HASHIM AMLA and AB de Villiers shared an unbroken century partnership for the fourth wicket to get the Proteas Castle Lager squad back in the ascendancy on the third day of the second Sunfoil Test match against Australia at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium today.
Teenager Patrick Cummins appeared to have swung the game significantly in favour of the visitors when he dismissed both Jacques Rudolph and Jacques Kallis in the morning session. With Graeme Smith having also fallen to the off spin of Nathan Lyon the Proteas were struggling at the lunch interval at 94/3 for an overall lead of just 64 runs.
The dismissal of Kallis right on the lunch interval was a body blow for the home side.
But Amla and De Villiers turned the match around with an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 139 to take the total to 229/3 for an overall lead of 199 before bad light brought about an early close for the third day in a row.
The pair were only six runs short of the fourth wicket record for the Wanderers Stadium of 145 set up by Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly of India in the 1996/97 series. De Villiers had also completed 1 000 Test runs against Australia while Amla was on target to complete his second century in back-to-back Tests against Australia.
Amla finished the day on 89 (196 balls, 13 fours) and De Villiers on 70 (122 balls, 10 fours and a six) and the Proteas will be looking to both of them to go past three figures on the fourth day.
No team has ever made more than 300 runs in the fourth innings to win at this particular venue and the Proteas will want to set a target beyond that mark.
The Proteas are in the happy position of knowing that they are not under any time pressure as they lead the series 1-0 so they can afford to bat deep into the fourth day.
Cummins was once again a cut above the rest of the Australian attack. The manner in which he dismissed Kallis suggested a far more experienced cricketer and yet he is playing in only his fourth first-class match.
There can be no doubt at all that he is going to become the spearhead of the future Australian attack.
Peter Siddle also put in some good spells at high pace but Amla and De Villiers proved themselves the equal of anything the Australian attack could produce.-Cricket.co.za