Ponting misses rare feat

Melbourne, December 29:

South Africa look poised to seal a historic Test series victory in Australia after bowling out the hosts for 247 on fourth day today.

It left Graeme Smith’s side needing just 183 to clinch a remarkable win and at close they were 30-0. Australia were left staring at a first home series defeat in 16 years after pace bowler Dale Steyn took 5-67. Ricky Ponting was dismissed one run short of his second century of the game when he was the eighth wicket to fall. Ponting looked set to become the first man to score a century in each innings of a Test on four occasions.

But his departure all but ended Australia’s hopes of posting a difficult total for South Africa, who won the first Test in Perth by six wickets after chasing down a target of 414. The Australia captain again carried his team’s hopes virtually single-handedly after his leading batsmen failed when the world champions resumed on 4-0, 61 runs behind.

South Africa stand on the verge of becoming the first team to win a Test series in Australia since Richie Richardson’s West Indies in 1992-93.