Cricket: Border's warning: Disappointing day for Donald

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SOUTH AFRICA were yesterday warned by Allan Border, the Australian captain, to expect an increasingly difficult time in Test cricket over the next few years. Border, whose side start a three-Test series against South Africa in Melbourne on Boxing Day, said the touring team were still buoyed by the emotion surrounding their return to the international arena two years ago.

'They are getting through a bit at the moment on euphoria,' Border said, speaking during Queensland's drawn match against the tourists in Brisbane. 'They have been out for so long it is hard not to be enthusiastic but once the grind gets to them I'm sure that will change.'

South Africa, who were ostracised from Test cricket in 1970, have played eight Tests since returning to the international fold.

Their final day's cricket before Sunday's Test featured more disappointing bowling figures for Allan Donald and a stubborn innings of 99 by Trevor Barsby, the Queensland opener.

Set a victory target of 377, Queensland comfortably batted out the fourth and final day to finish on 268 for 5, with Barsby eventually caught behind by David Richardson off the persevering Donald. It was Donald's only wicket of the match in 31 overs in which he conceded 98 runs.

Better news for the tourists, boosted by centuries from Hansie Cronje, Daryll Cullinan and Andrew Hudson, is that their batsman Jonty Rhodes is recovering faster than expected from a hand injury and may play in the Test.

It is only nine days since Rhodes broke a bone in his hand during a one-day international against Australia. But Kepler Wessels, the South African captain, said: 'Jonty has a very good chance of making it through the game. We will give him a net practice on Saturday to see how he goes.' South Africa crushed Australia 4-0 at home in 1969-70, the last time the two nations met at Test level.

TOUR MATCH (Brisbane): South Africa 335 for 7 dec (W J Cronje 145, D J Cullinan 113; M Kasprowicz 5-92) and 224 for 8 dec (A Hudson 105); Queensland 183 (S Law 56; P S de Villiers 3-34, D Rundle 3-51) and 268 for 5 (T Barsby 99, J Maher 50no). Match drawn.