Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia needed just under four overs to wrap up a convincing 118-run win over South Africa on the final day in Durban and take a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series.
Starting off the day on 293/9, South Africa only managed to add five runs to their overnight score before Quinton de Kock was trapped lbw off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood for 83, which came off 149 balls and included 11 boundaries.
De Kock reviewed the decision, but his hopes of a reprieve were dashed when replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going on to hit leg stump.
Mitchell Starc was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Hazlewood took three. As for Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh, they claimed one wicket each.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “[Always behind on first innings?] Spot on, they posted 50 runs too many, that’s credit to the way they batted, their tail added vital runs. Both teams were around 150-160 for 5.
“Our first innings total was always under par, that’s the batters responsibility, not enough partnerships. To lose by 100-odd runs, we know we didn’t have enough in the first innings. [Fightback?] First of all with the ball, we were really good, to restrict them to 220, then with the bat, Markram was really special.
“Really proud of our fight but not quite good enough to live with Australia. [Port Elizabeth next] The character of this team means we’ll never go down without a fight.”
Australia skipper Steve Smith was delighted to have won, and said: “Yeah, nice way to start, especially against a top-quality opposition. Really pleased with the way the boys played, Mitch Marsh coming in with 96, the way the tail contributed, that was obviously the difference in the end. A really good game of cricket.
“I think winning the toss and batting was ideal. Reverse swing played a part through the game. It was a hard-fought Test match, yesterday was a great day of Test cricket, Aiden Markram played exceptionally well, but when Mitch Marsh broke that partnership it got a bit easier.
“Our practice in the game before this Test was spot on and its pleasing to play as we have. There’s no doubt SA will come out hard at Port Elizabeth and we’ll be up for the fight again.”
Starc was named Man of the Match, and said: “It’s nice to put a few in the right spot. Little bit of work to do with the new ball, getting early wickets. Winning a Test match, I’ll take that for the group. [Changing wrist position between orthodox and reverse swing?] I don’t find it too difficult, probably more natural when it’s reversing, it’s a good habit to have.
“[Batting?] Probably got stuck in two minds during the home innings, but nice to get some runs, always encouraging for the tail to add to the total. [Bowl spin in bad light?] I didn’t want to … the skipper might have been trying to jag one himself. Just special to win a Test match.”