Cummins puts Australia in control as South Africa collapse after tea

South Africa collapsed late on the first day of the third Test, as Pat Cummins helped Australia limit the Proteas to 266-8 despite Dean Elgar's century.

Elgar saw eight partners depart as his unbeaten tally of 121 off 253 balls on Thursday - the 11th ton of his Test career - could not prevent South Africa from letting a commanding position slip.

A dramatic final session saw AB de Villiers, captain Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock go in a brutal spell of bowling from Cummins (4-64), while Mitchell Marsh and Mitchell Starc took care of Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj respectively.

The Proteas were at least able to stretch their first innings into a second day as Elgar closed with Kagiso Rabada (6 not out), featuring after his suspension for a clash with Steve Smith earlier in the series was overturned.

The final couple of hours of play were a far cry from the start of the day as Australia struck only once before lunch, Elgar losing his opening partner for a duck when Aiden Markram edged a probing Josh Hazlewood (2-37) delivery to Smith at second slip.

A steady partnership between Elgar and Hashim Amla (31) was ended shortly after the interval, however, as the latter top-edged to Cummins, hooking a short ball from Hazlewood.

But Australia's big opportunity to remove Elgar before tea was missed on 53 as Nathan Lyon dropped a simple catch, the 30-year-old then hitting a glorious cover drive for four in the first over after the break off Starc, before reaching three figures in style by steering the left-armer wide of mid-on to the boundary.

The runs were starting to flow as De Villiers (64) flicked Hazlewood for four off his hips to reach his half-century and take the Proteas past 200, but the day turned on his wicket.

A Cummins delivery was hit poorly into the air and De Villiers was caught by Warner at mid-off, prompting an unexpected collapse.

Cummins ended the day well on top as Du Plessis (5) and Bavuma (1) both edged to Smith, before De Kock (3) nicked to Tim Paine.

The possibility of the increasingly economical Australia bowlers wrapping up South Africa's innings arose as Philander and Maharaj followed, but Rabada recovered a little momentum before bad light ended play.

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