South Africa fight to draw against Australia
South Africa dug in to eke out an incredible draw against Australia at Adelaide on Monday.
Australia posted an incredible 482/5 on Day 1 of the Test on Thursday thanks to Michael Clarke’s 224 but were bowled out for 550 on Day 2. South Africa fought back with a ton from Graeme Smith (122) and fifties from Alviro Peterson (54), debutant Faf du Plessis (78) and an injured Jacques Kallis (58) batting at no. 9, managing a total of 388.
With a first innings lead of 162, Australia declared at 267/8 in their second innings, setting SA a target of 430 to win. SA’s hopes of recreating their historic chase at Melbourne in 2008-09 evaporated with Smith’s dismissal in the first over of their second innings. By the end of Day 4, they were 77/4 in 50 overs with AB de Villiers (12*, 101b) and Faf du Plessis (19*, 74b) in the middle.
AB de Villiers showed supreme concentration as SA pushed for a draw. With the aim of batting the game out, his 89 run partnership spanned a whopping 68 overs. AB curtailed his natural attacking style of play, digging in deep to bail SA out with attritional batting. du Plessis scored more freely at the other end but was judicious enough to not give the Australia bowlers any chances on the wearing pitch. AB made 33 off 220b without a single boundary in his innings, displaying the tenacity that the situation demanded. He was dismissed soon after lunch, bowled by an inswinger from the fired up Peter Siddle.
Jacques Kallis (46) and du Plessis added 99 for the sixth wicket, seeing the South African through to the end of the second session. Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus had to share the overs that the injured James Pattinson would have bowled while Nathan Lyon bowled a marathon 50 overs with 31 maidens and just 49 runs conceded. The tired attack still managed to prise out Kallis with 20 overs left in the day. Dale Steyn batted for a 28 ball duck, occupying the crease for a crucial 10 overs with du Plessis who had by now brought up his maiden Test hundred, in the second innings of his debut Test.
A visibly exhausted Siddle bowling a brave final spell as Australia sought wickets, removing Steyn and Rory Kleinveldt another 6 overs later. Australia needed 2 wickets in the final four overs but Morne Morkel confidently kept the attack at bay as South Africa survived the minimum required overs with a score of 248/8.
Faf du Plessis was adjudged the Man of the Match.