Brisbane: South Africa staved off Australia’s push for an unlikely victory to bat out for a draw in the first Gabba Test on Tuesday, though the home team could take heart from having the better of the encounter.
The top-ranked South Africans lost five wickets and effectively were six down with injured JP Duminy unable to bat, but the Australians frustrated by calls going against them could not make further inroads.
At the close after trailing by 115 runs in the first innings, South Africa were 166 for five with AB de Villiers not out 29 and Vernon Philander not out one.
The draw ensured that Australia retained their unbeaten record at the Brisbane ground which stretches back to the West Indies’ victory in 1988.
The Aussies have now not lost in their last eight Tests under skipper Michael Clarke, while the Proteas, under Graeme Smith, have not lost an away Test match since India in Calcutta in February, 2010.
The teams head to Adelaide for next week’s second match of the three-Test series all square, but with Australia shading the opening match and having the world’s best team under pressure on the final day of their showdown.
Clarke was named the Man of the Match for his third double-century of the year, his unbeaten 259 which turned the match away from the Proteas over the closing two days.
South Africa lost Alviro Petersen (5), Smith (23) and Hashim Amla (38) before tea, but Jacques Kallis and de Villiers restored stability and held up the Australian assault.
Kallis was out one short of his half-century when Clarke took a splendid one-handed catch at slip off spinner Nathan Lyon in the 49th over.
Jacques Rudolph survived a vociferous lbw appeal off Siddle before he had scored but umpire Billy Bowden was unmoved amid the excited Australian fielders. He ultimately went lbw to Lyon for 11 heading into the final hour.