Final Aussie push comes up just short


Michael Clarke leads his team from the ground at the Gabba. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Michael Clarke leads his team from the ground at the Gabba. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Time ran out for Australia to pull off a shock final day first Test win over South Africa at the Gabba yesterday despite unlikely hero Nathan Lyon ensuring some anxious moments.

Off-spinner Lyon (2-41) conceded 26 runs from his first two overs but loomed as Australia's saviour when he removed dangerman Jacques Kallis (49) and Jacques Rudolph (11), exposing the Proteas' tail.

When Lyon trapped Rudolph in front, South Africa - down a man due to JP Duminy's series-ending injury - were 5-165 in their second innings, just 50 runs ahead with 15 overs left.

But AB de Villiers (29 not out) guided the Proteas to 5-166 when play was called off with 11 overs left.

James Pattinson (2-58) initially looked like the man most likely to spark Australia's biggest surprise Test win since shocking England in Adelaide six years ago. He had South Africa reeling at 2-55 in their second innings - still trailing by 60 - by removing opener Alviro Petersen (five) and winning an absorbing duel with Proteas captain Graeme Smith (23).

But he was left wondering what might have been after getting dangerman Hashim Amla to play on at seven, only for replays to reveal a no-ball on umpire review.

Pattinson thought he had Amla caught behind on 20 but was knocked back on review. Peter Siddle (1-36) dismissed Amla for 38 when he was caught at short cover by Mike Hussey, reducing South Africa to 3-102.

Kallis - who stroked 147 in South Africa's first dig of 450 - looked to steady the ship but was caught at first slip by Michael Clarke off Lyon to keep the visitors honest at 4-129, leading by just 14.

Siddle then kept the pressure on with a fired-up spell stoked by umpire Billy Bowden's dismissal of his confident LBW shout with Rudolph yet to score.

In the end, time ran out for Australia who were ruing day two being washed out without a ball being bowled.

Earlier yesterday, Australian captain Michael Clarke's magnificent 259 not out and an even 100 by Hussey helped lift Australia to 5(dec)-565, holding a 115-run lead.

Clarke's third 200-plus effort in a calendar year was a Gabba Test record score, eclipsing English opener Alastair Cook's unbeaten 235 set two years ago.

Man of the match Clarke and Hussey combined for a 228-run fifth wicket stand that helped Australia notch their fourth-highest Test total against South Africa.

Australia maintained their 24-year unbeaten run at the Gabba.

The second Test will be held in Adelaide from November 22. Australia must win the three-Test series to claim the world No.1 Test ranking from South Africa. AAP


Discuss "Final Aussie push comes up just short"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.