South Africa batsman Hashim Amla resists pace of Australia's Mitchell Johnson and closes in on century in First Test match


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The Independent Online

When Hashim Amla was dismissed for a second-ball duck by Australia's dominant paceman Mitchell Johnson at the start of the Second Test in Port Elizabeth, South Africa must have fretted that the match would go the same way as the disastrous First Test.

But Amla ended the third day at St George's Park on the verge of a century as the home side reinforced their control of the Test and kept themselves in the three-match series.

South Africa closed on 192 for 4, a lead of 369 after they had eked out the Australians for 246 earlier in the day. Amla remained unbeaten on 93, resisting the threat of Johnson. The left-arm fast bowler had again accounted for the captain, Graeme Smith, playing on after being beaten for pace, and had the hosts' leading batsman AB de Villiers caught behind. But Amla stood firm in the face of another barrage of short balls and played with typical fluency, hitting 12 boundaries.

David Warner had quickly departed in the morning for 70, caught by Smith at first slip off seamer Vernon Philander (3 for 68). But Steve Smith, a centurion in the First Test, contributed 49 and received good support from Johnson (27) before Morne Morkel discovered some venom to pick up figures of 3 for 63.

However, the fast bowler was held up by a 10th-wicket stand of 37 between Ryan Harris (26) and Peter Siddle.

Chris Gayle will miss the forthcoming one-day internationals against Ireland and England due to a back problem. The talismanic opening batsman underwent precautionary scans after experiencing stiffness in his lower back following the first Twenty20 international against Ireland last week.

England Under-19s have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Dubai after a narrow three-wicket victory over the defending champions India with five balls to spare, Ben Duckett making a vital 61.