Cricket: Reiffel dominates as Donald takes record

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Australia 309 & 257

South Africa 186 & 79-1

The new Northamptonshire paceman, Paul Reiffel, scored his highest Test score and claimed his 100th Test wicket as Australia pushed for victory over South Africa on the fourth day of the first Test in Melbourne yesterday.

Another English county player, Allan Donald, also had cause to celebrate, having become South Africa's record Test wicket-taker while taking figures of 6 for 59.

Reiffel cracked an unbeaten 79 off 115 balls with six fours as Australia's tail wagged to put Mark Taylor's team in a strong position with a second innings total of 257.

At the close South Africa were on 79 for 1, still 301 runs behind Australia, with Adam Bacher on 34 and Jacques Kallis 40. The pair had put on 77 runs in 98 minutes for the second wicket, giving the tourists real hope of salvaging the match and going to the second Test in Sydney later this week still level.

Reiffel had earlier continued a remarkable run of form with the bat since his recall to the Australian team during last summer's Ashes series in England.

In eight Tests since his return last June, the 31-year-old has scored 463 runs at an average of 66.14, with four half-centuries. Reiffel then rounded off his day by removing opener Gary Kirsten for a duck to claim his 100th wicket in his 33rd Test.

The Aussies had slumped to 44 for 4, but Reiffel helped them reach 257 in their second innings as their last five wickets added 151 runs. Reiffel and Michael Kasprowicz added 62 runs for the ninth wicket, with the former Essex bowler Kasprowicz making 19.

Glenn McGrath, the No 11, then heaped further indignity on the South African bowlers by cracking 18 as part of a 49-run partnership for the last wicket with Reiffel.

That hardly mattered to Donald, who had broken the late Hugh Tayfield's 40-year-old record of 170 Test wickets for South Africa. He has now taken 171 wickets in 36 Tests.

Donald, 31, was kept out of Test cricket until April 1992 when South Africa was allowed back into international sport after the apartheid era boycott. During those wilderness years he was persuaded by South African cricket chief, Dr Ali Bacher, not to defect to England.

Earlier in the day, Australian captain Mark Taylor scored 59 as he and Ricky Ponting (32) got their side off on a steady start.

It was Taylor's 36th Test half-century and a courageous innings under trying circumstances. He defied the South Africans for 248 minutes, faced 195 balls and hit four fours before he unluckily fell to the off-spinner Pat Symcox.

Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 309 (R T Ponting 105, S R Waugh 96; P L Symcox 4-69).

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 186 (G Kirsten 83).

AUSTRALIA - Second innings

(Overnight: 67 for 4)

*M A Taylor c Cullinan b Symcox 59

R T Ponting c and b Pollock 32

I A Healy b Donald 4

P R Reiffel not out 79

S K Warne c Symcox b Donald 10

M S Kasprowicz c Kirsten b Donald 19

G D McGrath c McMillan b Pollock 18

Extras (b4, lb3, nb4) 11

Total (96.2 overs) 257

Fall of wickets: 5-106, 6-128, 7-128, 8-146, 9-208

Bowling: Donald 27-8-59-6 (3nb), Pollock 21 2-5-56-3 (1nb), Symcox 35- 9-90-1, McMillan 2-0-6-0, Klusener 9-2-28-0, Cronje 2-0-11-0

SOUTH AFRICA - Second Innings

G Kirsten b Reiffel 0

A M Bacher not out 34

J H Kallis not out 40

Extras (b3, nb2) 5

Total (for 1, 30 overs) 79

Fall of wicket: 1-2

Bowling: McGrath 9-4-18-0, Reiffel 6-3-9-1 (nb), Kasprowicz 4-0-19-0, Warne 9-1-27-0 (nb), M Waugh 2-0-3-0.

Umpires: S Bucknor (WI) and S Randell (Aus).