgar edging to Usman Khawaja at the third slip with the total at 12.

Hazlewood (2-19) broke through on either side of the first drinks break when he had Hashim Amla well caught by 20-year-old rookie Matt Renshaw, low to his right at first slip, and J.P. Duminy inside edging to recalled wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.

Du Plessis, who was fined but avoided a suspension after being found guilty this week by the International Cricket Council of ball tampering in the second test, was loudly booed as he strode to the crease but settled in quickly.

He 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.

South Africa is demanding clarity in the rules.

The first ever day-night test was played at the Adelaide Oval a year ago, with Australia winning a low-scoring match against New Zealand.