Cowan and Clarke halt Proteas charge
Australia were indebted to an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 71 between Ed Cowan and Michael Clarke as they looked to fight back from a perilous position on day three of the first Test with South Africa at the Gabba.
Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla took their scores to 147 and 104 respectively as the Proteas, missing the injured JP Duminy, progressed from 255 for two to 450 all out.
Clarke’s men were then rocked by early wickets from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, but the skipper and Cowan held firm to reach stumps on 34 and 49 respectively in a total of 111 for three.
Cowan received a notable let-off in the penultimate over of the day. South Africa called for a review after umpire Asad Rauf failed to spot a faint glove down the leg side off Morkel, but replays revealed the bowler had overstepped by the finest of margins.
After the second day had been washed out, South Africa resumed with both Amla and Kallis in sight of hundreds.
The former moved into three figures with an edge for four off James Pattinson, but was soon trapped lbw by Peter Siddle, who had dropped a return chance to reprieve Amla on day one.
If Australia expected to immediately cash in on Amla’s departure, they were left disappointed as Kallis continued to progress serenely in the company of AB de Villiers.
A push through midwicket for two took Kallis to his 44th Test ton and South Africa reached lunch on 357 for three, with an imposing total seemingly within their grasp.
To their credit, the home bowlers fought back strongly thereafter, with runs proving hard to come by following Kallis’ exit. The all-rounder fell victim to a superb catch in the gully from debutant Rob Quiney, who dived to his left to secure a second wicket for James Pattinson.
In his next over, Pattinson struck again as de Villiers picked out David Warner at point.
Jacques Rudolph contributed 31 from number six, but, with the exception of two maximums from Rory Kleinveldt in his maiden Test innings, South Africa’s lower order offered little.
Australia soon hit trouble in reply, losing three wickets in 25 minutes to the new ball.
Warner was caught by Kallis at second slip off Steyn, who then pulled off a fine piece of fielding at fine-leg to account for Quiney. Wary of stepping over the boundary rope, Steyn simply threw the ball in the air before completing the catch.
When Ricky Ponting edged to Kallis without scoring, Morkel had two wickets in as many overs.
Yet Cowan, strong through the off side, and Clarke refused to buckle, with half of the opener’s eight fours coming off left-arm seamer Kleinveldt, who conceded 27 in three overs.