South Africa outplayed us, says captain Clarke

South Africa celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Nathan Lyon (R) and winning the second test cricket match against Australia in Port Elizabeth, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

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South Africa celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Nathan Lyon (R) and winning the second test …

By Nick Said

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (Reuters) - Australia captain Michael Clarke conceded his side were outplayed with bat and ball after they slumped to a 231-run defeat by South Africa in the second test on Sunday.

South Africa wrapped up victory by taking nine wickets in an extended final session on the fourth day. Paceman Dale Steyn picked up four of them, aided by some prodigious movement both ways.

The result left the series all square at 1-1 with one match in Cape Town to come.

"South Africa deserve credit. We were outplayed and you have seen a class spell of reverse swing from all three of their bowlers but especially Steyn," Clarke told reporters after the tourists were bowled out for 216.

"We didn't get a ball to reverse swing all game."

Australia made a fast start in pursuit of a daunting target of 448, reaching 126 before losing all 10 wickets for 90 runs.

"We knew the best time to bat would be when the ball was new and before it began to reserve. To face the ball swinging both ways is difficult at any time but especially when you walk out to bat with nought against your name," said Clarke.

He added that his team would be ready to hit back in the third test that starts on Saturday.

"Cape Town is a magnificent place to play cricket," said Clarke. "It will be a challenge but it is also exciting for us.

"You have two teams pushing extremely hard to have success. It was only seven days ago we were playing fantastic cricket."

Clarke said if absent all-rounder Shane Watson could prove his fitness, he would return to the team.

"I am not sure where Watto is fitness-wise ahead of the next test but his batting and bowling is important to the team," the Australian captain explained.

"I am not sure who he would come in for, if it goes on form it might be me."

Clarke has not scored more than 25 in his last 11 test innings.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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