Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa pace bowler Vernon Philander took a career-best 6-21 on the fifth day of the fourth Test in Johannesburg to not only lead his side to a 492-run win over Australia, but also ensure fellow seamer Morne Morkel had a perfect swansong.
Philander’s stunning effort with the ball also saw the Proteas secure a 3-1 series win and mark their first-ever series win over Australia in South Africa since 1970.
Starting off the day on 88/3, Australia lost batsman Shaun Marsh on the first ball of the day as he was dismissed by Philander for seven runs.
Philander struck again three balls later and took his 200th Test wicket when Mitchell Marsh was caught behind for a duck.
Philander then proceeded to take his 50th wicket against Australia when he cleaned up Peter Handscomb for 24.
Things went from bad to worse for Australia when captain Tim Paine was caught behind off the bowling of Philander for seven runs.
The 32-year-old completed his five-wicket haul in his next over when he clean bowled Pat Cummins for one run.
He then took out debutant Chadd Sayers the very next ball.
Australia ended up being skittled out for 119 when Nathan Lyon was run out by Aiden Markram for nine runs.
Philander was easily the pick of the bowlers with six wickets, while Morkel took two and Keshav Maharaj claimed one.
Paine was disappointed to have lost, and said: “Has been a really challenging week, can’t doubt our effort. When you’re slightly off against a world-class opposition, you’re going to be found wanting, and we were. That’s something we’ve got to address, we’ve lost two of the best players in the world.
“Bancroft has been our leading run-scorer for Australia. They completely outplayed us, we can’t hide behind the fact they’ve been too skilled for us. Hopefully, we can rebuild a new culture.”
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis was delighted to have won, and said: “He’s been a special player, richly deserved, he’s one of the nicest guys in cricket. When times are tough, Morne is a nice guy to have around.
“This series has been remarkable, to get 80 wickets means your bowling unit is tough. You don’t get an opportunity to beat Australia 3-1. A long summer, a successful summer for the Test team. A proud captain standing here. I’ve never seen our team so motivated after that first loss.
“The guys were hungry, especially the senior players, a hunger to make big performance, a well-deserved break for some of the guys now. Pat Cummins had a good series, he challenged us. Some off-field things made it tough for Australia, we wanted to push them mentally.”
Philander was named Man of the Match, and said: “What can I say, momentous way. The first innings I rusted to the crease, today I slowed down my run-up, and found the magical length. Everything clicked from the Corlett Drive end. We going to miss Morne, his jokes, his leadership. I want to wish him well.”