Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith pull and drive South Africa away

Hashim Amla (right) shared a 178-run stand with his captain Graeme Smith to bully Australia Getty Images

Perth: Dec 1, 2012

South Africa skipper Graeme Smith (84) and Hashim Amla (99 not out) launched a remarkable counter-attack against Australia in their second innings on the third day of the Perth Test, taking the Proteas to 230 for two at stumps. The duo scored at a rate upwards of six runs an over as they amassed a 178-run partnership to stretch South Africa s lead to 292.

The visitors lost Alviro Petersen (23) early in the final session of the day after Mitchell Johnson took a remarkable catch off his own bowling. It was a good time for the hosts to pile up the pressure on the Proteas.

However, Smith and Amla had other plans as they pummelled the Australian attack all over the park at a run rate more suited to a limited overs game. The 100 was up for the Proteas in the 16th over itself as both batsman exploited the crease, used their feet to shuffle across the stumps and all but demoralised the Australian bowlers.

Mitchell Starc went for 76 runs and wicketless in his 10 overs, while debutant John Hastings (none for 47) bled 41 off his first five. Mitchell Johnson (one for 35) who was getting the ball to swing both ways, was the only bowler who troubled the two South Africans.

It was only fair that Smith fell to yet another remarkable catch to Starc, the only difference being that it was Nathan Lyon who ran 40 yards from deep point and just about managed to latch on to a diving catch. The South African skipper was gone for 84 off a 100 balls, but not before putting his team in a more than enviable position in the match.

Jacques Kallis walked in and took a few balls and a dropped catch to settle in and accompanied Amla to stumps.

Earlier, South Africa s Dale Steyn and Robin Peterson starred as Australia crumbled to 163 all-out before Tea.

Steyn was right on the money and picked up four wickets in the first session to peg Australia to 118 for seven at Lunch before Peterson polished off the tail to give the Proteas a lead of 62 to begin with.

Australian wicket-keeper batsman Matthew Wade (68) provided the lone resistance for the home side as the South African bowlers ripped through the hosts’ batting line-up. After a fighting 68 off 102 balls, including seven fours and three hits over the fence, Wade finally fell after the tea break as he went to slog the slow left-armer and missed completely.

There was no coming back from there for the hosts as Peterson cleaned up debutant John Hastings and big-hitter Mitchell Johnson in quick succession.

South Africa openers Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen then survived six overs of Mitchell Starc and Shane Watson before the break to increase their lead to 86 runs.

Earlier in the day, Steyn was the first to strike, and sent back overnight batsmen David Warner (13) and Nathan Lyon (7) in his very first over of the day after finding the leading edges.

Ricky Ponting (4) couldn’t inspire a fightback as he was trapped in front by Vernon Philander (two for 41) after facing just seven balls.

Captian Michael Clarke (5), who has been South Africa’s tormentor with the bat in the series, couldn’t help but knick a fiery Steyn to keeper AB de Villiers as Australia fell to 45 for six.

Michael Hussey and Wade then shared a 55-run partnership before Morne Morkel (one for 13), who had set up Hussey well by probing him with delieveries outside off-stump, found the edge that carried to Smith at first slip.

Brief Score: South Africa 225 and 230 for 2 (Hashim Amla 99*, Graeme Smith 84; Mitchell Johnson 1 for 35) lead Australia 163 (Matthew Wade 68; Dale Steyn 4 for 40, Robin Peterson 3 for 44, Vernon Philander 2 for 55) by 292 runs

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