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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Australia can't lose and despite recent precedent South Africa holding out for draw looks unlikelyT3 D4

South Africa 287 & 4/71 (41ov, Amla 41/109b/4x4, deVilliers 16*/100b1x4, Johnson 2/31) need another 440 runs with 6 second inns wkts in hand to defeat Australia 7/494 dec & 5/303 dec (58ov, Warner 145/156b/13x6 4x4' Rogers 39/67b/6x4, Doolan 37/87b/5x4, Smith 36*/20b/5x4, Watson 25/17b/1x6 2x4): T3/3 D4/5 at Newlands, Cape Town.

Australia, powered by another commanding David Warner century, moved rapidly, except for an interlude when Alex Doolan batted at his own, rather than his team's preferred, pace.

 The inevitable declaration didn't come until after lunch, and a run rate still high (despite all 9 fielders on the boundary) leaving South Africa Buckley's chance of victory but a little less time in which to hold out for a draw.

4/71 represents something of a recovery after 3/15 - fiery bowling by Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson was responsible - but in the absence of bad weather (blue skies forecast)  South Africa will need to keep applying themselves as Hashim Amla and AB deVilliers did on a wicket which hasn't 
deteriorated as much as some pundits and windbags have predicted.

Yet Amla is out. DeVilliers is grafting and, despite what the Australians might say publicly, the spectre of 
the last day's  2012 grinding fightback at Adelaide must still hover over,even if not haunt, them. On paper that sort of history shouldn't repeat itself, and I don't believe it will....while conceding that it might.

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