Bacher takes control

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The Independent Online
The Opener Adam Bacher batted throughout the day to post a patient, unbeaten 94 and put South Africa in command on the second day of the third and final Test against Australia at Centurion Park yesterday. The 23- year-old Transvaal batsman provided a study in concentration as South Africa reached 240 for three at the close - a lead of 13 over Australia, who were bowled out for 227 on Friday but who have already won the series.

Bacher's innings was spread over six hours five minutes after he had taken 50 minutes to get off the mark in the morning session. He cut out the hook shot which had twice led to his downfall in the series but still struck 11 boundaries.

With Brian McMillan hitting 55 the home batsman finally struck back against the Australian bowlers. South Africa had been bowled out for 302 and 130 in losing the Johannesburg Test and 209 and 168 in suffering a similar fate at Port Elizabeth.

Neither Bacher nor McMillan gave a chance, although both repeatedly played and missed against Shane Warne. McMillan was twice struck on the helmet attempting to hook Jason Gillespie bouncers while Bacher was struck on the hand and elbow. McMillan, who hit eight boundaries, was out after two and three quarter hours when he was caught at short leg from the off- spin of Mark Waugh. A second century stand, between Bacher and Daryll Cullinan, followed.

Cullinan, who has been tormented by Warne in the past, responded by hitting the leg-spinner back over his head in a fluent innings of 47 before he was bowled off an inside edge by Glenn McGrath.

Bacher was unable to reach his maiden Test century before the close but did pass one landmark when he reached 83 to become the first batsman for seven seasons to score 1,000 first-class runs in a South African season.

Second day; South Africa won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 227 (S R Waugh 67, B Schultz 4-52).

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings

G Kirsten c Healy b McGrath 16

A M Bacher not out 94

B M McMillan c Hayden b M Waugh 55

D J Cullinan b McGrath 47

P L Symcox not out 5

Extras (b4 lb13 w1 nb5) 23

Total (for 3, 90 overs) 240

Fall: 1-26 2-128 3-229.

To bat: *W J Cronje, J H Kallis, D J Richardson, L Klusener, B Schultz, A A Donald.

Bowling (to date): McGrath 24-7-46-2; Gillespie 18-8-38-0 (1w); Blewett 5-0-19-0 (1nb); Warne 24-9-47-0 (4nb); Bevan 12-3-39-0; M Waugh 7-1-34- 1.