South Africa bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals on the fourth day of the third and final Test against Australia, as they restricted the hosts to 204 for seven at Tea. Australia are staring at a massive defeat going into the final session of the day, still trailing the visitors by 428 runs with just three wickets in hand.
After beginning the second session at 110 for three, Australia lost Ed Cowan, who had scored a fighting half century, to Dale Steyn. The No 1 bowler in the world set Cowan up well, banging in the short ones from around the wicket to the left-hander with a deep square-leg and fine leg in place. Cowan pulled, found the top edge and holed out to Dean Elgar.
Captain Michael Clarke had scored a quick 44 off 52 balls including eight boundaries and was looking well set. However, a rush of blood resulted in him charging down the track to Robin Peterson’s flighted delivery; he missed it and was stumped by AB de Villiers who did well behind the sticks.
Michael Hussey, known to drive Australia out of precarious situations in the past, too could not inspire what would be a miraculous comeback as a fiery, crazy-eyed Steyn found his edge to give de Villiers another catch.
Australia went into the break still 428 runs behind with all-rounders John Hastings and Mitchell Johnson at the crease.
Earlier, chasing a mammoth total of 632 runs, Australia reached 110 runs for the loss of three wickets at Lunch.
Playing his final Test match, all eyes were on Ricky Ponting, who received a warm welcome from South African cricketers. The Proteas gave the former Australian skipper and second-highest run-getter in Tests a guard of honour on his arrival on the field as the WACA gave a standing ovation.
Ponting, however, could not have a fairytale ending to his illustrious 17-year career that everyone was hoping for. He departed again in single digits, dismissed on eight by Robin Peterson after edging the left-arm spinner to first slip.
But the 37-year-old did give the crowd a couple of glimpses of the form that propelled him to stardom, scoring two boundaries including one via his trademark pulls.
South Africa picked up three wickets in the session, including the dangerous duo of David Warner and Shane Watson, who are known to change the game around with their aggressive strokeplay.
Warner was gone on the second ball of the day as Vernon Philander squared him up and found the edge that went to Graeme Smith at first slip. Watson was set up by Morne Morkel well and fell in similar fashion.
Brief Scores: South Africa 225 and 569 (Hashim Amla 196, AB de Villiers 169; Mitchell Starc 6 for 154, Mitchell Johnson 4 for 110) lead Australia 163 and 204 for 7 (Ed Cowan 53, Michael Clarke 44; Robin Peterson 3 for 67, Dale Steyn 2 for 51) by 428 runs
First Published: December 3, 2012, 12:51 pm