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Australia desperate for quick wickets

By Greg Buckle 05/01/2006 05:35:05 AM Comments (0)

Australia will be desperate for quick wickets on day four of the third Test against South Africa with the tourists resuming on 1-4, an overall lead of 96.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels his side, which leads the three-match series 1-0, has a decent chance of winning the match despite the weight of history against it.

No team has successfully chased down a target of 280 in more than 120 years of Test matches at the SCG.

South African coach Mickey Arthur says his side will abandon its attritional approach to the first three days of the match and will pursue quick runs in a bid to lift Australia's target to around the 300-mark.

"We won't be tentative," Arthur said.

"If we go home having lost two-nil trying to give ourselves an option of winning, we're happy with that."

Australian captain Ricky Ponting admits his side is facing a tough task.

"The wicket is wearing. There is more variable bounce now," he said.

"Obviously we don't want to be chasing too many. That's why it's vital that we take wickets early tomorrow with this new ball.

"If we don't and South Africa manage to bat for a while and get a big total on the board, it's obviously going to be hard work for us to chase down the runs on that track.

"The highest chase in history here I think is 270-odd to win which is probably a fairly relevant stat."

Not even Ponting's emotional 120, becoming the first Australian to make a hundred in his 100th Test, or a blazing 86 from Adam Gilchrist could stop South Africa's momentum.

Fiery paceman Andre Nel, who was subjected to racist taunts by the SCG crowd, grabbed 4-81 as the tourists bowled Australia out for 359 in reply to South Africa's 9-451.

Mike Hussey (45) and Ponting added a vital 130 runs for Australia's fourth wicket.

Australia lost 3-4 just before tea but Gilchrist helped the tail wag to the tune of 133 for the last three wickets with solid support from Brett Lee, Stuart MacGill and Glenn McGrath.

Play starts at 1000 AEDT.

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