Cricket: Cronje restores South Africa

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The Independent Online
South Africa 269-4

v Australia

Hansie Cronje, the captain, led by example as South Africa fought their way into a commanding position on the opening day of the third and final Test against Australia yesterday, forging to 269 for 4 by stumps at the Adelaide Oval.

A spirited fourth-wicket stand of 109 by Cronje, 70 not out, and Herschelle Gibbs, 37, restored the advantage after South Africa lost three wickets for 20 runs following a superb partnership by the opening pair, Gary Kirsten and Adam Bacher. South Africa were on course despite a late setback when Gibbs fell to a wide ball from Greg Blewett. Ian Healy, the wicketkeeper playing in his 100th Test, dived in front of first slip for the catch.

Kirsten, who scored 77, and Bacher, 64, provided a sound foundation, taking 140 runs from the opening 50 overs. Bacher finally edged to Shane Warne, at second slip. Kirsten also fell victim to Warne and Jacques Kallis was trapped lbw, perhaps luckily, to the Test newcomer Stuart MacGill.

First day; South Africa won toss

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings

A M Bacher c Warne b Bichel 64

G Kirsten c Warne b Kasprowicz 77

J H Kallis lbw MacGill 15

*W J Cronje not out 70

H H Gibbs c Healy b Blewett 37

D J Richardson not out 0

Extras (5lb 1nb) 6

Total (for 4, 96 overs) 269

Fall: 1-140 2-148 3-160 4-269.

To bat: J N Rhodes, B M McMillan, S M Pollock, L Klusener, P L Symcox.

Bowling: Kasprowicz 24-3-94-1; Bichel 26-10-54-1; Warne 13-2-41-0; MacGill 14-2-43-1; M Waugh 2-0-6-0; Blewett 13-5-25-1; S Waugh 4-3-1-0.

AUSTRALIA: *M A Taylor, M T G Elliott, G S Blewett, M E Waugh, S R Waugh, R T Ponting, I A Healy, S K Warne, M S Kasprowicz, A J Bichel S C G MacGill.

Umpires: D B Cowie (NZ) and S G Randell (Aus).

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