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South Africa need 122 runs to win second Test with eight wickets in hand
5 January 2022, 6:30 PM

South Africa’s captain Dean Elgar scored an unbeaten 46 to give his team a chance of victory over India as they chased a target of 240 to win the second Test at the Wanderers.

South Africa need 122 more runs to win, and level the three-match series, after closing on 118-2 at the end of the third day’s play on Wednesday.

Elgar lived up to his reputation as a dogged, street-fighting batsman as he held the Indian bowling attack at bay, scoring his runs patiently off 121 balls.

He came in for a torrid time, frequently hit on the body by short balls as the tourists searched for a breakthrough.
Elgar featured in a 47-run partnership with Aiden Markram for the first wicket and 46 with Keegan Petersen for the second to put his side in a strong position, with two days of play left.

Markram was out lbw to Shardul Thakur for 31 while the diminutive Petersen scored 28 before Ravichandran Ashwin trapped him lbw.

Rassie van der Dussen, who has struggled in the series, was 11 not out at stumps.

South Africa had hoped to bowl India out cheaper in their second innings but eventually dismissed them for 266 some 30 minutes before tea.

The 240-run target looked a daunting task on a low-scoring wicket, increasingly favouring the seamers.

India’s batsmen had earlier defied the conditions, picking up where they left off overnight with a free-scoring display in the first hour on Wednesday as they moved the score from 85-2 to 151-2.

In the process, both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane reached 50 and put together a 111-run partnership for the third wicket as they dominated the home bowling.

But the runs dried up suddenly with three quick wickets for Kagiso Rabada before lunch.

Rahane went first for 58 before Pujara was trapped lbw for 53 and Rishabh Punt went for a duck after a wild and injudicious early slog at the ball.

Thakur, who had taken seven wickets in South Africa’s first innings, picked up the Indian run-rate again after lunch, scoring 28 runs off 24 balls before being caught in the deep off Marco Jansen.

An unbeaten 40 for Hanuma Vihari, in the side in place of injured skipper Virat Kohli, added to India’s sizeable second innings score, as did 33 extras.

India scored 202 in their first innings to which South Africa replied with 229.

India won last week’s first test in Centurion by 113 runs as they search for a first series win in South Africa

Cape Town Fire Services still at Parliament to monitor possible flare ups
5 January 2022, 5:43 PM

Cape Town Fire Services are still at Parliament monitoring any possible flare-ups.

A small team with two fire engines are constantly checking that the fire is completely extinguished before handing the site over to the police and the Department of Public Works to start their investigations.

The fire was finally contained on Tuesday after it flared up several times between Sunday morning and Monday evening. Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo has urged South Africans not to worry about the safety of documents as most of them have been digitized.

“We are happy that the library has not been destroyed. It’s a great repository of historical documents, we are happy that the art gallery has not been destroyed, we are happy the paintings and historical pictures remain safe. The Keiskama artwork also remains safe. Those are some of the things that give us light at the end of the tunnel.”

SABC News reporter Abra Barbier updates from Parliament:

Firefighters were today thanked by government officials during a ceremony at the Roeland Street Fire Station.

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis thanked firefighters who battled the fire at Parliament.

Hill-Lewis also pledged the City’s support for the reconstruction of Parliament.

“What we wanted to do was to come and just say a very simple thing, thank you for going above and beyond and for doing your jobs with absolute professionalism, with dedication, with commitment to our city and to our country and for trying as best as you could to save as much of Parliament as possible,” says Hill-Lewis.

Al Attiyah wins fourth Dakar stage and extends overall lead
5 January 2022, 4:21 PM

Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah won the fourth stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to go 38 minutes clear in an event under a close security watch after a French team vehicle was hit by an explosion in Jeddah last week.

The factory Toyota driver finished second in the 465km special stage from Al Qaisumah to the capital Riyadh but was promoted after Saudi driver Yazeed al-Rajhi collected a two-minute penalty for speeding.

“We tried to keep a good push, without any risks, but our plan today was not to open (the way) tomorrow because there will be no bikes (ahead) and this will be difficult,” said Al Attiyah.

“Even if we lose time (tomorrow) we can start again the day after with a good road position.”

It was the 44th stage win of triple Dakar winner Al Attiyah’s career, and second this year in addition to the prologue.

Nine-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb, the Qatari’s closest rival with the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team, was second on the longest stage of the rally, 25 seconds behind, with Audi’s Carlos Sainz third.

Sainz’s teammate Stephane Peterhansel, a 14-times Dakar winner but out of contention after a nightmare opening stage, lost more time with a broken shock absorber that forced the Frenchman to wait for assistance.

Race director David Castera told France’s L’Equipe newspaper on Tuesday that he had asked local authorities for more police protection.

He spoke after French prosecutors opened a terrorism investigation into an explosion under a French team vehicle two days before the start of the event in Jeddah.

News of the blast emerged at the weekend, but rally organisers and the sports governing body have offered no explanation.

In the motorcycle category, Britain’s Sam Sunderland continued to lead after finishing sixth in a stage won by Spaniard Joan Barreda.

Russian Dimitry Sotnikov was the leading truck driver while Argentine-born American Pablo Copetti was out front in the quadbikes.

Chilean Francisco Lopez Contardo was top of the standings in the lightweight prototype category.

Djokovic needs to prove exemption or go home: Australian PM
5 January 2022, 4:06 PM

Novak Djokovic needs to prove that he has a genuine medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination when he lands in Australia or he will be “on the next plane home”, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.

The world No. 1 announced on Tuesday he received an exemption to play in the Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne and said he was heading to Australia.

Tennis Australia and the Victorian state government said Djokovic was one of a “handful” of successful applicants among 26 people who sought exemptions from being vaccinated but had not received any special treatment in the anonymous application process.

“We await his presentation and what evidence he provides us to support that,” Morrison told a media conference after chairing a meeting of state leaders about dealing with record levels of COVID infections in the country.

“If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home. There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever.”

The federal government, which has responsibility for international borders and visas, was not part of the exemption process. Morrison said there had been numerous exemptions granted to people who had been able to support their application.

“So the circumstances are not unique, the issue is whether he has sufficient evidence to support that he would qualify for that exception,” he said.

The decision to grant Djokovic an exemption to the tournament sparked sharp criticism in Australia, where more than 90% of people over 16 have had two vaccine doses against COVID-19.

Melbourne had the world’s longest cumulative lockdown to contain COVID-19 and an outbreak of the Omicron variant has sent case numbers to record levels.

“I think lots of people in the Victorian community will find this to be a disappointing outcome,” acting Victorian Sports Minister Jaala Pulford told a media conference earlier on Wednesday after news of Djokovic’s exemption.
“But the process is the process; nobody has had special treatment. The process is incredibly robust.”

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said the two-stage application process was confidential and run by independent experts. All applications were assessed to ensure any exemptions met conditions set out by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

Tiley said those reasons included previous adverse response to vaccines, recent major surgery or myocarditis or certified evidence of a COVID infection in the previous six months.

The Serbian, who had declined to reveal his vaccination status, said previously that he was unsure whether he would compete at the Jan. 17-30 tournament in Melbourne due to concerns over Australia’s quarantine rules.

“We completely understand and empathise with … people being upset about the fact that Novak has come in because of his statements over the past couple of years around vaccination,” Tiley told reporters.

“However it is ultimately up to him to discuss with the public his condition, if he chooses to do that, and the reasons why he received an exemption.”

US reports nearly 1 mln COVID-19 cases in a day, setting global record
4 January 2022, 9:29 PM

The United States set a global record of almost 1 million new coronavirus infections reported on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, nearly double the country’s peak of 505 109 hit just a week ago as the highly contagious Omicron variant shows no sign of slowing.

The number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients has risen nearly 50% in the last week and now exceeds 100000, a Reuters analysis showed, the first time that threshold has been reached since the winter surge a year ago.

Overall, the United States has seen a daily average of 486 000 cases over the last week, a rate that has doubled in seven days and far outstrips that of any other country.

The 978 856 new infections on Monday includes some cases from Saturday and Sunday when many states do not report.

The average number of US deaths per day has remained fairly steady throughout December and into early January at about 1 300, according to a Reuters tally, though deaths typically lag behind cases and hospitalisations.

Omicron appears to be far more easily transmitted than previous iterations of the virus. The variant was estimated to account for 95.4% of the coronavirus cases identified in the United States as of January 1, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday.

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