Ntini pegs back Australians

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Makhaya Ntini took the 11th five-wicket haul of his career as Australia reached 246 for seven before bad light curtailed the second day's play in the Third Test here yesterday.

Michael Hussey proved the mainstay for the Australians, after Ashwell Prince's 93 allowed South Africa to reach a competitive first-innings total of 303. Hussey made 73 before being trapped leg before wicket by Nicky Boje.

Shane Warne and Brett Lee lent vital support as the lower order showed their team-mates how to bat. Warne made 36 before becoming Ntini's fifth victim of the innings. Lee and Hussey then put on 68 for the seventh wicket before Hussey was trapped in front of leg stump.

Australia are still 57 runs behind the hosts, with Justin Langer unlikely to bat after he retired hurt to the first ball of the innings - Ntini's opening delivery felling the Australian opener, who was taken to hospital for scans after suffering concussion.

Matthew Hayden went early to a stunning Herschelle Gibbs catch before Ntini claimed his second scalp when Damien Martyn's attempted pull shot gave Andre Nel an easy catch at mid-on.

Then in-form Australian captain Ricky Ponting tentatively prodded an Ntini delivery and got an outside edge to AB de Villiers at second slip.

Ntini got his fourth wicket when Andrew Symonds was trapped in front of his stumps before Adam Gilchrist hooked Nel to deep midwicket, where Jacques Rudolph took the catch.

Earlier, Australia had bowled out South Africa for 303. Resuming the second day on 238 for six, the South Africans quickly lost Shaun Pollock but Nicky Boje then helped first Prince and then the tail until holing out for 43 off Michael Kasprowicz.