Hashim Amla’s near double-century and a return-to-form hundred from AB de Villiers helped South Africa set Australia a near-impossible 632 for a win in the Perth Test match
We’ll bring you the live scores and commentary of the action throughout the third Test match, with the fourth day starting at 1:30 pm AEDT (10:30am local) on December 3.
The day belonged to the South African batsmen yet again, scoring 339 runs in the near 74 overs they faced with Amla unfortunate to miss out on a deserved 200, caught superbly by Mitchell Johnson on his follow-through for 196.
De Villiers made a 184-ball 169 before a bid to push the score saw him edge one behind.
By the time Dean Elgar had become the 38th batsman in the history of Test cricket to get a pair on debut and Faf du Plessis had made a first sub-half-century Test score (halving his Test average to just 146.5), South Africa were well and truly on their way to an invincible position.
Australia, on their part had very few positives to take away from the third day’s play.
Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson shared the 10 wickets to fall but most of those went down when the visitors tried to accelerate towards the end of their innings. Johnson did bowl with venom in his spells later in the day, in an encouraging sign. Elgar copped the most attention during his short-lived stay.
More vitally, the home team will be happy with their openers Dave Warner and Ed Cowan surviving a spell of 13 overs without getting separated. Australia had lost two wickets in a similar situation in the first innings.
What will enthuse the team and the fans alike is the fact that despite the magnitude of the task – surviving around 180 further overs – there were no demons on the pitch even with the potentially dangerous new ball late on the third day.
With Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey in the kind of form they are down the order and given Shane Watson’s general appetite for runs, Australia will not count themselves out, not just yet anyway. Ponting’s final Test innings is sure to be memorable.
In scrapping together statistics of hope, the good news is that Australia have batted more for than 180 overs in an innings, a mountainous task in itself, on two other occasions in the last four years.
Since January 2008, Australia have also survived more than 150 overs, nine times, raising the Aussie hopes further.
But first things first and Australia need to bat out the fourth day with as less a loss of personnel as possible. As mentioned elsewhere, the track may not offer too much for the bowlers but there is every chance that the pitch may progressively become wearier and hence two-paced and more treacherous as the game progresses.
We will bring you the coverage throughout the game from the WACA in Perth and hope to receive your opinions as the action unfolds.
Keep updated by reviewing the comments below.