The Sunday Leader

Smith, Amla leave Proteas in firm control of test

  • Australia vs South Africa Third Test – Perth

After paceman Dale Steyn had destroyed Australia’s batting ,Graeme Smith and HashimAmla ensured the Proteas consolidated and then took firm control of the third and deciding Test against Australia in Perth.

Smith (84) and Amla (99 not out) put on 178 for the second wicket as the tourists plundered 206 runs in the final session and at stumps on the second day they had reached  230 for two, an overall lead of 292.

Their riotous session overshadowed the grand farewell of Australian batsman Ricky Ponting, although the retiring Tasmanian will probably be glad of that.

He contributed just four to a first-innings total of 163 all out which left South Africa in credit before they even started their second innings.

It was their rousing bowling performance that gave them the platform, on a morning when fans had flocked to the WACA in anticipation of one last masterclass from the departing Ponting, but instead it was the Proteas attack who grabbed the limelight as they took eight wickets for 130.

The Chief destroyer was Steyn who broke the back of the Australian batting with a fine exhibition of fast bowling at its hostile best to return figures of four for 40.

Australia, who need to win to return to top spot in the ICC rankings, would have been in more trouble had wicketkeeper Matthew Wade not made a fluent 68.

The hosts resumed on 33 for two in the morning session but David Warner fell to the first ball of the second over, aiming a swipe at Dale Steyn’sloosener to feed AB de Villiers a catch.

That brought Ponting to the crease to a rousing ovation and the clapping had scarcely abated when he scooped his first ball just short of mid-wicket.

A nervy single got him going but nightwatchman Lyon was gone inside the same over, Steyn and Faf Du Plessis combining for the wicket.

Vernon Philander then played the role of party pooper, Ponting tucking bat behind pad before being struck on the knee-roll after some late inswing.

AsadRauf raised the finger and Ponting’s unsuccessful use of DRS screamed of hope rather than judgement.

Australia were desperate to take the sting out of the situation but instead things went from bad to worse as in-form skipper Michael Clarke (five) was undone by another brute of a ball from Steyn.

That left Clarke’s side reeling at 45 for six and Wade decided to launch the counter-attack.

He hooked Philander for six and then nicked him through an empty third slip for four and from there was looking to score from most balls.

A second six followed off Robin Peterson and he found the boundary again with a couple of cross-bat shots.

Michael Hussey made 12 in 40 balls before edging MorneMorkel to Graeme Smith at slip, but Wade continued unabashed, bringing up his half-century with a third maximum off Peterson.

Wade went into his shell somewhat after lunch and was eventually bowled by the left-arm spin of Peterson for 68.

That exposed the tail but John Hastings struck three fours in a row off Peterson to offer hope.

Peterson had more luck against Mitchell Johnson, who he bowled for seven, and Hastings was last out for 32 when Alviro Petersen took a smart catch in two movements at long-off.

 

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