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Magnificant Rudolph cuts loose

Jacques Rudolph hammered an unbeaten 201to ensure that there were no last-day shocks for the South Africans at Perth's James Oval

Western Australia XI 5 for 300 dec and 1 for 64 drew with South Africans 8 for 292 dec and 9 for 395 dec (Rudolph 201*, Nel 64, Prince 57, Petrie 4-78)

Jacques Rudolph takes a breather on his way to an unbeaten double hundred © Getty Images
Jacques Rudolph hammered an unbeaten 201 to ensure that there were no last-day shocks for the South Africans as they drew their tour match against a Western Australia XI at Perth's James Oval. His masterclass which included 24 fours took some of the pressure off the tourists' injury concerns and enabled the tourists to declare on 9 for 395 at tea. They set the Western Australia XI a nominal target of 388 and allowed their bowlers a last stretch before the first Test on Friday.
The South Africans batting had earlier wobbled again, and it took a 175-run ninth-wicket stand between Rudolph and Andre Nel (64) to finally ensure that the match would end as a draw. Ten Western Australian bowlers were used in all, and Matthew Petrie was the pick, finishing with 4 for 78. The final session was very low key, and Shaun Pollock picked up the one wicket to fall.
Jacques Kallis has now been given until Wednesday to prove his fitness for the first Test against Australia but the tourists look likely to have a worthy batting replacement in Rudolph should Kallis miss out.
Kallis has had just ten minutes' practice since arriving in Perth and tearing a tendon in his elbow and team officials said he would have to prove himself in the nets on Wednesday or miss selection for the Test, which starts on Friday. He had earlier been given until Tuesday to prove his fitness.
Although this match ended in a draw, the damp and dull wicket offered the tourists little experience of the conditions they will experience on the bouncy WACA wicket which will host the Test.
But it did show that Rudolph, who has been the stand-out batsman of the tour for South Africa, could easily slot in at No 4 behind AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs if Kallis is ruled out.
South African coach Mickey Arthur said he was still confident of a competitive showing against the world champions despite his team's lacklustre form. "I'm upbeat, I really am," he said. "You just have to be at the heart of the team to see our team spirit is fantastic and the guys are up for it. It hasn't gone our way yet, but our intensity and discipline has got better and better. I think the guys will be up for it come Friday, I really do."
Despite Arthur's optimism, losing Kallis, currently ranked the world's best Test batsman, would be a massive obstacle for the tourists to overcome. With a batting average of 57.07 plus 184 wickets from his 94 Test matches, Kallis rivals England's Andrew Flintoff as the world's premier allrounder.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting said he hoped Kallis would recover in time to play on Friday. "We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope he does come up, because we want to play the best South African team that we can," he said. If he's not the best, he's one of the very best batsmen in the world. He's a pretty handy bowler for them as well and he's a vital member of their side."
Australia's only injury concern was fast bowler Glenn McGrath who has the flu and missed training on Tuesday. "We believe he's fine and he's improving," said the team spokesperson, Belinda Dennett, "and he's expected to train with the team tomorrow."