Monday, November 26, 2012
Australia on course to go one up T2D4
South Africa 388 & 4/77 (50 ov) need 353 runs with six 2nd innings wickets in hand to defeat Australia 550 & 8/267 dec (Hussey 54, Warner 41, Morkel 3/50, Kleinveldt 3/65): T2/3 D4/5 at Adelaide Oval.
South Africa did enough to make the match go into the final day when, with six wickets in hand and 353 runs to get, they'll require a superhuman effort (and perhaps a little assistance from the weather) to hang on for a draw against a tight Australian attack.
Once Michael Clarke 38/61b (1x6, 3x4) and Mike Hussey 54/95b (7x4) had kept the Proteas attack at bay and taken the lead .beyond 300, Australia looked pretty safe.Further runs from the tail enabled Clarke to declare with a lead of 430.
The wicket was still playing reasonably well for an Adelaide fourth day one, yet even with James Pattinson unable to bowl (for the rest of the Test season we are told) 430 looked beyond South Africa. Only a big innings or two from Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and, perhaps, AB deVilliers, with some lower order support from the injured Jacques Kallis and the others, would give them a very slim chance of victory.
As it turned out both Smith and Amla fell cheaply, as did Alviro Petersen and Jacques Rudolph. At 4/45 de Villiers and Faf du Plessis dug in, adding 32 from the day's last 29 overs. They took no risks whatsoever and, it must be said blunted, the hitherto sharp edge of the Australian bowling. Whether they'll be able to keep this up for another day looks highly unlikely...but South Africa have done unlikely things against Australia before.