Mitchell Starc scalped 4 wickets © Getty Images
Mitchell Starc scalped 4 wickets © Getty Images

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood‘s lethal combination thrashed South Africa by 118 runs at Kingsmead on Durban. This was South Africa‘s sixth loss in Durban in the last eight Tests. Aiden Markram‘s 218-ball 143 almost saw South Africa home. With the dismissal of Markram, South Africa fell like pack of cards. Quinton de Kock, too, missed out his century 17 runs. Starc and Hazlewood ended shared 7 wickets while Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh ended with wicket apiece.

South Africa were tottering at 49 for 4 when Markram entered the crease. South Africa’s senior lot – Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar – failed to reach the double figures. Markram revived the innings adding 87-run stand with Theunis de Bruyn (36) and 147-run stand with de Kock (83).

The recovery started with a determined partnership for the fifth wicket with De Bruyn, who made a stylish 36 before he was caught behind off Hazlewood. It was the only wicket to fall between lunch and tea. Markram was joined by De Kock, whose form leading into the Test had been dismal. But de Kock looked in good touch from the start. It was Markram’s third Test century but easily his important innings. He made hundreds against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, two of cricket’s lesser powers, earlier in the season.

Markram and Elgar put on 29 for the first wicket before Elgar edged a sharply lifting delivery from Starc to wicketkeeper Tim Paine to be out for nine. Amla made eight before he was trapped by Hazlewood. South Africa then suffered blow when de Villiers, their top scorer in the first innings, was run out for nought. That stirred a fiery reaction from Warner who was responsible for the wicket. It later lead to heated argument between de Kock and Warner while heading to the dressing room at tea.

Earlier in the match Australia opted to bat and posted a total of 315 in the first innings. Four Australian batsmen completed their half centuries with Mitchell Marsh missing his ton by four runs. Keshav Maharaj  foxed the batsmen in his spin web picking up a fifer. The Australian bowlers allowed only four Proteas batsmen to enter double figure as they were all out for 162. Mitchell Starc registered his 8th fifer.  Australia then scored 227 runs giving a target of 416 to the host.

Brief scores: 

Australia 351 & 227 all out (Cameron Bancroft 53, Steven Smith 38; Keshav Maharaj 4 for 102, Morne Morkel 3 for 47) beat South Africa 162 & 298 all out (Aiden Markram 143, Quinton de Kock 83; Mitchell Starc 4 for 75, Josh Hazlewood 3 for 61) by 118 runs

Player of the Match: Mitchell Starc