Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Johnson took 12 wickets during the match
Australia left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson was the star of the show once again as he took 12 wickets during the first Test in Centurion to help his side pulverise South Africa by 281 runs.
Johnson, who picked up seven wickets in the first innings and five in the second, was well supported by his fellow seamers, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, as they took two wicket apiece during the second innings.
Starting out the day on 288/3, Australia batsman Shaun Marsh and captain Michael Clarke only managed to add two runs onto their 45-run partnership before Marsh was caught behind off the bowling of Dale Steyn for 44.
Following the dismissal of Marsh, Clarke decided to declare right away.
Australia finished on 290/4 and had garnered a lead of 481.
Steyn was the pick of the South African bowlers with two wickets, while Robin Peterson and Jean Paul (JP) Duminy chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Set a target of 482 to win, South Africa got off to the worst possible start as opening batsman Alviro Petersen was caught behind off the bowling of Johnson for just one run.
Petersen’s dismissal brought up a personal milestone for Johnson as he became the fourth fastest Australian bowler to take 250 Test wickets.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith failed to last much longer as he was brilliantly caught by Alex Doolan at short leg off the bowling of Johnson for four runs.
Faf du Plessis managed to make 18 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Siddle.
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers settled things down with a 48-run partnership before Amla was caught by Shaun Marsh at first slip off the bowling of Harris for 35.
Duminy only scored 10 runs before he was caught by Doolan at short leg off the bowling of Johnson.
Ryan McLaren made six runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Johnson.
De Villiers ended up making 48 off 90 balls, which included five boundaries, before he was caught be Steven Smith at short cover off the bowling of Johnson.
Peterson smashed a quickfire 21 before he was clean bowled by Siddle.
Steyn was only able to muster three runs before he was caught by Clarke at second slip off the bowling of Harris.
South Africa were bowled out for a dismal 200 when Morne Morkel was run out for just one run.
Vernon Philander remained unbeaten on 26 off 18 balls, which included four boundaries and a six.
Johnson registered his 12th five-wicket haul, while Siddle and Harris chipped in with two wickets each.
Smith admitted that South Africa had been “out-played from word go”.
“It’s very disappointing,” he said. “We’ve been out-played from word go. Probably one of the most disappointing four days we’ve had as a team. We need to reflect, train hard and perform much better.
“It seemed to be one of those games; bowlers picking up niggles, food poisoning. At 100 for 4 we were pretty happy. But credit to Mitchell Johnson.
“AB showed tremendous skill on a difficult wicket, the rest of us have performed well for a period of time so [we] need to look back to those moments. We allowed Australia to play front-runner cricket and that’s unusual for us.”
Clarke was ecstatic with the fact that his side now have a 1-0 lead over the top Test team in the world.
“Winning is always the best start,” he said. “Credit to the bowlers and batters, Alex Doolan played an amazing innings on debut. We knew how tough a team South Africa were and you felt that especially as a batsman. It doesn’t feel like an easy win when you are out there. You have to be on from ball one and we were.
“We knew it would be tough on day one but we thought the cracks would come in. Mitchell is at the top of his game, he’s fit and strong and his execution is perfect.
“Our fielding has been outstanding over the last six months, we have high expectations and it’s nice to see some results.
“It’s about enjoying tonight and celebrating – it’s not every day you beat the No. 1 side – but we have to ready for PE [Port Elizabeth].”
Johnson was named Man of the Match for taking 12 wickets altogether.
“We set the game up with our batters,” he said. “We bowled really well as a team. We felt there was a little in the wicket [when] we saw Morne get some bounce. When plans come off it’s really nice.
“I was very nervous and pumped up for this match, so to come out and do this is very good. I’m here to be the intimidator which is what I have done here. Now we have an extra day to get back up for it.”