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Australia on top despite collapse

London, Nov 24 (Agencies)
Published on 24 Nov. 2012 10:15 PM IST
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Australia ended the third day of the second Test against South Africa in a familiar position, with the in-form duo of Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey at the crease.

Unlike in recent times, though, the pair had the job of stabilising things rather than making hay, seeing the Baggy Green through to 111 for five at stumps, an overall lead of 273.

Such an advantage could prove to be enough on its own for Australia to take the Test but, having wracked up 550 in their first innings - Clarke making 230 and Hussey 103 - and taken five South African wickets for 17 in the morning session, they will have hoped for better.

The two men currently occupying the crease should be able to push on beyond 300 on Sunday, but captain Clarke will not have been happy at having to head to the middle before the close.

It had looked like being another Australian run fest when they eased out to 77 without loss, but when David Warner (41) found cover off the bowling of Rory Kleinveldt, a mini collapse began.

The luckless Rob Quiney was next in, returning to the pavilion just two balls later with an unwanted pair on debut, getting cramped up by Kleinveldt and edging to AB de Villiers behind the stumps.

Ed Cowan was next man out, with Kleinveldt (three for 14) finding the gap between bat and pad, with Ricky Ponting also having his stumps rearranged by Dale Steyn for 16.

Peter Siddle was sent in as the night watchman but the move backfired as he failed to stick around, nicking Morne Morkel to de Villiers, so Hussey was sent out to accompany Clarke and the pair closed on five and nine respectively.

For a time it had not looked as though Australia would be batting again today as South Africa headed towards the follow-on, only for Jacques Kallis to play through the pain barrier and keep them on an even keel.

After the Proteas lost five for 17 it left Kallis, who limped off the field on day one with a hamstring strain, and Test debutant Faf du Plessis with work to do after lunch to pass the follow-on total of 351.

The pair added 93 for the eighth wicket and when Kallis was out for 58, Du Plessis (78) guided the Proteas to 388 all out, though whether Australia, who took a first-innings lead of of 162, would have made them bat again anyway was a moot point given James Pattinson was absent with a reported side injury.

If yesterday (Friday) was close to perfect for South Africa in Adelaide, today (Saturday) they had just six overs of comfort before it all went wrong.
Nathan Lyon began the collapse as he drew a false shot from Jacques Rudolph (29), who drove straight to Quiney at extra cover.

The big moment came in the next over as Graeme Smith (122) got a faint edge on a Siddle delivery and was caught behind having added just 11 to his overnight score.

Smith was visibly annoyed when the review upheld Billy Bowden’s original decision, but Hot Spot showed contact.
Wickets continued to fall as the excellent Siddle got his second, de Villiers wasting the final review on a plumb LBW, before Ben Hilfenhaus got Steyn to edge to slip and comprehensively bowled the hapless Kleinveldt.

That was the signal for Kallis to emerge and, though he grimaced with pain more than once, he kept Australia out until lunch.
With his footwork hindered, Kallis came out swinging after the break, hitting three consecutive Siddle deliveries for four, albeit with a little luck.

The all-rounder took three more boundaries off another Siddle over, and this time they were all off the meat of the bat, then smashed a four and a six off Clarke to pass 50.
The Australia skipper got his revenge in the next over as Kallis was given out on review, caught behind as the ball ricocheted off his glove as he attempted to sweep.
Du Plessis, who had taken a back seat to Kallis, took a single to reach 50 on debut and drove Siddle for a stunning six over long on.

But Morkel had been bowled round his legs by Lyon by that point and, with Imran Tahir looking unlikely to hang around for long, Du Plessis started to take chances and was caught by Clarke close in on the leg side off Hilfenhaus (three for 49) on the stroke of tea.

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