Aussies start run chase positively

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iol spt feb23 Rogers Getty Images Australia Test opener Chris Rogers hit an unbeaten 241 as English county Middlesex chased down their highest fourth-innings total to clinch a seven-wicket win over Yorkshire. Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

Port Elizabeth - A 126-run opening stand between David Warner and Chris Rogers gave Australia an excellent start to their pursuit of a record 448 for victory on the fourth day of the second Test against South Africa on Sunday.

The touring side went to tea on 141 for one after the dismissal of Warner for 66 was South Africa's only success during an afternoon session in which the batsmen looked largely untroubled and scored at nearly four runs to the over.

Chris Rogers, coming off three successive failures, was not out on 69 and will resume after the break with Alex Doolan (one).

South Africa had declared their second innings on 270 for five with Hashim Amla striking an elegant unbeaten 127.

Rogers and Warner smashed the ball to all parts, the latter hitting four successive boundaries off Morne Morkel, as Australia took a positive attitude towards their daunting chase.

The breakthrough for the home side came when JP Duminy trapped Warner lbw. The batsman reviewed the decision, but it was upheld by third umpire Aleem Dar.

The pitch still looks good for batting, though there is turn and the South African bowlers are beginning to generate reverse swing.

Amla plundered an unbeaten 127 before the home side declared 40 minutes before lunch.

Amla reached his 21st test century to move joint third on South Africa's all-time list with Gary Kirsten, still behind Graeme Smith (27) and Jacques Kallis (45).

The 30-year-old brought up the milestone off 139 balls with 14 fours, most of them caressed through the covers.

He added 64 for the fifth wicket with debutant Quinton de Kock (34) before the latter was caught at slip by Michael Clarke off spinner Nathan Lyon.

Mitchell Johnson recorded the best figures for Australia with two for 51 in 15 overs and Peter Siddle took two for 89.

Australia won the first match of the three-test series by 281 runs in Pretoria. – Reuters

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