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South Africa are staring defeat in the face after a frustrating fourth day's play in the second Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval after reaching stumps on 77-4 in pursuit of a highly unlikely victory target of 430. The home side recovered from a precarious overnight position of 111-5 to declare on 267-8 a dozen overs after lunch leaving the Proteas to survive â€“ or prosper â€“ in 135 overs.
Their second innings started in the worst possible fashion when captain and first innings centurion Graeme Smith edged his second delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus to second slip with just three runs on the board.
Hashim Amla (17) and Alviro Petersen (24) showed a willingness to counter-attack and briefly flourished until Amla edged off-spinner Nathan Lyon to slip. Jacques Rudolph (3) completed a miserable Test by turning a half-volley from the same bowler into short leg's hands and Petersen followed seven balls later by edging a Peter Siddle delivery on to his stumps.
Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers concluded that desperate times called for desperate measures and resorted to extreme defence to survive the final 30 overs of the day during which just 32 runs were scored. De Villiers was 12 not out at the close from 101 deliveries while Du Plessis will resume on 19 from 74 balls.
The tourists had high hopes of chasing something below 350 after a rousing fight back at the end of day three but that depended on breaking the overnight partnership between run machines Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey as quickly as possible.
Instead, the two first innings centurions added a resilient 70 for the sixth wicket before Clarke was finally trapped lbw by Dale Steyn for 38. His tally in three innings in the series now stands at 527 runs.
Hussey 's vital innings of 54 ended with a leading edge to cover against Morne Morkel but the game was already out of reach for South Africa when tailenders James Pattinson (29*) and Ben Hilfenhaus (18*) walloped a quick, undefeated 47 runs for the ninth wicket allowing Clarke to declare.
The last time the two nations drew successive Test matches was in 1921 so history suggests the odds are stacked against the remaining batsmen, one of whom is the injured Jacques Kallis who is expected to bat at number seven despite the possibility it may aggravate his strained hamstring and rule him out of the third Test starting in Perth on Friday.
Australia: E Cowan, D Warner, R Quiney, R Ponting, M Clarke(c), M Hussey, M Wade(wk), N Lyon, P Siddle, J Pattinson, B Hilfenhaus
South Africa: A Petersen, G Smith(c), H Amla, J Kallis, AB de Villiers(wk), F du Plessis, J Rudolph, D Steyn, R Kleinveldt, M Morkel, I Tahir
Australia 1st Innings 550 all out (107.2, 5.12 rpo)
M Clarke 230 (257) J Kallis 2-19
D Warner 119 (112) M Morkel 5-146
South Africa 1st Innings 388 all out (124.3, 3.11 rpo)
G Smith 122 (244) B Hilfenhaus 3-49
F du Plessis 78 (159) N Lyon 2-91
Australia 2nd Innings 268-8 declared (70, 3.81 rpo)
D Warner 41 (60) R Kleinveldt 3-65
M Hussey 54 (95) M Morkel 3-50
South Africa 2nd Innings 77-4 (50, 1.54 rpo)
A Petersen 24 (62) B Hilfenhaus 1-23
F du Plessis 19* (74) N Lyon 2-15
File Photograph Copyright
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