Mitchell Marsh scored a timely 96 to help Australia post a score of 351 /10 in their first innings on Day 2. This means that South Africa trail by 189 runs in their second innings having scored just 162 in their first innings in a horrific batting display.
The 26-year-old dug Australia out of a hole and his brilliant 96 spearheaded the tourists into a strong position, considerably strengthened with a blistering bowling display in the backend of the day. The Western Australian captain fell just short of his first overseas ton but it was undoubtedly a memorable knock for Marsh.
"It was an important innings and I was proud how I was able to bat with the tail," Marsh told reporters after the second day's play.
"I have worked extremely hard on my defence and keeping the good balls out," Marsh said. That's given me a lot more confidence to be patient. I used to be quite intense at the crease every ball, it wears you out. I try to keep my mind clear and it seems to have helped me" explaining his 173 ball long stay at the innings.
With a century in sight, needing just one lusty blow, Marsh lost patience for the first time when he holed out to Vernon Philander to fall agonizingly short of a deserved ton. It was an impetuous moment that brought about his first false stroke but Marsh importantly guided Australia to what has proved to be an imposing total after South Africa crumbled in reply.
Marsh paid tribute to Starc and Lyon after the pair claimed eight wickets between them. "His (Lyon) last 12 months has been amazing and you know he is always going to have an impact in the game," he said. "When you are bowling at (Starc's) pace, it's almost impossible to play (reverse swing).