Skipper Paine plays down broken thumb woes

Warner and Smith. Pic Getty

With so much time left in the Test, a declaration at that point would make South Africa heavy favourites.

Tim Paine's broken thumb has added injury to Australian cricket's indignity, with the courageous captain hurting the same right hand that once threatened to end his career.

Captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft were all sent home from the tour and banned long-term for their roles in a plan to cheat in the last game in Cape Town. Australia are still in a desperate situation, with South Africa going into the fourth day leading by 401 runs with seven wickets in hand.

Tasked with putting the shattered morale of the team back together, he led from the front, combining with Cummins for a 99-run partnership at the start of Sunday after Australia was in danger of collapsing at 96-6 on day two.

In the 98th over of South Africa's innings, Paine copped a blow to his thumb while keeping up to the stumps to Chadd Sayers.

Paine was last man out to a running, diving catch by Elgar, which gave the innings a gripping finish.

Cummins made 50 and also removed Aiden Markram and AB de Villiers early in South Africa's second innings for his sixth and seventh wickets of the game.

Manchester United vs Swansea City
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was full of praise for the way his players conducted themselves in the first half. He is the 28th player to reach three figures for goals in the Premier League and the first player from Belgium to do so.

Sadly the fallout from the scandal has taken the shine off of the entire series and could mean the fourth Test may be as dour an affair as what unfolded during play on day four.

South Africa's frustrating morning was compounded when seamer Morne Morkel, playing in his final test before retirement from global cricket, was forced from the field with a left side strain that leaves his further participation in the test in doubt.

But after being strapped up, Morkel bowled a few gentle deliveries to coach Ottis Gibson during the lunch break and took the field with the rest of the team after the interval, giving hope that he may be able to bowl in the second innings, even if not at full pace.

A South African team spokesman said the injury was in the same area that he damaged in a Test against Bangladesh in October, keeping him out of action for two months.

When du Plessis was hit and reeled away, dropping his bat, Paine came over and appeared to show some concern for his opposite number.

"One of the reasons he found his way into the Test team was because he's a bit of an old-fashioned cricketer.an old-world thinker, more of a level head".

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