Australia beat South Africa at home first time in 17 years, seal Test series 2-0 at Melbourne
Australia completed a 2-0 series win over South Africa at home for the first time in 17 years on Thursday when they crushed the visitors by a heavy margin of an innings and 182 runs in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The win, which followed a thumping victory in the first Test played at Brisbane by 6 wickets earlier this month, gave Australia their first-ever win over the African opponents in home conditions for the first time since 2005.
South Africa were so good that they had beaten Australia in Australia on each of their previous tours in 2008-09, 2012-13 and in 2016-17. No other modern day cricket team has dominated the Australians the way South Africans have in this century but that era is over now with this series.
The first test at Brisbane, the second test at Melbourne also witnessed a poor batting show by the South African team with none of their batsmen able to handle the pressure created by the Australian bowling attack.
South Africa were bowled out for just 189 in their first innings, and in the second, they did score more than 200 for the first time in the last eight at times but were of no match against Australia’s 575/8 declared.
Australia captain Pat Cummins was certain about the pressure that the South African batsmen were under on the opening day of the boxing day Test when he won the toss and elected to field. Apart from wicket-keeper batsman Kyle Verreynne, who scored a 99-ball 52 and Marco Jansen, who top scored with 59, none of the specialist South African batsmen could stand a chance against the home team bowlers.
Australia all-rounder Cameron Green produced a scintillating spell of 10.4-3-27-5 while Mitchell Starc took a couple of wickets and Scott Boland and Nathan Lyon took one wicket each as South Africa were bowled out for just 189 in 68.4 overs in the first innings.
Australia batted once and big at Melbourne with their dashing opening batsman David Warner smacked a 255-ball 200 studded with 16 fours and 2 sixes to power them to a strong total. While Marnus Labuschagne missed out on a big score this time around, Steve Smith made 85 while Travis Head and Cameron Green scored identical 51.
Australia wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey brought up his maiden Test century scoring 111 from 149 balls with 13 boundaries as the home team declared their innings at 575/8, for which the home team faced as many as 145 overs. Anrich Nortje took 3/92 from his 25 overs while Kagiso Rabada had a disappointing outing, giving away 144 runs in 28 overs while taking just 2 wickets.
South Africa were off to a poor start once again in the second innings having conceded a huge lead of 386 runs, losing their captain Dean Elgar for a 3-ball duck.
Sarel Erwee (21) and Theunis de Bruyn (28) tried to weather the storm followed by a quality half-century from Temba Bavuma, who made 65 from 144 balls with 6 boundaries but there was not so much from the other batsmen.
The Proteas wicket-keeper batsman Kyle Verreynne once again played a handy knock of 33 from 40 balls with 5 fours but they could not prevent the inevitable.
Nathan Lyon took three wickets, Scott Boland claimed a couple well the likes of Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins got one wicket apiece as Australia completed a famous victory but more than a day’s play left.
The third and final Test will now be played in the new year at the Sydney cricket ground from January 4.