Pacemen give Proteas glimmer of hope

SA bowlers got five late wickets to give the team hope in pulling off a win.

South African cricket coach Gary Kirsten. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

ADELAIDE - South Africa's pacemen routed Australia's batsmen with five late wickets to leave the hosts reeling at 111-5 at the close of day three on Saturday and give the tourists faint hope of pulling off an unlikely victory in the second test.

Dismissed for 388 at tea to trail Australia's massive first innings total by 162 runs, Rory Kleinveldt took three wickets in a withering pace assault, with fellow quicks Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel taking a wicket each as the Adelaide Oval pitch bared its teeth late in the day.

First innings hero Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey survived a nervous few overs as shadows crept across the ground, with the hosts stuttering to a still-precarious 273-run lead.

"What we did tonight in the last session was exactly what we needed to still have a sniff in the game," all-rounder Faf du Plessis told reporters, after scoring an impressive 78 on debut to help the Proteas avoid the follow-on.

"Because if they just went 4 1/2 runs an over with no wickets, we would have been under massive pressure. At the moment, we're still in there."

Clarke, who scored a second consecutive double-century in the first innings, was on nine, with Hussey on five after a pulsating day in hot conditions.

Australia's bowlers may have to share a greater workload with an injury cloud over James Pattinson. The paceman left the field before lunch to have treatment for a side strain.