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Australia takes full control despite de Villiers defiance

AUSTRALIA stayed in control of the third test against South Africa yesterday with a lead of 276 runs at tea in Johannesburg despite a century from A.B. de Villers.

Unbeaten de Villiers put up a fight with 104 but South Africa was all out for just 220 runs 50 minutes before tea on the third day to concede a first-innings lead of 246.

De Villiers resumed on his overnight score of 13 and lasted until the end of the innings, having batted for 285 minutes and faced 185 balls for his eighth century in his 50th test.

Australia's left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson was the chief destroyer with top-class figures of four for 25 in 18.1 overs.

The tourists batted for 10 overs in their second innings before tea and openers Phillip Hughes and Simon Katich made it safely through to 30 without loss.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting declined to enforce the follow-on and forecast rain showers will be South Africa's best hope of making the game safe.

Johnson was well-supported by Peter Siddle, who took 3-76 in 21 overs. The two pacemen found top gear as they reduced South Africa to 158 for eight at lunch.

The 25-year-old De Villiers was the last specialist batsman remaining and had scored a defiant, level-headed 63 not out.

He moved to his century in the company of last man Makhaya Ntini, powering a pull off Ben Hilfenhaus through midwicket for his eighth four to go with a six off spinner Marcus North.

Five balls later, Johnson blasted a delivery through Ntini to bowl him for a single and end the innings.

De Villiers and Dale Steyn earlier produced some stirring resistance when they added 52 for the ninth wicket.


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