We may only be two days into the third and final Test match between Australia and South Africa, but an awful innings with the bat may have already decided the fate for the Aussies and retiring hero Ricky Ponting.
Day two saw Australia bowled out 62 runs shy of South Africa’s first innings total. To make matters worse, South Africa were allowed to race out to a great start with the bat before the day was out.
Australia’s pathetic total of 163 was beaten by the undefeated Hashim Amla (99) and Graeme Smith as the Proteas finished the day 2-230.
South Africa has built a very strong lead, already at 292 with eight wickets in hand, behind Amla and Smith. The duo put together a 178-run partnership with Amla and new batsman Jacques Kallis at the crease to begin day three.
The third and deciding Test is turning out to be a sad goodbye for former captain and Australian cricket legend Ricky Ponting. The 37-year-old received a standing ovation from the Perth crowd, but it didn’t inspire much confidence. He fell as quickly as his teammates, and managed another poor performance of just four runs.
The only batsmen of note for Australia were Matthew Wade (68) and Test debutant John Hastings (32). The top order collapsed to just 4-11 at one point and it was left to Wade to carry his country into lunch with a score of 7-118.
The Proteas’ bowling attack was nothing short of brilliant. Dale Steyn (4-40), spinner Robin Peterson (3-41), Vernon Philander (2-55) and Morne Morkel (19 runs from 13 overs) all played their part. Steyn also took the vital wickets of David Warner (13), Michael Clarke (5) and Mike Hussey (12).
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