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Home / Cricket / Australia 51-1, lead by 297 runs

Australia 51-1, lead by 297 runs

AB de Villiers scored a century before South Africa was dismissed for 220, but Australia didn't enforce the follow-on halfway through the first Test.See Full Scorecard

cricket Updated: Mar 01, 2009, 09:43 IST

AB de Villiers reached a century before South Africa was dismissed for 220, but Australia didn't enforce the follow-on and was 51-1 with a lead of 297 runs halfway through the first cricket Test on Saturday.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting was on 1, and debutant Phillip Hughes on 36 when bad light stopped play 35 minutes into the final sessions at Wanderers.

Middle-order batsman de Villiers was undefeated on 104, his eighth career Test hundred in his 50th match. He was able to defy Australia left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson, who hauled in 4-25, and Peter Siddle, who finished with 3-76.

Ponting opted against asking South Africa to bat again immediately because he believed his three main seamers were likely to struggle to bowl two innings in succession, a decision de Villiers said was probably the correct one.

"I would have done the same in his position," de Villiers said. "We might have got back into the game had he sent us back into bat. We have a lot of top-class batsmen in our side who are determined to do much better in the second innings. I think he wants to bat us out of the match and set a target that he believes we cannot get." After South Africa limped to lunch on 158-8, de Villiers and Dale Steyn stretched their ninth-wicket partnership to 52 before Steyn nicked one to Marcus North in the slips on 17.

De Villiers struck nine fours and a six in compiling his patient century, although he was lucky to be dropped on 64 off Siddle immediately after lunch, by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. "I have been concentrating on doing my basics very well," de Villiers said. "It seems to have worked for me. I am obviously also getting more experienced as my career grows.

"I wasn't that worried about running out of partners. There isn't much difference in being not out on 90 or 100. I would rather have got 150 which would have put us in a much better position." In the first hour of play, with the Proteas resuming on 85-3, opener Neil McKenzie asked for his lbw decision to be referred. It was upheld and he was on his way for 36.

Two wickets in four balls from Johnson further rocked the Proteas.

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