As it happened: AUS v SA, T3, D4

Written By Unknown on Senin, 03 Desember 2012 | 23.40

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Fired up ... Dale Steyn and co. ripped through Australia's fragile batting order on day four. Source: Daniel Wilkins / News Limited

South Africa have retained their world No.1 ranking after bowling Australia out on day four of the third Test to win by 309 runs and take out the series between the top two ranked sides in the world 1-0.

Australia never looked like pulling off what would have been a world record run chase in Ricky Ponting's final match in Test cricket, eventually being dismissed for 322.

Mitchell Starc provided some stern lower order resistance with that bat, belting the second fastest Test half-century in history, but he only delayed the inevitable as Graeme Smith's men marched to victory.

Relive all the action from our live and interactive blog below!

You can also review all the stats, pitch maps and wagon wheels at our Cricket Match Centre.

3rd Test - WACA Ground

30 November 2012 - Day 4, Session 3

Australia 2nd Innings

M. Starc 68 43 9 2 158.14
N. Lyon 31 43 6 0 72.09
D. Steyn 22.5 6 72 3 3.15

Latest comments (all times EDT):

1948: SB says: Thanks for you company over the series, folks. Be sure to stay in touch with us here for all the squad news ahead of the Sri Lanka series. Don't forget to join Trent Hile, Antony Pinshaw and perhaps myself again, for a little cameo anyway, when it all begins again in Hobart!

1944: FOUR! Lyon plays a glorious cut shot off Steyn wide of gully and out to the boundary! WICKET! It's all over at the WACA Ground! Dale Steyn grabs the final wicket of the series as Lyon guides one straight to Graeme Smith at slip. The Proteas win the third and final Test, retaining the world No.1 ranking in the process, by 309 runs.

1941: Vernon Philander takes the new ball from the other end and he comes in for similar punishment, Starc picking the ball up off a length and lifting it over mid-on for FOUR! Two balls later and it's carbon copy! Starc is playing a brilliant innings here, the Aussie left-hander is now on 68 while his half-century was the second fastest Test 50 by an Australian! The partnership is now worth 83 and Australia are 9-318!

1938: FOUR! Lyon flicks Steyn off his hip for another boundary out through square leg. EDGE! The Aussie spinner picks up four runs as the new ball flies between Smith and Kallis at second and third slip. Lyon is now 27 and Australia are 9-310.

1933: FOUR! Starc shows he isn't just an on-side player with a glorious straight drive wide of mid-off from the bowling of du Plessis. Lyon is then very nearly cleaned up as he attempts a sweep, the ball just bouncing over the top of middle stump. FOUR! Starc moves to 60 with a cracking cut shot behind point. Australia are now 9-302, with the 10th-wicket partnership at 67.

1930: FOUR! Lyon turns Steyn around the corner to fine leg with the ease of a top-order batsman. These two Aussie tail-enders are really showing their friends at the top of the order a thing or two. That being said, the new ball is due shortly so it could all come to an end very soon. Australia 9-292.

1928: Stephen of west pennant hills says: Australia were unlucky not to at least have a 1-1 draw with South Africa. Then again if it had of been a 5 test series they would have whipped us in the next 2 tests.

Clark Kitchen of Suva says: It is really set in stone now for Australia to give their batting lineup up a thorough retooling before the next contest of the urn with the old enemy or the Aussies will be spanked by the pommies come 2013.

1927: Barryhall says: for real et al comment 21, your desperation is showing POM

1926: Mark says: @Umm no, he was telling the truth. Australia were beaten by the superior team or is that false?

1925: Smith throws the ball to Faf du Plessis for a trundle. FOUR! Starc takes an immediate liking to du Plessis, the Aussie speedster thumping him over mid-on for a boundary and then out to deep backward point for three, bringing up a fine half-century in the process.

1922: Dale Steyn is back into the attack as the Proteas look to wrap things up. He immediately draws a false shot from Starc, who spoons one just short of Dean Elgar at short cover. The Aussie quick answers back quickly though, picking up two runs with a nice straight drive off the back foot for two. He's moved to 43 and Australia are now 9-279.

1917: FOUR! Starc jumps onto a short one from Peterson and cracks the Proteas left-armer out to cow corner for a boundary. FOUR! Not to be outdone, Lyon plays a glorious sweep shot in front of square to show his fellow tail-ender - and some of the other Aussie batsmen - that it's not too difficult out there. Australia 9-275.

1914: FOUR! Starc moves to 34 with a cracking pull shot out to the deep square-leg boundary. The Aussie quick took the ball from right in front of his nose, rolled the wrists on it perfectly and picked up four runs for his efforts. He attempts a similar shot next ball but doesn't quite time this one and only picks up a single. Australia 9-264.

1913: Umm NO says: TIMO of PINETOWN >>keep shouting, I am sure there is some one that believes you.LoL.

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1910: FOUR! Lyon gets off the mark by sweeping Peterson from outside off-stump. The Aussie spinner gets one over his fellow tweaker by finding the boundary at deep square-leg. He then picks up another two runs with another sweep shot, this time in front of square. Australia 9-257.

1909: What THE says: Pathetic, how are these clowns 3rd in the rankings!!

SB says: It certainly has been a disappointing day, What The!

1907: Nathan Lyon, Australia's No.11, plays and misses at a couple of Morkel's deliveries but manages to avoid edging one behind. Australia 9-250.

1905: c3vzn says: @Gus I agree with that team, except I fear Johnson could have a shocker next match. I say try Hazlewood or just go with Hilf.

1904: Playsiddlenextime of Melbourne says: Look at the way Australia bat compared to South Africa in Adelaide. We threw the towel in midway through our first innings, mentally fragile and no guts. Steyn and Morkel are quality bowlers in fairness. Philander's good with the new ball but Robin Peterson is at best an average first class cricketer. To watch him cleaning up supposedly good batsmen on a good batting track makes you wonder if there were any strange bets that went on at the start of this test match. Too many players threw their wickets away on bad deliveries for it to be a coincidence.

1902: SIX! Peterson throws another tempting delivery up to Starc and the Aussie bowler takes full advantage by cracking the ball back over his head. SIX! Starc punishes Peterson yet again, the ball this time just clearing Alviro Petersen at long-on. Starc is now 26 and Australia are 9-248.

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1901: Protea Boy of South Africa says: Cricket guy of SA - Never kick anyone when they are down. Australia have a proud history in Cricket. Something I have respected for many years. A team can never stay on top forever. We will need to prove much more in the future to get anywhere near the might Ozzies of the past.

1900: The gunt says: I'm happy with this test not ending in a draw, would have been a boring end to an inevitable result, by that I mean SA retaining number one status... Lose or draw, that's the end result. The second we lost punter, it was clear that Clarke was either gonna make an aggressive charge and see what happened... Lucked out, big deal, extra days rest for the same result.... Atleast he is a positive captain, and we may lose a few, but we will win alot more...

1859: Parko of Queanbeyan says: South Africa are going to win by nearly FOUR HUNDRED runs and all you SHEEP were fooled by the media again.

1857: WICKET! Hastings is headed back to the sheds after edging Morne Morkel to Graeme Smith at first slip. Truth be told, it was probably de Villiers's catch but Smith moved nicely to his left to swallow up another one. Australia are now 9-235.

1855: SB says: Hastings is playing a nice little cameo here. He's taking the long blade to Peterson and moves to 20 with another booming lofted drive down the ground.

1852: Parko of Queanbeyan says: Sam Bruce is okay.

Mark of Melbourne says: Our first loss in almost a year and you clowns carry on like we got hammered by England in the Ashes again. There won't be wholesale changes to our side like so much of you are praying for, because our selectors aren't stupid and know that making wholesale changes after one test loss would be detrimental to our side. Fix up the health of our bowlers first and make sure our young talent in Pattinson and Cummins don't waste their careers dealing with injury. As for our batsmen, it's all in the head. Let them gel together and they will be formidable come the Ashes, instead of making wholesale changes and unsettling the team. What a shame most Australians can't accept the fact we got belted by a better team, show some respect to South Africa please. I'm pretty sure they never carried on like this when we belted them on a consistent basis, let alone after one test!


Protea Boy of South Africa says: I personally thought the Ozzies would show more fight, considering the fight put up by South Africa in the last test. There was no way that Australia were ever going to win the test, thus closing shop would have been the logical approach and fighting for a draw. I find the way they played strange. Australia could easily have won the second test but great batting by SA saved the day. There are still three wickets standing and it will take a monumental effort for Australia to stave off defeat. A pity it was a three match series... Bye Punter - I have always enjoyed your fight and determination.

1848: Parko of Queanbeyan says: Where is Ripper now? Again - EASIEST $540 you'd make in a day. Thanks very much. People, sorry SHEEP, get swayed by the media/comentators who HAVE to try and sell the game to the public -it's not OPTIMISM it's DELUSIONAL as indeed, Pessimism is quite often proven to be REALISM.

Mark says: SB, what's your 11 for Tassie? Should Clarke move to 3? Should Khawaja or Hughes come in? How about Bird, Cutting?

SB says: G'day Mark. It's a tough one. I haven't seen a lot of Khawaja this summer but have caught a couple of Hughes's knocks in the Ryobi Cup. He looks to be in pretty good form to me but I'm just not sure whether he's buried the demons of last year's Martin-Guptill debacle. So, I'm going to go with Khawaja. I didn't see it but everyone was raving about Alex Doolan's knock in Sydney, too. For the bowlers, I'd like to see Jackson Bird get the nod. I was on the other end of a few of his bouncers at junior level so it'd be nice to see him don the baggy green. He obviously loves the wicket down there in Hobart, too.

1843: SIX! John Hastings gives the Aussies fans at the WACA Ground something to smile about with a huge six up into the stand over mid-on from the bowling of Peterson. FOUR! Following the lead of Hastings, Mitchell Starc then gets off the mark with a boundary out to mid-wicket. SIX! Hastings hits his second maximum with another shot beyond the pickets over mid-on. Australia are now 8-222.

1841: WICKET! Philander continues the rot for Australia by drawing the edge from Mitchell Johnson. AB de Villiers takes another regulation catch to add to his list of dismissals for the match. Johnson departs for two and Australia are now 8-204.

1838: Peterson has settled right in out there, he's flighting the ball nicely and bowling a few yards slower than what Nathan Lyon was for Australia. He bowls a maiden and Australia remain 7-204.

1833: SB says: Welcome back, folks. Vernon Philander takes the first over after tea and begins around the wicket to Mitchell Johnson. Interestingly, all of Channel Nine's commentators were calling for the return of Khawaja for Hobart and, Parko, Phil Hughes is on the radar. Michael Slater said he just wanted to see one or two more big scores from the left-hander before he returns to the side. Philander begins with a maiden after tea, Australia 7-204.

Gus of Sydney has a squad for Hobart: 1.Cowan 2.Warner 3.Clarke 4.Hussey 5.Usman k 6.Watson 7. Wade. 8. Johnson 9.Siddle 10. Lyon 11. Starc. We shoud have tied this Test. What was with the fall of wickets? They were all stupid.

1818: The Usual Suspect of State of Despair says: I hope the selectors at the end of this tour put their collectives hands up and accept responsibility for losing us the series. The old boys club has never been stronger in Australia and never been more embarrassing. I don't think the long term future for Australian cricket is looking all that wonderful under the current administration. Maybe its already time for the next inquiry.

1815: ZSM of Brisbane says: Way too aggressive. 5 of the 7 wickets to fall have been the batsman trying to force the pace. Only Warner and Watson can say they got genuinely good balls. Really disappointing. I'd have thought a much better strategy would have been to try and wear them down. Oh well, expecting them to bat 2 plus days and/or make 600 plus runs was always going to be an impossible task.

1810: SB says: That's tea, folks. Australia are 7-204. It's looking very much like the Proteas are going to wrap this one up tonight. The Australia batsman have played some pretty ordinary shots it must be said. What changes would you be making for the first Test against Sri Lanka in Adelaide? let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

1806: Hastings picks up his first runs of the second innings with a drive off the back foot wide of mid-off. It won't worry the Proteas too much as it was on the up and, just as I write that, he pops one up just wide of the silly mid-off. Australia 7-203.

Ben Crase had some thoughts on Shane Watson from earlier this afternoon: How many times can we say "Shane Watson Looked good for 30 – 40 odd"? Isn't it time to find another answer at 3? Can we not ask the same question of the erratic Dave Warner, is a century every 20 innings a decent return on investment?

1804: Cricket boys of SA says: Lol boys against men!!!!! Oh dear Aussies batsmen getting a schoolboy lesson.

1800: WICKET! South Africa are cruising towards victory after Matthew Wade becomes Robin Peterson's third victim. The Aussie keeper went for the big early drive, as his natural game, and hit the ball straight to Graeme Smith at cover - the Proteas captain of course made no mistake. Wade returns to the pavilion having made 10; Mitchell Johnson is now at the wicket alongside Hastings. Australia are now 7-200.

1756: John Hastings is now at the wicket with Wade, the debutant defending his first three balls from Steyn away on the off-side.

1754: Dale Steyn returns to the attack at the expense of Morne Morkel who was struggling with his line. WICKET! Steyn makes an immediate breakthrough as he removes Hussey caught behind. Steyn drew Hussey into a drive with a ball the left-hander had previously been leaving and it was just the slightest of movement away that saw the ball catch the edge. De Villiers can't keep himself out of the action at the moment, although it was a regulation catch. Hussey goes for 26 and Australia are now 6-198.

1751: FOUR! Matthew Wade take up where he left off in the first innings as he pulls Elgar out to the square-leg boundary for two boundaries. Australia 5-198.

Brenton of Queensland is back: The standard line to trot out after seeing Dean Elgar bowl would be: 'as a bowler he makes a great bastman', but that'd be a flat out lie. Still, he can tell his grandkids he played in Ponting's last test and won, so good on him.

SB says: Once again the selection of shots from our top order has been horrible. Clarke is usually such a great player of spin but on this occasion his head was skyward and it was nothing more than a wild swipe. Fair play to Peterson though, he gave the ball a little extra flight and it just caught the edge of the rough for a little extra bounce. Well bowled - bad shot.

1742: Matthew Wade joins Hussey at the wicket, the keeper defending his first two balls away on the off-side.

1740: Peterson draws an edge from Hussey but the ball flies wide of Jacques Kallis at slip and the Aussie left-hander picks up three runs. WICKET! Clarke is deceived by Peterson who gets one to turn a little out of the rough, the Aussie captain stumped in a sharp piece of work from AB de Villiers. Clarke goes for 44 and Australia are now battling at 5-188.

1536: FOUR! Elgar serves up two full tosses to start his over before Clarke eventually smacks the third one out to the mid-wicket boundary for four. Clarke has raced to 44 and Australia are now 4-185.

1532: FOUR! Hussey blasts Peterson through cover-point with a thunderous cut shot off the back foot. The left-hander exacting revenge after Peterson hurled the ball back at him after fielding the ball from his own bowling. Hussey has now moved to 23. What's this @brenton of Queensland! We have Dean Elgar into the attack!

Another Punter Fan says: I know exactly what you mean, Leo Press of Newcastle....I too idolise the great Punter, and had to wipe away the tears when he got out. Do you have an autographed poster of the great man on your bedroom wall too? I bet you do.

1728: Clarke picks up another three runs and moves to 38 as Morkel again strays onto his pads, the Aussie skipper working him down to the square-leg boundary where the ball is just cut off just inside the rope. Clarke and Hussey aren't having too much trouble out there at the moment and with 40 minutes left before tea they're edging towards 200. Hussey picks up three runs from the final ball of the over with a lovely cover-drive. Australia 4-176.

1724: Brenton of Queensland is back with another dig at Elgar: Dare I say it... Dean Elgar: picked as a specialist fielder?

1722: FOUR!
Clarke follows up three runs from Hussey with a lovely on-drive from Peterson through mid-wicket. As usual, the Aussie skipper's footwork is exemplary and he again makes it back-to-back boundaries with a lofty shot in the same direction. Clarke then gets a little lucky when he advances down the pitch again, but this time hits one just short of mid-off. Australia 4-164.

1717: Morkel continues from the other end and immediately tests Hussey's reflexes after drinks with a short one. There's no movement for Morkel at the moment and the bounce still looks to be pretty true, too. There might be just a hint of late swing away from the left-hander. Hussey drops one wide of cover and picks up a single for the only runs of the over. Australia 4-153.

1713: SB says: The players return to action after a well-deserved drinks break. I'm going to throw it out there and ask for responses as to when this game will end. Will it be this session, today's final session or in one of tomorrow's final three sessions? Clarke sees of Peterson but gives up a maiden to the spinner in the process. Australia 4-152.

1710: Clarke is denied another boundary thanks to a brilliant save from Dean Elgar at cover-point. It was probably good enough to call it his second genuine contribution of the match @Brenton of Queensland! The Aussie skipper picks up a single for the only runs of the over. Australia 4-152.

1706: Hussey and Clarke have little trouble negotiating another Robin Peterson over. The left-hander uses his feet nicely to get down the pitch and work the spinner wide of mid-on for three.

1704: Arpit of India says: thanx punter we love u. u r such a great player. we nerver forget u.for ur game ,ur captaincy,ur style........ every thing we r miss u so much..............

1702: FOUR! Morkel strays on leg stump and Clarke is awake to the opportunity as he picks up a boundary down to fine leg. FOUR! The Aussie skipper picks up back-to-back boundaries with an on-drive wide of the mid-on fieldsman to move to 25 at a run a ball. Has he got another century or, dare we say it, another double century in him? Australia 4-147.

1657: Spinner Robin Peterson is back into the attack. There's still no real spin out there, so he's relying on flight and perhaps a bit of variable bounce, which was the undoing of Ponting. Hussey picks up a single for the only runs of the over. Australia 4-138.

1652: Graeme Smith introduces Morne Morkel into the attack and the lanky quick immediately draws an edge from the bat of Michael Hussey's bat. It goes straight to ground but he'll no doubt be bouyed by the delivery. Morkel starts his spell with a maiden as Hussey plays the rest of the over out watchfully.

Parko of Queanbeyan has some thoughts on Ponting's replacement: Well, considering Crappock has had a VENDETTA against Hughes for a few years - much like his dislike of Johnson - I'm sure he's not pushing a case for the former opener. For example, on Nov. 13 Crappock writes "Cowan bolts the door shut on Hughes... Hughes hasn't made a Sheild century yet" -even though the day before he scored 92 and then next game makes 158! I still think Hughesy has something to offer and if we are going to pick bowlers on their Shield form (ie, Hastings) then he does deserve another go.

1648: Philander beats Clarke with back-to-back balls outside the off-stump. The Aussie captain just seems to be shuffling around the crease a bit at the moment, though it must be said Philander is bowling a fantastic line. FOUR! The Aussie skipper picks up a boundary from the final ball of the over to break the shackles. He's moved to 16 and Australia are now 4-136.

1644: SB says: Steyn stays around the wicket to another left-hander, Michael Hussey, testing the veteran Aussie out with a couple of early short balls. It's going to take something pretty special from these two if Australia are to get even halfway to the Proteas' target. I tend to agree with RMB from Brisbane and bemoan the shot selection of out openers. Should they hold their spots for Hobart? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment. Australia 4-132.

Brenton of Queensland takes a dig at dean Elgar: Congrats to Dean Elgar for finally contributing something in this game!

1637: OUCH! Clarke cops one flush on the crown jewels from Philander and immediately collapses on all fours. Aussie physio Alex Kountouris comes out to check on the skipper's well being and after a few deep breaths he returns to his feet and takes guard once again. Philander does his best to find the same region, but the Aussie skipper is up to the task this time and plays defensively back down the wicket.

RMB of Brisbane says: Batting has been beyond dumb in this match. Some atrocious shot selection from both openers. Ridiculous.

1632: FIFTY! Cowan brings up his half-century with a square-drive out to the point boundary. WICKET! Cowan brings his hard work undone as he falls for the Proteas sucker-punch and is caught pulling on the square-leg boundary from the bowling of Steyn. Cowan goes for 53 and the Aussies are now 4-137.

Rippersportspro of NSW says: Sam Bruce, you and Robert Craddock are both spot on. Both Khawaja and Doolan will be playing in the PM's match against Sri Lanka before the series starts. At the moment, I think Khawaja has the nod but Doolan is well and truly breathing down his neck. If the selectors go with Khawaja, I would have him at 4. If they go with Doolan, I would have him at 5. To say that the PM's game is crucial for both these candidates is an understatement. Either way, this should mean that hopefully Clarke moves up to 3 and Watson goes down to 6.

Barryhall says: Shame to see punter retire as long as we don't rue his departure in the Ashes

1626: Philander continues with his second over after lunch and Cowan moves to 48 as he picks off the speedster through mid-wicket. The opener retains the strike and moves to 49 as guides Philander down to fine-leg from the final ball of the over.

1622: Clarke picks up three runs through mid-wicket as he works Steyn off his pads. The Aussie captain has moved to 12 without any trouble and looks to be seeing the ball pretty well. Has he got another century or double century in him? Australia 3-123.

Parko of Queanbeyan says: Who cares what CRAPPOCK thinks - he is consistantly WRONG and is only "respected" within News Limited circles.

Sam Bruce says: Fair enough, Parko. Who are you throwing up as Ponting's replacement?

Tim of Brisbane says: Is COWAN the only aussie with his head screwed on? Chasing 600 against a quality bowling attack was almost impossible to begin with. Why treat a TEST as an ODI and play aggressive cricket when defending the good balls, ignoring the wide ones and punishing the bad ones would have been the only logical tactic??

1616: Vernon Philander takes the ball from the other end and strays down the leg side with his first delivery. Clarke doesn't miss the opportunity to get up and running after the break and picks up a single down to fine-leg. Philander follows Steyn's lead in coming around the wicket to Cowan, but the Aussie opener is once again solid in defence.

1614: Michael Clarke and Ed Cowan are back out in the middle and Dale Steyn takes the first over after the luncheon interval. The paceman decides to come around the wicket to Cowan and is immediately on the spot. FOUR! Cowan guides Steyn wide of gully and out to the backward-point boundary to bring up the first runs of the afternoon session. FOUR! Cowan hits back-to-back boundaries as he pulls Steyn through mid-wicket. He finishes the over with a solid forward defence. Australia 3-118.

1607: Parko of Queanbeyan says: Making 632 against the World's best attack on Day 4/5 of Test Match with Warner (44.35); Cowan (35.53); Watson (37.54); Ponting (52.21); Clarke (52.15); Hussey (50.98); Wade (34.42); Johnson (21.81) - and if they all make their averages it's 325 - THREE HUNDRED RUNS SHORT. Do your FORM and do your HOMEWORK all you DELUDED optimists because you ain't in the real world.

Leo Press of Newcastle says: Sad day for cricket, I have lost my hero!

Arjun of India says: Thank u punter for the memories . There is no cricket without u . Hope to see u soon as a fielding coach .

Rippersportspro of NSW says: Unlucky Punter, thanks for the many memories throughout a wonderful and unforgettable Test career. Now, I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing Cowan, Clarke and Hussey all replicate what they did in Brisbane. Some runs from Wade and the tail wagging would be very handy as well.

1546: Sam Bruce says: Well said, Rippersportspro. It's going to be weird to see an Australia Test line-up without Ricky Ponting's name on it come Hobart. Attention now turns to who'll replace him and News Limited journalist Robert Craddock is currently on The Cricket Show suggesting it's a race in two between Alex Doolan and Usman Khawaja. Who do you think will get the nod?

Daniel of Melbourne says: I'm really liking Cowan's attitude at the moment. He's hitting a lot of the good deliveries put in front of him and is playing with a straight bat. I think any chance of the win is riding on his shoulders right now. As much as I love Warner in the team I think he would be better suited down the order which sucks because our middle order is solid. If I had to pick a team for the next Test I think I would go Cowan, Hughes, Khawaja, Warner Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Starc and Lyon. Hilf has only played two average Tests in the whole season and I think he deserves more of a shot at it. Watson needs to figure out what is going on because at the moment he shouldn't be playing unless he can bowl at least 15 overs an innings. Obviously Bird and Cutting are stiff to miss out but they wouldn't be in the frame if Pattinson and Cummins were fit anyway. Bird and Cutting will get their chance eventually and it remains to be seen if they can do good at Test level. Hastings's stats are great in Shield and he doesn't appear to be up to it. Siddle is consistent and aggressive, no one can deny that and Hilf can bowl great into the wind. Siddle's average certainly doesn't do him justice.

1542: Brian Fisher of Brisbane says: Sad to see Ponting go but the introduction of Hughes is just what we need.

1541: Ashton of CBD says: Clarke needs to pull a Brian Lara and get 400 not out for Australia to have any hope of chasing these runs down.

1538: Glenn of Batemans Bay says: Oh wow!. Bye bye Ricky. With tears in my eyes.

1530: Four! Four! Michael Clarke wastes little time settling in, the Aussie captain hitting back-to-back boundaries off Peterson to move to eight. The umpires take the bails off and Australia go to lunch at 3-110. Join us again in 40 minutes for the second session of play on day four.

1528: PONTING OUT! Ricky Ponting's Test career is over! The former Aussie captain rocked on the back foot and got an edge straight to slip from the bowling of spinner Robin Peterson for just eight runs. Ponting leaves the ground to a thunderous applause and handshakes from the Proteas players. Australia 3-102!

1525: Ponting looks to have sorted himself outside the off stump today. He's leaving well and doesn't appear to be going as hard at the ball as he usually does early in his innings. Steyn is persisting with the line the Proteas know gives Ponting trouble, but he looks pretty comfortable. The Aussies have moved to 2-97 just before lunch.

1515: FOUR! Ponting hits his second boundary with a beautiful on-drive through the legs of Morne Morkel at mid-on. Things are looking good for the former Aussie captain early in his innings.

1514: Steyn is back into the attack. He's had Ponting's measure so far this series. Ponting looks to be concentrating harder than I've seen all series. He's not pushing as hard at the ball as he usually does.

1510: Sharon says  What a fantastic gesture of sportsmanship by the South Africans.  Shows the respect they have for Punter… Even if they want to get him out as quickly as possible

Ben Higgins says: You're dead right Sharon. A great gesture by the Proteas. There is a great respect between these two nations. Ricky Ponting's wicket will be the most valued today/ tomorrow ... hopefully not.

1508: Rippersportspro of NSW Come on Punter, hope you have 1 last solid knock left in you. Have to agree with Falcon, 3 century makers is the minimum that the Aussies need if they are to somehow win this match. Hopefully Clarke's single figure score was a one off and a case of law of averages working against him. Hussey for a hometown hundred whenever he bats (hopefully tomorrow).

Ben Higgins says: Probably going to need a big double-century maker as well Rippersportspro. I'd like to think Punter has that innings in him. He's famed for that fighting spirit and Australia can't get their back any closer to the wall. Don't forget Matthew Wade. He was the hero of the first innings and is more than capable of making a century.

1506: We're seeing a change of ball here. The umpires obviously think the ball has gone out of shape. The Aussies wouldn't be too happy about that.

1504: The Aussies are now 2/93. The run-rate has never been a problem but there's half an hour before lunch and Michael Clarke would be praying he isn't required in the middle for a long time to come.

1501: FOUR! Ponting with a classic pull off Morkel. That was vintage Ponting. He's looked solid so far and what a geat way to get off the mark.

1452: Morkel around the wicket to Cowan now. The two Tasmanians are at the crease. That hasn't happened to often. The big South African is trying to shake Cowan up ... it worked against Watson.

1448: SIX! Amazing shot. Ed Cowan launches a slog sweep over the cover boundary. Well that is certainly one way to up the scoring rate and push the South Africans back.

1447: Ponting strides to the pitch. A huge ovation as the former captain walks into the middle for the last time in his 168th Test and the South Africans stand in a guard of honour. What a fantastic gesture.

1445: WICKET!! Watson 25 (c Smith b Morkel; AUS 2/81) Watson gets squared up and Smith takes a nice catch, low and to his right. Morkel gets the breakthrough.

1444: A shout! AB de Villiers asks the question after Watson tries to glance the ball off his hip. The South Africans decide not to review it and replays suggest they made the right decision. The ball was no where near the bat.

1440: Watson has gone past Cowan now. A couple of classy boundaries has taken Watson to 25 while Cowan is on 24. Both the batsman seem to have got their eye in now.

1436: FOUR RUNS: Shane Watson drives back past Morkel for four runs. A lovely stroke as Watson looks to get his feet moving . As shown on Sunday the batsman can get on top after the new ball loses its tricks.

1430: DRINKS. Australia have survived the first hour with the loss of only one wicket. David Warner went on the second ball of the day to a cracker from Philander. However, Watson and Cowan have steadied the ship and put on 33 runs. Australia are now 1/73.

1428: BOUNDARY! Watson creams a full toss from Peterson for four runs. Watson is starting to open up a bit now.

1427: Ball to the groin.  Ouch that hurt! Cowan cops an inside edge into his corridor of uncertainty. Couple of deep breathes Ed, you'll be right.

1424: FOUR! Watson belts a wide short ball from Morkel to the boundary. He follows it up with a clip off the legs that rotates the strike nicely. That's what the Aussies are going to need today. Changing it up and keeping the scoreboard ticking over. The South Africans will try to strangle us and build pressure by drying up the runs.

1422: Morne Morkel into the attack. Ok. I might have gone a bit early hoping Morkel was out of the attack. He has been the most dangerous Proteas paceman in this series.

1420: Robin Peterson is on. South Africa turn to spin far earlier than I though they might. Does this mean Morne Morkel is out of action for today. Let's hope so. Cowan is now on 22 and Watson is taking his time, he's still on nine.

1415: FOUR RUNS! Cowan knocks a classy drive down the ground to the boundary line. Steyn pitched it up looking for some swing but Cowan pounced. The Aussies will need to jump on any loose balls today. The score moves along to 1/62.

1410: Brayden Yates asks How many runs would Australia need to get without the test being declared a failure? Considering we lost that is, and also why do you think we could not kill off SA in the first 2 tests, we could be world No.1 by now.

Ben Higgins says: I think it is more a matter of time rather than runs. If Australia can survive today I think it would be an achievement and if they can do that then the runs shoud follow. Any home series loss should be declared a failure. There is no such thing as an honourable loss.
Why we couldn't kill off South Africa. In Brisbane a day and a half was lost to run so that's fair enough. In Adelaide we just ran into a bloke who would not be moved. Faf du Plessis was incredible and Australia is going to need a similar performance here. Also losing James Pattinson didn't help.

1405: Ashton of CBD: This innings is do or die for Watson. He must make this the day he finally converts to another test 100 to retain his spot at number 3.

Ben Higgins says: I reckon you're spot on Ashton. Watson still hasn't cemented himself in the top order - as much as the Australian hierarchy would love him to. I think with the inclusion of Khawaja, Hughes or Quiney it should allow Watto to move down the order a bit.

1402: Amla is in to a bat pad as the South Africans think Ed Cowan might be nervous off his pads. Graeme Smith is certainly going after the Aussies early on day four.

1359: Geoff from Sydney: Hi Ben, I am at a loss to understand the criticism of Starc's performance yesterday, he Bowled 26% of all the Overs Bowled, went for 27% of the Runs, and took 60% of the Wickets. How does that make him part of a "second string, pop gun attack" as labelled by some Writers ? If anybody let the side down it was watson who only Bowled 9 Overs all day, (so much for his fitness) and Lyon who didn't take Wickets and didn't contain.

Ben Higgins says: You're not wrong Geoff, Starc was 12th man in the first two Tests so is hardly second string. He's a wicket-taker, if he gives up some runs I don't think Michael Clarke would mind too much. I don't think anybody knows why Watson didn't bowl except for Watson and Clarke. It certainly is a puzzle. Lastly, I think its a bit harsh on Lyon. He was very good in the first innings and we know Perth isn't kind to spinners on a whole. He is the best spinner in Australia and deserves to start every Test.

1348: FOUR RUNS: Glorious straight drive by Watson off Steyn. That shows you the pitch is batter friendly. Hopefully provides Watto with a bit of confidence and Australia moves to 1/49.

1345: Ashton of CBD: This innings is do or die for Watson. He must make this the day he finally converts to another test 100 to retain his spot at number 3.

Ben Higgins says: Got to say I agree with you there Ashton. Watson hasn't cemented himself at the top of the line-up as much as the selectors would love him to. The inclusion to Khawaja or Hughes would allow him to move down the order.

1344: A maiden for Philander as Cowan looks comfortable in behind the ball. He is going to be a key today and could be the man to hold the innings together and allows the likes of Watson and Clarke to attack.

1339: A shout from the South Africans. It was turned down as Shane Watson's breaths a sigh of relief. Replays show it might have been out. Steyn is certainly getting the ball to talk at this early stage. Cowan is on 13 and Watson has made one.

1335: Well, I was going to say good afternoon and welcome to the coverage but that's been thrown out the window already. It's Ben Higgins here with you to start the day. Warner's gone and Watson survives a close call on his first ball. Should be an interesting day ahead. Stay tuned!

1331: WICKET! Warner (29 c Smith b Philander; Aus 1/40) Australia get off to a shocking start as Warner is on his way second ball. Great ball from Vernon Philander. Got one to jag away and take the edge through to Smith at first slip. Wow!

1320: Hello and welcome to day four of's LIVE and INTERACTIVE coverage of the third Test between Australia and South Africa. The weather is looking good at the WACA and we're almost ready for the start of the day's play. Australia's batsman will be desperate to survive but they must also keep the scoreboard ticking over if they hope to chase down the massive 632 runs needed for victory. Stick with us throughout the day and don't forget to send in your questions and comments by emailing or leaving a comment at the bottom of the page.

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