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Sunday, December 02, 2012

South Africa holds whip hand after Australia collapses: T3D2

South Africa 225 & 2/230 (38 ov, Amla 99*; Smith 84) lead Australia 163 (53.1 ov, Wade 68, Steyn 4/40, R Peterson 3/44) by 292runs with 8 second inns wickets in hand.. T3/3 D2/5 at WACA Ground, Perth.

After only two days' play the Test and the series, not to mention the no1 Test nation ranking, have been decided.

South Africa at last played up to their pre-series form with both ball and bat. Australia just fell to pieces, losing 4/12 (including David Warner to a windy woof, Ricky Ponting plumb lbw - confirmed by DRS - and Michael Clarke caught behind) at the start of play to impressively hostile bowling from Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.

From the depths of 6/45 Matthew Wade 68/102 (3x6, 7x4) hit out while Mike Hussey did his (on this occasion below par). best to support him. Wade, John Hastings, a handy 32, and Mitchell Johnson all lent some respectability to Robin Peterson's figures by not choosing the right ball to hit, so the Australian revival was less significant than the South African one had been.

163 was a feeble response and South Africa knew it. Expected consequence: positive batting; unexpected consequences: (1) weak Australian bowling and (2) South African lead of 292 with three days to play.

Take nothing away from Hashim Amla 99*/84b (10x4) and Graeme Smith 84/100b (13x4). They have rubbed salt into the wounds inflicted by their bowlers and turned the match and series on its head.

A black day for Australian cricket.


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