Smith keeps South Africa in hunt for record chase

December 20th, 2008 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Perth, Dec 20 (IANS) South African skipper Graeme Smith led the fightback with a courageous century Saturday to keep his team in the hunt for a record chase of 414 on the final day of the first cricket Test against Australia here Sunday.South Africa were 227 for three at stumps with Jacques Kallis (33) and A. B. de Villiers (11) at crease after Smith knocked off 108 runs. South Africa need 187 runs on the final day for the second-biggest successful chase in history.

Earlier, Australia, resuming at 228 for seven, were all out for 319 with Brad Haddin scoring 94 and shepherding the tail to set a tough chase for the visitors. Jason Krezja (32) and Mitchell Johsnon (21) did the support job.

South Africa started on a shaky note as Niel Mckenzie departed, edging a Johnson delivery behind the stumps, with 19 runs on the board. But Smith and Hashim Amla (53) build on the platform with a partnership of 153 runs.

Smith showed intent as he played with his customary flamboyance to take the attack to the fire-spitting Australian pacers. The left-hander stroked 13 fours in 147-balls.

Amla at the other end played with patience allowing his captain to force the pace. His 112-ball knock had six fours.

Smith scored his 18th hundred, his first against Australia. He reached his hundred with consecutive cuts for four off Johnson.

Australia were rattled by the partnership as both the batsmen complemented each other beautifully to deny them any chance. But Smith and Mckenzie fell within a space of seven runs.

Johnson got the breakthrough as he trapped Smith lbw to complete his 10 for the match following his first innings eight wickets.

Brett Lee removed Amla caught behind before Kallis and de Villiers saw to it there is no more casualty for the day.

Brief scores: Australia 375 and 319 all out (Brad Haddin 94, Paul Harris 3-85, Jacques Kallis 3-24)

South Africa 281 and 227 for three (Graeme Smith 108, Hashim Amla 53, Mitchell Johnson 2-56)

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