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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Australia rally after top order collapse

Australia rally after top order collapse

December 19, 2008 16:20 IST

- Scorecard

Australia fought back in their second innings after losing the top order cheaply to end Day 3 in the first Test against South Africa on 228 for 7, an overall lead of 322, at the WACCA, in Perth, on Friday.

Michael Clarke (25) and Andrew Symonds (37) steadied the home side after the South African pacers had dismissed Matthew Hayden (4), Simon Katich (37), Ricky Ponting (32) and Michael Hussey (8) to reduce Australia to 88 for 4.

Bradd Haddin 39 (not out) and Jason Krejza (29 not out) then got involved in a late, unfinished partnership worth 66 runs to frustrate the South African bowlers further and boost Australia's lead.

Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Paul Harris picked two wickets apiece for the visitors.

South Africa have an uphill task ahead as only one side has scored more than 300 runs to win at the WACA and that was Australia when they chased 339 against India in 1977-78.

Earlier, Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson finished with career-best figures of 8-61 -- the eighth best bowling performance by an Australian in a Test, beating fellow-Australian Mike Whitney's 7 for 27 against India, also at the WACA in 1991-92, -- as South Africa, after resuming Day 3 at 243 for 8, were dismissed for 281 in reply to Australia's first-innings 375.

Johnson also became the first left-arm paceman to take eight wickets in a Test innings.