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Australia score their fourth lowest total

cricket Updated: Nov 11, 2011 10:36 IST

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Australia narrowly avoided scoring the lowest ever Test total as they capitulated to 47 all out against South Africa following an extraordinary second day of the first Test on Thursday.

Despite their fourth lowest total, worst against South Africa and lowest Test score since 1902, Australia could still win on day three although the hosts closed on 81 for one needing another 155 for victory in the first of two Tests.

A dogged last-wicket stand of 26 from Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon made sure the tourists got past the lowest Test score of 26 by New Zealand against England in 1955 and Australia's lowest of 36 against England in 1902.

South Africa had earlier been bowled out for 96 on a reasonable-looking wicket after the tourists had made 284 in their first innings with captain Michael Clarke scoring 151.

Parts of all four innings took place on the same day as 23 wickets fell despite the ball not doing a huge amount.

Number 11 Lyon was Australia's top scorer in their second innings with just 14 after Tests debutant Vernon Philander took five for 15 off seven overs as Cape Town witnessed an amazing passage of play.

Wickets were falling so often it was hard to keep up as Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin and Shaun Marsh all went for ducks.

All-rounder Shane Watson earlier destroyed South Africa's batsmen after lunch in an astonishing burst as the home side were dismissed for 96.

South Africa had set off 55 minutes before lunch in search of Australia's first innings total of 284 and had reached a comfortable 49 for one at the break with Jacques Rudolph the only man out in his first Test for five years.

But Watson joined the attack immediately after lunch and stunned South Africa's leading batsmen with a spell of five wickets in 20 balls to end up with 5-17 off five overs.

South Africa's rusty batsmen failed to bat with any authority as Watson bowled accurately at a lively pace and moved the ball appreciably in the air and off the seam. In the first over after lunch, Hashim Amla was trapped lbw for three and Jacques Kallis edged a hook on to his shoulder and then to second slip for a duck. Both decisions were given not out by the on-field officials before Australia won successful reviews. Smith (37) then chopped the ball on to his stumps and Ashwell Prince (0) was trapped lbw by a yorker in successive deliveries in Watson's third over and the all-rounder completed his third five-wicket haul when he trapped Mark Boucher lbw.