Aussie hopes dwindle as South Africa dig in

Jacques Rudolph drew a line in the sand and defied Australia’s much-vaunted attack on Tuesday as South Africa edged closer to what had seemed an unlikely draw in the first cricket Test at the Waca ground.

At tea on the final day the tourists had lost just two wickets for the day to go into the break at 190-4, just 50 runs more than their lunch score of 140-2.

Rudolph, drafted into the side when all-rounder Jacques Kallis injured his elbow, resumed the morning on 18 with the Proteas on 85-2, still 406 runs adrift of the 491-run target set by Australia on Monday for victory.

At the break Rudolph had been at the crease for 296 minutes and faced 189 balls while his partner Justin Kemp, on 27, had faced 100 balls.

With victory a virtual impossibility at the start of play, Rudolph and Herschelle Gibbs began their gritty defiance of the Australian attack which was aided by a deteriorating wicket.

But after 51 minutes the Australians made a breakthough, capturing the key wicket of Gibbs who had struggled against the swing of paceman Brett Lee.

The right-hander eventually edged a delivery moving away from him to Shane Warne in the slips for 33.

Rudolph and incoming batsman Ashwell Prince then set about the defensive task ahead of them, but the latter never looked comfortable against Warne’s spin.

Prince survived two strong appeals and shortly before lunch was given out lbw by umpire Billy Doctrove for eight in a controversial decision.

At lunch South Africa were 140-4 and with the home team holding the momentum it seemed as though the Proteas would struggle to survive.

But Rudolph and Kemp dug in, leaving the Australians with a scheduled 198 balls to claim six wickets for victory. - AFP

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