Hayden century sets up Australia victory charge
Matthew Hayden blazed his way to a century before Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne combined to pick up two vital wickets that left Australia in position to win the first cricket Test against South Africa after the fourth day at Adelaide Oval on Monday.
Hayden smashed 131 in a little over four hours to pass Brian Lara as the world's leading runscorer for 2001 and allow Australia's captain Steve Waugh to make an early declaration and give his bowlers a shot at the South African top order.
With his star-studded batting line-up sacrificing their wickets in pursuit of quick runs, Waugh called an end to proceedings 48 minutes before stumps with the Australian second innings total on 309 for seven, leaving South Africa the near-impossible target of 375 to claim victory.
Waugh's declaration left his bowlers 12 overs at the end of a long, hot day and they responded in magnificent style with McGrath dismissing Herschelle Gibbs for nine and Warne removing Gary Kirsten for seven on the final delivery of the day to leave the visitors teetering at 17 for two.
Fast bowler McGrath made the initial breakthrough when he dug a ball in short which Gibbs deflected to Justin Langer at bat-pad before leg-spinner Warne cleaned up Kirsten when the left-hander offered the simplest of chances to Ricky Ponting at silly mid-off.
History suggests the South Africans cannot win.
Only twice has a team ever scored more runs in the fourth innings to win a Test, while the highest successful run chase at Adelaide Oval was Australia's 315 for six against England in 1901-02.
Hayden and Mark Waugh put the Australians in a position to push for victory after their 181-run third-wicket partnership at almost a run a ball.
They came together before lunch with the total on 66 for two after first-innings century-maker Justin Langer was caught behind off Shaun Pollock for one and Jacques Kallis trapped Ponting lbw for 25, and they parted after tea with the total on 247.
Hayden brought up his fourth Test century this year and the fifth of his 25-match career half just before tea, reaching the mark off 170 balls in double-quick time.
The left-handed opener went on to make another 31 quick runs, taking his aggregate this year to 1,250 at an average of 59.52, belting 12 fours and four sixes along the way before he charged down the pitch to Kallis and was bowled.
Mark Waugh reached his half-century off 94 balls with two successive boundaries off Kallis through to third man but made his exit when he top-edged a sweep off Kallis straight to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.
Adam Gilchrist, Steve Waugh and Warne also threw away their wickets for the team cause before Waugh finally aborted the run chase.
Warne was introduced into the attack in the sixth over and immediately made an impact, bowling into the rough matches to extract as much turn as possible.
Australia are ranked first in the world Test championship, with South Africa just behind them. Australia need to win the series to retain their top place.
Match report: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Aus 1st innings |
SA 1st innings |
Aus 2nd innings |
SA 2nd innings
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
Also read: Leading Test wicket-takers
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