Aussies in driving seat at the Perth

Published: Saturday, December 20, 2008, 10:58 [IST]
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Oz in full control of the Perth Test

Perth: A useful unbroken seventh wicket stand of 66 between Brad Haddin and Jason Krezja has put Australia in firm control of the first Test against South Africa in Perth.

The pair took the Aussies to 228 for seven at the close on day three at the Gabba, a lead of 322 after South Africa were dismissed for 281 in the morning session.

Baggy Greens' seamer Mitchell Johnson removed Dale Steyn to finish with figures of eight for 61 while Peter Siddle ended the Proteas' resistance by removing Mark Boucher for 26, caught by Simon Katich at point.

The hosts looked to drive home their 96-run advantage on first innings scores but were continually pegged back by the South African bowlers, with Steyn, Jacques Kallis and spinner Paul Harris taking two wickets apiece.

Opener Matthew Hayden was out before lunch following a poor umpiring decision that saw the left-hander sent back after watching the ball loop off his pad and into the hands of Steyn.

Katich and Ricky Ponting both got starts but fell in the afternoon session, along with Mike Hussey, as Australia limped to 115 for four at tea.

Kallis got one to move away from Katich, who edged to Boucher having made 37, while Ponting fell 10 overs later for 32 after nicking the ball to the wicketkeeper after Harris got one to lift off a length.

Hussey was the fourth man out with the score on 88, the left-hander struggling to eight off 35 balls before Makhaya Ntini forced him into a mistimed pull shot that he dragged onto his stumps.

Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke then set about restoring the Aussies' advantage, patiently compiling 60 for the fifth wicket in 22 overs before the tourists struck again.

Steyn had Clarke slashing at a wide one, caught in the slips by Kallis for 25, and as the South African bowlers put the squeeze on Symonds (37) chipped it to skipper Graeme Smith at mid-on off Harris to leave the Aussies on 157 for six.

Kallis claimed his second wicket when Brett Lee chopped one to AB de Villiers at second slip, diving to his left, with just five added to the score, and with the hosts just 256 ahead with three wickets in hand Smith's men were in with a chance.

But Haddin (39 not out) and Krezja (28 not out) dug in, hitting seven boundaries between them with Haddin also clearing the fence twice as they took the score to 227 for seven at stumps.

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