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You are here: Cricket Test Cricket Australia need 632 runs to win Perth Test and take over No.1 Ranking, 40-0 at Close of play

Australia need 632 runs to win Perth Test and take over No.1 Ranking, 40-0 at Close of play

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de_villiersBig centuries from Hashim Amla (196) and AB de Villiers (169) allowed the Proteas to post a massive second innings total of 569 in the third test at Perth, setting hosts Australia an unlikely target of 632 to win the series and with it claim the no.1 test ranking. The Australians though will take heart from the fact that the target could have been worse had it not been for a lion-hearted bowling effort from the two Mitchell's, Starc and Johnson, who shared all 10 wickets to fall between them. The Aussie openers also survived the 13 overs they had to bat before the close of play to give themselves every chance of making a new world record by chasing down this mammoth target.

The South African top order consolidated their strong position in the 3rd test at Perth on day 3 as Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis put together another sizeable stand for the 3rd wicket. Having ended day 2 on a dominating 230/2, 292 runs ahead of the Aussies, Amla started day 3 on an auspicious note as he completed the one run needed for his 18th test century. He got there at astonishing rate of less than a run-a-ball, helping his side drive home the advantage. Jacques Kallis on the other hand played second fiddle to Amla, who was relentless and continued to go great guns at the Australian attack in the first session.

The pair put on 50 runs in the first hour of the morning, adding a total of 81 runs for the 3rd wicket before the Aussies finally got some respite. Veteran Kallis, top edged a hook shot off the bowling of Mitchell Starc and holed out to long leg for a good looking 37. At 287/3 though, substantial damage had already been done and South Africa were already 349 runs ahead. At the fall of that wicket, Proteas’ odi skipper AB de Villiers walked out in a situation that was tailor made for him. With the pitch easing out and the Aussie attack tiring after having been put to the sword, the aggressive right hander took time to settle in for the long haul.

He joined hands with the untouchable Hashim Amla to construct another profitable partnership. The duo put on 33 runs unbeaten at a relatively slower pace to that of the innings, and went through to Lunch with the side just 3 down. South Africa as a result were on a commanding 320/3 at lunch on day 3, with the run machine Amla not out on 149.

After lunch, the script didn't change much for the Aussies, who were made to chase leather. AB de Villiers in particular, upped the ante having set himself up before lunch. He attacked the off-spinner Nathan Lyon with a full array shots that saw crunching drives, flicks and reverse-sweeps. He wasn't shy about going aerial either with a lofted six over long on. He treated the pace bowling on merit, pulling and cutting anything slightly short of length and picking off the good deliveries for ones and twos. Amla too cashed in in the 20 minute period before the second new ball, punishing part timer Mike Hussey for runs to get close to his double hundred.

It wasn't to happen for the composed right hander though as the second new ball did the trick for the Aussies. Mitchell Johnson got the red cherry to stop a trifle on Amla and accepted a one handed return catch gleefully to send back the man, after a marvelous 196 off just 221 balls. The runs were well and truly on the board for the South Africans by then though as they were 498 ahead having added 149 for the 4th wicket. It soon became a double blow for the Proteas as Dean Elgar was again dismissed for a duck, lbw to Johnson, handing him a pair on debut. It was a well thought out dismissal by catching him on the crease after peppering him with a few rearing short ones.

In form batsman Faf du Plessis then joined in with De Villiers to continue the carnage at the stroke of tea. De Villiers finished the session with a flurry of boundaries including 3 in one over off Lyon to get to his Hundred. The pair added 31 in quick time, going into tea on an excellent 467/5, 529 runs ahead of the Aussies.

The first hour after tea saw De Villiers take the attack to the Aussies. He went after Hastings and Lyon right away and smashed them out of the attack with some crunching shots off the front foot. He found an able partner in Du Plessis who also got a move on, playing some lovely shots on either side of the wicket. Du Plessis made a quick 27 and added 102 for the 6th wicket with De Villiers before falling to a ripper from Johnson that he nicked to the lone slip in Michael Clarke. Starc picked up his 3rd soon after, in what was emerging as double-strike pattern for the Aussies. Starc got Robin Peterson for a duck, caught at mid-on the short ball.

De Villiers took the lead past 600, but fell in the quest for quick runs, caught behind off Starc for 169. South Africa though were in no hurry to declare, obviously having a time frame in mind in terms of how much bowling they wished to do tonight. The Proteas though were not afforded that luxury as Mitchell Starc came back well from the pasting he took from the top order to knock over the tail and end with figures of 6-154, a career best effort from the young left-armer. South Africa's innings folded for 569, leaving Australia with a little over two days to score 632 runs to win the series.

The Australian openers had 13 overs to survive before the close of play, and David Warner showed his hand early, smacking the first ball he faced over the slips for a boundary. The flamboyant left-hander was dealing only in boundaries, racing to 16 inside 3 overs before Cowan kept him away from the firing line for a few overs to cool off. The move worked as the Aussies managed to survive the day without any real alarms, posting 40 runs in the process.

While a win for the Aussies does appear a long shot, they have enough time on a wicket that isn't really doing anything to be able to achieve it. The Proteas will be overwhelming favourites, but scoring another 592 runs in 180 overs is still very much achievable.

Mini Scorecard

South Africa 1st innings 225 all out (74 overs, 3.1 rpo)
F Du Plessis 78*(142) M Johnson 2/54
R Peterson 31(45) N Lyon 3/41

Australia 1st innings 163 all out (53.1 overs, 3.06 rpo)
M Wade 68 (102) D Steyn 4/40
J Hastings 32(58) R Peterson 3/44

South Africa 2nd innings 569 all out (111.5 overs, 5.08 rpo)
H Amla 196 (221) M Johnson 4-108
AB de Villiers 169 (184) M Starc 6-154

Australia 2nd innings 40-0 (13 overs, 3.07 rpo)
D Warner 29* (32)

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