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Page last updated at 17:59 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

S Africa recover after North ton

First Test, Johannesburg (day two, close):
Australia 466 v South Africa 85-3
Dates: 26 February-2 March Start time: 0830 GMT
Coverage: Scorecard and reports on BBC Sport website. Live on Sky Sports
Match scorecard

Marcus North
Marcus North reached 117 runs off 233 deliveries

South Africa stabilised after a disastrous start to finish day two of the first Test on 85-3 in their reply to Australia's formidable 466.

Australia's Marcus North collected a debut century with 117, while Brad Haddin (63) and Mitchell Johnson (96no) also helped pushed the total on.

Graeme Smith (0) and Hashim Amla (1) were out early as South Africa slumped to 2-2 before Jacques Kallis' arrival.

The 33-year-old reached 10,000 Test runs with a modest 27 for the hosts.

Australia started the day on 254-5 and never looked like exposing the weaknesses that saw them hanging on at 38-3 on the first day.

As the South Africans clung to the hope that a breakthrough would accompany the new ball, North and Haddin picked up their half-centuries in comfort.

Haddin survived four overs after its introduction before falling to Makhaya Ntini, but North shrugged off his and Andrew McDonald's (0) demise to make steady progress to three figures.


At the other end, Johnson set about the bowling with aggression and the pair quickly racked up a century partnership before North was lured down the track attempting to heave across the line to Paul Harris.

Johnson continued to punish spinner Harris, crashing three sixes off one over from the left-armer, cruising past 61 to rack up his best-ever Test batting figures.

But the paceman found himself stranded four runs short of his first century as Morne Morkel claimed the final two Australian wickets in successive deliveries.

Dale Steyn's exploits on the first day ensured that he finished as the pick of a dispirited set of bowlers with four wickets at a cost of 113 runs.

Johnson soon found consolation as his fifth delivery drew a thick edge from Smith and a tumbling catch from Haddin.

In the following over, debutant Ben Hilfenhaus tempted Amla with a full, swinging ball snapped up by Ricky Ponting at second slip to leave South Africa in deep trouble just eight balls into their innings.

Kallis came to the crease and, supported by Neil McKenzie (35no), steadied the ship as he become only the eighth Test batsman in history to reach the 10,000-run milestone with a push through covers.

But Mike Hussey hung onto a sharp catch at gully off the bowling of Peter Siddle to remove Kallis, silencing the Wanderers and ensuring the home side remain in a precarious position.

Smith put a disappointing day behind him to pay tribute to Kallis' achievement, joining the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Allan Border on a five-figure Test aggregate.

"It is a fantastic achievement and one that is thoroughly deserved. For a large part of his career he had to carry South Africa's batting and it is this longetivity which is one of the signs of true greatness," he said.

"If you add in his 250 wickets and his 100 plus catches, you get a good idea of what a giant of the game he has become."

But Kallis admitted that the Australians had gained the upper hand after a strong batting performance across the opening two days.

"They probably got too many on that deck. There is a bit in there for the bowlers so we are a bit disappointed they got as many as they did, but having said that they did play well and put us under pressure," he said.

Johnson, who scored 64 and an unbeaten 43 in his last two Test outings, confirmed that he has been working on his batting.

"Bowling is my number one priority but there's been a lot of opportunities to work on my batting where I've probably been a little bit lazy in the past. It's something that I really enjoy and hopefully I can keep improving," he said.

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see also
North stakes claim for Test place
22 Feb 09 |  Australia
Prince left out of S Africa squad
11 Feb 09 |  South Africa

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