Day 4 of the final test between South Africa and Australia is about to start. This match ultimately will determine who is the #1 test cricketing team in the world.
Of a three-match series, the first 2 matches were hotly contested and ended in draws, unfortunately. However with 2 days to go, Australia are into the final innings of the third and final innings, and it looks as though a result will be had in day 5.
To set the scene:
South Africa came in to bat first, being bowled out for a small total of 225. Things looked good for Australia, however they made a meal of batting, and with a resurgence from wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, his top score of 68 guided Australia to 163, handing South Africa a lead of 62 runs. The pitch dried up, and South Africa were able to post a massive total of 569 to all but keep Australia out of the game, however it is not impossible. Amla and de Villiers both made magnificant hundreds, and all eyes will be on Australia to see if they can replicate the Proteas' performance, or if they'll go down trying.
In terms of Australia's batting, they're yet to build a first wicket partnership exceeding 100 runs, and a batting order collapse at the top of the order is very likely despite the favourable batting conditions. Michael Clarke, Australia's captain made history during the series, becoming the first test batsman to ever score four double hundreds or more in a calendar year, scoring 329* in Sydney, 210 in Adelaide, 259* in Brisbane and 230 again in Adelaide. David Warner made a quick fire 119 against South Africa in the last test, and Ed Cowan made his maiden ton at the Gabba against the Proteas, with a score of 136. Mike Hussey also looks to be in good touch with two back-to-back test centuries of 100 and 103. Most importantly, this is Ricky Ponting's last ever test innings, and many Australians will be expecting him to have one last pile of runs to go out with a bang.
In terms of South Africa's bowling, Vernon Philander has shown in the test so far, taking 2 wickets in the first innings, which is a stark contrast to the 0 he took in 2 innings at the Gabba. Morkel has looked threatening all series with his ability to move the ball in almost any condition, and along with Philander coming to the fore, Steyn has already illustrated the sparky bowling that has him ranked #1 in the world when it comes to test bowling.
Australia at the start of play today sit at 0/40, one has to ask, can they chase down 632 runs to win in the space of 2 days? A total that has never been chased down before in test cricket.
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