Amla and de Villiers power Proteas
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers struck fluent centuries to put South Africa in a dominant position against Australia in the third and final Test at the WACA.
The Proteas headed into the third day in the ascendancy, resuming on 230 for two having claimed a first-innings lead of 62 in a crucial encounter given the series is locked at 0-0.
Amla, who restarted his innings on 99, reached three figures from the day’s third delivery, clipping Mitchell Johnson off his hip for a single, before continuing his aggressive approach.
The number three eventually departed for an exceptional 221-delivery 196, while de Villiers was equally outstanding in thrashing 169 from just 184 balls.
Australia, set a daunting 632 to win after South Africa were eventually dismissed for 569 as Mitchell Starc claimed 6-154, subsequently reached 40 without loss - yet still faced an uphill task.
Amla showed no hint of nerves as he registered his 18th Test century prior to delivering the day’s first boundary in Johnson’s next over, crunched wide of mid-off.
He served up a difficult chance on 108 when hitting a woeful Johnson full-toss hard towards gully; Mike Hussey got a hand to it but could not cling on.
John Hastings was holding it together slightly better at the other end but Amla started to show signs of improvisation, wandering outside off stump and whipping through midwicket to negate defensive lines.
Jacques Kallis, batting within himself, hit his first four of the day off Hastings and Amla continued to pepper the ropes, passing 1,000 Test runs for 2012 with another boundary.
Kallis eventually departed for 37, top-edging a Starc bouncer to Johnson at fine-leg.
That merely heralded the arrival of de Villiers, who initially played himself in before following Amla’s lead; he showed his intent when, having compiled 27, he launched Nathan Lyon over long-on.
Several boundaries seemingly came every over thereafter as de Villiers - who had showed great grit in making a 246-ball 33 to help save the last Test - began to display his full repertoire of strokes.
Amla’s and Dean Elgar’s departures - the former was caught and bowled by Johnson four short of a double century and, later in the over, the latter pinned in front - ignited de Villiers further, epitomised by him reaching a century with three successive reverse-swept fours.
Despite wickets tumbling at the other end thereafter, he continued to score freely to take South Africa into a comfortable position.
The Proteas would eventually be dismissed amid Starc battling back - a lead followed by openers David Warner and Ed Cowan - with some late wickets but, by then, the damage was already done.