Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia snapped South Africa’s eight-year unbeaten streak
Australia pace bowler Ryan Harris was the hero of the match as he took two wickets in the fourth-last over of the day to lead Australia to a 245-run win over South Africa in Cape Town.
Harris ended up taking four wickets in the second innings, which helped the baggy greens deny the Proteas the chance to save the match and series.
Starting out the day on 71/4, South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers and pace bowler Kyle Abbott managed to convert their three-run partnership into a 27-run partnership before Abbott had his off-stump uprooted by James Pattinson when he was on seven runs.
De Villiers ended up making 43 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Ryan Harris.
Faf du Plessis managed to make 47 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Steven Smith.
Du Plessis reviewed the decision immediately, but the replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going on to hit the stumps, which led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.
Jean Paul (JP) Duminy and Vernon Philander kept Australia at bay for a while with a 73-run partnership before Duminy was caught by Nathan Lyon at leg slip off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson for 43.
Dale Steyn only made one run before he was clean bowled by Harris.
Australia began their celebrations when Harris knocked back Morne Morkel’s off-stump just two balls later.
Philander was left stranded on 51 off 105 balls, which included six boundaries and a six.
Harris was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Johnson snapped up three, Pattinson claimed two and Smith chipped in with one.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith was extremely emotional as he walked up to the podium for the last time in his career, and said: “The courage the guys showed was immense. We have been outplayed in this Test throughout so it was important to show the fight today. I am really proud of that, but it is important to congratulate Michael Clarke and his team.
“We have had great battles over the past years, and this one will go down too. Obviously it has been pretty emotional few days. Pretty much on my mind at the start of the series, but for some reason kept putting it off. With my daughter in and out of the hospital.
“Ever since I moved here as an 18-year-old, Newlands has been my home so this was the perfect place to do it. Since the time I started everybody commented on my style of batting saying I won’t make it to end. These runs are a proud achievement. From a leadership perspective, having been part of so many wonderful results is amazing. When you get the job at 22, a lot of growth needs to happen. It took me a few years to figure out what was needed.
“This is the first series we have lost in almost eight years. We can be hugely proud of it. We have found ways to win. At home and away from home.
“Lastly I want to thank the fans. To all the people who have approached me on the streets, to all that have bought tickets, to all that have stayed up late to support us, I am really thankful.”
Australia skipper Michael Clarke was extremely pleased to have ended South Africa’s eight-year unbeaten streak, but also paid tribute to Smith.
“What a series,” he said. “Firstly, I want to thank Graeme Smith and his team. The world will be a sad place for him retiring. It has been tough away from home for us for a long time. The way the boys have played is tremendous. The series in India and England were not good. To turn it around is great.
“All the support staff has been great too. I don’t like Morne one bit. Him and Dale keep aiming for my head, and they don’t miss too often. Playing South Africa, and in South Africa, has been the greatest challenge. Great to have won here.
“Mitch and Ryan Harris have been exceptional. Patto comes in and takes wicket. Nathan Lyon. Watto. We will enjoy the series now. I didn’t enjoy today a lot. [It was] A long day. It was getting really close. There is still a lot of work to do to get to where South Africa is.”
Warner was named Man of the Match and Series for his stellar performance with the bat, and said: “A massive achievement. Bit nervous towards the end. Still remembered Adelaide. Phenomenal. Probably got my head screwed on for once. The time that[Michael] di Venuto has put in has been great. Not everyday you get two guys bowling at 150ks at you. Always a challenge. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Massive. Proud of the guys.”