Sydney, Dec 2(ANI): Outstanding displays from South Africa batsmen Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers have virtually extinguished Australia's hopes of stealing the No.1 Test ranking after the host nation asked to chase a record-breaking 632 runs on the final two days of the Perth Test.
Openers Ed Cowan (9) and David Warner (29) survived a nervous final hour before stumps, but at 0-40 Australia still require a further 592 runs to win.
The Proteas were finally bowled out for 569 in their second innings. With a first innings lead of 63 runs, the South Africans have set the Australians a challenging 632 run target.
A glimmer of hope appeared for Australia when Morne Morkel (0-9) appeared to roll his ankle, but the big quick got up to rejoin the attack alongside Dale Steyn (0-14) and Vernon Philander (0-15).
Ricky Ponting will get a final innings to farewell Test cricket, and with two days left to bat, he'll certainly have plenty of time to set about building a big score.
But with the odds stacked against him and the team, Ponting is relying on a fairytale to end all fairytales if he's to go out on a high.
South Africa completely demoralised Australia for a second straight day on Sunday, with Amla (196) and de Villiers (169) the chief destroyers.
Mitchell Starc took a career-high haul of 6-154 and Mitchell Johnson (4-110) claimed the other four wickets, but it was too little too late for Australia.
A relentless South Africa went more than 200 runs past the biggest mark ever for a successful fourth innings chase, 418 by the West Indies against Australia in 2003. (ANI)