AB stars, South Africa claim 139-run lead

Hashim Amla 56 South Africa Australia 2nd Test Day 2 Port Elizabeth cricket

Still, South Africa's last three wickets had added 155 runs in partnership with De Villiers, tilting a see-saw Test firmly in favour of the hosts.

De Villiers (126 n o, 146b, 20×4, 1×6) made a magnificent century and had good support from the tail as South Africa took a first innings lead of 139, scoring freely before they were all out for 382 shortly before the scheduled lunch break.

While the Proteas will plead that there was no deliberate contact between Rabada and Smith, with their shirts barely rubbing together, the fast bowler's cause will not be helped by his celebration on Sunday after he bowled Warner, the protagonist in the ugly scenes from the first Test in Durban, with a superb delivery that started by angling away from the left-hander, before straightening to bowl him through the gate.

Rabada missed a Test against England previous year because of a send-off, while pace icon Michael Holding has already warned him he must take control of his emotions.

It was de Villiers' first test century since January 2015 having taken almost two years out of test cricket in an effort to refresh himself and prolong his career.

Having most likely copped all kinds of abuse from the Australians during his near four-hour stint at the crease, one retort from de Kock was enough for Warner and his teammates to insist that the little wicketkeeper had "crossed the line".

The major problem for South Africa is that Rabada, the team's No. 1 strike bowler, may be banned for those decisive last two games after he was charged with misconduct for bumping into Australia captain Steve Smith after getting him out in the first innings.

Dean Elgar 57 South Africa Australia 2nd Test Day 2 Port Elizabeth cricket
Dean Elgar made his 11th half-century in Test cricket

Rabada had earlier courted more trouble ahead of a hearing on Sunday night (Monday morning AEDT) that was set to nearly certainly confirm his suspension for the rest of the series.

That left South Africa with a target of only 101 to win the second test and level the series with matches to come in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

"I won't say we're frustrated (with him)", he said.

Quinton de Kock fell victim to a sensational delivery from Nathan Lyon that turned sharply and reared off the deck, beating the outside edge and kissing the top of off stump.

"It felt like we were embarrassed in a way on our home soil, so we felt like it was time for us to really get up for it and turn it around".

"Rabada's excessive send-offs of Smith and Warner were two more on a list of contentious moments in an ill-tempered series so far".

Cricket is a competitive game, and sledging will naturally occur when two sides are going at it, especially when two sides as competitive as Australia and South Africa are involved. I was quite nervous, I haven't been in this position for a while and it means the world to me. As a fast bowler, you want to prove things to people and show everyone that you belong on this stage. "But I told myself that it wasn't about myself, it was about doing it for the team, and that helped, although it was still very hard after not scoring a hundred for three years", De Villiers said. I told Vern I was struggling to breathe and my legs went numb.

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