Cape Town - Australia quickly wrapped up the South African lower-order to clinch a seven-wicket win over the Proteas in the third Test match at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
As it happened: Australia v Proteas, Day 4 - Adelaide
The Proteas thus won the series 2-1 with Vernon Philander
being named Player of the Series. Usman Khawaja was named Man of the Match for
his first innings century.
Philander restored his ranking as one of the best
all-rounders in current Test match cricket, averaging 27 with the bat and 23
with the ball.
Stephen Cook managed to delay the Australian victory with
his second career century at this level (104 off 240 balls, 8 fours) before he
was the last man out, thus narrowly missing out on the honour of becoming the
seventh South African opening batsman to carry his bat.
In the final analysis Australia’s greater experience in
using the pink ball, particularly in the bowling department, proved to be
decisive. They produced four of the five biggest partnerships in the match,
including the only one of more than 100, and that was also a significant factor.
The Proteas will nevertheless look back on an excellent
series in which they dominated the first two matches and didn’t give the
Australians much of a look-in. This was a real team performance with five of
the seven specialist batsmen scoring centuries in the series and the three
frontline seamers all having excellent returns.
This effectively negated the absence of AB de Villiers and
Dale Steyn plus the loss of form of Hashim Amla.
The Proteas can take particular confidence from the form of
some of the youngsters who had never played a Test in Australia before such as
Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, who must have pushed Philander hard for man of
the series, and Kagiso Rabada.
There has also been a good investment in the spin bowling
opportunities given to Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, the two new caps in