'The game's not finished yet' - Boucher
Mark Boucher has stirred memories of one of Australia's most famous collapses in the hope they will offer a repeat performance to keep South Africa in the third Test. Fifteen years ago, Australia failed to chase 117 against South Africa at the SCG and Boucher reminded the opposition about it twice after his brave 89 dragged the current team to 118 behind in the first innings.
"The game's not finished yet," Boucher said. "There's a history of Australian sides being bowled out for low scores here at the SCG - 111, I'm sure you guys remember it. Our backs are up against the wall in this game and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that. We do have fighters in our team, we have proved that for the whole series. We won't go down without a fight."
South Africa's hopes for a small target were not helped when Australia finished the third day at 0 for 33, taking a lead of 151 on a pitch which is becoming more difficult by the hour. Boucher and Morne Morkel put on 115 for the sixth wicket to give their side a hope of saving the game, but they will have to do it without their captain Graeme Smith.
Smith flew to Melbourne to have his broken fifth metacarpal replastered and also had the first blood injection in his right elbow. He was due to return to the team in Sydney on Monday night and the on-field leadership duties have gone to Neil McKenzie.
Boucher and Morkel, who scored a career-best 40, combined to edge South Africa to 327, a strong total considering the circumstances. "I thought we did pretty well to get where we did," Boucher said. "Myself and Morne had a good partnership at the end of the day."
The end came quickly for South Africa, with Peter Siddle grabbing 4 for 7 in 22 balls, and Boucher was last out when bowled trying to get closer to his century. "I was a bit disappointed not to get the extra 11 runs - something I've always wanted," he said. "If you'd given me 89 at the start of the day I would have taken it, on a wicket that is deteriorating a lot quicker than people thought."
Siddle's burst confirmed his promise and he collected 5 for 59 from 27.5 overs to show the inexperienced attack could work together. Mitchell Johnson was impressive, taking 2 for 69, while the debutant Doug Bollinger was unlucky to go wicketless.
"It was a tough day, the main focus was team bowling, bowling in partnerships, and we did that in the end," Siddle said. "I was lucky to come out with the reward. It's very pleasing to get my first five-for. I feel happy about that, and it's just good to go out there and stand up for the team."
Australia will now aim for a lead off 300 on the fourth day before making a decision on when to declare. "I can't predict anything at the moment," Siddle said. "We'll see where we're sitting at tea, and see which way we're going to go."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo