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AB de Villiers ruled out of early return

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016 By Justin Chadwick

South Africa coach Russell Domingo has ruled out the prospect of skipper AB de Villiers making a surprise return during the three-Test series against Australia.

De Villiers is sidelined with an elbow injury, but was hopeful of being fit to return for the day-night Test at Adelaide Oval, starting on November 24.

But Domingo laughed off talk de Villiers would make a late dash to return in time for the third Test.

"No, I doubt it," Domingo said.

"He's been caddying for a mate at a golf tournament. So I don't think he's going to be fit for Adelaide to be honest."

De Villiers' absence was hardly felt as South Africa posted a crushing 177-run win over Australia in the first Test at the WACA Ground.

Dean Elgar and JP Duminy scored centuries in South Africa's second innings, while wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock posted scores of 84 and 64 in his two knocks.

And the captaincy of Faf du Plessis was also first class, with the 32-year-old playing his cards perfectly following the loss of star paceman Dale Steyn to a broken shoulder.

South Africa appeared dead and buried after Australia raced to 0-158 in reply to the Proteas' 242.

The loss of Steyn early on day two dealt South Africa's victory hopes a further blow.

But the Proteas fought back in stunning fashion, skittling Australia for 244 before piling on 8(dec)-540.

Domingo's tenure as coach had come under heavy criticism earlier this year following the team's lean run in the Test arena.

But a recent 5-0 whitewash of Australia in a ODI series, combined with the series-opening Test win in Perth, has given Domingo a new lease of life.

Domingo said his team's win at the WACA Ground was among the best he's been involved in during his three years at the helm.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's the best four days of Test cricket I've seen as coach of the side - after day one," Domingo said.

"To have only two (pace) bowlers; a debutant spinner; a middle order where a lot of questions were being asked of JP Duminy by the media and the public.

"We never doubted it, but there was a lot of pressure on the side."

Domingo said Morne Morkel and Kyle Abbott were the leading contenders to replace Steyn for the second Test in Hobart, starting on Saturday.

South Africa have never played a Test in Hobart, but Domingo has some idea of what to expect.

"I've heard it's cold. I've heard the wickets are a bit NZ like - a bit slower," he said.

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