McKenzie and Amla steady South Africa chase

Published: Jan 06, 2009, 13:15 IST | PA Sport

South Africa will enter the final day of the third Test against Australia needing a further 314 runs to pull off an improbable win.

South Africa will enter the final day of the third Test against Australia needing a further 314 runs to pull off an improbable win.


Set an imposing victory target of 376 from a minimum 116 overs, the Proteas were 62 for one at stumps on day four.


Stand-in skipper Neil McKenzie (25) and Hashim Amla (30) will resume the fight for a history-making last-day win - and a series clean sweep - with at least 90 overs to be bowled.


Past run chases at the SCG suggest victory will elude the Proteas on a wearing wicket.


Australia's fourth-innings total of 288 for two in the 2005-06 season against South Africa is the highest winning total in a Sydney Test.


The tourists' task is made more difficult by the absence of skipper Graeme Smith who is nursing a broken finger and is highly unlikely to take any further part in proceedings.


After Australia declared their seconds innings at 257 for four, Doug Bollinger (one for 11) made the early breakthrough, picking up his first Test wicket after makeshift opener Morne Morkel (0) chipped a catch to Mitchell Johnson at mid-on.

Amla survived a close call on five, edging Peter Siddle past a diving Brad Haddin.


Ricky Ponting closed his side's innings after Michael Clarke (41) was caught in the deep going after quick runs.


Michael Hussey remained not out on 45.


Australia resumed Day Four on 33 without loss with Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich at the crease.


Hayden (39) dragged Morne Morkel (two for 38) onto his stumps after working hard in an attempt to build his first substantial score of the summer.


He belted seven fours in a 63-ball stay that produced just as much sweat as substance.


The 37-year-old was given a rousing send-off by the SCG crowd.


Ponting (53) almost collected a king pair after leaving the first ball he faced only for it to catch the inside edge of his bat, narrowly missing the stumps and going to the boundary for four.


The Australian skipper's innings then flourished as he raced to a half-century at almost a run a ball.


It came as a surprise when he played on to Morkel attempting a cut shot.


There was also plenty of surprise when Simon Katich (61) was given out lbw to Dale Steyn (one for 60), with only wicketkeeper Mark Boucher seemingly interested in an appeal.


Clarke and Hussey then combined for a fourth-wicket partnership of 76 that helped place Australia in the box seat to win for the first time this series.


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