Australia ready to wrap up the match

2014-02-15 14:35

Australia: 397 and 290/4 declared (Warner 115, Doolan 89, Marsh 44, Steyn 2/61, Duminy 1/12)

South Africa: 206 and 65/3 (Amla 35, Du Plessis 18, Johnson 2/27, Siddle 1/15)

The Mitchell Johnson Show continued on the fourth morning, removing the South African openers as Australia began their march to victory.

They need six more sticks to wrap up the match.

Michael Clarke stole the show with a surprising declaration 17 minutes into the morning’s play with the loss of Shaun Marsh, who did not add to his overnight score.

Marsh gave South Africa a little more than two days to attempt another world record chase.

This one though, unlike the target set by India at the Wanderers in December, has a fresh attack and a team brimming with confidence and momentum.

It was from that momentum that the ultra-quick Johnson snared two key wickets, those of Alviro Petersen (1) and Graeme Smith (4).

The right-handed Petersen, who endured a torrid time in the first innings, seemed to be in no trouble but received a cracker of a delivery that pitched on a fullish length.

All he could do was to get squared up and edge the delivery into Brad Haddin’s waiting gloves.

Smith had a two-ball examination in the first innings, which ended in a horrible attempt to pull/hook/duck from a Johnson short ball.

In the second innings, he got another two-ball examination which was not as testing but long enough for him not to pass.

The first one he edged through the gap between the slip cordon and gully and but the second ball, a full one on his legs, was clipped straight to Alex Doolan at backward short leg.

When your favourite shot gets you out, that is when you know you are not having a good day.

Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla were recipients of unplayable balls in the first innings, which explained their cavalier approach to anything they deemed loose.

Their 37-run partnership for the third wicket should have developed into something bigger until Du Plessis’ dismissal signified why Clarke declared very early. On his home ground, Du Plessis was trapped in front by a Peter Siddle delivery that pitched short on a crack and shot through at shin height.

There was nothing that Du Plessis could have done and it left Australia with only seven more wickets.

It is now a matter of when, not if.

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