Australia in SA

Proteas fall agonisingly short

2014-03-05 18:02
Vernon Philander (Twitter)
Cape Town - Australia have beaten the Proteas by 245 runs under dramatic circumstances in the third and final Test at Newlands to win the three-match series 2-1 and inflict a first series defeat on Graeme Smith's men since 2009.

As it happened: SA v Oz Day 5

For 93 overs it appeared that the Proteas would add Newlands 2014 to Adelaide 2012 and the Wanderers Stadium 2013 and give captain Graeme Smith a fitting send-off.

However, Ryan Harris had other ideas, as he returned for one final spell and claimed South Africa’s final two wickets to give Australia victory in the nick of time.

Just 27 deliveries remained in the Test match when Harris bowled Morne Morkel to bring the match to an end and consign the Proteas to just their second series defeat in their last 26 under Smith.

It was a fittingly dramatic end to a wonderful Test series, and Australia walked away deserved 2-1 winners after dominating the first and last matches.

The day began with South Africa on 71 for four, needing to bat out 98 overs to save the match.

Because runs were never an issue, with a target of 511 always beyond the Proteas, the first session was slow and short on action, which was just the way the home side wanted it.

AB de Villiers and night watchman Kyle Abbott scored just 24 runs in 25 overs to frustrate Australia, who finally ended Abbott’s 114-minute vigil when he left a straight one from James Pattinson.

That was the only wicket of the first session, but the second new ball was taken straight after lunch and accounted for De Villiers, who was caught behind off Harris after a 326-minute stay at the crease in which he scored 43 from 228 deliveries.

Australia’s patience continued to pay off as Faf du Plessis, the hero of both Adelaide and the Wanderers, was lbw to Steve Smith shortly before tea.

JP Duminy and Vernon Philander saw South Africa to tea, leaving 33 overs to bat out with three wickets in hand.

The pair reduced the figure to 20 before Duminy flicked a Mitchell Johnson delivery to leg slip to depart for 43.

However, Philander had been immovable in the first innings and he was proving as much again, as he took a more positive approach by taking regular boundaries off the Australian bowlers.

He was saved by the Decision Review System when it was decided his right hand was off the bat when a Pattinson delivery flicked the glove prior to him being caught at short leg, and went on to score 51 not out.

Ultimately he ran out of partners, though, as Harris cleaned up Dale Steyn and Morkel in the space of three deliveries to clinch one of the great Test matches.

Read more on:    proteas  |  ozinsa  |  mitchell johnson  |  cape town  |  cricket
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