Siddle proved a riddle for South Africa

December 27th, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 27 (IANS) Peter Siddle sizzled in front of his home crowd picking up three wickets to push South Africa onto the back foot by stumps on the second day of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here Saturday.At the close of play, South Africa were struggling at 198 for seven in the first innings with Jean Paul Dumminy batting on 34 and Paul Harris on eight after Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke hit a resilient 88 not out to take the hosts to 394 despite Dale Steyn’s five-wicket haul.

Trailing 0-1 in the series, Australia expected Brett Lee to provide the breakthrough, but it was the 24-year-old Siddle whose local knowledge of the surface helped him to take Australia to a position of strength with his three for 24.

Mitchell Johnson and spinner Nathan Hauritz also picked up two wickets each as Lee went wicketless with a listless performance.

Siddle struck in the second over of the day getting through the defence of opener Neil McKenzie. Just when when captain Graeme Smith (62) and Hashim Amla (19) started dig in, in-form Mitchell Johnson struck to remove Amla, caught splendidly by Andrew Symonds at gully.

But Smith, battling a tennis elbow, followed up his fine century in the first match with another half century and was committed to hold the top order together. Smith fell to a clever plan off Siddle, who tried to force the batsman to hit down the ground instead of square on the offside and between midwicket and square-leg. But Siddle delivered a wide ball and as Smith tried to reach for it he edged it to wicket keeper Brad Haddin. A.B. de Villiers (7) was also beaten for pace by Siddle.

In between Hauritz benefited from a mistake by Jacques Kallis (26) and Mark Boucher (3) while Jojsnon struck in the last hour of the day dismissing settled Morne Morkel (21) to leave South Africa in dire straits.

Earlier in the day, South Africa lost its grip on Australia as Clarke’s unbeaten 88 lifted the hosts to 394 after resuming at overnight score of 280 for six.

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