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Australia close in on victory against South Africa at stumps on Day 4, 3rd Test

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Mitchell Johnson’s early blitz killed South African hopes of a victory

Mar 4, 2o14

South Africa were staring at defeat at close of play on day four with the score at  71 for 4 , done in by some in by an outstanding display of bowling by Australia, who ran though the hosts’ top order for the second time in the match.

South Africa were blown out of water by the awe inspiring bowling of Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson, who rattling the uninspiring top order in no time, shortly after they were put into bat after Michael Clarke declared the innings after yet another demolition job by David Warner, notching up his second hundred of the match.

South Africa’s go to men for all seasons and formats, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers were yet again left to pick up the pieces after the top order collapse. The duo started the final session of the day’s play grinding out the bowlers with a definite eye on batting out the Test match.

With Clarke continuing to use Johnson in short bursts, the support cast of Australian bowlers were dealt with utmost caution, giving away nothing. Even Steven Smith’s lollypop full tosses were defended by the batsmen and singles were greeted with ironic cheers from the crowd.

Johnson as always was menacing best and always had an unpredictable delivery up his locker. Some late seam movement flummoxed de Villiers and Amla was undone by a similar delivery which pitched on a good length area crashed on the batsmen’s pads. The decision was reviewed and was given not out.

The priced wicket of Amla came from an unlikely source in the form of James Pattinson. Late swing towards the close of play sent the mercurial batsman back to the pavilion after he was trapped, plumb in front of the wickets. South Africa finished at 71 for four chasing down 511 with de Villiers and nightwatchman Kyle Abbott at the crease.  Australia look set to extend their unbeaten run in South Africa since 1969/70.

Brief scores:

Australia 494 for 7 decl. (David Warner 135, Michael Clarke 161*, Steven Smith 84; JP Duminy 4 for 73) & 303 for 5 (Chris Rogers 39,David Warner 145,Steven Smith 36*) lead South Africa 287 (Alviro Petersen 53, Hashim Amla 38,Vernon Philander 37* ; Mitchell Johnson 4 for 42 Ryan Harris 3 for 63) & 71 for 4 (Hashim Amla 41, Ab De Villiers 16*; Mitchell Johnson 2 for 31, James Pattinson 1 for 16) by 440 runs.

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