Vernon Philander fought hard to remain unbeaten on 51 © Getty Images


Mar 5, 2014


Australia on Wednesday sealed a dramatic 245-run win over South Africa in the third and final Test match. South Africa resisted and fought hard on the fifth day, but were bowled out for 265 in chase of 511.


Australia went into the tea break with their collars up, two men who have thwarted them time and again to save or win a Test match — Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers were back in the pavilion. With more than 35 overs left to go in the day’s play after tea, Australia were expected to finish things off in no time.


Vernon Philander came in and did the polar opposite of what the South African batsmen of doing all day i.e blocking the ball and playing ultra defensive cricket. While his compatriots depended on defense, Philander attacked and spared no one. Johnson was smacked for a six and looked to score runs off every bad delivery.


Just when South Africa piled the most constructive partnership of the match at the most crucial juncture, Mitchell Johnson delivered a body blow to the Proteas. Michael Clarke’s smart field placements was backed by his bowler and Duminy could only flick a leg side delivery to Nathan Lyon at leg slip, who pouched on to a sharp chance.


Dale Steyn with Philander fought hard. Johnson then sparked off the most heated battle during the Test series. A bouncer was fended uncomfortably by Philander and was caught at short leg. Umpire Aleem Dar judged him out but was given out after review. The furious Australian camp indulged in a heated verbal battle with Dale Steyn.


The last hour match was the most enthralling of battles. The game ebbed and flowed with Philander’s defiance and the Australian bowlers giving their heart out — Test match cricket of top draw quality yet again.


Every delivery that didn’t yield an Australian wicket was met with cheers. Frustration levels of the visitors reached tipping point but two yorkers in just one knee, Harris walked away with all the plaudits, polishing off the last two wickets fairly quickly bowling on one knee. Brilliant knock from Philander , who was crestfallen in the end. Graeme Smith’s swansong was nearly the perfect script of grit and determination but sadly it was not to be.


Brief scores:


Australia 494 for 7 decl. (David Warner 135, Michael Clarke 161*, Steven Smith 84; JP Duminy 4 for 73) & 303 for 5 (Chris Rogers 39,David Warner 145,Steven Smith 36*)  South Africa 287 (Alviro Petersen 53, Hashim Amla 38,Vernon Philander 37* ; Mitchell Johnson 4 for 42 Ryan Harris 3 for 63) &  265 (Ab De Villiers 43,Faf du Plessis 47 Vernon Philander 51*; Ryan Harris 4 for 32, Mitchell Johnson 3 for 92) by 245 runs.


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