South Africa and Australia certainly know how to get cricket fans on the edge of their seats. Just as the First Test was beginning to organise itself into a contest where victory for the hosts looked improbable if not impossible, things swung right back around, Jacques Kallis taking 3-22 (the 3 in question being Ponting, Hussey and North) and Ntini 3-52 as Australia’s second innings was brought to an end with just 207 added to their lead.
The tourists still enjoyed a lead of 454 at this point, but recent events Down Under (and before that, during England’s tour of India) have moved the goalposts, so to speak, for fourth-innings run chases. 276 from 98 overs tomorrow is now well within the realm of the possible.
If Ricky Ponting has a nagging feeling of deja vu, it’s most likely due to what happened in Perth last December, where South Africa overcame a first-innings deficit to claim victory with a ridiculous 414/4 in the fourth innings. Whilst the Saffers have a lot more left to do on the final day this time around, stranger things have happened (and many of them in the last twelve months).