x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

South Africa mindful of batting conditions following Amla-De Villiers stand

The hosts have a 199-run lead over Australia with seven wickets in hand in the Johannesburg Test, but Russell Domingo, the South Africa assistant coach, highlights importance of setting a big target.

JOHANNESBURG // An unbeaten century stand between Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers put South Africa in control of the second Test as they opened a 199-run lead with seven wickets in hand after the third day on Saturday.

Amla and De Villiers came together at a difficult moment for South Africa, with the loss of their leading run-scorer Jacques Kallis 10 minutes before lunch leaving them on 90 for three in their second innings.

However, the duo dented Australia's hopes of levelling the two-Test series by adding 139 for the unbroken fourth wicket, steering South Africa to 229 for three when bad light and rain ended play an hour before the scheduled close.

Amla was on 89 not out and De Villiers on 70.

"Our mindset is, we want to go on and win the Test, not that we are defending the series lead," said Russell Domingo, the South Africa assistant coach.

"But we have to give the bowlers enough runs. You don't want to make it a run chase at the Wanderers because of the nature of the ground, the quick outfield. Targets can be chased down here.

"Chasing three runs an over in three sessions at a place like St George's [Port Elizabeth] would be tough; here it would be a cakewalk. So we have to be very careful about dangling a carrot," he added.

Amla and De Villiers survived some scares straight after lunch, with Amla coming closest to being dismissed when the pacer Pat Cummins struck him on the pad in the first over of the second session. Australia reviewed umpire Billy Bowden's not-out decision and Amla survived because the referral showed the ball was clipping the bails, creating enough doubt for the on-field umpire's decision to stand.

De Villiers's strokeplay was the more daring of the two as he collected 10 fours and a six off 122 deliveries. Amla hit a series of elegant cover drives and stroked 13 fours from 196 balls.

Cummins, the 18-year-old debutant, had claimed the key wicket of Kallis to rock South Africa. South Africa had stuttered to 94 for three at lunch as Cummins removed Kallis (2) and opener Jacques Rudolph (24) to go into the break.

Kallis prodded at a fine delivery that moved away outside off stump, finding the edge of his bat to first slip. Rudolph lost his wicket as he tried to pull Cummins but could only sky a catch to the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.