The first game of the Test series was played between hosts Australia and South Africa at the WACA, Perth. It turned out to be yet another memorable win for the visitors as Kagiso Rabada did bring to the table a big performance with the ball to see them win the game by 177 runs.
The visitors elected to bat first on a lively surface and were quickly undone by hosts Australia with pacers making early inroads to see the side reeling at one stage. Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma held their nerve to give spirited performances but South Africa were nonetheless bundled out for 242 runs. Australia made a rampant reply as Warner blazed away with a half-century to leave the side at a commanding position at 105 for no loss at the end of Day 1.
South Africa made a roaring comeback on the second day by restricting the hosts to a score of 244. Warner top-scored for Australia with 97 runs. Philander took four wickets while Rabada and Maharaj chipped in with vital wickets. Dale Steyn trudged off to the pavilion after suffering a severe discomfort in his right shoulder signaling an end to his participation in this Test match.
South Africa came out in the second innings with Cook dismissed early and Hazlewood once again got the better of Hashim Amla to see them 2 down for a score of 45 runs after 20 overs. Dean Elgar and JP Duminy then came on to the crease and put on a match-winning partnership of 250 runs to take South Africa into the box seat at the end of Day 3.
Elgar has turned to be a solid opener, chipping in with crucial runs while Duminy saved his career with a ton after suffering a lean run in the format. Duminy fell to Peter Siddle after edging a wide delivery to Peter Nevill to end his innings of 141 runs off 225 balls. Elgar followed his partner to the pavilion when Hazlewood undid him but only after he had scored 127 runs off 316 balls. South Africa ended the third day with 390 runs for the loss of six wickets with De Kock and Philander at the crease.
The fourth day saw a complete domination by South Africa as they piled on the runs to compound the misery further on the Australian side, setting them a target of 539 runs off 140 overs. Philander and de Kock struck crucial fifties to see South Africa pile on a mammoth score.
Australia started well in their first innings as Warner looked positive from the outset, striking lose balls to the boundary while leaving out good balls. The game turned in the favor of the visitors when Warner chipped a delivery to cover and ran for a quick single only to be undone by a mid-air fielding brilliance from Bavuma, providing glimpse of the Jonty Rhodes run-out effort in the 1992 World Cup.
Shaun Marsh fell for 15 runs after that to see Australia slide to 52 for 2 inside 13 overs. Steve Smith and Usman Khuwaja did put on a 92-run partnership and seemed to be in control of the game when captain Faf du Plessis made a change bringing back fast bowler Rabada into the attack. The move turned to be a masterstroke as Rabada dismissed Australia captain Smith and then Adam Voges to leave Australia in a precarious position going into the final day.
Mitchell Marsh and Mitchell Starc also were out to searing yorkers hurdled at the toes by fast bowler Rabada to see his side inch close to a famous win at Perth. Peter Nevill did offer the way as he showed guts and determination to remain unbeaten for 60 runs while others imploded around him to see Australia get bowled out for 361 overs after 119 overs.
It is a usual situation for Australia as they have gone down in an opening Test of the series in their own backyard but captain Smith will be keen to put the marker down to motivate his side into putting up a better performance as the second Test at Hobart gets underway.