7 Jan 2009

South Africa chasing 376 to beat Australia

9:20 am on 7 January 2009

Graeme Smith's tour of Australia may have one more heroic act left with South Africa coach Mickey Arthur suggesting the skipper will bat with a fractured hand in the third cricket Test in Sydney.

Chasing 376 to win on a difficult SCG pitch that's keeping low, South Africa will resume on day five at 62 for one with Hashim Amla 30 not out and acting captain Neil McKenzie on 25.

The Proteas, who lead the three-match series 2-0, sent No.8 batsman Morne Morkel to open with McKenzie and the big left-hander made a second-ball duck.

Debutant Doug Bollinger claimed his first Test wicket before an adoring home crowd of 19,061 fans, but it was the only joy for Australia in 26 overs before stumps on day four.

Smith has his left hand is in a plaster cast after being struck by a rising delivery from Mitchell Johnson in South Africa's first innings.

Arthur says if there's an one over or two to see out to draw the game or one or two required to win Smith will be difficult to keep in the dressing room.

But the coach says Smith playing again in Australia is highly unlikely.

Only five wickets fell on day four despite the large cracks in the pitch. Australia resumed on 0-33 and declared at 4-257, 50 minutes after tea.

Australia need a victory in the dead-rubber match to avoid a whitewash and maintain top ranking in the Test championship.

South Africa must post the sixth-highest successful fourth-innings run chase in Test history to win.