SA need 4, Oz needs 88

2011-11-21 14:24

One thing is certain, there will be a winner on day five of the second Sunfoil Test at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium unless the weather has a say.

Australia went to tea at 222/6, needing a further 88 runs to win the game and square the two-match series. In a series that has once seen 23 wickets fall in one day and collapses by both sides from strong positions, nothing can be taken for granted.

With the first session washed out, Australia lost a probable 30 overs in which they would have been able to whittle down the target.

The South African bowlers kept tight lines and lengths, making scoring difficult for Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.  The visitors were pegged back further when Clarke shouldered arms to a Vernon Philander in-ducker to leave the score at 146/4.

Aided by the cloudy overhead conditions, Dale Steyn and Philander swung the ball prodigiously and for a moment it seemed the pair had the ball on a string.

Change bowlers Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis did not allow the Aussie batsmen any respite as they continued with their tight lines.

Morkel was eventually rewarded for his persistence when he had the under-pressure Ponting, on 62, cut a short and wide delivery to Jacques Rudolph at second slip, who took a sharp catch.

At 165/5 and with two batsmen in Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin who were not in prime form at the crease, it seemed the home side were going for the jugular.

However, the pair combined for a 50-run partnership dominated by aggressive running between the wickets. South Africa’s relentless accuracy ensured there were only five boundaries scored in the whole session.

The stand was eventually terminated by Philander, who trapped Hussey in front. Originally given out by umpire Billy Bowden, Hussey reviewed the decision in desperation, but was upheld after the replays showed that the ball pitched on leg-stump and was going to hit the timber.

Haddin and Mitchell Johnson ensured there would be no further scares and took the game into final session of an exhilarating test match and series. 

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