David Warner and Steven Smith scored half-centuries but South Africa bowlers struck at regular intervals to keep Australia in check with a score of 225 for five before bad light brought a premature end to the first day's play in the Durban Test. In the first of the 4-match Test series against Australia, Maharaj got a chance to play his home venue Kingsmead, Durban first time for the Proteas. He ran hard between the wickets, picked off singles and left the ball judiciously.
"We had a good conversation today, we sat upstairs for quite a while and I spoke to him about the way he approaches it", Warner said.
South Africa were just six overs from taking the second new ball, looking to make further inroads into the visitors' batting order, when the umpires consulted their light metres and the batsmen quickly departed.
Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Ishant Sharma took 47 wickets at 20 runs apiece, and very almost cost South Africa the series with the kind of short-pitched barrage more associated with their hosts.
Less than 10 overs later, South Africa had no reviews left after Maharaj ripped his first ball past the inside edge of Warner's bat and into his pad, but again the flight path of the ball was deemed to be missing the stumps.
He batted fluently but watched helplessly as his teammates collapsed.
"I was disappointed to get out after getting a half century, but that's the game, that's what happens, and you've just got to get on with it".
The 25-year-old has failed to reach 30 in his past seven Test digs for Australia, managing a total of 97 runs at 13.85.
"We had him under pressure at times but unfortunately we kept losing wickets so that allowed him to bowl with a bit more freedom", de Villiers said.
South Africa were still 296 runs behind with AB de Villiers 16 not out and captain Faf du Plessis due to come to the wicket for the last session on Friday.
Starc has had a good all-round match to date as his eighth wicket partnership of 49 with Mitchell Marsh was a key contribution as well.
Smith and Shaun Marsh added another 56 runs to the total before Smith was caught by De Villiers at slip off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj for 56, which came off 114 deliveries and included 11 boundaries.
"I sort of batted on middle and leg, and it hit right on the rough, right on the footmark that Vern made".
"He's so focused on his preparation, you can't fault that, it's just not happening out there at the moment", Warner said.
Vernon Philander bowled with excellent control to take two for 36, while left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj took two for 69 in the 24 overs he bowled.