|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Fantasy||Mobile|
Toss: South Africa.
An Australian collapse reminiscent of Botham's Test at Headingley in 1981 - the eventual total of 111 was exactly the same - allowed South Africa to take an unexpected lead in the series after the home side had made most of the running. South Africa's unlikely hero was De Villiers, in only his second Test: he took ten wickets, and his second-innings six for 43 included the first four as Australia slumped to 56 for four before the end of the fourth day. By then they might well have been celebrating victory but for some late-order South African resistance organised by Rhodes, who came in at 107 for four and saw 132 added.
The last part of South Africa's stunning success was presided over by Cronje after Wessels broke a finger attempting a slip catch. The young deputy marshalled his troops well on the tense final morning, and his turn, throw and direct hit to run out Warne from wide mid-off was a devastating blow for Australia. The Australians, who brought in McGrath for Reiffel, had seemed to be in control from the first day, when only a second-wicket stand of 90 between Kirsten and Cronje stood in the way of another dazzling display of leg-spin variations from Warne. Two years to the day after his undistinguished Test debut, when he took one for 150 against India in Sydney, Warne swept away the middle order, finishing with seven for 56. The flipper accounted for Cullinan, Rhodes and Kirsten; Richardson and Matthews fell to classic leg-breaks which found the edge and curled to slip; Symcox was fooled by the massive behind-the-legs turner - and Wessels fell for the sucker punch, driving a full toss back to the bowler.
Slater made light of an untrustworthy pitch to score 92 and led Australia to 292, a lead of 123. Border, who passed Greg Chappell's record of 1,150 runs in Sydney Tests - and needed stitches after top-edging Symcox into his face - lasted four hours for 49, and Martyn contributed 59. There were four wickets apiece for Donald and De Villiers, while the burly off-spinner Symcox bowled 46 overs - 33 in one spell - without looking unduly threatening.
Wessels, despite his broken finger and a still-painful knee came in at No. 4 to steady the tourists, but soon became the first of another five victims for Warne - the first time he had taken ten wickets in any match. South Africa lost five wickets before clearing the first-innings deficit, but Rhodes organised the tail to good effect, sharing stands of 72 with Richardson and 36 for the last wicket with Donald. His unbeaten 76 in 195 minutes included six fours and a hooked six off McDermott.
Needing only 117 to win, Australia looked to have shrugged off the early loss of Slater, reaching 51 before De Villiers rocked them with three wickets in five balls. South Africa felt victory depended on the quick removal of Border. They got their wish in the first over of the final day, when he played no shot at one from Donald which cut back and clipped his off bail. Waugh - leg-before to Donald's Waqar-like yorker - and Healy soon followed, as did Warne, needlessly run out. In came McDermott, a veteran of a similarly pulsating situation at Adelaide the previous season. He spanked four quick fours on his way to 29, the top score of the innings, but his partner Martyn's nerve failed after 106 minutes and six singles. He holed out to cover, and McGrath (whose first-innings nine represented the sum total of his first-class runs on his home ground) soon followed, sparking off emotional scenes in the South African dressing-room. UCBSA managing director Ali Bacher - who led his country to the 4-0 thrashing of Australia when the two last met in 1969-70- called it "our finest achievement ever." It was their 12th victory in 55 Tests against Australia (who had won 29), but their ninth in the last 13, a sequence dating back to South Africa's last tour of Australia in 1963-64.
Man of the Match: P. S. De Villiers.
Close of play: First day, Australia 20-1 (M. J. Slater 5*, D. C. Boon 7*); Second day, Australia 200-5 (D. R. Martyn 15*, I. A. Healy 6*); Third day, South Africa 94-2 (W. J. Cronje 37*, K. C. Wessels 7*); Fourth day, Australia 63-4 (M. E. Waugh 4*, A. R. Border 7*).