Ricky Ponting’s emotional last appearance at the Test match batting crease – fittingly afforded a guard of honour by Graeme Smith – could not obscure the fact that this match is hurtling towards a dominant victory for South Africa. The visitors claimed seven wickets in the first two sessions while keeping the batsmen pinned down with an exemplary display, leaving Australia a forlorn 7 for 204 at tea in pursuit of their theoretical target of 632.
Ponting moved off nought with a regal pull shot from the bowling of Morne Morkel, but exited when trying to force Robin Peterson off the back foot through cover, Jacques Kallis taking a smart catch at slip. He walked from the field briskly, but turned to wave his bat to the WACA ground crowd one last time, as the ground’s big screen was emblazoned with the words ‘Thanks Ricky’.
The Ponting episode was a brief interlude in a day characterised by South Africa’s unrelenting attack on the batsmen. Only the obdurate Ed Cowan stood his ground for any length of time, but even he had reason to curse the manner of his departure, hooking at Dale Steyn and being taken at deep square leg. Read more
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