Australia is poised for victory at Newlands after a dominant day 4 in the third test. Forget the runs needed: On day 5 Australia need 6 wickets and and South Africa need to bat for 98 overs.
David Warner dominated with the bat on day 4 in one of his best hundreds in test cricket. His batting has simply been sublime in this series and in this innings he mixed brute strength with patience when the bowlers tested him with wide balls. He has set the game up for the Australians too because of haste with which he scores runs.
After Warner’s dominance, the bowlers came out and destroyed the South Africans in the first six overs before tea. Johnson and Harris were just outstanding mixing aggression with sublime stump to stump bowling. Just when the South Africans might have thought they had gotten to the end of the day in not a bad position Pattinson extracted Amla with a hooping inswinger.
Australia’s day again means that South Africa have not won a day and may not have won a session in this test match so far. They will need to win all three sessions on day 5 and the key man for them will again be A B de Villiers. His 16 so far has spanned 100 balls and he has the capacity to play long. The key man for Australia will be the captain: how he uses his bowlers will be vital on day 5.
Two final comments:
1. Graeme Smith’s last innings was a sad moment but also showed why his retirement was absolutely the right decision. Ricky Ponting spoke on “Australian Story” of the moment the “light went out” when it came to international cricket for him and it looks like the same has happened to Smith.
2. I commented on twitter about some the chat emanating from David Warner toward the umpires whilst batting and in the field. I have said it before and I will say it again: if Warner learned to shut his mouth he will go much further in the game. This conduct took the lustre off his hundred for me.
Tonight spells the last late night for Australian test match fans for a while and could also end with Australia sitting at number 2 in the world and within striking distance of number 1.