South Africa closing in on historic home-series win against Australia and other talking points from Johannesburg

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The hosts are in a commanding position to push for the win.

South Africa are a step closer to winning the four-match series against Australia after another fruitful day at the office in the final Test at Johannesburg.

The hosts wrapped up the Australian first innings for 221 runs on Sunday before ending the day at 134-3. With this, their second innings lead increased to a mammoth 401 runs.

Here, we look at the key talking points from the third day of the final Test between the two sides.

PAINE AND CUMMINS LEAD AUSSIE FIGHTBACK

Coming into bat at 110-6 on the third day, the writing was on the wall for Australia. However, they didn’t give up without a fight as Tim Paine and Pat Cummins made some valuable contributions down the order.

The pair shared a 99-run stand for seventh wicket to frustrate the Proteas bowlers for long periods. Cummins eventually registered his maiden Test fifty after taking only his second five-wicket haul in the first innings. Australia skipper Paine, meanwhile, was hit on his thumb towards the end of play on the second day but he soldiered on despite a hairline fracture to notch up his fourth Test fifty.

The wicket-keeper batsman was the last Aussie batsman dismissed ultimately but not before he had brought down the deficit to 267 runs.

MORKEL BREAKS DOWN IN FAREWELL TEST

It was an unfortunate day for Proteas veteran pacer Morne Morkel who is playing in his final Test for South Africa before he hangs up his international cricket boots. After the high of completing 300 Test dismissals in the third Test, there was agony for Morkel at Johannesburg as he suffered a side-strain mid-over 40 minutes before lunch.

The 33-year-old left the field for some medical attention before returning to the field. He however, did not bowl any more overs and his injury was the main reason why Faf du Plessis opted not to enforce the follow-on after garnering a 267-run lead. Morkel was seen attempting to bowl in the nets during the lunch session and it remains to be seen if he will be able to bowl in the second innings of his swansong.

MARKRAM TOUCHES 1000

If this series has given us anything apart from the controversies, it is rise of Aiden Markram. Having registered his second hundred in the series in the first innings, the 23-year-old continued from where he left as he started with positive intent.

As he scored the 37th run of his innings, Markram became the second fastest South African batsman to reach 1000 runs in Test cricket. It took Markram 18 innings to reach the mark, one more than former Proteas skipper Graeme Smith.

Scoring 1000 Test runs on your debut season is no mean feat, especially since it has been achieved by only one batsman previously – Australian great Michael Hussey in 2005-06.

PROTEAS WITHIN TOUCHING DISTANCE OF HISTORIC WIN

With a huge lead at their disposal and two full days of cricket left in the Test, it will take a miracle for Australia to avoid defeat. That means for the first time since their readmission, South Africa are on the verge of a home series win against the Aussies.

Since 1994, Australia have won five Test series in South Africa and have drawn two. That Aussie stranglehold over the Proteas looks set to end.

The hosts are within touching distance of creating history now.

South Africa are on the verge of a series win.

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