Match reports

Australia v South Africa, 2016-17

Wisden's review of the first Test, Australia v South Africa, 2016-17

Faf du Plessis kisses Kagiso Rabada after the bowler took his fifth wicket, Australia v South Africa, 1st Test, Perth, 5th day, November 7, 2016

Faf du Plessis kisses Kagiso Rabada after the bowler took his fifth wicket  •  Cricket Australia/Getty Images

At Perth, November 3-7, 2016. South Africa won by 177 runs. Toss: South Africa. Test debut: K. A. Maharaj.
South Africa emerged from various points of apparent hopelessness with a famous victory, their third in a row at the WACA. Australia, on the other hand, lost the opening Test of a home summer for the first time since November 1988, when West Indies won in Brisbane. After choosing to bat, South Africa had crashed to 32 for four before recovering somewhat to 242. That still looked below par, especially once Australia galloped to 158 without loss an hour into the second day.
But a bowling (and fielding) fightback brought about a stunning collapse: in 35 overs, all ten went down for 86. From then on, South Africa were not just in the contest - they dominated it. Perhaps the most extraordinary detail was that nine of the wickets fell after Steyn - who had dismissed Warner for 97 - had left the field (and the tour) with a broken bone in his shoulder. But the game was sealed by Elgar and Duminy, who both made their fifth Test century during a third-wicket stand of 250, and were not separated until the 95th over of South Africa's second innings. De Kock - especially brutal on Lyon - and Philander added lively fifties, then the debutant Keshav Maharaj flogged three sixes. With a lead of 538, du Plessis called a halt. Australia needed to bat at least 140 overs against an attack containing just two frontline seamers and a tyro spinner. They did not come close.
The end could hardly have been more different from the beginning. Starc had removed Cook in the game's first over, then Hazlewood and Siddle found another three edges in quick succession. Du Plessis briefly fought back, and Bavuma and de Kock put on 71 before Shaun Marsh's outrageous short-leg catch accounted for Bavuma. But de Kock counter-attacked with glorious disregard for the situation, as the last five wickets all but tripled the score.
South Africa's recovery gave them a glimmer. But that faded as Warner got stuck in, sprinting to 73 out of 105 by the close. He and Shaun Marsh extended their stand next morning, before Warner - who had converted all 16 of his previous Test nineties into hundreds - sent an edge flying to Amla in the slips. Then everything changed. After Steyn moped off, clutching his shoulder following a seemingly routine delivery, Khawaja was yorked by Rabada, and Smith given out lbw fourth ball by Aleem Dar, despite charging two metres down the track. Smith made no attempt to hide his disgust, and immediately reviewed, but the ball-tracker predicted a kiss on leg stump - either a dubious decision or a brilliant one. Regardless, it was a distinguished maiden Test wicket for slow left-armer Maharaj. Philander finally trapped Shaun Marsh for a gravelly 63, and brother Mitchell followed in his next over.
Philander found some testing reverse swing, while Maharaj unveiled impressive control and flight. After losing six wickets in the session, Australia were all out at tea on the second day, just two ahead. South Africa soon lost Cook, flicking to short midwicket, and Amla, cleaned up by a wonderful off-cutter from Hazlewood. But the damage was repaired in contrasting fashion by the third-wicket pair. Elgar, the workman, was content occasionally to lean on his shovel and watch Duminy, the craftsman, caress cover-drives. Elgar relied on clips and nudges against the quicks, but more expansive options against Lyon, who finished with none for 146; only Shane Warne and (in his only Test) Bryce McGain had endured worse wicketless figures for Australia.
After the lead swelled past 500, Cook and Bavuma volunteered their modest part-time seamers to aid the three-man attack, but it was Bavuma the fielder who manufactured the first breakthrough. Warner had pushed Rabada into the covers and set off for a single, but the diminutive Bavuma was already at full speed as the batsmen set off. Seven paces later he picked the ball up and - in mid-air, his feet higher than his head - threw the stumps down. It took less than two seconds, too quick for anyone to register what had happened.
There were no celebrations: only when his team-mates - and the shell-shocked Warner - saw the big screen did it begin to sink in. It was fielding genius. Shaun Marsh edged a Rabada snorter to slip four balls later, but South Africa then had to wait more than 30 overs, before Smith and Voges - after a high-class working-over from Rabada - edged behind. With Khawaja and Nevill standing firm, Australia had faint hopes of a draw. As lunch on the final day hove into view, and with Rabada and Philander approaching exhaustion but still required for the second new ball, du Plessis turned to Bavuma's extremely gentle medium-pacers for the 74th over. His first delivery was innocuous but straight - until it landed on a crack and deviated devilishly to trap Khawaja, on 84, in front: plumb, but also a no-ball.
However, South Africa were not to be denied. Three overs later, Duminy whipped a quicker one past Khawaja's defence. And Rabada completed a magnificent five-for with another lbw against Starc. Even so, it was still hard going for the exhausted bowlers, and du Plessis delayed taking the new ball until the 92nd over. Philander struck immediately - but Nevill and Hazlewood then put on 65, before Bavuma finally managed his moment of bowling glory, a leading edge popping up to cover. Australia's first defeat in 19 home Tests was completed before a delayed tea, when Lyon became the fifth leg-before victim of the innings.
Man of the Match: K. Rabada