Siddle takes 5 for 59, Australia stretch lead to 151

Peter Siddle's maiden five-wicket haul blighted South Africa's response as Australia tightened its grip on the proceedings on day three of the third Test.

updated: January 05, 2009 14:46 IST
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Peter Siddle's maiden five-wicket haul blighted South Africa's response as Australia tightened their grip on the proceedings on day three of the third and final cricket Test on Monday.

Resuming on 125 for one, South Africa folded for 327 runs, the bulk of which came from the blades of Hashim Amla (51), Mark Boucher (89) and Morne Morkel (40) -- the last two featuring in a spectacular 115-run sixth-wicket stand between. Australia, in their second essay, were 33 for no loss at close of play, having stretched their overall lead to 151.

Matthew Hayden hit three confident boundaries en route to a 23-ball 18 and had Simon Katich (9) for company at stumps. Injured Protea captain Graeme Smith, who had retired hurt on 30 yesterday, didn't bat and Neil McKenzie led the side in his absence.

For Australia, Siddle finished with 5-59 while Mitchell Johnson scalped two. With Smith ruled out for the match, lot depended on Jacques Kallis (37) but the seasoned South African let down the side and played a loose drive off Johnson to perish in the slips, having added just one run to his overnight score.

Amla, however, went on to complete his fifty before double blows pegged back South Africa, reducing them to 166 for four.

A lazy AB de Villiers (11) was caught short of ground when Johnson threw down the stumps at the striker's end and five runs later, Andrew McDonald got his first Test victim in Amla when the ball came off one of those innumerable cracks on the pitch and trapped the right-hander leg before.

JP Duminy's (13) exit was almost a carbon copy of the Amla dismissal as the ball, this time Johnson was the bowler, came off a crack and hit the batsman plumb in front of the wicket.

At 193 for five, things hardly looked rosy but Bucher and Morkel clearly had other ideas.

Boucher was also fortunate to proceed beyond 27 when Nathan Hauritz pushed one through his gate to hit the leg stump but the impact was not enough to dislodge the bail.

Matthew Hayden and Brad Haddin were seen jumping on their spot to help the bail get dislodged.

Morkel too had a similar fortune when he inside edged a Johnson delivery which hit the off-stump but could not dislodge the bail.

Both the batsmen then continued the characteristic fightback that has been South Africa's hallmark this season.

With no other recognised batsmen behind him -- Smith had flown to Melbourne for treatment of his injury -- Boucher took his time to get his eyes in before opening up.

Three fours off a McDonald over brought up his fifty, while Morkel too looked gritty as they continued frustrating the Australian attack.

Siddle finally broke the stand with a straight one that pegged back Morkel's middle-stump but not before the batsman had registered his highest Test score.

The bustling medium pacer then went on to polish the tail by claiming the wickets of Paul Harris (2), Dale Steyn (6) and Boucher, who was the last man out.

Boucher was distinctly unhappy falling 11 runs shy of what could have been his sixth Test century.

His 89 came in 266 minutes, during which he faced 170 balls, hitting eight fours and a six, off Nathan Hauritz, in the process.