Proteas register emphatic victory
An emphatic 309-run win in the third test against Australia at the Waca in Perth on Monday helped South Africa to secure a test series win Down Under while entrenching their No 1 position in the world.
Full Scorecard: Australia v South Africa
Australia resumed on 40 without loss on Monday in their pursuit of a highly improbable winning target of 632.
They were dismissed for 322 after tea on Monday after superb bowling performances by the seam bowling trio and three key scalps for left-arm spinner Robin Peterson.
The 309-run victory provides a fitting climax to what has been a great test year for South Africa.
Their 1-0 test series win against Australia Down Under is only the second occasion in history that a South African team has beaten the Baggy Greens in Australia in a test series - the first being in 2008.
South Africa also beat England 2-0 in England to replace the hosts at the summit of the test rankings.
Dale Steyn finished with 3-72 in 22.5 overs on Monday and was arguably the pick of the attack.
Mitchell Starc, coming in at No 10, scored a highly enterprising 68 off 43 balls to spoil Peterson’s figures and dent his pride, yet Peterson’s three wickets in the first two sessions did much to ensure victory for the Proteas.
Peterson finished with 3-127 in 20 overs.
He delivered the coup de grace after lunch when he had the run-scoring machine Michael Clarke stumped for 44 to leave Australia on 188 for five.
It was a superb delivery outside the off-stump that drifted, bounced and turned sharply and defeated Clarke in the air and off the ground.
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Shortly afterwards, Peterson beat first-innings hero Matthew Wade with a delivery that bounced and turned, and Graeme Smith completed a catch at short midwicket to send Wade packing for 10 as Australia wobbled on 198 for seven.
The fast bowling trio of Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel bowled splendidly as a unit.
They outperformed their Australian counterparts as they operated with discipline and excellent rhythm and produced individual pearls to remove the top order.
Philander struck with the second delivery of the day when he had David Warner caught at first slip by Smith for 29 to leave Australia on 40 for one.
Shane Watson was into his stride early on with excellent straight drives off Steyn and Peterson.
But Morkel unsettled Watson with a magnificent bouncer, followed up by a fuller delivery that had the right-hander caught by Smith at first slip.
Watson was gone for 25 and Australia slumped to 81 for two.
Australia was hoping that Ricky Ponting, in his final test after seventeen years in which he scored 41 tons, would provide his fans with a fairytale century. It was not to be.
A Peterson delivery that bounced and spun, defeated him and he played a mediocre drive which was caught by Jacques Kallis at slip.
Ponting, who was greeted with a guard of honour on arrival at the crease, departed for 8.
Steyn has been criticised by Mickey Arthur, the Australian coach, who claimed he was not that successful against left-handed batsmen, but the Phalaborwa Express removed two left-handers after lunch on Monday.
Ed Cowan moved to his half-century off 146 deliveries with five fours and a six. In the same over, he attempted an ambitious pull shot off Steyn and Dean Elgar hung on to an excellent catch at square leg. Australia slipped to 130 for four.
Peterson’s removal of Clarke was arguably the moment that removed all doubt that Australia wouldn’t be able to save the match. Clarke and Michael Hussey added 55 runs off 85 balls for the fifth wicket and played with aggressive intent against Peterson before the left-arm spinner broke the resistance.
Hussey scored two centuries during this series, but Steyn prevented any repeat of his heroic performances at the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval as he induced an edge off an out-swinger. Hussey departed for 26 as Australia slumped to 198 for six.
After tea, Philander had Mitchell Johnson caught behind for three with a delivery that cramped him for room.
John Hastings slammed a six of 113 metres off Peterson, but Morkel prevented any further pyrotechnics by having him caught at first slip by Smith for 20. Australia were tottering on the brink on 235 for nine.
Starc and Nathan Lyon flayed the tired attack as they smashed 87 off 74 balls, the highest 10th-wicket partnership ever at the Waca.
Starc hit two sixes off Peterson and was impressive against the fast bowlers as he played with freedom and youthful exuberance.
His fifty came off 32 balls with five fours and two sixes.
Steyn finally broke through Lyon’s defensive armour when the tailender edged it to Smith at first slip to send SA fans into raptures.
Morkel, who had taken 14 wickets in arguably his most consistent performance throughout a test series, finished with 2-57 in sixteen overs. Philander captured 2-41 in 21 overs.
Steyn, after an indifferent start to the series, finished with aplomb, as he captured 4-40 in the first innings to give South Africa a healthy first-innings lead of 62 runs.
Steyn will have the opportunity to grab his 300th wicket in South Africa, as he is poised on 299 scalps.
“South Africa deserves a lot of credit, as they hung on in Adelaide for a draw and they outplayed us here (at the Waca) on the last four days,” said Australian skipper and man of the series, Clarke.
Report Day 1
Report Day 2
Report Day 3
SOUTH AFRICA: Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (w/k), Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Vernon Philander, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morné Morkel.
AUSTRALIA: Michael Clarke (capt), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.