(Reuters) - South Africa’s batsmen got valuable time at the crease ahead of the opening test against Australia after their three-day match against Australia A petered out to a draw on Sunday.
The visitors, who had spent almost five sessions in the field as Australia A amassed 480 for seven, batted out the first two sessions of the third and final day before declaring on 277 for six, 203 runs behind.
The hosts were expected to face 27 overs from the world’s best pace attack in the final session, but both captains decided to end the match at the Sydney Cricket Ground an hour early with Australia A on 13 for one.
Dale Steyn had taken the only wicket to fall when he had Liam Davis caught behind for a duck.
Rob Quiney, who made 85 in the first innings, was on 11, while former test batsman Phillip Hughes was on one when the game ended after South Africa had bowled 10 overs.
After their bowlers toiled for much of the first two days, South Africa’s batsmen were given every opportunity to get accustomed to Australian conditions with both Hashim Amla (53) and captain Graeme Smith (60) opting to retire shortly after they reached their half centuries.
The middle order duly obliged with JP Duminy (31) and Jacques Rudolph (39) both crafting patient innings on the slow-paced pitch, while AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis both scored 24 runs before Smith decided the bowlers needed another workout and declared their innings closed at the tea break.
The visitors, who are the world’s top-ranked test side, head into the first test at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 9 with few injury concerns, though de Villiers is nursing minor ankle and back injuries.
Fast bowler Morne Morkel was rested for the Australia A match, while all-rounder Jacques Kallis also missed the game to get over a minor chest infection.
All three are expected to be included in the squad for the Gabba match, which will be South Africa’s first test at the storied Brisbane ground in 49 years.