South Africa make solid start after Aussies post 445

Published: Sunday, January 4, 2009, 14:06 [IST]
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Sydney: A broken little finger has ended Graeme Smith's tour but South Africa are fighting on strongly in the third Test against Australia, reaching 1-125 after day two.

Neil McKenzie, who laboured for nearly two hours, was the only wicket to fall in the South African innings, trapped lbw by Peter Siddle. South Africa's Jacques Kallis is 36 not out with Hashim Amla on 30 after Smith retired hurt for 30 at 0-35.

Earlier, Michael Clarke top-scored with 138, his 10th century and first at the SCG, in Australia's first innings of 445.

Clarke's ton - his first Test century on the SCG - underpinned Australia's large first innings total before a crowd of 30, 293.

His 142-run partnership with Johnson (64) swung the game Australia's way.

Resuming on 77, Clarke showed his intent from the opening ball, cracking Makhaya Ntini through the covers for four.

He brought up his 10th Test century with a quick single before sprinting towards the members' stand with arms raised in triumph, seemingly oblivious that there was a third umpire's decision pending.

Clarke, who was dropped on 12 and 69, survived the close call and went to lunch with hopes of reaching 150.

But in his opening over, JP Duminy enticed a return catch from the Australia vice-captain, who left his home ground to a standing ovation.

Clarke's purposeful knock - a mix of exquisite drives, intelligent running and rigid defence - contained 17 fours in a 373-minute stint at the crease.

Johnson, who was put down by Kallis on 18, clubbed 11 boundaries en route to his best score at Test level before being snapped up at first slip by Smith off Dale Steyn, who finished with figures of three for 95.

Siddle (23) and Nathan Hauritz (41) kept the momentum going, the former cracking seven fours in a rousing knock before his appreciative home crowd.

Hauritz was last man out - caught by Duminy off the bowling of Paul Harris (three for 94) - just before tea.


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