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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Smith's century leads South African fightback, but is it enough?: First Test Day 4

Australia 375 and 319 ( B Haddin 94, J Kallis 3/24, P Harris 3/85) v South Africa 281 and 3/227 (G Smith 108. H Amla 53). South Africa need anotehr 187 runs with 7 wickets in hand: First Test Day 4 at Perth.

A fascinating day's play. Brad Haddin's ebullient 94/136b, 7x4, 4x6 seemed to put the match well beyond South Africa's reach, yet Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla added 153 for the 2nd wicket to put their team back into contention. Smith's injured elbow seemed to impede his movements a little at times but also reinforced his resolve. His 108/147b, 13x4 was the almost perfect captain's response to the situation. It fell short of complete perfection because the situation of the game, and the fact that his team have only five (maybe Mark Boucher would make a sixth) proven performers with the bat, meant that he should have made at least 150.

Hashim Amla's 53/112b, 6x4 provided valuable support but again could have been more given that he had played himself in. This is not to discount the impressive bowling of Mitchell Johnson (again) and Brett Lee in the final session. When Peter Siddle and Jason Krezja replaced them the pressure eased and, as Jacques Kallis went after them in the final overs and some Australian shoulders drooped (and hands fumbled, the huge total once again looked gettable.

Tomorrow should be another fascinating day, but I'd expect Australia, provided they keep their heads, to work their way through the Proteas. If I'm wrong I'll donate $A100 to charity (I may also do so if I'm right).

Scorecard
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