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Smith falls cheaply as South Africa totters

Hosts slump to 71 for 4 in pursuit of 511 for series victory after Warner’s second ton of Test drives Australia to 303 for 5

Smith falls cheaply as South Africa totters - Cricket News
Graeme Smith was dismissed by Mitchell Johnson for 3 in his final innings for South Africa.
Graeme Smith’s international career ended in personal disappointment on day four of the third Test against Australia on Tuesday (March 4), but South Africa lived to fight another day as it fought off defeat in its captain’s final match.
Smith was dismissed by old foe Mitchell Johnson for 3 in his final contribution to international cricket as South Africa slumped to 15 for 3 at tea, but the hosts fought back in the final session through Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers to go to stumps on 71 for 4 in pursuit of 511 for victory after Australia declared its second innings at 303 for 5.
Smith has been in charge for some of Test cricket’s finest rearguard actions, but a draw for South Africa in this series decider would represent the best of the lot. De Villiers went to stumps unbeaten on a dogged 16 from 100 deliveries with Kyle Abbott, the nightwatchman, at the other end. South Africa still has Faf du Plessis to bat, but reverse swing and variable bounce are creeping into the equation.
South Africa spent the first half of the day chasing leather in the field, as David Warner, who made his second century of the match, left the No. 1 side in the world with a feeling of helplessness. Australia resumed on 27 without loss, but took no time to hit its stride as Warner and Chris Rogers hit four fours in the first three overs.
In total, the pair added 93 in just 14 overs before Rogers’ laziness during a second run was found out by a direct hit from Dale Steyn to send the opener packing for 39. It was the only bright spot in an extended morning session for South Africa.
Although Steyn bowled his first spell since incurring a hamstring strain on day one, he went for 24 runs in three overs and was not asked to bowl again. Vernon Philander suffered similar punishment, ending up with figures of none for 42 from six overs.
Warner slowed down after Rogers’s dismissal as Australia added just 55 in 25 overs during his partnership with Alex Doolan, who made 37. However, things picked up when Doolan was dismissed by Morne Morkel after the lunch break, as Shane Watson hit 25 in 17 balls and Steve Smith scored an unbeaten 36 from 20 deliveries.
The only bowler to shine for South Africa was Abbott, who continued to give nothing away. With Australia looking to attack, that brought him the wickets of Warner, Watson and Michael Clarke, and very respectable figures of 3 for 61.
Clarke’s declaration allowed his opening bowlers two cracks at South Africa - one either side of tea. They made the first one count, with Ryan Harris trapping Alviro Petersen lbw and Johnson getting the better of Smith for the ninth time in Tests - more than any other bowler.
Smith had been given a guard of honour by the Australian players on his way to the crease, but will not look back on his final dismissal with honour - he was caught bat and pad by short leg after a Johnson short ball got him leaping. The small crowd at Newlands nevertheless gave him the standing ovation he deserved as he made his way off his home ground.
South Africa’s situation grew dire when Dean Elgar failed to get behind a straight one from Johnson to be bowled off the final ball of the second session, but after the break, Amla and de Villiers proved that the pitch held few demons once the ball was old. While the run-rate slowed to a crawl, it became clear that South Africa would take the game into a fifth day and give itself an outside chance of survival.
However, Australia got the ball to reverse swing from around the 31st over, and five overs later, James Pattinson produced a late inducker to trap Amla in front. As in the first innings, it was going to take something special to dislodge the batsman, but Australia achieved it with well-controlled reverse.
Abbott saw out the remaining four overs with de Villiers, but South Africa has another 98 overs to survive if it is to deny Australia the series victory.

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