Pushing the limit



MELBOURNE, AAP ? Allegations of over-appealing and bad blood between the two sides have tainted Australia's 184-run victory over South Africa in yesterday's second Test at the MCG, but winning skipper Ricky Ponting says he's had the last laugh.

The home team takes a 1-0 lead into Monday's third and final Test at the SCG with South African captain Graeme Smith warning Ponting he feels he is close to cracking the code of how to get under the skin of the Australian team.

Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf warned Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne on the fourth day's play for over-appealing and ICC match referee Chris Broad said he felt Ponting's side was pushing close to the limit. Ponting said Warne, who took 6-136 from 49 overs in the second Test after claiming 6-175 from 76 overs in Perth, would rest his shoulder and fingers before Monday's Test but was fine.

The 36-year-old Warne (4-74) and a rejuvenated Glenn McGrath (3-44) took three of the four wickets to fall yesterday.

Set 366 to win, South Africa resumed yesterday on 6-99 and was bowled out for 181 in the first over after lunch on the fifth day's play.

Warne has taken 96 Test wickets in 2005, having broken Dennis Lillee's previous world record of 85 in last week's drawn Perth Test.

Ponting (117), man of the match Mike Hussey (122) and opener Matthew Hayden (137) all made centuries for Australia after being dropped early in their innings.

Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds claimed career-best match figures of 5-56 and clubbed a maiden half-century of 72 from 54 balls. Both captains agreed Hussey's 107-run partnership for the 10th wicket with Glenn McGrath (11 not out) in Australia's first innings of 355, after Hussey had been dropped on 27, had been the pivotal moment in the match.

Ponting said he expected opener Justin Langer to be fully recovered from his hamstring injury for the Sydney Test.



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