Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day

Amla and de Villiers set target of 632

The Report by Daniel Brettig

December 2, 2012

Comments: 128 | Text size: A | A

Australia 163 and 0 for 40 need another 592 runs to beat South Africa 225 and 569 (Amla 196, de Villiers 169, Starc 6-154)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

AB de Villiers powers the ball down the ground, Australia v South Africa, third Test, 3rd day, Perth, December 2, 2012
AB de Villiers' was in prime touch during his 169 © AFP

Two days remain in this match, and two possibilities. The first, by far the most likely, is a convincing South African victory, set-up by the sparkling innings of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers and finished off by Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.

The second, still too outlandish to contemplate, is Australia finding a way to bat for long enough to reach a winning target of 632. David Warner and Ed Cowan made a sound enough start on the third evening to reach 0 for 40 by the close, but in terms of the task ahead they have barely reached base camp at the foot of Everest.

Amla and de Villiers provided a rich day's batting entertainment at the WACA ground, both falling short of double centuries but delighting spectators with their marriage of aggression and invention. De Villiers' century was particularly notable as his first while also carrying the wicketkeeper's gloves, opening the path to an extended stint in the dual role.

Australia's bowling was made to look ordinary in the extreme at times before Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson found some heat in the early evening to polish off the South African tail. In all the visitors' innings lasted just 111.5 overs, the runs arriving at more than five per six balls, and its speed has left plenty of time for Australia's batsmen to negotiate. The pitch is still playing very well and the outfield extremely fast, but the visiting bowlers are refreshed and focused on the goal of wrapping up the match, the series and the ICC's No. 1 ranking.

Smart stats

  • The highest fourth-innings total in Test cricket is 654 for 5, by England against South Africa in Durban in 1939. England played 218.2 eight-ball overs in that innings.
  • South Africa's 111.5 overs is the second most any team has faced in an innings in which their run-rate is more than five. Australia faced 146.3 and achieved a rate of 5.01 at the same ground against Zimbabwe in 2003.
  • This is only the fourth recorded instance of a team scoring at more than five per over in an innings lasting more than 100 overs. Two of them have happened in successive Tests.
  • AB de Villiers' 169 is more than three times his previous-highest score as wicketkeeper (52* v England in Durban in 2004). In his last 11 Tests against Australia, he averages 63.81.
  • De Villiers has 422 runs in three Tests in Perth, at an average of 84.40. Among overseas batsmen, only David Gower has scored more Test runs at this ground.
  • Among all batsmen who've scored at least 300 Test runs in Perth, de Villiers' average is the highest.
  • This is the third time two South African batsmen have scored 150 or more in an innings against Australia. On the previous occasion too de Villiers was one of the batsmen (he scored 163 and Ashwell Prince 150 in Cape Town in 2009).
  • The last South African to bag a pair on debut was Allan Donald. The last time a batsman in the top seven bagged a pair on debut for South Africa was in 1913.

Cowan and Warner began the pursuit with unhappy first innings memories; Cowan's of a golden duck, Warner's an unwise waft at Steyn that pinpointed the start of Australia's sharp second day slide from a promising position to a dire one. They fought out the closing overs in characteristic fashion, Warner hitting boundaries both certain and uncertain, Cowan watching the ball intently and surviving an exquisitely probing first spell by Philander.

There was some tension evident on South Africa's side when Cowan twice pulled away from the bowler, citing flies around his helmet. He exchanged words with the visiting captain Graeme Smith before a can of Aeroguard was called for. So far the Australian openers' stand has been merely a nuisance, but their survival placed a slightly different slant on a day that had been a South African waltz for most of its duration.

Resuming with a lead of 292, South Africa rose to salute Amla when he flicked Johnson to fine leg for his 18th Test century, a stroke representative of his legside mastery. Amla's movement across outside off stump to play to leg was exaggerated at times, but apart from the sliced drive from Johnsons' wide ball that just eluded Michael Hussey's reach he was seldom troubled.

Kallis rumbled along comfortably enough himself until Michael Clarke swung Starc around to the Prindiville Stand end, teasing out a top-edged hook shot that Johnson held well at fine leg, the ball dying into the breeze late in its path. De Villiers took his time to get established but accompanied Amla to the interval with an enormous amount of time left to stretch Australia's eventual target.

There was acceleration on resumption, de Villiers advancing to ping Nathan Lyon down the ground for a straight six, while Amla took advantage of Hussey's introduction with a pair of boundaries. Clarke responded to the calls of the WACA crowd by handing Ricky Ponting a bowl for the final over before the second new ball became due.

Given how Starc and John Hastings started with it Clarke might have been better off keeping Ponting on, as de Viliers and Amla attacked with impunity. It took Johnson's introduction to draw a few false strokes, and ultimately a wicket when Amla blocked a drive back to see the chance snaffled by Johnson's outstretched right hand.

Dean Elgar wore a sharp blow on the elbow before playing inside a fuller delivery to be pinned LBW - though this did not stop him from seeking an imprudent review in the manner of Ponting the day before. Two wickets in an over did little to unsettle de Villiers though, and the three reverse-swept boundaries to go to three figures summed up the marriage of skill and invention he has used so well as a batsman and now a wicketkeeper also.

After tea the runs arrived in a torrent, de Villiers taking progressively more liberties and Faf du Plessis showing the penchant for shots as well as forward defensives. Their concentration was broken when Clarke called for a highly speculative LBW referral against de Villiers, the break in rhythm proving more helpful than the video evidence. Johnson broke the stand next ball with a swift delivery going across du Plessis, and the final five wickets melted away for 31 runs. Whether that is of any consequence for South Africa will not be known until tomorrow.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 3, 2012, 8:50 GMT)


Marcio on (December 03 2012, 01:07 AM GMT) There will almost certainly be plenty of runs scored today. It's only day 4 and batting conditions are perfect for Australian players….I would expect them to post close to 400 as a par score in these conditions.

__PK on (December 02 2012, 20:59 PM GMT) Anyone remember Warner's innings in the corresponding test last year?... I'm expecting another one of those on Day 4.

electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 02 2012, 11:53 AM GMT) the conditions can't be better for Warner ... 'virtually' no spin test -R Peterson....really??-...With Clarke due for his customary big score ... Punter even more…Wade (Ponting c Kallis b Petersen, Clarke st de Villiers b Petersen, Wade c Smith b Petersen)

Adam Grech on (December 02 2012, 10:12 AM GMT) Setting a total of 630 odd just shows what an unsporting captain Graeme Smith is. He has the best bowling attack ... shows little confidence in bowling Australia out.


Posted by subbass on (December 3, 2012, 4:30 GMT)

Top sides can play below their best and still nail the series SA are going to be numero uno for a while. Talk of aussies winning is hilarious ! Deluded. Just accept you are just a decent side but with lots of weak points. Still Clarke has been superb and they have a few decent quicks. But no spinners is not good enough SA have Robin Pietersen who imo is underrated and when you have the seam attack they do you can get away without a great spinner most the time but as I say Robin Pieterson is useful. Lyon is hopeless. And give SA credit for getting a draw in 2nd test that was guts and a fair result. Sore losers some aussies how surprising hey. They have improved a bit but England are superior and will win the ashes perhaps one will be a drawn series but that is good enough. Just accept you lost to a team who were not at their best, SA played better in England. But as I say good sides win even when not playing at their best for most the series.

Posted by Mervo on (December 3, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

One has to wonder why on earth Hastings was ever put in the team. He came from nowhere. An honest ODI medium pace trundler straight into the Test team. What were they thinking? He was accurate but had no penetration at all. Johnson on the other hand was great and really troubled the batsmen. Starc came back after being flogged and he will learn.

This series should have been over already, if not for rain in Brisbane and a tiny bit of luck in Adelaide.... Australia have been the better side so far, but certainly not in this third match. A 5 test series would have been very interesting.

Posted by gibbons on (December 3, 2012, 2:59 GMT)

South Africa has stood up and shown why they're the best - for two tests they've been on the back foot under real pressure, but not caved. Now, they're on the verge of a crushing win on which, I think, they will deliver. This is a test for Australian fans to show whether they really like quality cricket being played, or just winning. Time to show a bit of character!

Posted by EdwardTLogan on (December 3, 2012, 2:43 GMT)

Bye bye Warner - back to that T20 crap for you. The top six for the first Test against the Lankans should be Watson, Cowan, Khawaja, Doolan, Clarke and Hussey.

Posted by Marcio on (December 3, 2012, 2:16 GMT)

@SCC08, SA haven't even scored at the highest run rate in the last two weeks. Australia scored at almost six an over just last game in compiling 480 in a day where SA's bowling rate was super slow. So, good as SA's effort was, Australia's run rate was considerably better and it didn't drop to 2.5 runs in a session as SA's did in the morning session.

Posted by BG4cricket on (December 3, 2012, 2:03 GMT)

This would be a effort for the ages to either win or draw for the Aussies. To draw we would have to face about 195 overs which means every batsman excluding the number 11 will have to face a min of 117 balls and to win each would have to score a min of 64. The weather may yet come to the rescue as there is a high likelihood of rain tomorrow but we still need to survive the day with at least 5 wickets in hand. Oh for one last hurrah from Pinter and the customary heroics of Clarkie and Huss. Don't give up boys and provide us a priceless memory !!!!!

Posted by popcorn on (December 3, 2012, 1:49 GMT)

If there is ONE Team that can chase 632 to win,it is Australia. We NEVER GIVE UP.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 3, 2012, 1:33 GMT)

@ LockyerValley on (Dec 02 2012, 11:12 AM GMT) Oz suffered terrible luck "having to bat during bowling conditions & bowl during batting conditions" is a joke, right? SA batted 1st & lasted 74 overs. cricinfo commentary said "There was some help for the bowlers early on, but it is still not a wicket where you get bowled out for 225 on day one.." Oz bat 10 mins later. The track has worn & offers less help. Cowan out 3rd ball - the 1st he faces. Watson out 28 balls later. Next morning, 2nd over, Warner gone 1st ball from Steyn. 3 balls later Lyon goes. Ponting faces 5, Clarke faces 2. Oz are 45/6. What happened? The grass grew up overnight? No cloud, warm & sunny, & no breeze yet! Oz post 163 in 53.1 overs. 10 mins later SA bat - same conditions. 37 overs later they are 230/2, SR over 7. CONDITIONS DID NOT CHANGE. Stop blaming "conditions" and "luck," & face reality. SA dominated this game like Oz did before. Quit whining, it's pathetic. You sound like Marcio, & that is seriously sad.

Posted by Marcio on (December 3, 2012, 1:07 GMT)

There will almost certainly be plenty of runs scored today. It's only day 4 and batting conditions are perfect for Australian players. The batting line-up is long, so I would expect them to post close to 400 as a par score in these conditions. Once again the key is the first hour/session. If AUS get through that with no more than 1 wicket down, it will be a very, very long day for the SA bowlers. SA lack quality spin options, and Peterson will get punished if he strays at all. Of course SA will win this 95% of the time, but I give AUS a 5% chance, simply because of the batting conditions. And we have seen AUS dominate the SA bowling for long stretches of this series so far. One bad innings does not define Australia's batting any more than SA's bad 1st dig did. I expect SA will turn up overly confident. It's been a recurring problem for them, & 2 good days doesn't change that.

Posted by sosbo on (December 3, 2012, 0:39 GMT)

Very disappointing to watch the Australians bat. Australian batsmen have become flat track bullies, almost up there with the Indians, where they have no idea when there is a bit on pace off the track and a little movement in the air. Their front foot techniques just don't cope unless the decks are dead. Hopefully the Aussies can show some fight in the second innings but I fear a big loss coming.

Posted by maddy20 on (December 3, 2012, 0:24 GMT)

@swauzzie SA played with 10 men in the first game, their key allrounder could not bowl in the second and yet they managed to salvage draws in both. If SA drew the game then it simply means they did not deserve to win , plain and simple. As for this game, OZ bowlers were feeding tacos to AB to Amla, which they gleefully accepted and made a mockery of your bowling attack in your own backyard. You predicted 450/0 by the end of the day, I predict they will be bowled out or barely survive by the end of the day.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 2, 2012, 23:55 GMT)

Barring injuries to key players (Duminy Kallis Philander) South Africa would have crushed this series. Australia not being number 1 is the games way of not bringing itself into disrepute.

Posted by Meety on (December 2, 2012, 23:45 GMT)

Well we only have a required r/rate of 3.3 rpo. So put THAT way Oz are a genuine chance of winning! Pigs might fly - but SHOULD Davey Warner decides to channell Hayden & get a run a ball 380, or Oz decide that a 4th day WACA os the equivelent of a Day 1 Adelaide Oval & we tonk 480 + runs, we can win! Doubtful but IMO we have more chance of winning than batting 190 overs for a draw! As I said previously due credit to Sth Africa - they absorbed a lot of blows that probably would of beaten other less menatally & skilfully strong teams. Whilst you can be 99.9% sure Sth Africa will win this series 1nil, I think its fair to say there is not much difference between the two teams & I think that extends further to the fact there isn't much between the top 6 teams! Not conceding defeat - yet!

Posted by Guthers007 on (December 2, 2012, 23:33 GMT)

Unfortunately, I've got to say that this game is all over - just hope Australia show some fight!

Posted by ghost_of_len_hutton on (December 2, 2012, 23:28 GMT)

632 to win? The weight of 135 years of test cricket history is against the Aussies. I'd be surprised if they manage 350 - they won't even come close.

Posted by Mighty_Battler on (December 2, 2012, 23:27 GMT)

@swauzzie I think a few too many people are getting carried away with Australia's supposed dominance of the series. Sure SA saved the second test, but the first was just a pretty standard draw. SA had a small lead by the end of play on day 5 and theoretically, given time they could have still posted a total and bowled Australia out. If you think this has been boring then please watch the one dayers between the Windies and Bangladesh and leave the test matches to people that actually know the game!

Posted by Mitcher on (December 2, 2012, 23:13 GMT)

If Australia are as bad as some gleefully point out, what does that say about all the teams ranked below them. Eg. England: recently feted as potentially the best England side ever. Yet still languishing down the rankings.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 23:06 GMT)

AUS will offer some resistance for a while but the inevitable collapse will follow soon. To all the rather weak excuses and if's and but's being offered by many on this forum - take it on the chin, mate!!

Posted by MinusZero on (December 2, 2012, 23:04 GMT)

Watson only bowled 9 overs out of 74 in the first innings and 9 out of 111 in the second. So what was the point of having him there? What it tells me is that Clarke has little confidence that he would last if he contributed more. Watson should have been left out.

Posted by EdwardTLogan on (December 2, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

The most important thing I take out of this match (and the preceding two), is that this should be a five match series. The South African Cricket Board are kidding themselves if they think a game of hit and giggle in front of 1500 people is more important than playing the Boxing Day Test in front of a crowd of 85,000. Oh well, hopefully Sri Lankawill jump at the chance to be on the big stage and the Saffers can bowl their four overs each and hoe into the big plastic cups of Castle.....

To zarasochozarasamjho - there is no 4th match in this series due to the pig headedness of the South African board.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 2, 2012, 22:36 GMT)

@swauzzie on (December 02 2012, 17:12 PM GMT), you might think you're not being biased but you are, in fact, being completely biased. If Australia deserve to win, they will will. If they don't win then they won't deserve to have won. Everyone knows how Test cricket works: you have to score more runs than your opposition and bowl them out within 5 days. If you are unable to do that then you don't deserve to win. Being able to prevent a loss when the opposition has the upper hand is one of the traits that makes a good Test cricket team. Many's the time that Australia have been congratulated for hanging on for a draw when it looked like they would lose.

Posted by SCC08 on (December 2, 2012, 22:33 GMT)

@swauzzle- have you been watching the same game? SA have scored the 2nd highest run rate for 100 overs or more in the history of test cricket, hardly boring the public. Oh and your 5/31 was because of the need for quicker runs. SA will win tomorrow! Worth number 1's.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 2, 2012, 21:52 GMT)

For your information oval77 - Johnson bowled superbly (there was no laugh there). Dont get why English supporters want to comment on this series can only imagine they are worried about the upcoming Ashes. I think the South Africans were class the last couple of days - but cant say the same for the comments from FrontFootLunge - There is no embarrassment in this series, we have played one very poor days cricket and then it was hard to fight back. One innings does not make Devilliers- Gilchrist, and if it so easy to score 6 an over of lyon then why didnt you play for the win in adelaide. He bowled 50 overs thats 300 runs. There is no embarrassment what has happened here we have needed some new bowlers as our top 5 are injured, how would South Africa go without there best 5. Show some humility and the class that your cricket side is showing.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

@legfinedeep i agree 100% with you! pitch still looks good! I dont think this match is over by any means. I hope I'm wrong tho. But SA isnt safe at all. Any other ground in the world and i would know its a SA win, but WACA its not over yet. SA are in front, but they not safe

Posted by Mervo on (December 2, 2012, 21:32 GMT)

Amla has been a very good SA player. If he can maintain this level of performance and then double his currently achievements (e.g., number of centuries and his average) he will be up there with the best players. That is a tough ask however and he may remain a 'good' player, in form.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (December 2, 2012, 21:02 GMT)

Pitch was very flat yesterday, if it is still flat tmrw (4th day) given the form Clarke, Hussey, and Wade are in, there is a very realistic chance that Aus might get close to this target. Then again, it may not be as flat as it was on Day 3

Posted by __PK on (December 2, 2012, 20:59 GMT)

Anyone remember Warner's innings in the corresponding test last year? True, it was the Indian attack, but Warner would have dominated any attack that day. I'm expecting another one of those on Day 4.

Posted by pat_one_back on (December 2, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

SA win a day and so of course Eng are back out in force feeling better about themselves without facing or delivering a ball??? If you want to read something into this it's that Aust have shown they can outbowl Eng's overhyped and ineffectual attack with only 3 bowlers or even a group of second stringers! Unless Eng are poaching Steyn & Amla (not implausible) Aust are on track to bring home the ashes with world 1/2 quality cricket.

Posted by oval77 on (December 2, 2012, 19:51 GMT)

Very worrying times for the Australian selectors. Half their bowlers too soft to turn up, the rest looking utterly inept. At least if you can't win I suppose you can have a good laugh, so it was a stroke of comic genius to recall Mitch Johnson.

Posted by caruisctkreatlia on (December 2, 2012, 19:43 GMT)

if our top order doesnt fail then we can win as we have a good tail and once david warner starts he will keep on going

Posted by Ricciardo2014 on (December 2, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

What a proper fight this is for number 1 ranking. S.A batted like a number one team by seizing the advantage and then smashing it home. What a batting display. Now if Australia want to be number 1, they have to earn it big time and put in a number 1 ranked team performance. I personally think this is gonna be bloody close...and a fitting end to a series I wish never ended.

Posted by subbass on (December 2, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

This Saffer side is very very good ! Amla is joy to watch as is AB, AB keeping instead of Boucher has improved them massively. But OZ have fought well, Clarke is the gem in the batting and his pro active captaincy is good the ashes will be bloody close for sure. SA just played too good so far heck all of them are top notch and cheers for letting us have KP they must be cross they lost him. ! But Steyn is as good as anyone past or present he is quite brilliant.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 18:39 GMT)

the ball is new only 12 overs old morning session might critical as they might an amount of extra swing , tell u what if saffers can nip 3 by lunch i cant see them failing to win . the prospect that ozzie can making a big patnership cannot be denied ,but fact also of getting new ball after 80 overs at this wicket if the newball is put in the right areas you will be rewarded , ozzie will be six to seven down at stumps on day 4

Posted by JG2704 on (December 2, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

Have to say well played SA batsmen but what a negative captain Smith is. I remember when England played Aus on the last Ashes tour and in one of the tests Strauss declared stupidly late when he had a huge lead and a full innings to play with. I think they had North and Haddin or Hussey at the crease and a day to go. As it was the bowlers bowled Aus out in the morning session but had Aus survived just an hour or 2 later they'd have drawn the game because not long after the game finished the clouds opened. I think there is similar rain predicted at some point in this game. Would love it if Australia held out. It would serve Smith right for lack of ambition. SA are deservedly number 1 but my feeling is they could have been a so much more dominant number 1 had Smith at times showed a little more ambition.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 2, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

@balajik1968 on (December 02 2012, 07:03 AM GMT) Difficult to say. He did ok today. Could it not be that he's just been out of form? Amla's role in the side never changed and he had a poor start to the series

@Simon Jessup on (December 02 2012, 07:53 AM GMT) Disagree with you there. Australia are probably lacking a bit in the top 3 or 4 and maybe don't have a settled WK but they have a decent bowling attack which would probably have helped win the 1st 2 tests had time allowed. Lyon is a very underrated bowler and may surprise a few when they tour our shores

Posted by Chris_P on (December 2, 2012, 18:17 GMT)

Listening to the grandstand commentary, both Terry Alderman & DK Lillee mentioned on the first day how the pitch evens out after the first 2 days & gets better & better. They went on to recall how true it played when South Africa chased down 414 with very few wickets & believed they could have batted on. I would like to see a competitive total with the match turning it on. For those who don't know much about the WACA, the normal guidline target set for 4th innings in the Shield is 550 runs, so Sth Africa batting on made sense given this is a 5 day match.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 18:10 GMT)

Australia to win,records are made to be broken.The waca pitch will still be playing truly.Lets see how our heroes like Clarke and Ponting respond.

Posted by baranasai on (December 2, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

Whatever happnes -it will be very interesting as both sides will not go without a fight-Aussies will fight till the evry end. I want only one thing happen for sure-Ricky to score a century or rather double in style and go out on hos own terms. I think the balnce is tilted more in favour of SA but you never know whether the Kangaroos will come out a history breaking reply- All the Best Ricky enjoy our retirement- we will miss your batting whetever happens in the next 2 days - A Very Good bye to one of the greatest batsman from Australia and the second highest run getter in the world so far.Which ever teams we support - But we highly respect you as a top cricketer all the way

Posted by swauzzie on (December 2, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

Not to show any bias at all, but realistically Australia are the only team deserving to win this series. SA have been behind the 8 ball the majority of the series. SA don't deserve to win. The ability to "survive & draw a match" & not be beaten & "bore the living badongas" out of the public at the same time isn't a worthy trait of the supposed no 1 team in the world! A good result tomorrow would be Aus 0/450 at stumps & SA looking down the barrel. THEN we can see what the so called no team in the world is made of. Se if they can produce something on day 5 like the Aussies did this afternoon under great adversity 5/31!

Posted by Beertjie on (December 2, 2012, 16:59 GMT)

Good analogy, @Aussie_Cricket on (December 02 2012, 11:13 AM GMT) But in the final analysis what finally cost them at the Oval during the last Ashes series in England was the absence of a front line spinner (Hauritz). Hoping Holland will accompany Lyon next year.

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (December 2, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

I do not see this match going into the 5th day; it will be all over tomorrow with a thumping victory for South Africa. And then they shall go on to win the 4th and final test too to polish off the series. This is an awesome team.

Posted by sonu77 on (December 2, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

SA played very well but another micheal clarke double on the cards !

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (December 2, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

hastings was a waste of pace spot. bird or cutting should of got it. Hastings is a club bowler of medium pace. Worse than hilfy and thats saying something. Just like recent ashes series, the aussies had their moments but when it counted they crumbled. south africa turned up to play, the aussies just turned up. The best thing they can do tomorrow is just give it a go and dont play too defensively.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (December 2, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

hastings was a waste of pace spot. bird or cutting should of got it. Hastings is a club bowler of medium pace. Worse than hilfy and thats saying something. Just like recent ashes series, the aussies had their moments but when it counted they crumbled. south africa turned up to play, the aussies just turned up. The best thing they can do tomorrow is just give it a go and dont play too defensively.

Posted by legfinedeep on (December 2, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

I am a huge SA fan but I have a very, very bad feeling about this game. SA started playing for the declaration way too early and should have batted out the entire session, leaving OZ wondering overnight whether they would walk in tomorrow to bat or field. Warner already looks menacing, and if either one (or both!) of Clarke and Ponting fire, and they make one 200 stand early on, then SA are in for trouble. 632 runs is NOT enough with over 2 full days play left, and in this day and age when double tons at run a ball pace are not unheard of. Smith should have urged the Saffers to hang around till halfway to lunch tomorrow and put up 700 to be safe. Because as it stands, IMO, SA are very far from safe in this much.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

Based on the last few weeks' evidence, from different parts of the world, one can say, with some degree of comfort: "Test cricket is alive and well"

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

Getting the 600 plus! Interesting to see many adjectives. Will give a collection here. Of course, adding a few more. Conceivable. Not inconceivable. Plausible. Possible. Not Impossible. Probable.... and so on. No one said, 'Wishful Thinking'. But if it happens, this test will be one of the best, when cricket lovers remembers historical tests, years from now. If (big if) it unfolds like that, I will be glued to the TV !

Posted by Spelele on (December 2, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

Well, this is what happens when you field two rookies, a has been, and a never been! Brilliant batting form AB and Amla :) The pitch is a good one though!

There is still a long way to go in this match, though I back SA to knock them over just in time. SA will particularly be encouraged by the delivery that Johnson bowled to get rid of Faf. It just seemed to kick off a length from nowhere.

Posted by Spelele on (December 2, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

Well, this is what happens when you field two rookies, a has been, and a never been! The pitch is a good one though!

There is still a long way to go in this match, though I back SA to knock them over just in time. SA will particularly be encouraged by the delivery that Johnson bowled to get rid of Faf. It just seemed to kick off a length from nowhere.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 14:59 GMT)

I was surprised to read, Hastings is an all rounder! (See cricinfo's own personal background on him). How can you call some one, with just one score of 50 plus in the previous 15 innings, an all rounder? Don't even ask me, what the average was! As a bowler, Hastings got enough pasting too --- would have keen OK, at least if he got some rewards. He is not a spring chicken either. Invariably, Inverarity goes for at least one such player, every time! Hastily (and hopefully for Oz), may get dropped too. Can't fathom such selections!

Posted by samincolumbia on (December 2, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

Even Smith thinks that his bowlers will have a tough time taking 10 aussie wickets on this pitch which have flattened out to a PANCAKE!!

Posted by KunzMan on (December 2, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

If Australia can score around 3.5 per over tomorrow, which seems easy once the ball loses its sheen, they should be somewhere in the vicinity of 380. This leaves around 250 to be scored on the last day which is very doable. Question is how many wickets will both sides prefer to have? I guess no less than 5 for SA (Warner, Watson, Clarke, Ponting and Hussey preferably) and no more than 4 for Aus (Cowan, Ponting, Watto and a night watchman preferably).

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (December 2, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

It was really great to see AB come good today, although I do think he should give up keeping. Great batting also by Amla. Obviously Hastings is not up to test standard and Starc has a bit to travel yet. Can't imagine saying thank goodness for Johnson, but just did ! Guess the 6th 7th and 8th best seamers Aust has are not up to the mark against a very good side. (rightfully so) The one huge positive today for Aust is that Du Plesis finally got out ! Hard to imagine the man replacing Duminy, so perfectly replacing him - was absolutely incredible last time, and perhaps even more so this time.

Was sad when Smith didn't declare with a lead of 414 lmao :)

Posted by kingsmead_mamba on (December 2, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

South africa made a big mistake. They should have batted till lunch tomorrow. Why give aus a chance? What they cant do in 5 sessions they wont do in 6. The way they batted risking their wicket they were always trying to declare today. But why take the chance? Alot of aus supporters saying smith is unsportsman like, but who gives a damn about them? If sa lose they only have smith to blame.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 2, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

What a batting masterclass by Amla and AB de Villers. AB swatted the ball to all parts and made Lyon look the average pic chucker he is with 3 monster six's. Hastings opening the bowling at 124 kph with the new ball was a new low for Aus. Lots of aussies talking up their game as usual saying that this chase is well within their batting powers ....sheer arrogance. Interesting to see the perinnal sore losers like Marcio already blaming conditions and everything else other than his average team. SA played below par in the first 2 tests, we all knew that. test 3 they decided to turn up and this is what you get - total annilation.

Posted by medphoto on (December 2, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

I think this showed a real lack of leadership form Clarke, Ponting and Hussey. There is absolutely no way an English captain would have let this unfold, lets see 2 left pace bowlers, 2 right arm seams and an offspinner. I respect that Australia should have been trying to bowl out SA as their best chance for a series win, but with the lead over 350 and only 2 SA wickets down, that plan needed to change.

Alan Mullallay would have been instructed to bowl every delivery 2 feet wide of the off stump with a 7-2 field. Such "negative" bowling was England's plan B against Haden and Langer when they were on top of the bowling. And negative tactics delivered England a Rugby World Cup.

Such grinding tactics would have pushed Smith into a declaration at about the same time on day 3, yet left Australia a victory target of 150 runs less. Clarke should have completely changed his strategy after a pre-determined lead - 400, 450, 500, 550 and not just continued attacking, losing any chance to win

Posted by Mervo on (December 2, 2012, 13:13 GMT)

Tough test for both sides in the first innings. The series but for luck and rain, should already be 2-0. The good news is that Australia even with new bowling attack are as good as SA. Number 1 is by the slimmest of margins either way.

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (December 2, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

@Adam Grech: Unsporting? The Aussies have over 2 days to get the total. If you're good enough then go and do it. Lets see if they rely on the same two players, as they've done all series. Why should Smith apologise for setting a high total? It's not like he left one session for it to be chased.

Posted by hhillbumper on (December 2, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

guess the Aussies will fold some time late tommorrow. Good teams take their chance. That is what was wrong with England that they haven't taken their chances

Posted by kujo on (December 2, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

I reckon it can be done (getting 632). These two sides have played in some of the most extraordinary games before and I can see this one going down to the wire.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

The first two tests should have been won by Australia In Adelaide Australia missed their chances. Siddle was over bowled. There was plenty of runs toplay with Warner and Clarke should have bowled more overs instead of over bowling Siddle.

If the wicket plays true like today the third day Australia should bat positively Come on Clark adouble century by you will settle the issue. All the best.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (December 2, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

Best of luck for Punter tomorrow. He needs that elusive triple century to go out in a blaze of glory. Well played Amla, AB, Starc...

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 2, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

@fantasyalert You forgot to mention that "almost won" was a defeat by the small margin of 98 runs (and yes, this was the 2nd highest 4th innings chase ever). Australia have to score 200 more which, by your example, would lead to defeat by around 300 runs!! Hardly a close finish.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (December 2, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

One of the positive things to take out this situation is Kallis can't bowl. If the Aussies hang in there they may tire the South African quicks. However, Morkel will be dangerous.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 2, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

Waiting for some carnage tom. - Warner has to restart and get set for first 1/2 hour and the SA bowlers will fell the real Perth 'heat' and be sent on a leather hunt- the conditions can't be better for Warner- flat with bit of pace and bounce- fast outfield- 'virtually' no spin test -R Peterson....really??- and the demolition of Ind bowling last year still fresh in memory. With Clarke due for his customary big score in a TM -failed in 1st dig- Punter even more Hussey with Wade and more dangerous ammunition in store you could forgive SA for already fearing the greatest choke already ever...Still its 50-50 and if Aus avoid some of the 1st inngs stupidity and SA fall short of their usual share of luck - their-SA- worst ever 'fears' are not more than 2 days away...

Posted by Slysta on (December 2, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Ah, Mr Lunge, how we all value your insightful analysis. Tough day for Lyon, no doubt - bowling finger-spin at the WACA is no picnic at the best of times, as Monty Panesar will attest. When there is no pressure from the pacemen at the other end, it's a nightmare. Nevertheless, he has finished the 3-match series with 12 wickets at 40.5 (and that includes today's denting). Not world-beating, but compares favourably with Swann's 4 wickets at 75 on his own home wickets against the same opponents. As for Starc, he remains more promise than performance, but he persevered, and will be a better cricketer for this experience. But missing our best five seamers, these guys bowled their guts out on the first day and gave us a great position in the game. How galling it must have been to see the top-order fritter it away - no doubt the seamers were well below par in the second innings, but our batsmen really took the wind out of our own sails.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 2, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

Today showed how much Aussies missed Rhino, Siddle and Hilfy. Hastings has not made use of his opportunity. I think Clarke will be score 150 plus for Australia in the 2nd innings. Amla seems an unstoppable run machine. Looking forward to an exciting day 4 and 5.

Posted by Blakey on (December 2, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

@frontfootlunge embarrassing, humiliating, devastating? All words expressed when the "much-vaunted" SA attack was dispensed for 480 in Adelaide on Day one. Even better how will they will feel tomorrow evening when Australia are 3 for 450.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 2, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

I think this game will go on till the 5th day last session. Clarkey will be determined to make mends for his 1st innings failure. I still would say SA will win by about 100 runs.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

there are moments which turn a test match, good catch poor umpiring decision, freak dismissal but in this game it was a poor shot by warner in the 1st innings, if Australia go down that needs to be looked at

Posted by BG4cricket on (December 2, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

Frontfootlunge - there is a very high likelihood of rain and storms for Tuesday so I would not get too cocky yet. If we bat out the day and some of tomorrow we might wiggle out with a draw and personally I think 0-0 would be the fairest result for the series remembering you are playing our second bowling attack and gave been average for much of the series. In truth both teams have had moments but neither have bowled well generally although the proteas definitely have more upside potential. Go Aussies for tomorrow and good luck Punter for hopefully a classic final knock !!!!

Posted by Spelele on (December 2, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

Not really surprised by AB's knock. Yes, he has been struggling of late, but he was getting starts, and it was a matter of time before he kicked on. In any event, it was his kind of situation. He is simply the best batsman in the world in 'push on' situations when the game is well set.

I am however, surprised that SA did not take a wicket. Steyn generally did not give it his all as he did in the first innings (perhaps saving himself for rampage tomorrow morning?). Philander did everything he could to take a wicket, but luck went against him. Morkel was solid, and I reckon this might be his kind of situation. On flatter pitches on Days 4 and 5, he is always our best bowler. If he delivers big (say a 5 for), he will be Man of the Series.

There is a long way to go, but SA will be encouraged by Johnson's delivery that got Faf which took off from a length, and by Philander's over to Cowan when he constantly beat the bat but somehow didn't find the edge. Bring on Day 4 and 5!

Posted by Hammond on (December 2, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

Just fail to see how Australia are going to beat England in a five test series when two of the first choice bowlers can't back up after only two test?

Posted by Beertjie on (December 2, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

@crh8971 on (December 02 2012, 09:09 AM GMT) Agree entirely - we are a team in transition, so even a Perth win would not mean we could hold on to #1! The newbies (some previously tried) with the bat will gradually be eased in so that we will get there sooner rather than later. We know the names of those currently being touted: Khawaja, Hughes, Doolan, Burns. Add the experience of Clarke and Watson and proper supportive rotation for our quicks like Pattinson, Cummins, Starc etc. and all we need is a good leggie to defeat all comers, home and away. In the meantime spinners like Holland and O'Keefe can support Lyon so that we can continue to challenge the best.

Posted by Simoc on (December 2, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

Well at last SA have put their best foot forward. It took a while but with so many established stars it is Du Plessis who has kept them in the picture. Seems to me that Hastings isn't up to it yet but Johnston is better than Siddle or Hilfenhaus, while Starc always gets wickets. If any of the current Oz bowlers get over 200 wickets, that is very good. Hoping Oz get to the last day no worse than four down.

Posted by Sanjiyan on (December 2, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

@adam Gretch, would you have preferred 500 in two days? Fact remains Aus have enough time to get this total, IF they bat with a level head. @Marcio, at the end of the day Australia put up one hell of a show and pushed SA to their limits. This when most were calling 2-0 and 3-0 results for SA. Your boys did fantastic. As for the current game, im really hopinh SA come out tomorrow firing on all cilinders and nip 2 out quickly, that should give them some breathing room to set up the rest.

Posted by trumpoz on (December 2, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

Great batting by South Africa, absolutely smashed us around. Respect where it is due. Warner and Cowan did well to survive - Philander bowled a great spell. If the Aussies can get through tomorrow with only 2 or 3 down then it will get interesting on day 5. I personally think that will get to maybe 450 or 500 at the most.

Posted by Aussie_Cricket on (December 2, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

This is pretty much how the last Ashes series went in England. The Aussies asserting themselves and in many cases being the better team on individual merits however losing out on key moments/passages in the games ultimate cost them the series. That being said it's a funny old game cricket and it would be great for the Aussies to break a record and match the monolithic chase they have however based on the batting lineup and the quality of the bowling attack I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 2, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

SA were generally poor in their own first innings but came back very strongly in their second. Given Australia's good performances earlier in the series, there's no reason to believe that Australia aren't capable of coming back strongly too. Whether they can come back strongly enough is another question altogether. It's hard to keep your mind clear of the fact that you could score 600 and still lose. A lot depends on how well the pitch plays over the next two days but, no matter what any Aussie supporters may want to think, SA are very, very strong favourites. One thing I will say is that Australia will not bat out a draw. We are undoubtedly going to get a result here.

Posted by LockyerValley on (December 2, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

Bad luck has really marred Australia in this test. Prior to this test I believe the bad luck had evened itself out, but I've got to feel for Australia during this test, having had to bat during bowling conditions and bowl during batting conditions.. but, that's the name of the game.

@muthavimal - South Africa do not 'deserve to win' at this point. At the end of the day, the team most deserving to win will be the team that does win. If they can bowl Australia out for less than the 632 runs required, than they deserve to win. If Australia can chase the 632 runs successfully then they deserve to win. If the match ends in a draw then neither team deserves to win, seeing as that they were not capable of forcing a result.

This is test cricket at its finest.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 2, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

So Nathan 'six-an-over' Lyon and and Mitchell 'eight-an-over' Starc lived up to their reputation. But they really are the best cricketers Australia can field right now. De Villiers exceeded the exploits of Gilchrist in his century today, and the ferocity with which this minnow bowling attack was taken apart was devastating for Aus. How embarrassing, the Aussies would no doubt be the first to admit that they've been bested by the better team, but what a humiliation for them.

Posted by fantasyalert on (December 2, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

This match has quite a few similarities with a test match played between England and New Zealand in 2001/2002 where England set NZ 550 to win in just over 2 days and New Zealand were 333/9 and then Nathan Astle almost won the game for them by smashing 222 in 168 balls. So funny and strange things can happen. The game isn't over until the last wicket has fallen.

Posted by klsau on (December 2, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

@buet_abir...To be honest, talks of SA crumbling under pressure is just a myth perpetuated from their performance in ICC tournaments but has no relevance in their performance in the test only have to go back to Adelaide to know how they perform 'under pressure'...414 was chased by SA in this ground,their series win against England just to name a few...At most you can say they tend to settle for drawn matches very often instead of going for the kill

Posted by abc3 on (December 2, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

There is not better pitch than Perth to chase high scores in 4th innings. Perth pitch is like a highway road flat track on Days 4 & 5. It gets better to bat everyday after day 2 and doesn't break down like other pitches. Remember 414/4 chase by SA last time around.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 2, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

well done to the Saffers thats what number1 teams do, they hang in there and then when they get their act together its goodnight, and trust me, I saw it with the windies, then the Aussies, and now the Saffers but for any one out there that thinks this is a bad sign for the ashes, if we (they) get bowled out tomorrow then thats a bad sign.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

As an Aussie fan I am flattered. Smith obviously respects our batting to set the highest chase possible. If I were Clarke, I would use this to spur the boys on. Too much at stake. The series, No 1 ranking, highest chase and of course the small matter of a farewell for the greatest modern day Aussie batsman.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 2, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

Let's put this in context: only twice in more than 2000 Tests has a side scored more than 450 in the 4th innings of a Test (654-5 by England in 1939 and 451 by New Zealand in 2002). Of the 5 highest 4th innings scores, 4 have led to defeat (the only exception was England's massive score in a timeless Test). Only 3 of the 18 scores over 400 in the 4th innings of a Test have won a Test and none has been higher than the 418-7 by the West Indies on the famously flat pitch at St. Johns in Antigua where Brian Lara managed scores of 375* and 400*! It would be an astonishing effort even if Australia batted out 6 sessions to save the match because they will score well over 500 and pulverise all records for the 4th innings of a 5 day Test in doing so. Is this Australia side the stuff of legend? If they are, they have given no evidence of it in recent series...

Posted by Biggus on (December 2, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

The total set will in all likelihood be far too much for we Aussies and to be frank I'm not all that busted up about it. If we won the series and took the test number 1 it would be a pretty damning indictment of the current strength of international test sides. We've taken some good steps toward rebuilding but our present side is not one I would consider worthy of a number 1 status. It's far more worthy and seemly for the Saffers to hold to title for the moment. We'll be back in strength but it's not quite time yet, still many spots to be sorted out.

Posted by Skerpby on (December 2, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

Wow, so this is it! The final showdown! If only we could have had a five TEST series. Two great teams fighting it out till the end. SA grabbed their opportunities with both hands and strangled Oz. But can you imagine this test going the way of the 438 game in TESTS? If Oz pulls this one off what greater advertisement could there be for the GREATEST GAME? Or if Saffas could pull it off with a few overs to spare? Make this the most memorable test in history!! Go my Boys! Go SAFFAS! Go PROTEAS!!!

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (December 2, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

Such a shame the Aussie bowlers decided to turn up late on Day 3 and not late on Day 2. 400 would be very gettable on this pitch. Hastings and Lyon looked pretty ordinary during the SA second innings. Lyon wasn't using the crease or the breeze correctly and was bowling too fast. Hastings...well, I don't think he'll be a long term Test cricket prospect. Johnson looked ok, but I'd still only pick him during an injury crisis.

Well played to the Saffers - I think they well and truly deserve to win this one (and almost certainly they will).

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 2, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

Although I'm proud of the way the Aussies have played this test series, except for that one bad day yesterday I have to say the South Africans have scrapped hard to avoid defeat and then when the opening came they just slammed it home. THey are a quality side, now hope the Aussies can scrap just as hard and at least make this game go into the fifth day. People winging about the decalrations in Adelaide and Perth, cmon the Adelaide one was fair and I dont blame the South Africans for continuing to bat today both games the reality is they have enough time to bowl the opposition out and any further time the bowlers will be completely spent.

Posted by Dazako on (December 2, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

Well said Greatest Game, and I also agree with a lot of what Marcio is saying, Aussies have done well since Clarke took over and our good days are outweighing the bad. We are still on the up and will be number one before too long. The luck has gone both ways in this series and it would have been great to see us get past the line in Adelaide but Faf (who wouldnt have been playing without Duimini's injury) saved the game. South Africa have played well this match and have left us with an unbelievable total to chase, I still hold on to some hope for this game the pitch is good for batting and if Warner goes off, Cowan bats his own race and Clarke hits his standard 200 odd we could make history here. 2 days is still a long time to play. Whoever wins will deserve the No 1 ranking.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 2, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

I love watching AB bat like that. He hasn't been in the greatest form recently, but has been getting out in the 30s or 40s, just when he usually accelerates. 63 balls to go from 50 to 150, 3 reverse sweeps in 3 balls through the 'nervous nineties'... unbelievable player.

Posted by buet_abir on (December 2, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

i dont know why SA batted so freely? they should've played till the lunch on fourth day & left no chance for AUS to fight back for win,clearly if AUS manage to survive tomorrow without any big damage,they'll be favorite on last day and we all konw how SA fare under pressure

Posted by maddy20 on (December 2, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Well they sure did make the OZ look like a club team. Bowling them out for 162 and then two of their batsmen topping it at blinding speed. Expect them to get Steyn'ed and Morkel'ed by the end of day 4. The series did not start the way many expected but its sure as hell ending the way it should. Saffas deserve the number 1 ranking more than anyone else. Not losing an away series in 6 years is simply incredible! Well played guys!

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

@ crh8971, I agree perhaps my analysis of James Pattison was too harsh. Definitely a top bowler in the years to come! Steyn was struggling, Philander was out injured, Kallis bowling brilliantly injured. The point I actually tried to make is that it could have gone either way, we'll never know. . .SA are well on top but this test is far from over judging by the S.A's bowling so far...@Greatest_Game sums it up nicely , back your team, not the ifs or buts. Aus may yet spring a surprise, I can assure you S.A supporters aren't celebrating with Oz still 10 wickets in hand.

Posted by yorkslanka on (December 2, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

fantastic knoocks by Amla - we getting to a stage where we are EXPECTING tons from him now, wow.. and also AB De V who put the pedal down and has given SA a great chance of winning this test....will be enthralling to watch...well bowled to Starc & Johnson any aussie fans,just for my info, why didnt clarke bowl himself?

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

Setting a total of 630 odd just shows what an unsporting captain Graeme Smith is. He has the best bowling attack and the total shows little confidence in bowling Australia out quickly. Australia will try to make a game out of it, Clarke seems to share Mark Taylors idea that you should go for a win then a boring draw. If anything, the speed the runs were scored, like Australia in Adelaide, give Australia a chance at staying in the match. On the plus side, Amla, sad to see he didn't get the 200, but boy oh boy what a sublime inningsrreminiscent of VVS at his wristy best.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

always be a highscoring and great matches btw these two sides!!!interesting if aussies reply strongly!!!

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

450 all out on day 5! I bet you!

Posted by Baber_Baloch on (December 2, 2012, 9:43 GMT)

what a cooooool inning from Amla.. great player ..........

Posted by gsingh7 on (December 2, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

it wud make cricket lot more interseting if clark scores 200 and aus loses within single digits, that wud be big blow for them as they visit india in few months where they had abysmal record

Posted by Elcana on (December 2, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

@ Muzammil Jable , well said!!! Let's see how they respond!

Posted by crh8971 on (December 2, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

@Muzammil Jable - yes it is true that there has been bad luck running both ways in this series but your view of Pattinson is just plain wrong. He had bowled 9 overs so not really enough to write him off for the whole match. Pattinson is the best pace bowling prospect we have had in Australia since at least Glenn McGrath. He definitely would have taken at least a couple in Adelaide and would have been extremely dangerous at the WACCA. He will take at least 300 test wickets if he can stay fit for long enough.

Posted by Indian_Cricket_Fanatic on (December 2, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

I somehow have a inner feeling that ponting will get Australia to number 1 in the next two days.......or i hope he'd be so much fun to see australia actually winning this test'd really bring test matches more life again..... On the other note, super knocks by AB and amla :)

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 2, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

This is not over yet. Those confidently predicting an SA win - remember Adelaide. The fat lady is not even at the WACA yet. There are biome damn fine batsmen between SA and victory - well experienced batsmen. They could Faf their way not a draw!

Posted by crh8971 on (December 2, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

I am as big an Australian fan as anyone but I am also a realist. The truth about the Aussie team is that they are improving and on their way to being a very good team but they are still very much in transition. We are still far from settled as to what our best 11 is and we need to find a much more solid top four and long term replacements for Ponting and Hussey. In contrast South Africa is very settled with at least 9 players in their line up. The top five are locked in, the three best seem bowlers are settled and durable and the core of the team is in that 27 to 32 age bracket where cricketers hit their peak. They have played like the very good team they are in this test. Australia will rue not closing the match when they had a chance in Adelaide although they were a little unlucky with Pattinson going down. I have no doubt they would have won if he was fit for the whole match. It is also very true that the bad luck has gone both ways in the series.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 2, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

Marcio - G'day Mate. I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment "we shouldn't complain too much." What I can't figure out is why you are still complaining? I don't see any knives, just discussion amongst cricket followers. As I write SA have been smashing it it about for four sessions, and unfortunately proving you wrong. They have now posted more than Oz did in Adelaide - SA 569 Oz 550 - so in fact Oz has fared worse than SA did 10 days ago - but that is a fact, & I'm not pulling out a knife.

Both teams had bad luck - not just Oz, and all those "Ifs" are just conjecture. If Duminy had not been injured he might have scored 300 runs and taken 8 wickets to win the Brisbane match - who knows, it's just conjecture & is worth nothing. Results matter - the scorecard says it all, and the teams are still even. Oz might force a draw, or even post the required 632 runs. Don't give up so easily - there are still 2 days play. Have some faith & back your team, instead of backing the IFS.

Posted by muthavimal on (December 2, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

South Africa kudos for your extra ordinary batting. Hats off to Amla and you desere to beart Australia handsdown.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 2, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

I think everyone knows the aussies by now, it'll be "the pitch or the curator or the weather or the ball or injury's. Its always something else blamed.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Amla is the best player SA has ever produced. God may bless him!

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

@Marcio, the one that needs to put things into perspective is you. I disagree with your wailing of Austrailia's so-called 'bad fortune'. You may have forgotten that S .A played the entire 1st test with 10 MEN!! . Correct me if i'm wrong but didn't Pattison go wicketless and was most expensive in the 1st innings of the second test? Not that much of a threat? As for the whole exhaustion factor, by effectively losing Duminy we lost our spinner who would give the quicks a rest.. As you yourself admits: Good & bad fortune evens out in the long run. The second test is where we lost King Kallis who at the time was our best bowler, again one bowler short. As for your one session only argument, take a look at the scorecard! You always ask why SA is so Arrogant. Well that's because certain Oz supporters fail to Give some respect where respect is due.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

@Marcio Good luck comes to those that play well. Aus have no keeper, no spinner, a poor seam attack and no top order. All they have is a good middle order. You have seen here what happens when the do not fire. You cannot hide this result as a one off. It was more an accident waiting to happen.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (December 2, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

No matter how busy you are, you must watch this match... This is going to be history...

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

@Marcio - you make a very good point. South Africa have been on the receiving end for the majority of the series so far. But to say that Aus has had a lot of bad luck, just remember that South Africa has also been a unlucky, playing the first game with only ten players and then the second with one bowler less (kallis) and without Philander. So in that case it's actually been pretty even.

Posted by Langjan on (December 2, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

Perspective based on ifs and buts is raw prejudice, especially when not mentioning the fact that the top bowler for SA in the second test, Kallis, was injured and could not bowl his full spell. No excuses 'roos, you'll have to take this one on the chin.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

Marcio , it seems like your view is one-sided to a certain extent...... The IFs you bring into play could well be annulled by South Africa's own IFs (If Kallis never broke down in Adelaide, Philander had played, Steyn didn't leave the pitch early..etc).

So, sir, as a proud SAFFA, we made do with what we have.... And we still make do with what we have!

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

@ balajik1968 Echoed my thoughts precisely, If AB stays as keeper, he is going to turned into your typical middle order wicket keeper batsmen, Prior/Gilchrist. He has the quality to be top 5 batsmen in the world .

The problem is the make-up of the team , if Ab keeps they can have another batsman in the team . AB is being sacrificed for the team, its clear.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

No way now South Africa can lose this test match and no. 1 spot. Legend Amla. Great AB. Finally AB has some runs. Thank God.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

Hashim Amla is a best plyar south Africa

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

amla is a brilliant player

Posted by balajik1968 on (December 2, 2012, 7:03 GMT)

South Africa needs to find a new keeper. De Villiers has been more of a gritty keeper-batsman than a frontline batsman, except here in Perth. This is possibly because he did not spend much time behind the wickets, like he has since he took over from Boucher. This is something South Africa needs to address and fast. Just looking for a Gilchrist will not do, Gilly was a one off.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

With one more session left for the day and two full days remaining, what would be Smith looking at? Given the form Clarke is in, can the hosts chase down 600 plus and make history, while rocketing to number one again?

Posted by Marcio on (December 2, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

It always helps to keep things in perspective. Bad days come and go. And as long as the good days outnumber the bad, we shouldn't complain too much. The reality is that since Clarke took over, AUS have won heaps & lost little. Lost 3/17, counting this game. So there is simply no need to pull out the knives. Just 10 days ago SA fared even worse than AUS yesterday. Short memories! Hussey, Warner & Clarke smashed it around for an entire day, not just one session. Along with obvious mistakes/limitations, it also has to be admitted that AUS just had a lot of bad luck. If Pattinson had not broken down, the Adelaide test would have finished much earlier with a huge win, & we'd have the same bowling attack this game as Sid & Hilfy wouldn't have been worked into the ground. A lot of things had to go against us to get this result, which will not reflect the way the series actually played out. So it's just a case learning & moving on, well played SA. Good & bad fortune evens out in the long run.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

This will be one demoralizing defeat for the Aussies and embarrassing farewell given to Pointing by his team mates.

Posted by crashed on (December 2, 2012, 5:04 GMT)

I guess if South Africa declare onor over 600 (take note IF) they will say SA were not giving Asutralia a decent chance to chase runs as 600 is way beyond any decent run chasing total ... .but wait i think the president has already been set in this series, with clarke giving South Africa a runchase of over 400 on an Adelaide pitch that were already out of reach ... i think i said it now ... do not cry later if it happens that way, on this pitch, as wade said, anything is gettable GO SA

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

Go south africa go...... beat the kangaroos......

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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