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Test series level

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa - Chris Rogers scored a resolute century but Australia were unable to stop South Africa recording a series-levelling 231-run win in the second Test.

Rogers (107) almost carried his bat in a fantastic innings, but with play extended until 6.30pm local time yesterday he was unable to push the contest to a fifth day and the possible salvation of rain in Port Elizabeth.

Rogers was run out at 6.26pm and Nathan Lyon adjudged lbw the next over, ending Australia's second innings at 216 and setting the stage for an epic series decider starting in Cape Town on Saturday.

In a dramatic end to a thrilling session where Australia lost nine wickets and Dale Steyn (4-55) cleaned up their middle order, replays showed Lyon edged the ball but his side had run out of reviews.

Rogers put on a fluent 126-run opening stand with David Warner, piloting his side to a score of 1-141 at tea.

It then all fell apart for Australia as they wilted dramatically in pursuit of the historically impossible target of 448 that Graeme Smith set with his declaration at 5-270 approximately halfway through the morning session.

The No.1 team on the ICC's rankings flexed its muscle in an incredible 5.5 overs of cricket in which the visitors added five runs for the loss of five wickets.

Morne Morkel started the rot, Vernon Philander chipped in and Steyn was on a hat-trick as the Proteas' pace trio made a compelling case in the debate over which bowing attack is the world's best.

Steyn captured the wickets of Michael Clarke (one), Steve Smith (duck) and Brad Haddin (one) in a fiery four-over spell of 3-10. Alex Doolan was out edging to Morkel for five, while Shaun Marsh completed a pair for the match with his sixth duck from 15 Test innings when he was lbw to Philander.