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Australia was six wickets away from winning, while South Africa was 120-4 when lunch was taken.


MELBOURNE, Dec 29 (Reuters) – While South Africa struggled to 120 for four at lunch on day four of the second test match in Melbourne, Australia, Australia came closer to winning the series-clinching match by six wickets. However, South Africa is still 266 runs short of making the home team bat again.

South Africa’s batting innings against a weakened Australian attack at the Melbourne Cricket Ground began with a score of 15 for one and ended with three wickets lost for 18 runs. The morning was cold and gloomy.

At the break, number four Temba Bavuma was not out for 37, and wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne was on 27; the pair were the only ones left to try and salvage something from the debris of a match that was a complete and utter failure for the tourists.

Paceman Mitchell Starc, who was suffering from tendon damage to the middle finger of his bowling hand, delivered the first blow with a yorker that smashed into the front foot of the opener Sarel Erwee when he was on the 21-year-old.

The appeal of the lbw was rejected, but the review of the judgement by the home captain Pat Cummins was successful.

The third position three overs later, Theunis de Bruyn was dismissed for the score of 28 after being bowled by a delivery from Scott Boland. The ball reared up and hooked an outside edge on its way to second slip, where Steve Smith made an excellent catch after Marnus Labuschagne sprang across him.

Bavuma lost his composure when he ran out number five Khaya Zondo (one) with a poor call for a single after hitting Cummins to a fielder at mid-off when South Africa’s score was 57 for three. The circumstances demanded for South Africa’s players to maintain their composure.

Zondo got off to a slow start, but it didn’t matter because Travis Head, who was having a birthday celebration, swooped in and knocked down the wickets.

That put South Africa in a position where they needed 65 runs to win the match, but Bavuma and Verreynne held the fort until lunch with an unbroken partnership of 55 runs.

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