Carey’s maiden ton puts Australia in control against South Africa

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A maiden century by wicketkeeper Alex Carey pushed Australia closer to a series-sealing victory in the second Test as South Africa’s batsmen were left with a mountain to climb at the end of a rain-hit day three on Wednesday.

South Africa were 15 for one when play was stopped seven overs after tea and later abandoned. The Proteas still need 371 runs to make Australia bat again after the hosts declared for 575 for eight under gathering clouds at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

South Africa captain Dean Elgar was caught behind for a duck off the bowling of home captain Pat Cummins, continuing a dismal series for the seasoned opener. Opener Sarel Erwee was seven not out and number three Theunis de Bruyn on six.

With drizzle falling and the ball skidding on a damp pitch, Erwee and De Bruyn headed off gratefully when the umpires halted play, but Australia will be confident of taking the final nine wickets having skittled the tourists for 189 in the first innings and less in the first Test win in Brisbane.

The hosts dominated for a third successive day, with South Australian Carey batting superbly in a knock of 111.

Cameron Green finished unbeaten on 51 despite nursing a broken index finger that saw him retire on day two, but the all-rounder will not bowl for the rest of the match and has been ruled out for the third and final Test in Sydney.

Tail-ender Mitchell Starc was also nursing a sore finger on his bowling hand but sent down a few overs after tea before the rain.

Anrich Nortje had earlier struck twice in two balls as South Africa grabbed four wickets in the morning session after Australia resumed on 386 for three.

South Africa had taken three wickets for five runs, leaving Australia 400 for six, but the rally stalled as plucky tail-ender Nathan Lyon combined with Carey in a quickfire 40-run partnership. (Skysports)

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