Cricket: South Africans grind out slender advantage

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The Independent Online
Australia 269; South Africa 322-6

South Africa took the upper hand in the third Test against Australia after a century partnership between Peter Kirsten and Jonty Rhodes at Kingsmead in Durban yesterday. Rhodes, who hit 78, and Kirsten, with 49, put on 101 for the fifth wicket as South Africa made 322 for 6 in reply to Australia's first innings of 269 before bad light ended play 32 minutes early on the third day.

Bruce McMillan made an unbeaten 35 in the last session of another day of grafting. After Hansie Cronje had gone early for 26, hitting across a Shane Warne leg-break, Kirsten and Rhodes settled in for the stand that gave their side the edge. Kirsten struggled before lunch but then pushed along to reach his 49 in 288 minutes before he was pinned leg before by the medium pace of Steve Waugh.

Rhodes had been the more lively of the pair and reached his fifth Test fifty in 127 minutes. He looked set for a century on his home ground but was leg before off the last ball before tea to a Warne flipper.

After tea, McMillan and Dave Richardson gradually started to capitalise on some tired bowling and had added 48 by the early close.

The series is level 1-1.

AUSTRALIA - First innings 269 (S R Waugh 64, I A Healy 55; G R J Matthews 4-65)

South Africa - First innings

A C Hudson lbw b Reiffe. . . . . . . . 165

G Kirsten ct Healy b Reiffe. . . . . . 141

W J Cronje ct S. Waugh b Warne. . . . . 26

* K P Wessels lbw b McDermott. . . . . .1

P N Kirsten lbw b S Waugh. . . . . . . .49

J N Rhodes lbw b Warne. . . . . . . . . 78

B M McMillan not out. . . . . . . . . . 35

D J Richardson not out. . . . . . . . . 16

Extras (lb7 nb4). . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Total (for 6, 156 overs). . . . . . . .322

Fall: 1-100, 2-117, 3-118, 4-155, 5-256, 6-274.

Bowling: McDermott 30-9-55-1; Reiffel 22-5-60-2; McGrath 31-9-52-0; Warne 44-16-79-2; S Waugh 17-5-34-1; M Waugh 9-3-27-0; Border 3-1-8-0.

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