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Cricket-Hussey to the rescue after Ntini's assault

Written by: Staff
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JOHANNESBURG, Apr 1 (Reuters) Michael Hussey, with a polished 73, came to Australia's rescue after South African paceman Makhaya Ntini ripped through the tourists' top order on the second day of the third and final test today.

Australia were 246 for seven in reply to South Africa's 303 when bad light ended play 14.4 overs early. The home side's innings was built around a fine 93 by Ashwell Prince.

Ntini then reduced Australia to 89 for four on his way to a haul of five for 80. Brett Lee was 42 not out at the close.

Ntini hit Justin Langer, playing in his 100th test, on the helmet with the first ball of the Australian innings and the left-hander retired hurt.

Langer was diagnosed with concussion, received two stitches to his head, and was taken to hospital for precautionary scans.

Australia won the first two tests.

South Africa added 65 to their overnight score of 238 for six before they were dismissed in the 19th over of the day.

Number five Prince batted for 248 minutes, facing 170 balls and hit 11 fours. He was out playing a flatfooted drive against fast bowler Brett Lee and was caught by Justin Langer at second slip.

South Africa reached 300 largely through the efforts of number nine Nicky Boje who clipped 43 off 46 balls and hit nine fours.

The innings ended when Boje fended a rising delivery from fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz to Langer in the gully.

Lee took three for 57, while fast bowler Stuart Clark claimed three for 81.

LANGER CONCUSSED In Ntini's next over after hitting Langer, Matthew Hayden edged a drive and was well caught by Herschelle Gibbs in the gully.

Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn responded aggressively and put on 56 off 49 balls for the second wicket.

Ntini ended the partnership when Martyn, on 21, skied a pull to Andre Nel at mid-on.

Four overs later Ponting, who hit five fours and a six in his 34, pushed forward to an Ntini delivery and edged it to AB de Villiers at third slip.

Ntini struck again in his next over when he trapped Symonds in front for four to reduce Australia to 89 for four.

Adam Gilchrist scored 12 before pulling a ball from fast bowler Andre Nel down Jacques Rudolph's throat at deep square leg.

Number five Hussey and Shane Warne tilted the balance back towards Australia with a stand of 68 which ended when Warne, who hit seven fours in his 36, hooked a ball from Ntini and was caught by Shaun Pollock at fine leg.

Hussey was trapped in front by left-arm spinner Nicky Boje in the fourth over before the enforced close.

He faced 153 balls and hit 11 fours, and his dismissal ended a partnership of 68 with Lee.

REUTERS SHB RAI2146

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