Australia make Proteas bowlers sweat

2014-02-23 15:37

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South Africa: 423 and 270/5 declared (Amla 127*, De Kock 34, De Villiers 29, Johnson 2/51, Siddle 2/89)

Australia: 246 and 141/1 (Rogers 69*, Warner 66)

Australia needs 307 to win

Australia dominated the afternoon session, losing only one wicket as they went about their chase of 448 in confident fashion.

David Warner was the man to go, trapped in front by a JP Duminy arm-ball, playing an unconfident stroke.

Before that, everything else about Australia’s chase was positive. They went after everything that was loose, including an over from Morne Morkel that went for four consecutive boundaries.

It was a statement of intent against their biggest threat. Morkel has been South Africa’s best bowler of the series.

However, a big opportunity was missed when Graeme Smith chose not to review what seemed like an edge from Chris Rogers. Snicko and Hawkeye showed clear edges.

For the best part of the session, the openers motored at 5 runs to the over. The Proteas were unable to put up sustained periods of pressure against batsmen who often leave their best for the fourth innings.

Warner averages 49 in the heat of the chase and was well on course to compiling his seventh test hundred. His charmed life continued when he was dropped on 36 by JP Duminy. It was a tough return chance but in a game as evenly poised as this one, every opportunity has to be taken.

Should the deficit drop to under 200 by the end of the day, Australia will definitely be in the driving seat.

They have been given an excellent start by their openers, whose 126-run stand has given them the best possible opportunity to climb the world record summit.

While there are clouds on the east side of the ground, the rain seems like it will stay way. With the Proteas' bowling as quiet and distant as the clouds, something will have to give in the final session. Whoever takes that session will probably with the game.

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