A Maiden Test century from Jean-Paul Duminy and a record-breaking ninth-wicket partnership saw South Africa gain the upper hand over Australia on a remarkable third day of the second Test at the MCG.
Duminy (right) made a superb 166 while Dale Steyn, who was handed three reprieves, made a career-best 76 as South Africa were eventually bowled out for 459 in their first innings – a total that seemed fanciful at the start of the day. Thankfully for the home side Matthew Hayden, potentially fighting for his career, and Simon Katich survived a testing two-over spell prior to stumps to leave Australia four without loss and trailing by 61 runs.
It took Australia, without paceman Brett Lee all day due to a foot injury, until 20 minutes before the close to claim the last of the four wickets they needed to end South Africa's innings. The Proteas, who resumed on 198 for 7, are now dreaming of a stunning victory just 24 hours after staring at a heavy defeat. And they have Duminy, playing in only his second Test, Steyn – whose previous Test best was 33 – and some uncharacteristically poor fielding from the Australians to thank for the stunning turnaround.
Duminy had shared a stand of 43 with Morne Morkel late on day two and added 67 with Paul Harris before uniting with Steyn.
The pair's epic 180-run stand was the highest ninth-wicket partnership in Tests between the two countries and the third-highest overall – only 15 short of the previous record set by Mark Boucher and Pat Symcox in 1998. Duminy, who last week kept the Australians at bay with a nerveless half-century on his debut as South Africa completed an exhilarating run-chase to win the first Test in Perth, was again a thorn in the side of Ricky Ponting's men.
Batting with the maturity of a veteran, Duminy – the last man out – served notice as a future Test star with an innings of pure class. The 24-year-old momentarily lost his rhythm after lunch when Nathan Hauritz kept him tied down but he emerged through that tricky period and, upon reaching the 90s, was gifted a five after four overthrows from the tiring field.
He then recorded his century with a glorious cut shot and, after rubbing salt into the wounds by edging Mitchell Johnson for consecutive boundaries, posted his 150 with an exquisite on-drive that found the rope.
Duminy eventually fell to a tired shot when he was caught by Peter Siddle square of the wicket off Hauritz.Reuse content