Aus­tralia end run of five Test de­feats

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralia cruised to a sev­en­wicket con­so­la­tion vic­tory in the day-night third Test yes­ter­day af­ter dis­miss­ing South Africa for 250 and knock­ing off the 127 runs for vic­tory for the loss of three wick­ets be­fore din­ner on day four.

There was a mi­nor scare when, with 63 runs still re­quired, Dave Warner was runout for 47 and Us­man Khawaja dis­missed for a duck in­side one over but there was never any real doubt that Aus­tralia would avoid a first ever 3-0 sweep on home soil.

Opener Matt Ren­shaw, one of three new caps brought into the Aus­tralia side af­ter heavy de­feats in the first two tests, scored 34 not out and brought the hosts level af­ter his cap­tain Steve Smith was dis­missed for 40 with only two runs re­quired.

It was left to an­other of the debu­tants, Peter Hand­scomb, to score the win­ning run with a sin­gle to mid­wicket. It was Aus­tralia’s sec­ond pink ball vic­tory af­ter they beat New Zealand in the in­au­gu­ral test in Ade­laide last year but more im­por­tantly ended a run of five de­feats.

“I’m very pleased,” Smith said. “It was ob­vi­ously a dis­ap­point­ing way to start the se­ries, we’ve been out­played by South Africa, but I’m proud of the way the boys came out and turned things around and showed a bit of fight, re­silience and char­ac­ter. It was a long time com­ing.”

While the suc­cess of the over­haul of the bat­ting line-up re­mains largely moot ahead of the visit of Pak­istan, the strength of Aus­tralian pace bowl­ing is not in doubt. Left-arm quick Mitchell Starc ear­lier fin­ished with fig­ures of 4-80 as Aus­tralia re­moved the last four South African bats­men for the ad­di­tion of 56 runs to their overnight tally.

WARNER IN A HURRY

South Africa had re­sumed on 194-6 but lost Quin­ton de Kock in the third over of the day be­fore the new ball ac­counted for Ver­non Phi­lan­der, Kag­iso Rabada and fi­nally opener Stephen Cook. Cook, un­der pres­sure af­ter mak­ing a mi­nor con­tri­bu­tion to the wins in the first two tests, eked out his sec­ond test cen­tury off 235 balls, bring­ing up the mile­stone by pulling Josh Ha­zle­wood to the square leg for his eighth four. He was un­able to add any more in the five fur­ther de­liv­er­ies he faced be­fore Starc got one to nip back in and bowl him for 104 to bring an end to the in­nings.

“It’s pretty dis­ap­point­ing to lose the test match but it’s hard to look past the fact that we’ve played great cricket,” said South Africa cap­tain Faf du Plessis, who has over­seen a third suc­ces­sive se­ries tri­umph for the Proteas in Aus­tralia.

“You don’t just come here and beat them, you have to play some re­ally good cricket, so to have done that over the ma­jor­ity of the tour makes me a re­ally sat­is­fied cap­tain.” Warner was pre­vented from open­ing in Aus­tralia’s first in­nings af­ter Du Plessis’s tac­ti­cal dec­la­ra­tion on 259-9 left him stranded off the field re­ceiv­ing treat­ment. The Aus­tralia vice-cap­tain looked like he was in­tent reach­ing the vic­tory tar­get on his own and had hit 47 runs off 51 balls when he went for a sin­gle, only for Ren­shaw to change his mind and leave him stranded as the bails came off.

Khawaja’s place in the side is safe for the three-test se­ries against the na­tion of his birth around the New Year de­spite his duck and he was named Man of the Match for con­tribut­ing 145 of Aus­tralia’s 383 first in­nings runs. —Reuters

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