S. Africa hammer hapless Australia to win Test series
Hobart : South Africa demolished Australia by an innings and 80 runs after yet another batting collapse to claim their third successive Test series Down Under today, piling the pressure on coach Darren Lehmann and captain Steve Smith.
The Proteas bowled out the home side for 161 before lunch on the fourth day, taking their last eight wickets for 32 in 116 balls after routing Australia for 85 in the first innings.
The latest overpowering victory followed a 177-run win against Smith’s shattered team in the first Perth Test, with South Africa emulating the intimidating West Indies teams of the 1980-1990s with three straight series wins in Australia.
“This cricket team is a tough team to get a win against them on their home soil,” said South African captain Faf du Plessis.
“So to come here and do it is special for us. To win a series 2-0 with one game to play, I am very proud of the way the team is moving forward.”
The second innings destruction heaped more pressure on Smith and Lehmann and increased calls for significant team changes for the final day-night Test against the tourists in Adelaide next week.
It was Australia’s fifth consecutive Test defeat this year, after also losing all three Tests in Sri Lanka in August.
“We have to find a way to be a bit more resilient. It seems at the moment, regardless of what the ball is doing, we need to find a way to hit it better,” said Smith.
“We need to find a way to be successful, because what we are doing at the moment is not working.”
The Australians fell apart again on Tuesday, losing their last eight wickets with all the apparent weaknesses again exposed by potent South African pace bowling.
Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada led the rampage with Abbott taking six for 77 and young gun Rabada four for 34.
Once Usman Khawaja was out just 20 minutes into the fourth day, the wickets continued to tumble.
Khawaja was twice beaten by Abbott’s movement off the pitch before he went for a cut on the last ball of the over and nicked to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock for 64.
It was a body blow for the Australian hopes of salvaging the Test so early into the fourth day and ended a 50-run stand with Smith.
It brought Adam Voges to the crease under immense pressure to save his faltering Test career after a highest score of 47 in his last 10 innings.
But Voges’ self-doubt showed through when he tried to withdraw from at attempted pull shot only to glide a deflection to JP Duminy in the gully for two after scoring a duck in the first innings.
Voges trudged off the field after scores of 0 and 2, fearing his Test career was over at the age of 37.
Callum Ferguson was the victim of another ugly dismissal, bending to evade Rabada only to glove to Dean Elgar at third slip for one after scoring three in the first innings.
Wicketkeeper Peter Nevill was the next to go, failing to get out of the way of a Rabada bouncer and gloving to Duminy in the gully for six, while Joe Mennie lasted just two balls before he was leg before to Rabada.
The Proteas claimed Smith’s prized wicket, caught behind off the rampaging Rabada for 31 after his unbeaten 48 in the first innings shambles.
Mitchell Starc came to the crease but became Abbott’s fifth victim, caught behind for a duck, with Nathan Lyon the last man out, giving man-of-the-match Abbott his sixth dismissal of the innings.