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South Africa 125/1 on day two

cricket Updated: Jan 04, 2009 15:29 IST

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South Africa got off to a sedate start after Michael Clarke's sterling century and some spectacular rearguard action powered Australia to their best score of the series so far on day two of the third and final cricket Test in Sydney on Sunday.

Resuming on 267 for six, overnight batsmen Clarke (138) and Mitchell Johnson (64) stitched together an invaluable 142-run stand for the seventh wicket before Nathan Hauritz (41) and Peter Siddle (23) also chipped in as Australia raised 445 runs in their first essay.

In reply, South Africa lost Neil McKenzie (23) to Peter Siddle and Graeme Smith (30 retired hurt) to injury before reaching 125 for one at stumps. They still trail the hosts by 320 runs in the first innings with nine wickets in hand.

In-form Hashim Amla (30) and veteran Jacques Kallis (36) were in the middle, having put on 49-run stand and looking good for more.

Smith hurt his little finger after a Johnson delivery bounced sharply to hit him and the South African skipper, already nursing an elbow injury, headed to the hospital for an X-ray.

Earlier, Dale Steyn and Paul Harris claimed three wickets apiece but overall, it was quite a toil for the South African bowlers who just could not get the better of the Australian tail-enders' determination.

Clarke's 10th Test century was a product of his more than six-hour vigil, during which he faced 250 balls, hitting 17 boundaries in the process.

Johnson's career best 64 came in nearly three hours, off 124 balls with 11 boundaries in it.