Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis

Australia withstood a brave fightback from defiant debutant Faf du Plessis and injured veteran Jacques Kallis to remain a strong position after bowling South Africa out for 388 at tea on day three of the second Test at Adelaide Oval.

After resuming at 7-273 at lunch on Saturday, the Proteas refused to wave the white flag and battled hard, but still trail by 162 runs with seven sessions remaining, after the home side piled on 550 in its first dig.

After a diabolical 5-17 collapse in the morning session, du Plessis (78) and Kallis (58) survived a testing pre-lunch examination, ultimately combining for 93 valuable runs for the eighth wicket against an undermanned Australian attack.

Courageous Kallis confirmed his undoubted class, displaying bravery and trademark willpower under severe physical duress, the great all-rounder having emerged belatedly at No. 9, clearly still afflicted by a strained right hamstring which he sustained while bowling early on day one.

Kallis' gallant salvo evoked memories of his superhuman twin tons against India two summers ago at Newlands in which he battled a debilitating side strain and contusion to his ribs after being struck in his first-innings century.

Kallis and du Plessis forced Australia minus spearhead James Pattinson, who sustained a left side strain injury in the first session to spread the field far and wide.

Kallis was clearly troubled and grimacing following some Siddle chin music before lunch, but the South African won the short-pitched battle during Siddle's expensive second spell in the middle session with some punishing back foot strokes.

The Victorian quick was duly replaced by Ben Hilfenhaus (3-49) at the River End.

Kallis brought up his 56th Test half century off 83 balls when he rocked back and heaved a rank Michael Clarke long hop over midwicket for his 10th boundary.

Three balls later, Kallis belted another short Clarke offering for a big six, but the Aussie skipper would have the last laugh in his next over.

On 58, Kallis attempted to sweep a quicker ball from Clarke, only for the ball to bob up straight to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.

The Australians went up as one and confidently asked for a video review after umpire Billy Bowden shook his head.

Television replays showed the ball struck Kallis on the pad before flicking his right thumb and popping up in the air, Bowden duly reversing his original verdict.

Morne Morkel was then sent packing for six, bowled around his legs by Nathan Lyon while attempting a sweep.

Despite the setbacks and amid the earlier carnage that ensued around him, du Plessis looked most assured, showing the poise of a seasoned veteran and a penchant for strong leg side play.

He brought up his 50 off 124 balls when he advanced and pushed Lyon for a single past mid-on.

Du Plessis was willing to play the support role for Kallis before taking complete control and upping the aggression while batting with No. 11 Imran Tahir, the pair putting on 36 in quick time.

Du Plessis punched Siddle through extra cover for four then launched him over the long-on boundary for a huge six into the construction work the very next ball.

Clarke quickly reintroduced Hilfenhaus into the attack, and the Tasmanian ended the Proteas' innings when du Plessis pushed a sharp catch to Clarke at silly mid-on, ending a fine hand from the debutant, whose efforts along with those of Kallis and skipper Graeme Smith (122), ensured this Test will likely go the distance.


More from 7Sport