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Saturday, December 27, 2008

South Africa stumble: Second Test Day 2

South Africa 7/198 (G Smith 62, P Siddle 3/24) trail Australia 394 ( Ponting 101, M Clarke 88 no, S Katich 54, D Steyn 5/87) by 198 runs with 3 wickets in hand: Second Test Day 2 at Melbourne Cricket Ground

Australia's last 4 wickets added 117 to take them to 394 all out which looked to be reasonable in the circumstances. Michael Clarke was much more assertive than yesterday, adding 52/51b to finish with 88no/208 b ((4x4, 1x6). Dale Steyn was the best of the South African attack, finishing with 5/87 from 29 overs.

The South Africa innings was held together by Graeme Smith's 62/113b (6x4) as his top order teammates, Jean-Paul Duminy ( a determined 34 no) excepted, failed to live up to expectations and reputations. The Australian attack was, unlike the second innings at Perth, consistently probing and was rewarded for some intelligent bowling. Peter Siddle, on his home ground, was two or three notches above his Perth standard. He certainly justified his selection to the doubters, of whom I was one.

Australia are clearly on top at present; South Africa's resilience, so amply demonstrated in Perth, will tested again tomorrow...and beyond.
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