PERTH: South Africa set Australia 539 to win on the fourth day of the opening Test against Australia in Perth Sunday, ensuring the home side has to produce the greatest-ever fourth innings run chase at the ground to beat them.
The visitors declared their second innings at 540 for eight after Vernon Philander was bowled by Australian captain Steve Smith for 73.
It ended a brisk 72-run stand with Keshav Maharaj (41 not out) as the visitors batted the home side out of the match, a remarkable scenario given how poor South Africa were on the opening day.
But Australia will take some heart from the 2008 Test between the two sides, when South Africa chased down 414 on the final day with ease.
The injured Dale Steyn would not bowl in Australia’s second innings due to a shoulder injury that has ruled him out for at least six months.
The fourth day provided little relief for the beleaguered Australians as they had two dismissals overturned by decision reviews, while a catch was dropped.
Quinton de Kock, who was dropped when he scored just one on Saturday, was adjudged caught behind for 28 from the bowling of Josh Hazlewood by umpire Aleem Dar, who has made a number of incorrect decisions in the match.
The review showed it came off the thigh pad.
De Kock was again given out lbw to spinner Nathan Lyon on 47, this time by Nigel Llong, only for the review to reveal the ball brushed his glove.
Philander also enjoyed a life on 29, when Hazlewood dropped a simple catch on the boundary.
Australia finally claimed the wicket of de Kock for 64 to end a 116-run partnership with Philander.
De Kock mistimed a drive and was caught in covers by Voges from the bowling of Mitchell Marsh (2-77), who was probably the pick of the Australian bowlers.
South Africa’s massive total was underpinned by 141 from JP Duminy and 127 from Dean Elgar.
The pair put on 250 for the third wicket to strengthen a remarkable comeback after their terrible first day. -AFP