South Africa make progress


Cricket/ Second Test: AB de Villiers and Herschelle Gibbs crafted watchful half centuries to lead South Africa to 169 for two in reply to Australia's 355 on the second day of the second Test yesterday.

De Villiers was trapped lbw by Glenn McGrath for 61 and Gibbs was unbeaten on 54 after Mike Hussey (122) and McGrath (11 not out) had combined in a 107-run 10th-wicket partnership to boost Australia's first-innings total.

Jacques Kallis, on 17, was the other not-out batsman at the close. Captain Graeme Smith was the only other South African wicket to fall, lbw to Brett Lee for 22.

"We're putting the emphasis on our first innings," coach Mickey Arthur said. "We felt we let an opportunity slip in Perth, where we didn't go big enough in our first innings after dismissing Australia for 250. Australia will hit us quite hard early.

"If we can absorb pressure in that first hour and then apply it, hopefully for long enough to put pressure on them."

Hussey's innings had earlier wrested the initiative from the visitors in a partnership with McGrath that extended until the afternoon session.

Resuming on 239 for eight after Andre Nel had taken four wickets to tear through Australia's middle order late on Monday, the home side lost Stuart MacGill early when he was bowled by Makhaya Ntini for four to leave them struggling on 248 for nine.

McGrath was expected to fall quickly but he frustrated the South African bowlers with obstinate defence to provide the perfect foil to Hussey.

The 30-year-old Hussey, who was dropped on 27 by Jacques Kallis after adding just four to his overnight total, then protected McGrath magnificently, refusing singles before unleashing a succession of boundaries when the field was in.

He brought up his third Test century when he paddled Nicky Boje to backward square for a single.

Hussey, who made his debut this season against West Indies, has scored three centuries and a 50 for an average of 112.8 in nine innings.


AUSTRALIA: First innings (overnight 239-8)

M Hussey b Ntini 122

SG MacGill b Ntini 4

G McGrath not out 11

Extras (b2 lb4 w2 nb4 pens 0) 12

TOTAL (119.3 overs) 355

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-154, 3-176, 4-207, 5-207, 6-213, 7-227, 8-239, 9-248.

Bowling: Pollock 26 5 67 3; Ntini 22.3 3 70 3; Kallis 21.5 4 69 0; Nel 31 6 84 4; Boje 18.1 3 59 0.

SOUTH AFRICA: First innings

AB de Villiers lbw b McGrath 61

G Smith lbw b Lee 22

H Gibbs not out 54

J Kallis not out 17

Extras (lb4 nb11 pens 0) 15

TOTAL 2 wkts (58 overs) 169

Fall of wickets: 1-36 2-122 To bat: J A Rudolph, A G Prince, M V Boucher, S M Pollock, N Boje, M Ntini.

Bowling: McGrath 14 8 17 1; Lee 14 1 65 1; Symonds 13 4 34 0; Warne 12 3 40 0; MacGill 5 1 9 0.