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Australia suffered an eight-wicket first Test defeat after the South Africa duo of Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla both hit centuries.
Amla, the star of the two centurions, scored 84 out of his 112 runs in boundaries in reply to South Africa’s target of 236 runs.
Australia captain Michael Clarke said: “I’ve never been more disappointed… I’m hoping that’s as poor as it gets in my career.”
Smith hit the winning runs and just managed to scrape through with his 23rd century in test match cricket.
South Africa made the astounding comeback after being bowled out for just 96 in their first innings about midway through the second day.
South African captain Greame Smith said: “Incredible. Yesterday was a mind boggle for all of us. It’s a win I need to give to the bowlers. They got us bat in the game and set it up for us today.”
Australia were given a real scare in the second innings as they looked to set the record for the lowest total in Test cricket, but a last wicket partnership between Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon saw Australia limp from 21 runs to a meagre 47.
Clarke also said: “I know we made 47 but No.10 and 11 needed to save our backsides. The lowest Test score ever is 26 by a team so we needed to No. 10 and 11 to save our backsides there. That’s unacceptable.”
The win gives South Africa an emphatic 1-0 lead in the two match test series that is being hosted in South Africa. Australia can now only salvage a draw if they win the next test being hosted on the 17th of November in Johannesburg.