Relentless Amla punishes Australia

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Hashim Amla reached his 18th Test century as South Africa built a potentially decisive lead on day three of the third and final Test against Australia at the WACA Ground here today.

Australia's hopes of claiming the top ranking in Test cricket were all but dashed, with the Proteas 320 for three at lunch, an overall lead of 382 runs with seven wickets in hand and more than two days to play.

Amla was on 149, and AB de Villiers was on 18, with South Africa only needing to win or draw the match to retain the number one Test ranking.

South Africa made 225 in their first innings, and Australia replied with 163.

After resuming on 99 not out, Amla took just three balls to reach his century, working a single to fine leg from the bowling of Mitchell Johnson to reach the milestone in just 87 balls.

Amla, who at times appeared to treat the second-string Australian attack with contempt as he moved around the crease to facilitate his shot selection, had faced 160 balls, hitting 17 boundaries.

He had a lucky escape on 108, when Mike Hussey in the gully was unable to hang on to a tough chance as Amla mistimed a slash at a wide full toss from Johnson.

Resuming at 230-2, the South Africans did not match the frenetic pace of the second day's final session, when they added 206 runs.

They lost just one wicket, with Jacques Kallis (37) caught on the fine leg boundary by Mitchell Johnson after top-edging an attempted pull shot off Mitchell Starc (2-103).

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