South Africa continued to pile on the runs on the fourth morning of the first Test in Perth with Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander slamming half-centuries in a 116-run seventh-wicket stand to extend their overall lead to 506 runs. In a session when batting remained just as easy to score on despite the elongation of the cracks on the WACA surface, de Kock and Philander appeared in no hurry as they set about adding to an already substantial lead with their hosts quickly slipping into wait-for-declaration mode.
Australia's best chance in the first session lay in dislodging the overnight pair early to give themselves a go at the tail and a target around 420. But by the first 10 overs, they saw a dropped catch, two decisions overturned against them by DRS and the lead swelling past 430.
Mitchell Starc went around the wicket to de Kock in the hope of landing deliveries on the cracks and getting them to misbehave. Nothing of that worked as the batsmen scored at nearly four runs an over. Josh Hazlewood thought he had de Kock strangled down the leg side only for a review to overturn the decision. A slight feather on the glove gave the left-hander another reprieve against an LBW call against Nathan Lyon that looked fairly adjacent to the stumps. In between, Australia didn't help their cause when Hazlewood dropped Philander on the fine-leg fence.
Peter Siddle continued to operate in the low 130s and was duly slammed for a succession of boundaries by Philander while de Kock took charge against Lyon, slamming the off-spinner for two sixes over long-off. The lead passed 450 and soon after, the duo brought up the 100 of the partnership with Australia resigning to their fate. De Kock, who scored a half-century in the first innings as well, was eventually dismissed for 64 by Mitchell Marsh, but Faf du Plessis and Co. in the dressing room were in no hurry to declare the innings.
Philander reached his fifth Test match half-century, raising his all-round stocks, while Keshav Maharaj swung gleefully at a few deliveries to push the lead past 500. South Africa have enough. In fact they've had enough on the board for a while now, but the absence of Dale Steyn and the workload concerns have forced them into taking a slightly conservative approach. Either way, the declaration should be around the corner now.
Brief Scores: South Africa 242 & 508/7 (JP Duminy 141, Dean Elgar 127; Peter Siddle 2-62, Josh Hazlewood 2-107) lead Australia 244 (David Warner 97, Shaun Marsh 63; Vernon Philander 4-56, Keshav Maharaj 3-56) by 506 runs.