Marchant de Lange rattles Australians
Marchant de Lange led a strong fightback from South Africa A on the second morning in Potchefstroom, where several of Australia's batsmen struggled to handle the conditions. On a very fast and bouncy pitch that Mitchell Johnson on day one compared to the WACA, Australia reached 208 for 9 at lunch, with Michael Hussey on 28 and Nathan Lyon on 11, and they had a lead of 25 runs.
The Australians lost 6 for 93 during the morning session, which was extended by half an hour as Australia were already nine down at the scheduled break. But Hussey looked solid, watching the ball closely and driving with impressive timing, and with the support of Lyon he steered Australia past South Africa A's 183.
Clarke and Marsh resumed at 115 for 3 and both men looked solid, Clarke moving to his half-century with a clip off his pads from his 81st delivery. Clarke played some impressive strokes, driving through cover and off the back foot with good judgment, and together with Marsh put on a 131-run stand for the fourth wicket.
That was a fine recovery from 21 for 3, but another mini-collapse began when Marsh (57) was caught miscuing an attemped hook off de Lange that lobbed to mid-on. That was the start of a period during which the Australians lost 5 for 24 as de Lange showed the kind of promise that rocketed him into South Africa A's team within a year of his first-class debut.
After Ryan McLaren trapped Clarke lbw for 76 with an inswinger, de Lange demolished the rest of Australia's order to finish with 5 for 56 at lunch. Brad Haddin was caught at gully for a duck and next ball Johnson was lbw, failing to cover the ball properly as de Lange came around the wicket.
The hat-trick delivery was an ill-judged bouncer that flew well over Peter Siddle's head, but de Lange accounted for Siddle soon afterwards, when the batsman tried to duck a short ball and skied a catch to gully off the shoulder of the bat. It left Australia at 176 for 8, still trailing by seven runs, and their chances of overtaking the South Africans took another blow when de Lange removed Trent Copeland.
Copeland was caught down leg side, a brilliant take by the wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile, who leapt high to his left to make a one-handed grab. That completed a fine morning for de Lange, but the South Africans need the final wicket to capitalise on their strong efforts