Feb 23, 2014
South Africa have emphatically beaten Australia in the second Test at Port Elizabeth by 231 runs to level the three-match Test series at 1-1. After setting the visitors a target of 448 in the final innings to win the match, South Africa bowled out the opposition for 216 inside three sessions on Day Four to clinch one of their most famous wins in recent memory.
Their pace spearhead, Dale Steyn took four wickets in the innings to change the course of the match and consequently the series as well. South Africa produced splendid display on field with the ball in both innings to earn this win. Australia were left clueless about what hit them, after they had comfortably beaten the same opponents in the first Test by 281 runs.
Earlier in the day, South Africa didn’t bat for long in the morning session. They added around 80 runs in the morning session to push the lead to 447, and then Graeme Smith declared their second innings. Hashim Amla brought up his 21st Test century in the morning session, and thus went up to No 3 in the list of most century scorers from South Africa in Tests.
Then, coming in to bat for the last time in the match, Australian openers, David Warner and Chris Rogers scored quickfire fifties as Australia raced to 141 for the loss of one wicket at the end of second session on Day Four of the second Test against South Africa, in their chase of 448. Rogers and Warner started off in brilliant fashion, scoring quickly right from the start. Warner took his time early on, as Rogers donned the role of being the aggressor. Once Warner got set, he took the attack to all the South African bowlers. He hit Morne Morkel for 18 in an over (comprising of 4 fours), and then again hit Steyn for nine. He reached his fifty in just 52 balls, as Australia crossed the 100-run mark inside 25 overs, which meant that they were scoring at 4 runs an over. Rogers too, soon brought up his fifty with a boundary off Morkel.
Both the openers were looking in sublime touch, untill JP Duminy finally got the better of Warner, trapping him leg before wicket. Warner wasn’t convinced by the umpire’s decision, and reviewed it, but the replays showed the umpire was right, and Warner had to depart.
Warner’s dismissal brought Alex Doolan to the crease who faced some initial hiccups against Steyn’s bowling. Finally after Tea, Morkel got the better of him as luck ran out for Doolan and an edge finally carried to Smith’s safe hands. Prior to his dismissal, Doolan frustated the South Africans with numerous edges which were just falling short of the South African slip fielders.
And then Doolan’s dismissal triggered the huge collapse. Shaun Marsh became the first No 4 batsman in history to register a pair against South Africa in Tests, as he was dismissed off the first ball he faced from Vernon Philander. South Africa, post-Tea looked a completely different unit from the earlier two sessions. They were pumped up, and leading the way was the leader of the attack — Dale Steyn.
Steyn came back into the attack after Tea, and straightaway he got the big wicket of the Aussie captain, Michael Clarke. Clarke edged an away swinger and Faf du Plessis took a brilliant diving catch at second slip. Steyn was ecstatic to say the least, in his celebrations. And then, off the very next delivery, he got the wicket of Steven Smith. Smith was trapped right in front of the middle stump. The scenes at St George’s Park at that moment was that of an arena saluting it’s gladiator.
The misery though didn’t end there for Australia. Brad Haddin came to the crease with the ghosts of his first innings dismissal, and rightly so. Steyn first softened him up with a few away swingers, and then it was deja vu! A ball pitches on off stump and takes off with the middle. Haddin again had no clue what got through him. Steyn was on a different level.
At Tea, Australia were 141 for 1. Suddenly in a matter of 10 overs, they were 166 for 6. Such was the nature of the change in scenario post-Tea. And Mitchell Johnson too didn’t last too long, as he fell to Philander after scoring just six runs. He was trapped lbw, but the umpire turned down the decision. Philander was confident of his appeal and asked his skipper to review it, skipper agreed. Third umpire obliged.
Ryan Harris then stuck around for quite some time, as the light was fading and the South Africans were losing out on patience. But Sniper Steyn struck again. Him getting the better of Harris was just a matter of time, but watching him reverse swing the way he was, it felt like fading dusk.
Soon after Harris departed, Rogers too lost his wicket as he was run out by substitute fielder, Alviro Petersen. That was the final nail in the coffin for Australia. Two overs later, with the light fading, Dean Elgar came on to bowl and got the final wicket of the innings. He trapped Nathan Lyon in front of the stumps. The umpire raised his finger, and South Africa had done it. They had levelled the three-match series at 1-1, with all to play for in Cape Town.
South Africa 423 and 270 for 5 decl. (Hashim Amla 127*, Quinton de Kock 34; Mitchell Johnson 2 for 51) beat Australia 246 and 216 (David Warner 66, Chris Rogers 107; Dale Steyn 4 for 55) by 231 runs.
Man of the Match: Jean Paul Duminy
Also on cricketcountry.com