Australia close on win after Lyon burst
South Africa were seemingly headed for defeat in the second Test against Australia after Nathan Lyon’s two wickets followed up determined batting performances from Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey.
The Proteas, hindered by the loss of an injured Vernon Philander and a hamstring strain Jacques Kallis picked up on the first morning, were always facing an uphill battle today.
With Australia resuming on 111 for five - already 273 ahead - the tourists sought quick wickets in an attempt to leave a run-chase of 350 or less.
However, that did not materialise as Clarke and Hussey - who struck 230 and 103 respectively earlier in the match - took their partnership to 70 in an effort that helped secure a lead of 429, with Australia declaring on 267 for eight.
Any hopes South Africa had of completing a world-record chase in Tests were quickly dented as Ben Hilfenhaus had first-innings centurion Graeme Smith caught at second slip in the opening over.
Lyon was introduced early and claimed the prized wicket of Hashim Amla, caught at slip for 17 before Jacques Rudolph was taken at short-leg off the spinner.
Peter Siddle got in on the act by bowling Alviro Petersen via an inside edge and, despite Francois du Plessis and AB de Villiers putting on an unbroken 32 to take their side to 77 for four, South Africa had a mountain to climb.
Earlier, Clarke and Hussey played with great responsibility to put paid to the Proteas’ hopes of dismissing the hosts.
The former rotated the strike impressively, capitalising on any poor deliveries while looking to target leg-spinner Imran Tahir, whom he swept powerfully for six over square-leg prior to being trapped in front by Dale Steyn for 38.
Strong on the drive, Hussey played with similar restraint yet hurt the morale of South Africa in an impressive 54 - before eventually top-edging an attempted pull of Morne Morkel to Steyn at midwicket.
Matthew Wade was the last man to depart, caught behind attempting an expansive drive - after which skipper Clarke deemed Australia’s lead substantial enough to bring the innings to a close.
That decision proved inspired as his bowlers delivered in the remaining 50 overs, leaving Australia scenting a victory that would put them 1-0 ahead in the three-Test series.
South Africa, meanwhile, have called up all-rounder Ryan McLaren as cover for Kallis and Philander ahead of the series finale.