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All Even at Durban
25 Mar 2006
By: Arunava Das


Kallis and AB de Villiers rescued South Africa from the early losses of Gibbs and Smith to leave the South Africans at 140-2 when bad light stopped play. Earlier, Hussey played another brilliant innings with the tail to coax 110 runs out of the last three wickets and take Australia from an average total to an excellent total on a pitch helping the faster bowlers.

The day began slowly, as the Aussies looked to regroup from late losses on the first day while the South Africans harboured hopes ot wrapping things up quickly. As runs came at a trickle, Symonds was the first to go when trapped plumb in front by Nel for 13. Gilchrist was the next batsman, but any hopes of a typical Gilchrist counter-attack were erased quickly. He was dismissed for only 2, having been dropped once already in that short innings.

With only the tail for company, Hussey decided that it was time to attack. Warne was immediately into gear and in a short cameo of 31 balls, hit six fours and a six while adding 50 valuable runs with Hussey to take the Aussies past 300. It was then upto Hussey to add as many runs as possible before the tail gave way and he did just that, putting on 54 with Kasprowicz and Clark before he was out LBW while not playing a shot. The decision was questionable, but the damage had already been done with the Australian innings finishing at an imposing 369.

With batting still not an easy prospect, South Africa needed a grinding innings from their captain Graeme Smith to get back in the game. However, in similar fashion to Hayden on day one, Smith drove at a widish delivery to be caught in the slips off the first ball of the innings. Gibbs soon followed, being clean bowled by Kasprowicz to leave the South Africans reeling at 10-2. The stage was set for Kallis to shine, and shine he did. Playing an unusually attacking innings, Kallis raced to 50 off 49 balls and put on an unbeaten 130 with de Villiers. They were not without luck though. Kallis was caught off a Lee no-ball while de Villiers was lucky to survive a very close LBW shout early on. They were also aided by the bad light, which allowed only 16 overs from the faster bowlers leaving Warne and Symonds to do the bulk of the bowling. The star of the First Test, Stuart Clark only managed to bowl two deliveries before the light was offered, which the batsmen accepted.

De Villiers ended the day unbeaten on 48, while Kallis was unbeaten on 72. The pair will be looking to bat for a long period on the third day to capitalise on their current position. The Australians will no doubt be hoping to take a few quick wickets with the faster bowlers able to bowl. The match is finely balanced, with either team able to take the upper hand from here on. With the South Africans dominating for the first time in the series, Ponting will have a lot to think about while the South Africans will know the current stand will be crucial in obtaining any sort of lead.

Australia 369
Ricky Ponting 103, Michael Hussey 75
Makhaya Ntini 3-81, Andre Nel 3-83

South Africa 140-2
Jacques Kallis 72*, AB de Villiers 48*
Michael Kasprowicz 1-29, Brett Lee 1-50

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