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De Villiers scores century as South Africa take control

South African batsman AB de Villiers celebrates after scoring a century against Australia. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

AB de Villiers scored a magnificent unbeaten century to help South Africa gain a 139-run lead over Australia on the third day of their second Test match at St George’s Park.

The right-handed middle order batsman scored 126 not out to power his team to 382 runs in reply to Australia’s first innings score of 243.

Vernon Philander (36) and Keshav Maharaj (30) added 84 for the eighth wicket and 58 for the ninth wicket with de Villiers as South Africa dominated Australia’s bowling.

It was de Villiers’s 22nd Test century and his sixth against Australia. During his 146-ball innings, he hit 20 fours and a six.

In the second innings, Australian batsmen struggled to cope with the pace of South African bowlers, losing three wickets for 86 runs, still 53 runs behind the hosts.

Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada bowled a hostile opening spell during which he made a key breakthrough by dismissing opening batsman David Warner for 13.

Cameron Bancroft was bowled by Lungi Ngidi for 24 while Australian captain Steve Smith was caught behind off left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj for 11.

Australia lead the four-Test series 1-0.