Sport

Smith ends career with 3 and SAfrica in trouble

Wednesday, March 05, 2014    

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Graeme Smith's international cricket career came to an abrupt end yesterday when South Africa's captain was dismissed for three as Australia moved to within six wickets of victory on day four of the third and decisive Test.

South Africa, set 511 to win, were 71-4 at stumps after Mitchell Johnson dismissed Smith to bring the 33-year-old's involvement in the match at Newlands to a close shortly before tea.

Smith announced his retirement from international cricket late Monday, and received a guard of honour from the Australians when he made his way to the crease.

However, his stay there was shortlived, as Johnson had him caught at short leg in the fourth over of the innings.

Only a small crowd turned out to witness the final day of Smith's 12-year career, but they gave him a standing ovation as he left his home ground.

South Africa found themselves in major trouble soon after when Dean Elgar was bowled by Johnson to leave them on 15-3 at tea, but Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers batted for more than 30 overs to ensure the game went into a fifth day.

Amla was bowled for 41 when James Pattinson found some reverse swing with 30 minutes remaining, but De Villiers went to stumps after facing 100 deliveries for just 16.

"When there's a hint of reverse that's when the guys will get up," David Warner said. "We're always up in the field but if there's a little sniff there we're going to go real hard."

Earlier, Warner had recorded back-to-back centuries in the same match to set up Australia's declaration on 303-5.

Having already scored a quick 135 in the first innings, Warner smashed 145 at almost a run a ball as Australia scored at more than five runs per over in their second innings, allowing captain Michael Clarke to declare with a day and a half remaining in the game.

Kyle Abbott was the only South African to enjoy any real success as he dismissed Warner on the way to figures of 3-61.

Although Dale Steyn returned to the South Africa attack for the first time since incurring a hamstring strain on day one, he bowled just three overs that were hit for 24 runs.

Australia resumed on their overnight total of 27 without loss, and their attacking intent was clear as openers Warner and Chris Rogers added 93 at better than a run-a-ball until Rogers was run out for 39 by Steyn's direct hit.

After Morne Morkel dismissed Alex Doolan for 37 shortly after the lunch break, Shane Watson scored a brisk 25 and Steve Smith smashed 36 not out from 20 deliveries before Clarke called his batsmen in to leave South Africa with a record target, and bring its long-serving captain to the crease for the final time.

Smith lost opening partner Alviro Petersen quickly as he was trapped lbw by Ryan Harris for nine, and in the next over Smith's career was brought to a close by a Johnson lifter. Smith also started his Test career with three against Australia on his same home ground.

Johnson went on to bowl Elgar for a 13-ball duck on the stroke of tea, and to leave South Africa needing a miracle to avoid defeat in Smith's final match.

Amla and De Villiers provided some hope of holding out for the draw, but the hosts will need a rearguard action similar to what they pulled off against Australia in Adelaide in 2012 and against India at home in December.

"We've managed to get ourselves out of holes like this before, so it's a big plus for us that we can call on that experience, knowing that we've done it before," South Africa coach Russell Domingo said.

"The batters that are in and are still to come have played innings that have saved games like this before."

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