How generous will Australia be?

2014-02-15 10:15

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Australia: 397 and 288/3 (Warner 115, Doolan 89, Marsh 44*, Duminy 1/12, Steyn 1/60)

South Africa: 206 (De Villiers 91, Duminy 25, Johnson 7/68, Lyon 2/38)

Australia leads by 479 runs

Australia is not known for being generous. Today, it will not be a case of how many runs South Africa need to win, but how many sessions they will be given in which to save the game.

David Warner’s chain-smoking sixth test century put Australia in a strong position to push for an early declaration on the fourth day, with a massive lead already accrued.

It was compiled off only 118 balls but it was the sort of catalyst the Australians needed in their push for a win. With a first-innings lead of 191, they were always in the pound seats but some generous fielding and loose bowling ensured the lead was past the highest successful fourth-innings run chase in test history.

Unlike the Wanderers test against India, where the Proteas reined the visitors in on the fourth day, Australia milked runs with ease and the hosts must steady themselves for an improbable run chase.

Unlike India, Australia have a fresh bowling attack that only went through 68 overs of work and with the pitch showing signs of dubious bounce, batting last, something that has never been easy, will become more difficult.

As things stand, only two results are possible: A first Australian win; and a draw, which is not a common occurrence at this ground.

The groundwork was laid by a superb 205 run second wicket partnership between Warner and debutant Alex Doolan. Warner muscled his way through the forlorn bowling while Doolan glided to a test best 89.

Both were out to spin, with Warner caught by Graeme Smith at first slip off Robin Peterson while Doolan was taken care of by JP Duminy, with AB de Villiers completing the smart glove work.

Those sticky hands were missing early in the day when Warner was dropped three times on 26, 27 and 51.

Being a second-innings specialist, Warner needed no invitation to make his luck count. Brave teams in sport are more often than not rewarded.

» Plays of day three:

Moving along swiftly

SuperSport Park still has another international to host before the end of the season. Announcing it while another one is in progress surely is a sign of submission.

Well, that’s what the stadium announcer did in talking about the next match, which will be a T20 game next month. The white flag was raised before the game was up.


On his way to a lucky but well-played century, Warner only hit two sixes, which is modest by his standards. One of those was a straight-driven six off the hapless Ryan McLaren.

The ball went so high, even the tall McLaren had the chance to crane his neck and judge how high it went. It was an effortless beauty.


Of the four sixes that were hit, two were caught by the crowd. One of them, hit by De Villiers off Nathan Lyon, sailed into the stand and after two rebounds the ball was caught by a rather surprised spectator who showed good reflexes.

However, when trying to throw the ball back onto the field, her effort only went four rows and straight into the head of another supporter. Fortunately, it was not as bad as Mitchell Johnson’s thunderbolts.

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