Ponting fights to keep Australia in the gameOn 05/30/2019 by admin
Captain Ricky Ponting is fighting hard to save Australia from a series defeat against South Africa, scoring an unbeaten 87 at tea on day four of the second Test.
Australia are 7-180 at the MCG, an overall lead of 115, with Brett Lee falling for eight on the last ball before tea.
Dale Steyn has taken nine wickets for the match including 4-64 in Australia\’s second innings.
The paceman\’s victims on Monday have included opener Matthew Hayden (23) and No.6 batsman Andrew Symonds (0), whose places in the side are under threat.
Trailing 1-0 in the three-match series, Australia are in danger of losing their first Test series at home since 1992-93.
A 3-0 sweep in the Sydney Test starting on January 3 would force Ponting\’s side to hand the No.1 ranking to the Proteas.
Resuming on 0-4 on Monday, Australia were 3-86 at lunch after the dismissals of Hayden, Simon Katich (15) and Mike Hussey (2).
The home side staged a modest recovery as Ponting and vice-captain Michael Clarke (29) added 96 for the fourth wicket.
But Steyn removed Clarke and Symonds in one over and Makhaya Ntini had Brad Haddin caught at second slip as Australia lost 3-20 in a middle-order collapse.
Clarke was caught at short cover off Steyn\’s bowling and Symonds was caught at second slip five balls later.
Symonds took a long time to walk off the ground, averaging only 23.85 in four Tests this summer and facing pressure from fellow all-rounder Shane Watson for his place in the side for the Sydney Test starting on January 3.
Hayden, the 37-year-old opener whose 102-Test career is under threat after a run of low scores, was caught at short cover off Steyn\’s bowling.
The once-dominant Hayden has lost his way with 313 runs at 22.35 in eight matches.
Hussey shook his head in dismay after his dismissal, caught off the helmet at mid-wicket off the bowling of Morne Morkel.
Umpire Aleem Dar felt the ball had brushed the gloves on the way to hitting the helmet but replays showed this to be incorrect.
Like Hayden, Hussey has also struggled this year. The West Australian\’s average has fallen from 80.58 to 59.04.