Proteas look for valuable pre-Test batting practice

South Africa tucked into some valuable batting practice ahead of next week's opening Test reaching 128 for one after the second day of their three-day tour match against Australia A at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

The Proteas trailed Australia A's first innings declaration of 480 for seven by 352 runs at stumps with Hashim Amla not out 27 and J.P. Duminy on two.

South African captain Graeme Smith retired on 60 to give his teammates some batting practice on the placid SCG pitch ahead of the first Brisbane Test against Michael Clarke's Australians.

Fellow opener Alviro Petersen was dismissed for 38 when caught slog-sweeping part-time spinner Glenn Maxwell, though Nathan Coulter-Nile needed two grabs before pulling in the catch.

Duminy was sent in up the order at No.4, ahead of A.B. de Villiers, Jacques Rudolph and Faf du Plessis, who all will be looking for time at the crease on the final day.

While no Australian bowler looked threatening, right-arm pacer John Hastings did prove the most economical, finishing with 0-8 off 11 overs with seven maidens.

It was a fruitless day for bowlers from both teams with just two wickets (including Smith's retirement) falling for just 283 runs.

Tasmanian batsman Alex Doolan was unbeaten on 161 with 20 fours and one six against the highly-touted South African bowling attack at the time of the Australia A declaration for his fifth hundred and his highest score in first-class cricket.

Doolan, 26, featured in a 162-run partnership with Tasmanian wicketkeeping teammate Tim Paine (60 not out), for the the third century stand of the Australia A innings.

South Africa's bowlers were frustrated by the lack of pitch response with only Dale Steyn consistently troubling the batsmen through the first five sessions.

Steyn, Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt bowled only one spell each in the first hour and did not take a wicket.

Steyn finished with 3-54 from 22 overs while his Test attack offsider right-armer Philander (0-88) was outshone by back-up paceman Kleinveldt who took 2-60.

Spinner Imran Tahir proved expensive in finishing with 2-157 off 40 overs.

The match concludes on Sunday in the South Africans' final hit-out before the Gabba Test, starting on November 9.

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