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SA on the verge of history!238 weeks ago
 


SA on the verge of history!


Dale Steyn and Ricky Ponting were the stars as South Africa bowled out Australia for 247 and reached 30 without loss at stumps on the fourth day of the second test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday.

South Africa have made a bright start in search of 183 to win the test and clinch the series, while Australia have rued the lack of top-order support for captain Ponting.

Ponting, who scored 101 in the first innings, once again tore into the South African bowling and had cruised to a marvellous 99 as history beckoned. He was set to become the first batsman in the history of the game to score hundreds in each innings of a test on four occasions, but it would all end in tears. With a crowd of 20 000 in the MCG banging on the boundary boards, Graeme Smith moved himself to short cover and Morne Morkel, in the middle of another fine spell, induced a drive straight to his captain.

Ponting, in prime form, and Mitchell Johnson had added 32 runs in the 13 overs since tea, but the captain's dismissal left Australia in serious trouble on 212 for eight and just 147 in front.

Jacques Kallis then picked up the wicket of Nathan Hauritz, bowling him for three with a ripper of an off-cutter, and Johnson decided it was now or never as he hit out to score 43 valuable runs.

It was Steyn who eventually wrapped up the innings by having Peter Siddle caught behind for six, finishing with five for 67 and 10 for 154 in the match. It gave the Phalaborwa Express his 150th test wicket in his 29th game and an amazing 74 wickets for the year.

It left South Africa with six overs to bat before stumps and Smith ensured it would be no dowdy half-hour just trying to survive.

He added 25 more runs to his year-leading tally of 1606 runs, stroking five fours off 19 balls, but there was no sign of a return to form for Neil McKenzie.

He struggled to three not out and survived being bowled by a Brett Lee no-ball, once again offering no stroke to a delivery that hit the top of off stump.

AFTERNOON SESSION

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South Africa failed to quell Ricky Ponting but were still in line to end a triumphant year in style as they reduced Australia to 180 for seven at tea on the fourth day of the second test at the MCG on Monday.

Ponting was in prime form on 87 not out and he was almost entirely responsible for dragging Australia 115 runs ahead.

But while the idol of Australian cricket prospered, the rest of the batsmen were comically inept against another fantastic South African bowling performance, spearheaded by Dale Steyn.

Michael Clarke (29) lobbed a catch just short of second slip off Morne Morkel, who had earlier seen Ponting edge a delivery short of wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, before Neil McKenzie coolly hung onto a back-foot drive at short extra cover off Steyn.

Andrew Symonds, another of the senior players who is under threat of losing his place, edged Steyn low to Jacques Kallis at second slip to be dismissed for a duck five balls later and Brad Haddin could take no more abstinence after scoring 10 runs off 35 balls, driving loosely for Kallis to take catch number two at second slip, this time off Makhaya Ntini.

Brett Lee (8) survived a number of close shaves before Kallis bowled him with an inswinger in the over before tea.

Steyn had taken four for 46 in 14 overs, with Morkel, Ntini and Kallis in close support.
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MORNING SESSION
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South Africa celebrated three wickets and were on top as Australia reached 86 for three at lunch on the fourth day of the second test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday.

Dale Steyn was once again directing affairs for the South Africans with two wickets in a top-class spell.

A brilliant piece of captaincy by Graeme Smith accounted for a belligerent Matthew Hayden, who scored just 23 to ensure the calls for his head will grow ever stronger. The big left-hander had played with the freedom that a nothing-left-to-lose situation allows and Smith moved that man JP Duminy to short cover where he promptly caught a drive on the up off Steyn.

One of the heroes of the unbelievable third day then followed up with the wicket of Simon Katich (15) in his following over, the gritty left-hander surprisingly chasing a wide delivery and offering a catch to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Morne Morkel then produced a rip-snorting lifter to remove Michael Hussey for two, although the ball cannoned into his helmet and looped to Hashim Amla on the leg side without the help of glove or bat to leave both Hussey and Australian captain Ricky Ponting furious with umpire Aleem Dar.

Ponting regained his composure sufficiently to take Australia through to lunch as he went to a fluent 32 not out, in the company of Michael Clarke (9*), as the home side went into a 21-run lead.




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