The series-opening cricket Test between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane ended in a draw as the home team ran out of time to try to force a victory.
Top-ranked South Africa reached 166-5 in its second innings in the final session, a lead of 51 runs with 11 overs remaining. Australia captain Michael Clarke earlier set a Gabba scoring record of 259 not out and Mike Hussey made 100 before Australia declared at 565-5 to lead by 115.
Clarke and Hussey helped Australia take the initiative on the final day of a match in which the second day was lost to rain and South Africa made 450 batting first. Jacques Kallis scored 49 and AB de Villiers finished 29 not out to help the touring team see out the draw.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t get a result today,” Clarke, who was also voted the man of the match, said in a televised interview. “I thought we fought hard both with bat and ball after day one and came back really well. We can take a lot of confidence into the second Test.”
The best-of-three-match contest resumes Nov. 22 in Adelaide with the series finale beginning eight days later in Perth. South Africa would retain the No. 1 spot in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings by avoiding defeat, while Australia can overtake the Proteas atop the rankings with a series victory.
Spin bowler Nathan Lyon took 2-41, removing Kallis and Jacques Rudolph to reduce South Africa to 165-5 in its second innings with JP Duminy unable to bat again after suffering an Achilles injury that required surgery.
Clarke indicated to the umpires that he wanted to play the final hour to try and force a result, though Australia’s bowlers were thwarted by De Villiers and Vernon Philander, who finished 1 not out after facing 14 balls.
“They put us under a little pressure on the final day and it was good to come through that,” South Africa captain Graeme Smith said at the post-match presentation.
Clarke, who came in with Australia struggling at 40-3, earlier passed the previous Gabba Test record of 235 not out by England’s Alastair Cook two years ago before declaring.
James Pattinson then removed openers Smith and Alviro Petersen to reduce South Africa to 55-2. The fast bowler also got Hashim Amla to play onto his stumps when on 7, only for television replays to reveal a no-ball. Amla was eventually dismissed by Peter Siddle for 38.
Although frustrated that Australia ran out of time, Clarke said his team would take plenty of positives from the opener.
“The way we came out and performed today is really exciting for us going forward,” he said. “The wicket was pretty flat. We managed to take a few wickets and a few big wickets as well. At the end of the day we have to be winning this Test series to regain the No. 1 rank in the world.”