Proteas face struggle

A fantastic unbeaten double-century from Brad Hodge has helped Australia set South Africa a daunting 491 runs for victory, with the Proteas 2-85 at stumps on day four of the first Test at the WACA Ground.

A B de Villiers and Graeme Smith fell in the final session, after Australia had earlier declared at 8-528.

De Villiers (12) was caught by Hodge after squeezing a Shane Warne delivery on to his pad, and Smith (30) followed shortly after, lbw to Nathan Bracken

Herschelle Gibbs, 17 not out, and Jacques Rudolph, unbeaten on 18, survived the remaining overs before bad light ended the day.

But the highlight was Hodge, showing a full array of strokes as he punished the South African attack without mercy.

The hosts resumed the day at 310-4 with Hodge on 91, but lost Mike Hussey early when he edged Shaun Pollock to Mark Boucher for 58.

Hodge survived a huge appeal for lbw on 98 before bringing up his maiden Test century a few balls later with a boundary.

When Andrew Symonds edged Charl Langeveldt to Herschelle Gibbs at first slip for 25, the Australians were 377-6.

Adam Gilchrist came in and made a quick 44 before pulling Andre Nel straight to Jacques Rudolph in the deep.

Hodge brought up his 150 in the 136th over, but was soon running short of partners when Warne was dismissed lbw by Justin Kemp for five.

However, some powerful batting late in the second session ensured Hodge would forever have fond memories of the WACA Ground as he brought up his double-ton, finishing unbeaten on 203.

Langeveldt was the best of the South African bowlers, finishing with 3-117, but was unlucky with several dropped catches off his bowling.

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