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Khawaja powers Aust to 6-307 at stumps

NZN 25/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

Unbeaten centurion Usman Khawaja produced his longest and greatest innings for Australia, resisting a South African fightback late on day two of the day-night Test to build a 48-run lead in Adelaide.

Khawaja's knock of 138 not out, a decidedly old-school innings in the innovative fixture, pushed Australia to a total of 6-307 at stumps on Friday.

The elegant left-hander was a picture of concentration at Adelaide Oval, save for a mix-up between the wickets with Steve Smith, and will bat for a third day in a row.

Khawaja has faced 285 deliveries and spent more than seven hours at the crease, leaving Australia well placed to avoid the ignominy of a sixth-straight Test defeat and their first whitewash in a home Test series since federation.

"Uzzy has been doing an amazing job," Peter Handscomb said.

"To bat an entire day against quite a world-class attack ... he's seeing the ball really well.

"Batting with him out there was awesome because he just kept it really calm."

Debutant Handscomb and skipper Smith both registered half-centuries in what was a remarkably more-resolute batting performance from the hosts, who made five changes after losing the second Test, the series and almost all credibility in Hobart.

"There's a different look .. a bit of a hunger factor was there - it was noticeable," Kyle Abbott said, having grabbed three wickets to again be South Africa's best bowler.

"If we can pick up the last four wickets and not have a deficit of anything 100 and above ... we'll be pretty confident.

"It's sitting in the balance."

Khawaja faced 39 balls late on Thursday, having been forced to open the batting after Faf du Plessis' timely declaration meant David Warner missed the start of Australia's innings.

Some 24 hours later, Khawaja showed the same composure against the second new ball, which triggered a collapse of 3-10.

Handscomb was clean bowled by Abbott then debutant Nic Maddinson departed for a duck, his stumps rearranged by Kagiso Rabada.

South Africa were even more chirpy when Matthew Wade came and left after one boundary, but Mitchell Starc dug in alongside Khawaja and was unbeaten on 16 at stumps.

Khawaja posted Australia's first ton of the series, sharing a 137-run stand with Smith then a 99-run partnership with Handscomb.

The 29-year-old stroked 12 boundaries but attacked judiciously and only when he was set, having left the ball frequently as Australia crawled to 2-46 after 26 overs.

The only lapse came when Smith was run out for 59.

Smith took off for a single after guiding the ball to point. By the time he noticed Khawaja had stopped mid-pitch, it was far too late and keeper Quinton de Kock had ample time to whip off the bails.

Nobody enjoyed the wicket quite as much as Hashim Amla, who fumbled a slips catch when Smith was on 46.

Amla also missed a simple run-out chance when Handscomb was on 35. The Victorian went on to score 54.

Abbott finished an inspired morning spell with figures of 2-7 from 10 overs, having found the edge of debutant Matt Renshaw and vice-captain Warner's bats.

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