1 Mar 2009

Australia in charge of first test in Capetown

5:56 am on 1 March 2009

Debutant Phillip Hughes played a number of streaky shots but still led Australia to 51 for one and a lead of 297 at stumps on the third day of the first test against South Africa.

Bad light stopped play after tea ending play 31 overs early. Forecast rain over the next few days threatens the test.

Twenty year old Hughes, who made a duck in the first innings, showed aggressive intent and survived a few anxious moments at the crease, to reach 36 not out with seven fours.

Earlier, a top-class unbeaten century by AB de Villiers could not stop Australia taking a huge first-innings lead.

South Africa were bowled out for just 220 runs 50 minutes before tea to concede a lead of 246.

De Villiers, who resumed on his overnight score of 13, lasted to the end of the innings as he scored 104 not out in 285 minutes off 185 balls for his eighth century in his 50th test.

Opener Neil McKenzie was the next highest scorer with 36 and only three other batsmen reached double figures.

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