An unbeaten 164-run partnership between Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers has left South Africa with hope of saving the series.
The Aussies added 39 runs in 40 minutes to their overnight total and declared on 331-5, with Phil Hughes eventually out for a career-best 160.
In chasing an imposing target of 546, Neil McKenzie survived an early scare on three when he countered Billy Bowden’s lbw decision. TV replays showed it was too high and after the reprieve McKenzie soldiered on to a patient 31 in an opening stand of 63 with Hashim Amla, before Peter Siddle produced a seaming delivery to break the partnership.
Amla – forced to open due to Graeme Smith’s hand injury – once again looked at ease in his knock of 43 but threw it away due to a lack of concentration. Amla hasn’t struggled to get starts all summer against Australia, and this time he foolishly flayed at a wide ball from Siddle and edged straight to Ricky Ponting at second slip.
Immediately after Siddle then cut a dejected figure as Kallis was dropped first ball by Marcus North at slip.
This miss halfway through the second session proved costly as Kallis and AB de Villiers made the Aussies work for any further reward adding an unbeaten 164.
The new ball is due first thing tomorrow, and this will be the defining period if the hosts wish to save the series against a fresh-again Siddle and Mitchell Johnson.
Australia 352 (1st innings)
Phillip Hughes 115, Simon Katich 108, Michael Hussey 50, Dale Steyn 3-83.
South Africa 138 (1st innings)
JP Duminy 73*, Mitchell Johnson 3-37, Andrew McDonald 3-25.
Australia 331-5 declared (2nd innings)
Phillip Hughes 160, Ricky Ponting 81, Jacques Kallis 1-21.
South Africa 244-2 (2nd innings)
Jacques Kallis 84*, AB de Villiers 68*, Peter Siddle 2-39.
South Africa trail by 301 runs
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