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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 December 2005, 10:12 GMT
Batsmen put Australia in control
First Test, Perth, day three (stumps): Australia 258 & 310-4 v South Africa 296

Brad Hodge and Mike Hussey congratulate each other at the end of day three
Hodge and Hussey put Australia firmly in the driving seat
Australia took charge of the first Test against South Africa after ending day three in Perth on 310-4, a lead of 272.

Tight bowling had the hosts in some difficulty at 184-4 at tea but Brad Hodge (91) and Mike Hussey (54) patiently regained the initiative.

Charl Langeveldt got Brett Lee lbw for 32 and Justin Langer battled away for 47 before playing on to Shaun Pollock.

Ricky Ponting was caught off a no-ball before edging Makhaya Ntini behind but the tourists failed to take advantage.

With leg-spinner Shane Warne expected to turn the ball sharply again, they face a tall order when they bat again at some point on Monday.

It was a matter of being patient, working hard and grinding the bowlers down
Brad Hodge

The early part of Sunday was frustrating for the South Africans as nightwatchman Lee rode his luck to edge between the slips and past his stumps.

But the introduction of Andre Nel posed him more problems, before a quicker Langeveldt delivery trapped him on the line of off-stump.

Langer took the anchor role and grimly survived for three hours for his 47 off 114 balls.

The left-hander needed a runner after appearing to suffer a hamstring strain and was back in the pavillion not long after lunch when he dragged a ball from Pollock onto his stumps.

Ponting had a lucky escape on four when he was brilliantly caught by Jacques Rudolph at square-leg only for Billy Doctrove to say Langeveldt had over-stepped - but TV replays suggested the umpire was wrong.

The Tasmanian also got the benefit of the doubt over a confident lbw appeal from Langevledt when he was struck on the toe while on 46.

He brought up his 50 in the next over, off 102 balls, when he drove a full-toss from Rudolph to the boundary but departed four balls later when he feathered a catch off Ntini to wicket-keeper Mark Boucher.

Hodge got off the mark first ball with a rare five that included four overthrows from Ashwell Prince but also had an escape when Justin Kemp spilled a chance at third slip.

It was a costly error as Hodge - with a first Test century firmly in his sights - and Hussey steadily accumulated runs after tea, punishing loose deliveries to put on 126 and seemingly bat the visitors out of contention.

Hussey turned Langeveldt to mid-wicket in the last over but was dropped by AB de Villiers and cracked two boundaries to pass his 50 - it was that kind of day for South Africa.

Australia hit back in Perth Test
17 Dec 05 |  Cricket
South Africa in Australia 2005-06
20 May 05 |  Future tour dates


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