Aussies close in on victory
Andrew Symonds, only three days ago being spoken of as a casualty when the New Year came round, crashed a spectacular 72, snuffed out the big wicket of Jacques Kallis in South Africa's second innings, and lifted Australia to within a dreadlock's breadth of victory in the Boxing Day Test.
South Africa teetered at the edge, ending the fourth day on 6 for 99, and it will take a minor miracle for them to stave off defeat, according to Cricinfo.
Australia did just about everything right on the day. Their overnight 2 for 110 was a strong position, but Matthew Hayden knuckled down and turned it into a winning one with his 25th Test hundred.
He applied himself with great determination till he had burgeoned and then cut loose with fury - and Symonds - to entertain the MCG crowd with some thrilling strokeplay.
The fireworks began when Mike Hussey, who had kept Hayden excellent company in the first session, edged a Graeme Smith offbreak that spun from the rough straight to Jacques Kallis at slip, and Symonds walked out. Australia already had 193 on the board, a lead of 237, and the scene was perfectly set for a strokemaker like Symonds.
He freed his arms and played as though it were the latter stages of a one-day match and South Africa, already hampered by Makhaya Ntini's absence with a hamstring twinge, found it hard to contain Symonds.
The sixes rained down on the MCG, and a raucous crowd lapped it all up. Hayden managed two, but it was Symonds with six blows for maximum, who got the crowd to their feet. Boje came in for some severe treatment, repeatedly clouted back over his head and into the stands at long-on despite having a fielder posted on the ropes in that position.
When Hayden finally went - caught by Mark Boucher off Kallis - he had made 137. Symonds followed soon, caught in the deep by Andre Nel off Kallis, but the rash of wickets that fell had more to do with Australia's manic dash to declaration than penetration in the bowling. Symonds's 72 came off just 54 balls, with 56 off those runs coming from 11 boundary hits.