Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers take South Africa sailing past 500 lead

AB de Villiers (right) celebrates his first fifty-plus total in nine innings; he went on to notch his first ton since January this year in the second session Getty Images

Perth: Dec 2, 2012

Hashim Amla fell four runs short of a magnificent double century at Perth in the third and deciding Test against Australia, while AB de Villiers (116 not out) finally found form with the bat as South Africa took Tea at 467 for five on the third day.

It did seem like the only way Australia were going to get wickets was through remarkable catches in the field as Mitchell Johnson stuck his right arm out and plucked Amla s mistimed straight drive to get his second caught-and-bowled and third catch overall in the innings. Alviro Petersen, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis had also fallen to great catches by the hosts.

Dean Elgar then ended a pair-shaped Test debut after struggling against Johnson s bounce and pace, but not before getting stung on the right arm a couple of times by the latter s short ones hurled at over 140kph. He became the 10th South African and 38th player to be dismissed on a pair on Test debut.

Schoolmates de Villiers and Faf du Plessis then endured a gripping 20 minutes before the tea break and took the Proteas lead past 500. de Villiers got his first fifty-plus scores in nine Test innings and then topped it up with his first ton since January this year with three successive reverse-sweeps off Nathan Lyon.

Earlier, Amla started the third day on 99 not out and ended the first session on 149 not out as South Africa took an imposing lead of 382. The Proteas took lunch at 320 for three with Amla and AB de Villiers (18 not out) at the crease.

Amla got his 18th Test century on the third ball of the day as he flicked Mitchell Johnson off his hips for a single to long leg. Amazingly, his 84-ball 100 included just 10 fours.

Meanwhile, the Australians toiled and took the solitary wicket of Jacques Kallis (37) in the morning. The big all-rounder was looking good after struggling with a pulled hamstring throughout the second Test and was 59 runs short of the 13,000 Test runs when he tried to pull Mitchell Starc‘s (two for 103) bouncer. He was to get a healthy top edge that carried to the other Mitchell – Johnson – at fine leg.

The Australians bowled a little better than they did in the final session of day two when Amla and Graeme Smith (84) put up a 178-run stand and scored 268 runs in the session at a rate higher than six runs an over. The hosts got the run rate down to below five per over but that didn’t deny South Africa the chance to take total control of the deciding Test.

Brief Scores: South Africa 225 and 467 for 5 (Hashim Amla 196, AB de Villiers 116*; Mitchell Johnson 3 for 77) lead Australia 163 (Matthew Wade 68; Dale Steyn 4 for 40, Robin Peterson 3 for 44, Vernon Philander 2 for 55) by 529 runs

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