Vol. 5 Num 568 Sat. December 31, 2005  

Australia cruise

Australia claimed a resounding 184-run victory over South Africa in the second cricket Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground Friday, taking a 1-0 series lead with a Test to play.

Leg-spinner Stuart MacGill bowled No. 11 Makhaya Ntini with the last ball of the first over after lunch to dismiss the South Africans for 181.

Experienced fast bowler Shaun Pollock remained 67 not out in the South African second innings, while Shane Warne took 4-74 off 28 overs to finish the 2005 calendar year with 96 wickets, a new record.

The South Africans were facing an uphill battle after losing 99 for six in the final session of Thursday's fourth day as they chased an unlikely 366 for victory in the Boxing Day Test.

Australian No. 5 batsman Michael Hussey was named the man-of-the-match for his 122 and his major role in a record 107-run last-wicket partnership with Glenn McGrath which boosted Australia's first innings to 355 and swung the momentum to the home side.

Pollock batted for 156 minutes on Friday, hitting eight boundaries and a six off MacGill.

But there was controversy over the dismissal of No. 5 batsman Ashwell Prince during the first hour of play.

After some vociferous appealing by Warne, Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf gave Prince out, caught at slip by Matthew Hayden for 26 after 147 minutes of resistance.

Prince was reluctant to leave the wicket, incredulous at the umpire's decision.

Television replays showed that Warne's sharply-turning legbreak appeared to deflect off Prince's upper arm, and not his bat or glove, before it went to Hayden.

Prince, who had batted with great resolve amid a tumble of wickets late on Thursday, walked disconsolately from the arena, leaving the Proteas at 130 for seven, and still 76 overs from holding out for a draw.

Nicky Boje smashed a six off Warne and lasted for almost an hour before he played on and was bowled by McGrath for 13 nearing lunch, leaving the tourists at 166 for eight.

Andre Nel played a poor shot in the final over before lunch, needlessly swinging at a wide McGrath delivery and was caught behind for two.

Ntini had to bat with a runner after being troubled by a strained medial ligament in his left knee and already has been ruled out of the Sydney Test.

Australia's master leg-spinner Shane Warne appeals for a catch against South Africa's Ashwell Prince (not in the picture) on the final day of the second Test at the MCG on Friday.. PHOTO: AFP