Before this day, South Africa hadn’t lost a Test series in the last 5 years. But on Graeme Smith‘s last day as a Test cricketer and captain of his side, Australia won a thriller to spoil the farewell for a great leader.
On day 5 of the 3rd Test in Cape Town, Australia held their nerves better than South Africa, but only marginally, to emerge victors by 245 runs, taking the series 2-1.
It came down to the last few overs, with only 5 overs remaining in the day before what turned out to be the final over of the match, as South Africa defended solidly, and almost denied Australia this prized series win.
But Ryan Harris, bowling on the knees which badly need surgery, found the strength to dismiss the final two batsmen in a span of 3 deliveries, first ending the frustrating 15-over vigil for the 9th wicket between an injured Dale Steyn and classy Vernon Philander by getting a yorker past Steyn’s defences.
On the ball after next, he castled Morne Morkel, leaving Philander, who had batted beautifully till then, unbeaten on 51 at the other end as Harris and his teammates erupted on the field.
It was a historical win for Clarke and his men after they dominated throughout this Test match.
Coming into the final day, Australia needed 6 wickets and South Africa had their task cut out, needing to play out the day for a draw. They had almost done the impossible against India in Johannesburg nearly 3 months ago. But against a rampant Australian attack, it was a much tougher ask.
Fighting knocks from AB de Villiers (43 off 228), Faf du Plessis (47 off 109), JP Duminy (43 off 99) and Philander (51 off 105) brought South Africa so close, but weren’t enough to deny Australia a much deserving 2-1 series win.
David Warner, who struck centuries in both innings in Cape Town, was named Man of the Match, and also the Player of the Series, having scored 543 runs at an average of 90.50 in 3 Tests, including 3 hundreds and 2 half-centuries.
Australia 494/7d (Clarke 161*, Warner 135; Duminy 4/73) & 303/5d (Warner 145, Rogers 39; Abbott 3/61)
South Africa 287/10 (du Plessis 67, Petersen 53; Johnson 4/42) & 265/10 (Philander 51*, du Plessis 47; Harris 4/32)
by 245 runs
- Sports & Recreation
- Ryan Harris
- David Warner