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South Africa Slow but Sure
03 Jan 2006
By: Archie Mac


South Africa are in a tremendous position at the end of day two in the third and final Test. It was like a Test from the 60s or 70s, with the Proteas first concern seemingly to bat Australia out of the game, and take out the chances of themselves losing the match. At no stage did the South African batsman show any intent in pushing the scoring rate along, content to coast at under three an over.

The not out batsman Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince started the way they finished day one; watchful, sedulous and very determined to grind the Australian team into the SCG turf. They were inconvenienced by the 2nd new ball, but apart from that both batsman stuck to their task manfully, eventually putting on 219 runs for the fourth wicket, a record for South Africa against Australia.

Kallis who was troubled by a form of Tennis Elbow, was finally dismissed for Nelson (111) by Andrew Symonds, who is fast becoming the modern Doug Walters of this Australian team. That is the man you throw the ball to when you need to break a troublesome partnership. His partner in crime Ashwell Prince (119) followed 39 runs later (344/5) to a very doubtful LBW decision, after he padded up to Shane Warne with out offering a shot.

Adam Gilchrist then claimed two catches the first a fine diving effort to dismiss Mark Boucher (5) from the bowling of Stuart MacGill, and than a regulation catch behind to remove Jacques Rudolph for a very patient 38 (110 balls) from the tireless Glen McGrath. At 394/7 it was anticipated that the South African lower order would open their shoulders in an attempt for quick runs, but this did not transpire with Shaun Pollock and Johan Botha still showing great respect to the steady rather than penetrative Australian bowling attack.

Pollock fell for 46, when he finally tried to move the score along and than Andre Nel was out for a quick 12 from the bowling of Warne. With the score at 451/9 Graeme Smith declared leaving Australia 15 overs to survive before stumps. Pollock looked the most dangerous of the Protea opening bowlers have Justin Langer dropped at second slip by Jacques Kallis.

Charl Langeveldt managed to force both openers into playing on, first Mathew Hayden in attempting an off-drive was out for 4 (22/1) and than Justin Langer who looked in rare touch became greedy and was bowled playing a pull shot. Langer stayed staring transfixed at his fallen castle, before trudging back for a spanking 25 off just 20 deliveries.

Then in the final over of the day Andre Nel when around the wicket to Brad Hodge, who meekly popped the ball up to and ecstatic Jacques Rudolph and Australia had slumped to 53/3. Ricky Ponting remained not out 13 and in the process became the fourth Australian to complete 8,000 Test runs.

South Africa - 451/9 Declared
Kallis 111 Prince 119
Lee 3/82, McGrath 2/65

Australia - 54/3
Ponting 13*
Langeveldt 2/23 Nel 1/5

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