South Africa eye historic triumph over Australia

Published: Monday, March 2, 2009, 10:35 [IST]
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South Africa set for another epic run chase

Johannesburg: South Africa needs 276 with 8 wickets in hand for yet another historic win against the Australians.

It will be the highest run chase in cricket, the highest at the Wanderers and the lowest moment of recent Australian cricket history.

If it happens.

Then again, there is a chance that rain may ruin what has been a spectacular Test.

Whichever way it goes, it is going to be another amazing game between these evenly matched teams.

Needing 454 for victory, the home team were 2-178 at the close of play with Hashim Amla undefeated on 43 and Jacques Kallis on 26.

The highest run chase in history is the West Indies 7-418 against Australia in 2003.

The record fourth innings run chase at the Wanderers was Australia"s 8-294 set on the last tour here, but strange things happen on this ground, after all, it was the place where South Africa chased down the visitor"s 434 in a one day game in the same series.

South Africa scored 4-414 in Perth in the first Test of the home series last December, another record.

Despite the forecast rain the sun shone most of the day and seemed to drive a lot of the demons from a pitch that had bamboozled the very same batsman just one day before.

It also helped that Australia"s bowlers seemed to bowl either too short or too long for most of the day.

Mitchell Johnson removed opener Neil McKenzie (35) with the score on 76 and South African captain Graeme Smith will be furious with himself for playing a poorly judged pull shot to a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery when he reached 69.

Until that moment, he and Amla had looked impregnable.

Earlier the South African bowlers had got it right, taking 9-169, at one stage snaring four Australian top order wickets for five.

Ricky Ponting (25), Michael Hussey (0) and Michael Clarke 0 fell within four balls with the score on 99 and Marcus North (5) fell soon after.

Makhaya Ntini (3-52) and Jacques Kallis (3-22) did the damage and were the pick of the South African bowlers.

Brad Haddin (37) stopped the rot, but in the end it mattered little as the lead had passed 450. It seemed enough at the time.

Debutant Phillip Hughes top scored for Australia, notching up a gritty 75 which should help erase memories of his first innings duck.

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