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South Africa gets pink ball workout in Victoria tour match

Associated Press Associated Press 19/11/2016

MELBOURNE, Australia — South Africa's bowlers and batsmen showed aptitude with the pink ball as it prepared for a day-night test against Australia in a one-day tour match against Victoria on Saturday.

Left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi staked a claim for a test debut, taking 4-72 from 12 overs as South Africa dismissed Victoria for 258 in the floodlit match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Hashim Amla top-scored with 81 as South Africa's batsmen familiarized themselves with pink-ball cricket ahead of their first day-night test in Adelaide on Thursday. The tourists reached 205-4 in their 50 overs.

Opener Dean Elgar made 40 before retiring and Temba Bavuma made an unbeaten 33, though Stephen Cook failed again and was out for 11.

Fast bowler Vernon Philander missed the match as he nursed a sore shoulder, injured in a collision with Australia captain Steve Smith during the second test at Perth.

Shamsi's bowling was the main bright spot for South Africa, whose captain Faf du Plessis is facing a ball-tampering charge arising from the second test.

Test fast bowler Kagiso Rabada took three wickets in an impressive spell of four overs, and Kyle Abbott also produced a strong opening spell of five overs which conceded 12 runs.

Philander's fitness for the third test may be in question because of his shoulder injury. Morne Morkel, who has missed the first two tests because of fitness concerns, was the only South African bowler to have two spells and he finished with no wicket for 42 from nine overs.

Dwaine Pretorius bowled six overs at a cost of 19 runs.

Shamsi is competing with Keshav Maharaj for the spinner's role in the third test, though Maharaj has played well in the test series which South Africa leads 2-0. Maharaj took 1-40 from six overs but Shamsi seemed to cause the batsmen more concern.

He acknowledged speculation that Australian batsman are struggling to read his variations.

"That's a theory going around," he said. "You can't necessarily say it's a given thing, it's not a proven thing.

"But I'm really happy with the way I've gone personally against them. Hopefully it continues."

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