Australia lose five in second innings as Adelaide Test hangs in balance

Dale Steyn dismissed Ricky Ponting, whose form continues to elude him, towards the end of third day’s play © Getty Images

Adelaide: Nov 24, 2012

Rory Kleinveldt led yet another fight back by South Africa on the third day of the second Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday as the hosts closed on 111-5 in their second innings, leading by 273.

The Proteas endured a torrid morning session with the bat after resuming on 217-2 with high hopes of challenging Australia’s formidable first innings score of 550.

But five wickets tumbled for the addition of just 17 runs as the tourists collapsed to 250-7, still 300 in arrears.

An eighth wicket stand of 93, featuring an injured Jacques Kallis batting at number nine, restored some respectability to the innings with Faf du Plessis looking as assured and confident as any Proteas debutant in recent years during a stylish, yet resilient, innings of 78 from 159 balls with 13 fours and a six.

Kallis was barely able to rise above a gentle trot between the wickets with his strained hamstring heavily strapped but that hardly mattered as he belted 46 of his 58 runs in boundaries from just 93 balls before gloving a sweep against Michael Clarke’s left-arm spinners to ‘keeper Matthew Wade.

Jacques Rudolph (29) was the first man to go, driving off-spinner Nathan Lyon straight to short cover and captain Graeme Smith followed seven balls later after a prolonged third umpire review revealed the faintest of ‘hotspot’ edges to Wade. Smith’s 122 came from 244 deliveries with 14 fours.

AB de Villiers (1) missed a straight delivery from Peter Siddle to depart lbw and neither Dale Steyn nor Kleinveldt lasted longer than a handful of deliveries before Du Plessis and Kallis came to the rescue.

With a first innings lead of 162 the home side looked likely to be out of reach by the close of play when openers David Warner (41) and Ed Cowan (29) raced to an opening stand of 77 – but Kleinveldt changed the course of the Test match yet again with three wickets in as many overs.

A leading edge from Warner was caught by Du Plessis at cover, Rob Quiney completed a ‘pair’ in the match with an edge to De Villiers and Cowan was clean bowled by a perfect inswinger.

Ricky Ponting’s wretched form against South Africa continued when he chopped on for 16 against Steyn and nightwatchman Siddle edged Morne Morkel to the ‘keeper shortly before the close of play.

Michael Clarke (9*) and Mike Hussey (5*) survived some nervous moments before the close and will have to bat for much of the first session on the fourth day to take the game away from the tourists who will feel, understandably, that a high run chase is possible on a pitch still holding together well – and with the home side missing frontline seamer James Pattinson with a side strain.

Brief Scores: Australia 550 and 111 for 5 (David Warner 41, Ed Cowan 29; Rory Klienveldt 3 for 14) lead South Africa 338 (Graeme Smith 122, Faf du Plesis 78; Ben Hilfenhaus 3 for 49) by 273 runs.
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