After winning the toss and batting, South Africa captain and opener Graeme Smith looked comfortable from the outset, picking off Aussie openers Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson.
But when he was dismissed LBW on referral by Pattinson for 10, the much-hyped match was evenly poised. It peaked there for Michael Clarke’s Australians.
The Aussies will rue some missed opportunities, namely Peter Siddle dropping a caught and bowled chance from Amla on 74. Toiler Siddle also had Kallis caught at mid-off, but the third umpire found it was a no ball.
Opener Alviro Petersen made a solid 64 on a good batting wicket before he was caught at mid-on from an unremarkable Nathan Lyon delivery.
The pick of the Australian bowlers, Pattinson, told news.com.au his team’s keeping a positive mindset after the worst possible start to the three Test series against the world number ones.
“If we get some early wickets you never know and this wicket is pretty slow and good for batting,” he said.
“If we get them out for under 400 then we can definitely put pressure on them and hopefully get close to their total.”
The only upsides for Australia is the unfortunate injury to JP Duminy, who was carried off the Gabba and rushed to hospital after a post-play workout and the fact that rain is threatening to disrupt day two.
South Africa has gone with four seamers, leaving leg-spinner Imran Tahir out of the eleven. Aussie off-spinner Lyon, who was picked ahead of in-form leftie Mitchell Starc, was Australia’s most expensive bowler.
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