Cape Town, Mar 22 (AFP) Dean Elgar and AB de Villiers scored freely as they lifted the tempo of South Africa’s innings on the first day of the third Test against Australia at Newlands today.

South Africa were 175 for two at tea after winning the toss and choosing to bat on the best batting pitch of any of the Tests South Africa have hosted against India and Australia this season.

Opening batsman Elgar was unbeaten on 91 while De Villiers had scored 46 not out.

Elgar and Hashim Amla (31) stabilised the innings with a second wicket partnership of 86 off 174 balls after Josh Hazlewood had Aiden Markram caught at second slip for nought.

Hazlewood struck again when Amla was caught at fine leg soon after lunch. Hazlewood was Australia’s only successful bowler, taking two for 23. He also had Elgar dropped at backward point by Nathan Lyon when the batsman was on 53 and four runs later hit Elgar on the helmet during a sustained spell of fast, short-pitched bowling.

De Villiers, the leading batsman in the series, looked comfortable from the start and Elgar batted with increasing fluency as the pair added an unbeaten 93 off 137 balls for the third wicket. South Africa scored 110 runs in 27 overs between lunch and tea.

When he was on 61, Elgar became the 13th South African to score 3,000 Test runs. (AFP) ATK ATK

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.