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by Colin BRYDEN
Port Elizabeth: Feb 23, 2014
Australian captain Michael Clarke paid tribute to a great spell of fast reverse swing bowling by South Africa‘s Dale Steyn after his side were bundled to defeat on the fourth day of the second Test at St George’s Park.
South Africa bowled out Australia for 216 to win by 231 runs, setting up a series decider in the third and final Test in Cape Town, starting on Saturday.
Australia lost nine wickets after tea, with Steyn claiming four of the wickets, including that of Clarke for one.
“We were outplayed with both bat and ball,” Clarke admitted.
He said the key was the fast reverse swing bowling of all three South African pacemen but he singled out Steyn for special praise.
“You’ve seen a class bowler bowling consistently at 140-145ks (kilometres per hour), executing his skills as well as you will see in international cricket.”
In contrast, the Australian bowlers were unable to get any reverse swing, he acknowledged.
Set 448 to win, Australia seemed to be cruising at 141 for one at tea after Chris Rogers and David Warner had put on 126 for the first wicket, scoring at more than four runs an over.
Once the wickets started to fall, Rogers fought a lone battle before being ninth man out, run out for 107.
“We knew the best time to bat in the second innings was against the new ball,” said Clarke.
“We knew the hardest period was going to be once the ball got old and batsmen had to start their innings against reverse swing.”
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