Proteas digging in

Defiant partnership keeps South Africa in with a shout of draw

Last Updated: 10/03/09 1:13pm

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Kallis: Under pressure

Kallis: Under pressure

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Second Test Match
Durban
Australia 352 (P J Hughes 115, S M Katich 108, M E K Hussey 50) & 331-5 dec (P J Hughes 160, R T Ponting 81) v South Africa 138 (J P Duminy 73 no) & 244-2 (J H Kallis 84 no, A B de Villiers 68 no)

Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers are digging in for South Africa as they made it to the close of the penultimate day on 244-2 and with a day left to save the second Test.

Already starting the day with a 500-plus lead, Australia allowed Phil Hughes to blast his way to 160 before Ricky Ponting declared on 331-5.

The tourists were right in the driving seat with a lead of 545, and with Proteas skipper Greame Smith out injured and unable to bat, as the hosts were left with the best part of two days to bat out for a draw.

Peter Siddle removed both openers with the score on 80 to have the home side in real trouble, but a defiant partnership of 164 between Kallis and de Villiers steered South Africa to the close without any further damage.

The final day finds South Africa 302 runs from an historic victory, but more likely with three sessions to survive for a draw, especially with Smith injured.

Declaration

Ponting could have declared overnight, but he opted to send the South Africans back into the field for 35 minutes on the fourth morning.

Hughes smashed his way from 136 to 160 before hitting out to Makhaya Ntini, and when Marcus North was out for a duck soon after Ponting called off their innings.

It left South Africa with a virtually impossible 546 to win, with a possible 170 overs to survive being the more likely target - but they got off to a good start with a 63-run opening stand.

Neil McKenzie was the first man out for 31 as he went in the 23rd over when edging Siddle through to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

Hashim Amla, opening in the absence of Smith who has a broken bone in his hand, went half an hour later when he also edged Siddle - this time to Ponting at slip - for 43.

Put down

Kallis had previously edged his first delivery to North at first slip, but he dropped the catch and the Aussies were made to pay for that slip-up.

Kallis and de Villiers then knuckled down and added 84 and 68 respectively, with Kallis' stand taking in 161 balls while de Villiers faced 166 in his vigil.

Without any more wickets tumbling the home crowd in Durban will be hopeful of keeping the Aussies at bay for a draw.

Australia seem certain to retain their number one status in the world as a South African wins seems implausible, especially with Smith not likely to bat.

The Aussies are already 1-0 up in the three-match series, and the home side will be looking to see-out the day, probably with just seven wickets in hand, to scrape a draw and head into the final Test hoping to level the series.

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