Australia eye Test win as series heads for a thrilling end

South African pacer Vernon Philander (L) celebrates the fall of an Australian wicket Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

Johannesburg: Nov 20, 2011

Australia, chasing 310, reached 142 at loss of three wickets before bad light stopped play on the fourth day of the second and the final Test against South Africa at Johannesburg on Sunday.

The visitors need more 168 with seven wickets remaining going into the final day.

Australia were served a rude shock when Usman Khawaja was dismissed at the fag end of the day.

Ricky Ponting and Khawaja added 122 for the third wicket after Vernon Philander struck twice to have Australia reeling at 64 for two in their second inning.

Philander hit the target with his second ball, which straightened from a length on off-stump and clipped Shane Watson s bails before Australia had a run on the board.

In his next over, Phillip Hughes (11) had no time to pull away as he edged Philander to Jacques Kallis at second slip.

Earlier, Australia claimed four wickets before lunch to bowl themselves back into contention on the fourth day of the second and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.

South Africa were 314 for seven at lunch, an overall lead of 284. Australia need a win to square the series.

Australia had the better of the early play as South Africa slipped from their strong overnight position of 222 for three to 266 for seven.

But Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn fought back for the hosts with an unbroken eighth wicket stand of 48 to nudge their side ahead again in an evenly-contested match.

Pat Cummins, Australia’s 18-year-old fast bowling discovery, again made the first breakthrough, tempting AB de Villiers into a drive and having him caught at second slip for 73, after only 15 runs had been added to the overnight total.

It ended a fourth wicket partnership of 147 between De Villiers and Hashim Amla.

Amla completed his 14th Test century and his second of the series but South Africa then suffered a double blow when Ashwell Prince was run out for two after a mix-up with Amla, to be followed by Amla, who was caught behind off Mitchell Johnson for 105, scored in 332 minutes off 243 balls with 14 fours.

Amla was dismissed after the second new ball was due and Michael Clarke’s decision to delay taking it seemed to be justified when offspinner Nathan Lyon had Mark Boucher caught at slip for 13.

But Philander and Steyn added 28 more runs before the new ball was taken after 96 overs, then survived another nine overs before lunch.

Brief Scores: South Africa 266 (AB de Villiers 64, Ashwell Prince 50, Jacques Kallis 54; Peter Siddle 3 for 69, Nathan Lyon 2 for 52, Michael Clarke 2 for 6) & 314 for 7 (Hashim Amla 105, AB de Villiers 73, Graeme Smith 36; Pat Cummins 3 for 65, Nathan Lyon 2 for 57) lead Australia 296 (Phil Hughes 88, Shane Watson 88; Dale Steyn 4 for 64) & 142 for 3 (Usman Khawaja 65, Ricky Ponting 54; Vernon Philander 2 for 31) by 168 runs

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