Proteas put up brave fight

2014-03-05 16:01

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Australia: 494/7 declared and 303/5 declared (Warner 145 Rogers 39, Doolan 37, Smith 36*, Abbott 3/61, Morkel 1/67)

South Africa: 287 and 201/7 (Du Plessis 47, De Villiers 43, Amla 41, Harris 2/24, Pattinson 2/32, Johnson 2/72)

South Africa needs 310 runs to win

Australia needs three more wickets to win the third test and they have 33 overs in which to administer the last rites.

The resistance from South Africa was admirable and stoic, but with the day five pitch surface finally showing signs of misbehaviour, the end has to be closer than ever.

The team has fought hard throughout the last day, but it remains to be seen whether they can box until the close of play. Australia went in for the kill after the fall of Faf du Plessis so close to the end of the session.

Steve Smith often serves up a mixed bag of deliveries, but those kinds of bowlers are bound to pick up wickets at crucial intervals and when least expected. Smith got rid of the obdurate Du Plessis, trapping him in front with a well flighted leg-spinner. Du Plessis had been able to ward off everything that Australia threw at him, but there was always that one delivery that was going to have his name on it. It swung the game irrevocably in Australia’s favour. His 157-minute vigil saw him battle 109 balls and he even had the chance of scoring five boundaries.

AB de Villiers was Du Plessis’ partner in crime in Adelaide, but he could not reprise his heroics today, edging the tireless Ryan Harris to Brad Haddin. He was dismissed with the new ball only four overs old and the portents were ripe for a collapse, especially after De Villiers’ 326-minute innings ate away at the Australian psyche. They were rejuvenated after breaking the stand, but JP Duminy and Du Plessis put up more resistance. More will be needed from Vernon Philander and the rest of the tail, but it can only be a matter of time, even though stranger things have happened.

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