Cape Town – One more victory for a 3-0 clean sweep of the
Test series in Australia would ensure a truly ground-breaking achievement by
Triumphant captain Faf du Plessis wondered out loud in his
immediate post-match television interview, following completion of the
second-Test rout of the Baggy Greens in Hobart on Tuesday for an early series
win, whether the Aussies had ever been beaten in every Test of a home series.
The answer is: certainly not in a series comprising three
Tests or more.
In a vastly different era, Australia were beaten 2-0 by
England in a two-Test series Down Under in 1886/87, but they have not suffered
the same indignity in any subsequent series of two or more games at home.
England did come very close to clean sweeps in the
respective, five-Test Ashes series in Australia of 1911/12, 1928/29 and
1932/33, winning 4-1 each time.
So the Proteas cleaning up 3-0, if they can manage it by
claiming the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from November 24-28, would certainly
amount to a rewriting of statistical history – and a painful one, if you are
Steve Smith’s charges look sufficiently at sixes and sevens
right now, especially on the woeful batting front, to be deemed underdogs
against the contrastingly smooth-firing South Africa for the final Test, even
if they will sport the slight advantage of prior experience of a floodlit Test.
By at least not losing in Adelaide, the current Proteas would
ensure their most convincing of the three successive series wins on Aussie soil
– when Graeme Smith engineered the triumphs of 2008/09 and 2012/13, they were
by 2-1 and 1-0 margins respectively.
Only a golden-era West Indies team (1984/85, 1988/89 and
1992/93) has ever previously beaten Australia three times in a row on their
soil; the margins were 3-1, 3-1 and 2-1, all in five-Test series.
South Africa have played eight prior Tests at Adelaide Oval,
winning two, drawing three and losing three.
Australia have not lost in that city in their last five
Tests there, including four victories.
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