Cape Town – Despite Australia being in the commanding position of 494 for seven after two days of cricket, South African bowler Kyle Abbott said the intervention of rain had made a draw more likely.
“It's always disappointing losing time in a game, especially a game of this nature,” said Abbott after the second day of play in the third and final Test at Newlands, in Cape Town, on Sunday.
“The rain has slowed the game down a bit. A draw is more on the cards now, but we'll only see what happens after both teams have batted.”
In the morning session, a period of tight bowling by the South Africans was spearheaded by Abbott. The right arm quick bowled six overs in the morning session, with five maidens at the cost of just a single run.
Abbott made reference to his debut in Centurion in February last year, where he picked up 7/29 in the first innings against Pakistan.
“A year ago I sat here where I had probably bowled exactly the same and had seven wickets behind my name,” said Abbott.
“I probably bowled worse then. That's the great thing about this game, it humbles you very quickly.”
The main protagonist on the day, however, was Australian captain Michael Clarke who ended 161 not out (301 balls, 17 fours) for the 27th century of his career.
“It's nice to make some runs, I was overdue,” said Clarke who had gone 11 consecutive innings without scoring more than 24.
“Any time you make a hundred, you never have a bad one, I've enjoyed every single one. This was no different.”
With three days remaining for Australia to force a result, Clarke said nothing but hard work would get them over the line.
“Hopefully the pitch continues to deteriorate and it plays more up and down.
“If there's sunshine, that happens with pitches all around the world. It's a very good batting wicket and we're going to have to bowl very well.
“We've got three extremely tough days ahead of us.”
Australia had approached the 500 mark when the heavens opened after lunch at 2.14pm in the series decider.
With the series level at 1-1, the rain was timely for the hosts who had never beaten Australia in South Africa since readmission.
The one positive for the Proteas, aside from the rain, was the bowling of JP Duminy. The spinner was left on a hat-trick when the rain came down, and he returned figures of 4/73 from his 17 overs.
Duminy dismissed Brad Haddin (13) and Mitchell Johnson (0) off consecutive deliveries.
Clarke together with Steve Smith (84 runs, 155 balls, nine fours, three sixes) shared in a 184 run stand for the sixth wicket.
The partnership was ended when Smith played on for 84 (155 balls, nine fours, three sixes) off the bowling of Dean Elgar.– Sapa