Cricket: Australia in sight of victory

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South Africa 209 & 168 Australia 108 & 145 for 3

Another fine bowling performance by Jason Gillespie and some solid batting from Mark Waugh brought Australia back from the prospect of defeat and left them close to victory in the second Test against South Africa yesterday.

First, Gillespie snapped up three quick wickets as South Africa collapsed in their second innings from their overnight 83 without loss to 168 all out.

Then, needing 270 to win and a 2-0 lead in the three-Test series, Waugh stroked an accomplished 54 not out as Australia ended the third day 125 runs short of victory.

The Australian second innings began shakily as both openers, Mark Taylor and Matthew Hayden, were dismissed with only 30 on the board.

Taylor's run of bad form which has now seen him go 18 innings since his last Test 50, continued when Australia's captain was trapped lbw for 13 by Brian McMillan.

Hayden, who made 14, was the victim of a farcical run-out when both he and his partner, Matthew Elliott, ended up sprinting to the same end leaving the bowler, Hansie Cronje, with the simple task of removing the bails.

That set up a spirited partnership of 83 between Elliott and Mark Waugh. Elliott struck eight boundaries in his 44 before pushing a full toss straight back to the left-arm wrist-spinner Paul Adams just before the close.

Mark Waugh was then joined by his brother, Steve, and completed his 27th Test half-century from 87 balls with eight fours and a straight-driven six off Adams.

Earlier, Gillespie, who took 5 for 56 in the first innings, turned the match upside down with his three-wicket burst.

First he bowled Gary Kirsten for 43 and then, after a superb piece of fielding from Greg Blewett had run out Jacques Kallis for two, he picked up Adam Bacher and Daryll Cullinan in successive overs.

Bacher, whose 49 spanned nearly three hours, top-edged a hook straight to Glenn McGrath on the fine leg boundary and in his next over, Gillespie beat Cullinan with an off-cutter to remove him lbw for two.

McGrath accounted for Herschelle Gibbs before the last five wickets fell to the spin combination of Shane Warne and Michael Bevan.

Bevan's left-arm wrist spin removed McMillan and Cronje either side of tea. He then took the wicket of Allan Donald to finish with 3 for 18. Warne removed Shaun Pollock and Adams.

Third day; Australia won toss

SOUTH AFRICA - First innings 209 (B M McMillan 55; J N Gillespie 5-54).

AUSTRALIA - First innings 108

SOUTH AFRICA - Second innings

(Overnight 83 for 0)

G Kirsten b Gillespie 43

A M Bacher c McGrath b Gillespie 49

J H Kallis run out 2

D J Cullinan lbw b Gillespie 2

*W J Cronje c Healy b Bevan 27

H H Gibbs c M E Waugh b McGrath 7

B M McMillan lbw b Bevan 2

S M Pollock lbw b Warne 17

D J Richardson not out 3

A A Donald c Warne b Bevan 7

P R Adams c Taylor b Warne 1

Extras (b1 lb5 nb2) 8

Total 168

Fall: 1-87 2-98 3-99 4-100 5-122 6-137 7-152 8-156 9-167.

Bowling: McGrath 13-3-43-1 (nb1); Gillespie 18-4-49-3; S R Waugh 4.3- 0-16-0; Blewett 7.3-3-16-0; Warne 17.4-7-20-2 (nb1); Bevan 13-3-18-3

AUSTRALIA - Second innings

*M A Taylor lbw b McMillan 13

M L Hayden run out 14

M T G Elliott c and b Adams 44

M E Waugh not out 54

S R Waugh not out 11

Extras (b6 lb2 w1) 9

Total (for 3) 145

Fall: 1-23 2-30 3-113.

To bat: G S Blewett, M G Bevan, I A Healy, S K Warne, J N Gillespie, G D McGrath.

Bowling: Donald 11-2-44-0; McMillan 11-3-24-1; Cronje 8-1-23-0 (w1); Kallis 6-1-17-0; Adams 8-1-29-1.

Umpires: S Venkataraghavan (Ind) and R Koertzen.