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Crisis time for Aussie cricket: Lehmann

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

Coach Darren Lehmann acknowledges Australia are in the midst of a batting crisis, after crashing to 5-18 then being skittled for 85 on a chaotic first day of the second Test against South Africa in Hobart.

South Africa were 5-171 in response at stumps on Saturday, already well placed to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series despite Mitchell Starc starting the final session with three wickets in the space of 10 deliveries.

Australia relived their Trent Bridge nightmare, falling victim to an inspired Vernon Philander to produce the nation's lowest Test total at home since 1984.

Australia unravelled spectacularly after being sent in under overcast skies on a green-tinged Bellerive pitch, as was the case in Nottingham last year when they were bowled out for 60 in the Ashes decider.

An unbeaten captain's knock of 48 from Steve Smith represented more than half of Australia's total.

"When you get bowled out for 85 it probably is (a crisis), isn't it? For us it's a case of getting better. We lost 10-86 in the last Test," Lehmann said.

"When you're playing badly, your're going to cop it ... there's a lot of criticism out there, that's warranted.

"It was a bit of a reminder of Trent Bridge the way it was going around.

"Once we have a collapse we seem to have a big one. Someone needs to stop that rot and have a partnership somewhere."

That's exactly what Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock did for the Proteas, sharing an unbeaten 39-run stand after Starc and Josh Hazlewood reduced the visitors to 5-132.

The hosts have a mountain of work to do on day two, when heavy rain is predicted, as they seek to snap a four-Test losing streak and ease the pressure on Lehmann.

"Four Tests ago we were No.1 but now we're way away from that," Lehmann said.

"It's a great challenge ahead for myself and the coaching group to pull the younger guys through, teach them the game better and improve their techniques."

Philander was on a hat-trick during a near-unplayable opening spell, which featured the scalps of David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Adam Voges. It only ended when he trudged off the field with a shoulder injury after a mid-pitch collision with Smith.

Philander returned to the attack after lunch, dismissing Joe Mennie and Nathan Lyon to finish with figures of 5-21 from 10.1 overs.

Debutant Callum Ferguson, added to Australia's XI at the expense of Mitch Marsh in an effort to shore up their misfiring middle order, was run out for three by substitute fielder Dane Vilas.

"It was a magnificent all-round performance ... I don't think there were a lot of soft dismissals," Philander said.

It was Australia's lowest total in 32 years in a home Test and would have been so much worse if not for Smith.

Smith and Mennie were the only Australians to reach double figures. Australia's top seven batsmen, discounting the top-scorer, contributed just 12 runs.

Smith also managed to temporarily take Philander out of the attack in the 13th over, but with a bump - not his bat.

Philander, who boasted figures of 3-2, turned and appealed animatedly after a delivery struck Smith's pads. The skipper accidentally clashed with the right-armer while taking off for a quick single.

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