bowled him! Johnson! Australia win by 103 runs and the SCG celebrates a fantastic, sapping Test match! Johnson pitches full and beats Smith for pace, the ball cuts in off a crack and the stumps go for a walk
Whew. Let me take a deep breath. I'm drained. Australia hold their nerves - well, let me say Johnson - to make win a consolation match. Steyn and Ntini frustrated Australia superbly, and then a brave Smith came out to bat with a broken left hand. He survived 17 balls before he was bowled. Ntini remains unbeaten on 28 from 75 balls. This Test was nerve wracking, pulsating, brilliant. The pitch was scandalous but Ntini and Steyn applied themselves brilliantly.
What a competitive series it has been. Australia are utterly enthused at winning a classic. Hats off to them. But the series winners, South Africa, are the ones who will walk off with their heads held high. They have achieved their target of beating Australia in Australia. Time to head down to the post-match ceremony.
After the 3 Mobile CEO gets done thanking the teams, captains, fans, viewers, umpires and pledges his company's sponsorship to Australia till 2013, he announces the Man of the Match. And its Peter Siddle, who took eight wickets in the match. Siddle: "Its been tough work. I'm very pleased with how I'm going. I thought there was always a chance, its funny how Test cricket works out. Its my first Test series and I need to look to the future and I cant wait for the next few matches."
Now the Man of the Series, which is Smith for his 326 runs. "Things got close and I got nervous," he says. "Once AB got out and the tail was in I decided I would go in but then the guys held out pretty well. It was great to see."
Glenn McGrath gets sentimental as he speaks of the response to the McGrath Foundation awareness program and his late wife, Jane. He thanks everyone who worked with his foundation during and before the Test. And he thanks both sides.
Ponting steps up to the stage: "I'm proud with the way we've played all series. We were in some good positions but couldn't hold on. Congrats to Mickey and Graeme, their side was behind the eight-ball on a few occasions but came back well and thats the sign of a great side. Here, the weather held off and we were able to win."
Smith comes back to accept the series trophy. The SCG cheers. "I think 2008 was an extremely successful year for us and this series was played in great spirit. Thanks to CA, the fans, and Ricky and his team. I'm really chuffed to be on the winning side for once."
Smith is joined by the rest of his squad for a photo-op with the silverware. And the bubbly is popped.
And now to you, the readers. Thank you for tuning in all series, and I hope you've enjoyed the coverage. The limited-overs leg kicks off with a Twenty20 international at Melbourne on January 11, so do come back see us. On behalf of everyone else who was involved in bringing you this Test series, this is Jamie Alter signing off. Good bye and good luck!
full and swinging on middle and off, played with a straight bat towards midwicket, wants a single but Ntini sends him back
Excruciating to watch. Smith scratches his guard. Surveys the field.
There's a definite buzz around the SCG.
tossed up wide of off stump and he blocks it out to point
Nervous laughter from Mickey Arthur on the balcony.
brave stroke! Ntini gets down and heaves with the spin over mid-on
with no mid-on in place, Ntini uses his feet and hammers it straight
gets a long way forward and smothers the turn well
tossed up on a teasing length and he defends towards slip
Smith and Ntini share words. Ntini nods his head, Smith chews his gum. Five balls to go.
slides onto the pads and he deflects it down to deep square leg, and then oddly takes the single
Aha, interesting move. Nathan Hauritz back into the attack. Seven men around the bat.
There are 18 deliveries left in this Test. I'm knackered.
forces him onto the back foot and he steers it to backward point
defended off the back foot towards cover point
hits a length and now he steers a couple more to third man
This is now the longest Ntini has ever batted in a Test against Australia, and the most balls he's ever faced versus them.
overpitches, a low full toss, and Ntini square-drives past point
nips back from a length and Ntini opens the face and defends
pitches on the stumps and Ntini defends it tentatively
Johnson comes around the stumps.
pitches full and wide and he coolly shoulders arms
Now that would have hurt Smith ...
attempts a yorker but its a low full toss, which Smith pats to point
sees width and reaches out, steering wide of backward point
Plenty of men around the bat. Smith looks darn attentive.
hits a length and he goes back, defending with both hands
full and wide, seaming away, but who cares because its a wasted ball
short of a length and it gets Smith on the back foot, defending well
Change in the attack, its Peter Siddle to have a crack at the one-handed Smith.
|Sydney Cricket Ground|
|Toss||Australia, elected to bat first|
|Player Of The Match|
|Player Of The Series|
|Series result||South Africa won the 3-match series 2-1|
|Match number||Test no. 1904|
|Hours of play (local time)||10.30am start, Lunch 12.30-13.10, Tea 15.10-15.30, Close 17.30|
|Match days||3,4,5,6,7 January 2009 - day (5-day match)|
Asoka de Silva