South Africa holds firm

South Africa is 2-169 at stumps on the second day of the second 3 Mobile Test at the MCG after bowling Australia out for 355 earlier in the day.

AB de Villiers was in good form with the bat - scoring 61 before Glenn McGrath trapped him in front with the score on 122 - while Herschelle Gibbs (54) and Jacques Kallis (17) are the not out batsmen.

The South Africans resumed at 1-61 after tea with de Villiers and Gibbs putting on an 86-run partnership off 175 balls. Gibbs took over where de Villiers left off after his dismissal and brought up his half-century with a fine cover drive for four off the bowling of Brett Lee.

Proteas skipper Graeme Smith was the other wicket to fall - dismissed LBW for 22 by Lee when the score was 36.

McGrath was the best of the Australian bowlers with the miserly figures of 1-17 off 14 overs including eight maidens, while fellow wicket-taker Lee went for 65 runs off his 14 overs.

With Australia resuming at 8-239, the South Africans would have been confident of wrapping up the Australian innings quickly and things looked to be going according to script when Stuart MacGill was bowled by Makhaya Ntini in the second over of the day.

However, Michael Hussey and Australian number 11, Glenn McGrath, combined for a determined 107-run partnership to significantly bolster the Australian score, much to the delight of the 40,722-strong crowd.

Hussey's 122-run innings - his third Test century - included 14 fours and four sixes and was a masterful blend of conventional and unorthodox strokeplay, which was made even more noteworthy by the fact he needed to carefully manage the strike to protect McGrath.

In a blunder that may prove costly, the Proteas squandered the opportunity to bring the Australian innings to a close with the score on 248 when Kallis dropped Hussey at second slip when he was on just 27.

By the time Ntini struck again to remove Hussey shortly after lunch the damage had already been done.

A minute's silence was observed prior to the start of play in memory Kerry Packer who passed away on Monday night.

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