Alex Carey;: Aussie keeper slams maiden Test hundred at the MCG

As soon as Alex Carey crunched the ball through the covers to secure a maiden test century at the MCG his batting partner Cameron Green thrust his arms in the air with excitement.

It was emblematic of many things, including the pure elation at each other’s success this Australian team under captain Pat Cummins continues to display.

But it was also an indication of the continued comfortable dominance of the home team even under distinctly different day three skies as the Aussie batters took the place of the searing sun to apply heat to South Africa in a manner which drew only tepid response from the tourists as a series loss loomed.

A burst of speed from their best bowler Anrich Nortje in the opening 20 minutes of play, during which the home team lost 3-2 including David Warner first ball after returning to the crease with more energy that he left with the day before, was the only reward for their toil on a rampant day for Australia.

Carey’s breakthrough century, out for 111, came as Green made an unbeaten 50 of his own, batting with a broken finger before Mitchell Starc, his middle digit black and blue with tendon damage set to sideline him for a while, also batted then opened the bowling while clearly in pain.

For every bit of fight the Aussies showed the tourists were equally lacklustre. Australia hit five sixes in their monstrous total of 8-575, a third score in excess of 500 in a home summer loaded with runs for everyone.

After Cummins finally declared, baited by the expectant MCG crowd to do so and the lead at 386, his opposite number Dean Elgar had his match quickly ended.

The South African skipper, his team’s most experienced, most important, most resilient batsmen, gloved the third ball he faced down the leg side to Carey who scooped it up to pile a different sort of pain on the visitors.

After 145 overs in the field, Elgar didn’t last two with the bat.

His return for the series is 34 runs in four innings, with three single figure scores. If he can’t muster a challenge, how are his less able teammates expected to.

The sight of South Africa’s number three, Theunis de Bruyn, who averages 19, letting the second ball he faced, which pitched on the stumps, hit him, without any sign of defence, before being dropped at first slip, painted a horrid picture of the clear gulf between the two teams.

When rain hit in the final session, South Africa was 1-15 and to state the obvious, in big trouble.

Going for the kill Starc hit 144khm in his first over despite obvious pain in the dodgy finger so crucial to his bowling.

“He’s had a little bit of a bowl in the last day and a half to make sure he could do it. See how sore he gets,” his wife Alyssa Healy said in commentary.

After 10 balls he grimaced, then after four balls he got a break as rain fell, and the players charged off, Carey’s first break in a day which belonged to him and his team.

Carey became the first Australian keeper since Brad Haddin in 2013 to score a test century, and the seventh gloveman to achieve the feat, coming in his 19th innings, just over 12 months after an impromptu debut brought about by the downfall of Tim Paine who was long criticised for being unable to breach three figures himself after 57 tries.

Having been bowled for 93 in Pakistan in March, it was sweet relief for the former Aussie rules footballer who put away his boots when told by legendary coach Kevin Sheedy his future would be better in whites, despite being good enough to captain the GWS Giants, albeit before their AFL debut.

“I have got tingles all through my body” former coach Justin Langer said in commentary for Channel 7.

“He is one of the really, really good people of Australian cricket and he should be immensely proud of that moment. The reason that you love seeing people like Alex Carey get rewarded, is because he works so hard as well.

“He works hard on his wicket keeping. He works hard on his batting and being the consummate team man. You’re just really happy for people like Alex Carey who achieve these milestones.”

The South Australian smashed 13 boundaries in his innings, his century coming in just 133 balls, as part of a 11-run stand with Green, the young all-rounder’s joy at Carey’s century giving the “feels” the Aussies have delivered at the MCG en route to what looms as another win.

Victory will also end a run of three-straight series victories by South Africa in Australia, series wins achieved by outfits far superior to he one who turned up this time.

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