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Australia in sight of 3-0 series win

Written by: Staff
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JOHANNESBURG, Apr 3 (Reuters) An unbeaten 93 from Damien Martyn in the third test today put Australia within sight of their first series whitewash in South Africa.

Set 292 to win, Australia were 44 runs away from victory on 248 for six in their second innings when bad light ended play 9.3 overs early on the fourth day.

Michael Hussey and Martyn shared a third-wicket stand of 165 to anchor Australia's innings.

Hussey hit 12 fours in his 89, the same number of boundaries as in Martyn's innings.

South Africa rallied by claiming four wickets after tea with paceman Makhaya Ntini ending the day on three for 60.

Australia won the first test by seven wickets in Cape Town and the second test by 112 runs in Durban.

Hussey was promoted to the top of the order after regular opener Justin Langer was concussed by a bouncer from Ntini in the first innings.

The home side resumed their second innings on 250 for eight, and Australia needed just 15 balls to dismiss them for 258.

Mark Boucher survived a chance to the fifth ball of the day when he attempted to pull a delivery from fast bowler Brett Lee and was dropped by wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.

Boucher played a similar stroke to the first ball of Lee's next over, and this time Gilchrist held the catch to end a ninth-wicket stand of 64 Boucher shared with Andre Nel.

Boucher hit nine fours in his 63.

HOSTS HAMPERED The innings ended when Lee bowled Ntini for a second-ball duck to finish with three for 57.

Nel was stranded on 18 not out, equalling his career-best score.

Australia lost their first wicket in their second innings without a run on the board when Matthew Hayden edged a drive off Ntini to AB de Villiers at third slip.

Hussey and Ricky Ponting put on 33 for the second wicket before the Australian captain edged a delivery from Jacques Kallis and was caught by wicketkeeper Boucher for 20.

Steady batting by Hussey and Martyn seemed to put Australia in control and the hosts were further hampered when paceman Nel had to leave the field with an upset stomach after bowling just two overs.

Left-arm spinner Nicky Boje ended the third-wicket partnership when he trapped Hussey in front in the 10th over after tea.

Andrew Symonds clipped 29 off 26 balls before Kallis had him caught behind by Boucher and two balls later Gilchrist was removed in similar fashion by Ntini.

Australia lost their fourth wicket in seven overs when Shane Warne was caught by Boucher off Ntini for three.

Martyn and Lee, who was nine not out, took Australia to the early close.

REUTERS TM PC2301

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