Australia chasing 539 to win Waca Test
Perth: Australia will have to defy 139 years of Test history to beat South Africa, who declared at 8-540 shortly after lunch on day four of the first Test at the Waca. The Proteas resumed at 6-390 yesterday and increased their lead to 538 runs when skipper Faf du Plessis finally put Australia out of their misery.
Du Plessis’ declaration came 3.1 overs after the meal break, when Vernon Philander was clean bowled for 73 by Steve Smith.
Australia will need to set a Test record if they’re to win the three-match series opener.
The highest successful run chase in the histo- ry of the game came in 2003, when West Indies reached 7-418 to defeat Australia in St John’s.
Spearhead Dale Steyn’s series-ending shoulder injury means the Proteas will be a bowler down during the final innings of the match. Smith suggested on Saturday that Steyn’s absence would embolden the hosts’ misfiring batsmen.
But cracks in the pitch and a first-innings collapse of 10-86 will also be on their minds - to say nothing of the demoralising fact Australia have been in the field during every day of the contest. Du Plessis secured a memorable draw at Adelaide Oval in 2012, when the tourists survived four and a half sessions
However, batting time has not been Australia’s strong suit in recent years. Inept batting swung momentum the Proteas’ way on day two but Australia could easily be chasing a far lower target if they held some catches on days three and four. -AAP