Test evenly poised at lunch

2011-11-19 12:25

South Africa trotted to lunch at 94/3, 64 runs ahead of Australia on day three of the second Sunfoil test at the Bidvest Wanderers.

South Africa resumed their innings on 0/0 after they faced four balls of the first over before they were pulled off for bad light. Australia was bowled out for 296.

The home side started off brightly and set out to whittle the deficit, which Jacques Rudolph did so with aplomb when he cover drove Pat Cummins for four in the fifth over. Rudolph looked elegant and in good touch, with a silky cover drive off Cummins signifying his class. However, Rudolph gave his wicket away when on 24 when he skied a needless pull shot, which was caught by wicket keeper Brad Haddin.

Rudolph’s wicket did not slow down his opening partner Graeme Smith, who took two consecutive boundaries off Peter Siddle’s bowling. Hashim Amla also showed a few good touches, one being a leg glance off Mitchell Johnson. Smith greeted offspinner Nathan Lyon with a cut through point, but when he tried to repeat the trick four balls later, he was undone by the bounce and looped a gentle catch to Phil Hughes at point, who took it low to his right.

Smith made 36 off 55 balls with six boundaries.

At 75/2, the innings looked a bit shaky and Cummins, who has been impressive on his test debut, trouble South Africa’s premier batsman Jacques Kallis, who made only two runs, beating him regularly outside offstump.

Cummins’ perseverance was rewarded when he got Kallis to fish at one outside offstump, which Kallis guided to Michael Clarke’s hands at first slip.

Cummins continued to trouble the South African batsmen and one of his 140-plus km/h thunderbolts hit AB de Villiers on the foot, which required medical treatment. Amla and de Villiers remained steadfast until the break, leaving the game evenly poised.

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