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Feb 15, 2014
Mitchell Johnson took 12 wickets in the match as Australia crushed the world No 1, South Africa in the first Test at the SuperSport Park, Centurion, by 281 runs. South Africa were bowled out for 200 in the fourth innings.
Chasing 482 runs to win in the fourth innings, the South African batsmen looked completely at sea against Johnson’s searing pace and menacing bounce, and they folded up in just 60 overs inside three sessions on Day Four.
And then as South African second innings began, the carnage began as well. Johnson got rid off Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith off consecutive overs.
Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis then showed signs of recovery, before a venomous inswinger from Peter Siddle trapped du Plessis in front. While du Plessis would have considered himself unlucky as the ball kept really low, the Australians would have taken them as and however they came.
That wicket though brought AB de Villiers to the crease — the only South African batsman to have looked comfortable from ball one. He and Amla looked like they could save the sinking ship during their post-lunch partnership, but then Amla lost his wicket to a delivery from Ryan Harris that bounced a little more than he expected, and his cover drive off the back foot resulted in an edge to Shaun Marsh at first slip, who gladly accepted the sitter.
De Villiers continued his lone battle as JP Duminy struggled throughout his stay in the middle until he was dismissed by Johnson again. Johnson completed his 10-wicket haul for the match with that wicket.
Ryan Mclaren then joined de Villiers in the crease, and he got a nasty welcome from Johnson. A short ball crashed into his front ear, and the batsman started bleeding. But he soon got patched up. But he didn’t last long after Tea. Johnson got the better of him with a barrage of short-pitched stuff in his very first over of the session.
And then, Johnson hit the final nail in the coffin — he got the wicket of South Africa’s lone warrior, AB de Villiers (48), who was batting beautifully till then.
After de Villiers’s wicket, it was just a matter of time. Robin Peterson scored a few boundaries during his brief cameo (21 off 23 balls), but then fell to Siddle off a delivery which again kept low, like du Plessis’s dismissal. Dale Steyn was the next man to depart, as he edged one off Harris to Michael Clarke at second slip. The last wicket didn’t last long
Earlier in the match, Australia had won the toss and batted first on a sporty Centurion track, and piled up a huge first innings total of 397, courtesy centuries from Shaun Marsh and Steven Smith, who seems to have grown a penchant of scoring runs in difficult situations. Marsh was sublime during his knock and deflated the spirit of the South African pacers.
Then on Day Two started carnage – I. Johnson removed Smith early in the second innings with an absolute nasty snorter. What that wicket did was instill the fear in the opposition Johnson desired for.
South Africa couldn’t deal with him, as they folded up for just 206, with Johnson picking up seven wickets in their first innings. South Africa knew what they were up against for the rest of the series.
The Australian batsmen came out for the second time in the match, and this time found the runs coming from David Warner and debutant Alex Doolan’s bat. Warner scored a brilliant 115, as Doolan missed out on a hundred on debut by just 18 runs.
South Africa are a proud No 1 team, and one should expect them to come back hard in the second Test, but they will be up against 11 men whose confidence have skyrocketed into the stratosphere.
Australia 397 (Shaun Marsh 148, Steven Smith 100; Dale Steyn 4 for 78, Robin Peterson 2 for 49) & 290 for 4 (David Warner 115, Alex Doolan 89; Dale Steyn 2 for 61) beat South Africa 206 (AB de Villiers 91; Mitchell Johnson 7 for 68) and 200 (Hashim Amla 35, AB de Villiers 48; Mitchell Johnson 5 for 59) by 281 runs.
Man of the Match: Mitchell Johnson
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