Australia 369 & 125-1 South Africa 267: Australia hit back with pace of Lee

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The Independent Online

Superb bowling from Brett Lee and Stuart Clark, ably supported by Shane Warne, helped Australia to secure a significant first-innings lead of 102 runs in the second Test here yesterday, and by stumps the determined visitors had a grip on the contest.

Not even a typically unruffled, almost ethereal, hand from Jacques Kallis could turn back the antipodean tide. Kallis scored his fourth successive century at Kingsmead but once he had been taken the rest fell in a predictable heap.

Australia were unrecognisable from the outfit that had drifted to stumps in poor light the previous evening. Then, Ponting seemed to have lost his grip on proceedings. He had bent over backwards to keep playing cricket and seemed to have given away too much important ground. Now his team played sharp, hard cricket. Certainly the tourists were altogether too hot for the hosts too handle. South Africa's various weaknesses were exposed.

Lee led the attack with distinction. After pressing too hard the previous evening, the speedster combined hostility with an impeccable length and was much more challenging. Showing plenty of control and pace, he produced a snorter that Kallis barely survived. He was rewarded with a rash of wickets with the second new ball as the lower order was overwhelmed by pace. Stuart Clark provided ideal support - and Ponting's reluctance to throw him the ball earlier must have delighted his opponents.

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