South Africa in strong position

January 4 1998

CAPE TOWN, Jan 4 (AFP) - South Africa were in a strong position at the end of the third day of the fourth Test against the West Indies at Newlands on Monday, but may be without star fast bowler Allan Donald as they press for their fourth successive victory of the series.

Despite losing three wickets while the total was on 31, South Africa reached 91 for three in their second innings, an overall lead of 285, by stumps.

Both teams were hampered by hamstring injuries to their leading bowlers. Donald, who left the field after a fiery opening burst of three for 13 Sunday, sent down one over off a shortened run-up Monday before going off again.

He was said to be receiving treatment and there was no word on the possibility of him bowling in the second innings.

West Indies paceman Curtly Ambrose, who left the field without completing an over shortly after lunch Sunday, batted with a runner and did not field when South Africa started their second innings.

The West Indies narrowly avoided the follow-on when they were bowled out for 212 by tea and the South Africans held a first innings lead of 194 runs.

Carl Hooper top scored with 86 before an agressive innings of 37 by all-rounder Ottis Gibson, who was playing provincial cricket in South Africa when he was called into the side as a replacement, last Friday took the tourists past the follow-on target of 207.

South Africa would probably not have enforced the follow-on because of Donald's injury. For the first time in the series, South African captain Hansie Cronje had difficulty marshalling his bowling resources with Donald off the field. Left-arm spinner Paul Adams bowled poorly, conceding 61 runs in 16 overs for the wicket of tailender Nixon McLean, whose ferocious drive was caught at short cover by Cronje.

Hooper batted solidly before being run out by a superb from the cover boundary by Cronje. Hooper who raced to his fifty off 52 balls on Sunday took another 100 deliveries to get to 86 before he attempted a third run after driving David Terbrugge into the covers.

Cronje's low, hard throw to Terbrugge gave the bowler just enough time to break the wicket and win the verdict of television replay umpire Cyril Mitchley.

An eighth-wicket stand of 35 between Gibson and McLean went a long way to enabling the West Indies to avoid the follow-on with both batsmen surviving chances.

Herschelle Gibbs was in magnificent form at the start of South Africa's second innings, hitting four sweetly-timed boundaries before hooking Mervyn Dillon's fourth ball, enabling wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs to dive to his left to take a good catch.

Three balls later, Gary Kirsten top-edged an attempted pull off McLean to mid-on to be followed by Darryl Cullinan, who was lbw for nought after making 168 in the first innings.

Jacques Kallis and Cronje then stabilised the innings with an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 60 in 106 minutes.

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