Amla and colleagues enjoy valuable batting time
Australia A 7 for 480 dec and 1 for 11 drew with South Africans 6 for 277 dec (Smith 60, Amla 53, Maxwell 2-70)
A fiery spell from Dale Steyn, described by Jacques Rudolph as the "quickest I have seen in six or seven years," was the final act of the drawn tour match at the SCG. After the South African top eight had all batted, they chose to give their quicks a last run before the first Test in Brisbane next week and Steyn held nothing back.
Of the batting line-up, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla scored half-centuries and retired out while the rest all had starts. Steyn and Vernon Philander were the only bowlers in action for the 10 overs South Africa spent in the field. Steyn bowled a particularly fierce and quick spell which resulted in the wicket of Liam Davis and a serious test for Phillip Hughes, who is pushing for a recall to the Australia squad.
Amla, who yesterday said the he preferred a match situation no matter how insignificant the game to nets, and JP Duminy resumed the in the morning and had one nervous moment. John Hastings drew a thick edge from Duminy which flew at a catchable height to the left of gully. He settled soon after and played more conservatively after that. His 31 runs came from 82 balls as he looked to spend time at the crease, instead of score runs.
The going was a little more free-flowing for Amla, who timed his shots particularly well through mid-wicket. He brought up his half-century with one such stroke and then retired to allow AB de Villiers to bat.
Like all the batsmen, de Villiers took some time to find his rhythm and the partnership between him and Duminy seemed to trudge along although it only lasted two overs and four balls. Andrew McDonald managed to extract some awkward bounce, Duminy chopped one and it was the first genuine wicket of the day.
De Villiers and Rudolph scratched around for a while and just as de Villiers was finding the middle of the bat he was given out in strange fashion. A massive appeal for lbw from Hastings was initially thought to be reason he was given out, although it looked too high and was certain to go down leg. The third umpire then confirmed that de Villiers was caught off the inside edge.
Rudolph also spent a long time at the crease. He scored 39 runs but batted for 108 balls and started of particularly defensively. He tucked into Steve Smith and hit the only six off the South African innings of him, over mid-wicket. His other impressive strokes off Smith were a stunning drive to long-on off the front foot and a replica which went wider through long-off off the next ball.
He didn't find the going as good against the other spinner, Glenn Maxwell, who he tried to drive. A thick edge was the result and Rudolph was caught at slip. Faf du Plessis, who is unlikely to play in the Test XI, batted for more than 10 overs while Philander also had some time in the middle. Once Smith was satisfied that all his batsmen had shown their mettle, he declared the South African innings and seemed to have given his bowlers instruction to have a quick burst.
Philander maintained control but Steyn let loose and sent down fireballs. He took the wicket of Liam Davis in his second over when the opener played a pull too early and was caught behind. But Steyn tested his own wicketkeeper as well with one of his bouncers. De Villiers had to leap to catch it and it was just out of reach. The ball hit his fingers which left him wringing his hand in pain after removing the glove although he was able to continue and team management confirmed no damage had been done.
Hughes faced a barrage of quick deliveries but held his own to score what Australia A captain McDonald called, "the best 1 not out I have ever seen."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent