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Level pegging
17 Dec 2005
By: Archie Mac


Australia and South Africa finished the second day of the first Test with scores level. Australia had lost one wicket in their second innings, that of Matthew Hayden, who was caught at the wicket from the bowling of Charl Langeveldt for 20. Brett Lee was sent in as a nightwatchman to face the rest of the over, and successfully played out the last four balls of the day. Australia finished 38/1 with Justin Langer not out 15 and Lee yet to open his account.

Earlier South Africa after a promising start had become bogged down by some accurate Australian bowling, and athletic fielding. Resuming at 38/0, South Africa progressed to 83 before Ricky Ponting took a superb slips catch to dismiss the South African captain for 34. Nathan Bracken was the bowler. South Africa then seemed to struggle, and it was no surprise to see Shane Warne slip one through the defence of AB de Villiers for what proved the highest score of the innings 68, including ten boundaries.

As with Australia the South African middle order struggled and it was Brett Lee and Shane Warne doing the damage Herschelle Gibbs was bowled Lee for 21 and then Jaques Rudolph was well taken by Justin Langer in the slips for just 8. South Africa at one stage were struggling, after crashing to 187/6. It seemed probable at this stage that Australia might even take a first innings lead.

Enter the old firm of Mark Boucher and Shaun Pollock whom have rescued South Africa so many times before, they smashed a quick fire 77 for the sixth wicket before Pollock was bowled by Lee for 34 off 35 deliveries. Warne claimed Boucher (62) and then Brett Lee swept away the tail, to finish with 5/93. Shane Warne bowled well all day, and managed to claim yet another record by taken the most wickets ever in a calendar year. He surpassed fellow Australian bowling great Dennis Lillee.

Day three is set up for a great day of Test cricket, early wickets to the visitors and they could well take a winning position. If Australia can show more application with the bat, then they showed in the first innings, and set South Africa 350+ the "Warne factor" should see the Aussies home.

Australia 258 and 38/1
Ponting 71, Hodge 41
Ntini 5-64, Nel 3-29

South Africa 296
de Villiers 68, Boucher 62
Lee 5/93 Warne 3/92

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