S.Africa's Smith defies Australia in 2nd Test
ADELAIDE, Australia (AFP) –
Skipper Graeme Smith survived two close shaves to reach a resolute century and keep South Africa in the match after Australia’s big first innings in the second Test in Adelaide on Friday.
Smith anchored the Proteas’ reply with his 26th Test hundred as the world’s top-ranked team lost just two wickets in two sessions on a docile pitch.
At close on the second day, Smith was unbeaten on 111 with Jacques Rudolph not out 25 in South Africa’s 217 for two, 333 runs behind the home side’s 550.
Smith has proved a lucky charm with his tons for South Africa. The Proteas have not lost the match in the previous 25 Tests in which he has scored a century.
Smith had two big moments before reaching triple figures.
He advanced down the wicket to spinner Michael Clarke on 46 but was given a let-off when wicketkeeper Matthew Wade badly fumbled the stumping chance.
The Proteas skipper was later given out caught behind off James Pattinson on 78 but the review’s Hot Spot infra-red imaging system could not detect any touch and umpire Richard Kettleborough’s decision was reversed.
“Graeme is set now and he’s looking good and if we can put on a couple of partnerships tomorrow then hopefully by the end of the day’s play we could be in range of their target and we’ll take it from there,” fast bowler Morne Morkel said.
“We always know that day three is the moving day and an important day for us as a unit.”
Smith raised his ton off 199 balls when he tucked spinner Nathan Lyon behind point for four with seven overs left in the day.
Alviro Petersen was run out for 54 by a direct throw from Mike Hussey at mid-on after he lost ground in avoiding a mid-pitch collision with Smith to end a 138-run opening stand.
It was Warner’s fourth Test wicket and came with the penultimate delivery of his opening over to gain a vital breakthrough on a flat batting pitch.
“Tomorrow is a pretty big day I reckon in the Test match,” senior Australian batsman Hussey said.
“If we can bowl really well and restrict South Africa, then we’re in a great position to push forward and try to win this Test match.
“If they bat throughout the day and get up close or even get past our score, then I think it’s back to being a really even Test again.”
Australia’s hopes of making a first innings total around 600 evaporated when South Africa finally removed skipper Clarke early on the second morning.
Clarke was out for the first time in the series on 230, bowled by Morkel, who finished with five wickets for 146 off 30 overs.
The Australian skipper became the first batsman in the history of Test cricket to post four 200s in a calendar year.
It was a psychological breakthrough for South Africa, with Clarke piling on 489 runs — including his unbeaten 259 in last week’s first Brisbane Test — before they could get him out.
Clarke cracked 40 boundaries and a six off 257 balls in almost six hours but Australian wickets soon began to tumble after his exit to a standing ovation.
In sharp contrast to their first-day battering of the Proteas bowling, when Australia plundered 482 for five at almost six runs an over, they lost their last five wickets for 68.
It took a feisty 42 off 35 balls from James Pattinson to push the Australian total to a healthy looking 550.
Pattinson struck some lusty blows with two sixes off hapless leg-spinner Imran Tahir and four fours to put on 46 runs for the last wicket with Nathan Lyon (7).
A demoralised Tahir finished wicketless for 180 off 23 overs, putting in doubt his chances of playing in the final Test of the series in Perth next week.