Graeme Smith and Morne Morkel led a spirited South African fightback on day two of the second Test against Australia in Adelaide, the former with an unbeaten century and the second completing a five-wicket haul.
Morkel returned five for 146 as Australia were bowled out for 550 before Smith's 111 not out saw South Africa safely to the close of play on a very healthy 217 for two.
Australia resumed on 482 for five and with South Africa missing Jacques Kallis and as well as seeing Rory Kleinveldt and Imran Tahir struggling, Morkel assumed the lead role in ensuring that the remaining five wickets fell for just 78 runs, launching a fightback that has, according to bet365, made the draw (8/13) the most likely outcome.
Michael Clarke fell for 230, bowled by Morkel, who then went on to remove Matthew Wade (6) and Ben Hilfenhaus (0). Morkel was outstanding in the early session, constantly beating the bat before bursting through Clarke's defences and inducing Wade to feather an edge through to AB de Villiers. Hilfenhaus was caught at long leg by Kleinveldt, taking up just eight balls of the game.
This came soon after a relieved and delighted Kleinveldt earned his first Test wicket when he had Peter Siddle caught by Smith for six at first slip, after an agonising wait to confirm that the smallest portion of his boot was over the bowling crease and the delivery was legal.
Steyn removed James Pattinson, who thumped 42 in 35 balls, leaving Nathan Lyon unbeaten on seven. Pattinson played some enterprising shots and should have been caught by Francois du Plessis, who was at least able to laugh at his attempt having been blinded by the sun.
One more six later, Pattinson edged to Smith, who held his fourth catch of the innings, making no mistake to complete a fine start to the day's work for the Proteas.
Kleinveldt's return of one for 81 was evidence of improvement on his day one effort although he now boasts an inflated Test bowling average of 178 while Tahir ended with nought for 180 in 23 overs.
South African opening pair Smith and Alviro Petersen (54) then proved that Australia racking up the runs was no accident, the pair finding them easy to come by off Hilfenhaus, Pattinson and Siddle until Petersen was run out by Michael Hussey.
Smith made use of his crease by shuffling across to off stump to further open up the off side, a move which brought him a number of boundaries through the covers. Petersen, meanwhile, accumulated runs in his usual steady, unfussy manner.
Their partnership was finally broken in slightly bizarre fashion when Petersen pushed to mid off, set off for the single but almost collided with Smith and then ended up in contact with the umpire as Hussey's throw hit the stumps with his bat short of the crease. It appeared as if Petersen only computed the possibility that Hussey would throw at his end until the last possible moment - by which time it was too late. It was the softest of soft dismissals and it gave Australia the breakthrough.
The two had put on 138 for the first wicket and Pattinson thought he had dismissed Smith soon after but a successful review from Smith overturned the original decision.
Australia's next wicket came from the leg-spin of David Warner, who had Hashim Amla stumped for 11. Amla completely missed an apparently unthreatening delivery and although Wade fumbled slightly, he just had enough time to whip off the bails before the batsman could slide his bat back.
Warner, touted in the Australian media during the week as a genuine bowling option in the future, showed that he has the talent with some sharp turning leg breaks that tested the left-handers.
Nothing was getting through Smith, however, and he reached a patient 26th Test century in 198 balls, hitting 12 fours by the end of the day.
With Kallis unable to bat yet due to the time he spent off the field with a hamstring strain, Rudolph was in at number four and unbeaten on 25 in 48 balls.
The three-match series opened with a draw in Brisbane and on the opening day of this match, Australia created history when three players - Warner (117), Clarke and Hussey (103) scored centuries. The double-century registered by Clarke was the first time any player has scored four in a calendar year.
© Cricket World 2012
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