Third Test


Toss: Australia.

Australia squared the three-match series with a convincing win. The chief architect was Steve Waugh, playing his first match of the series after a hamstring injury kept him out of the first two. Waugh's 164, his seventh Test century, was the mainstay of Australia's impressive first-innings 469, which occupied most of the first two days. He hit 19 fours and shared a 208-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Border, who became the first man to score 11,000 Test runs during his five-and-half-hour 84, which included only three boundaries.

After Hudson and Gary Kirsten put on 100, South Africa's only resistance came from Peter Kirsten, whose 79 occupied 310 minutes. Peter Kirsten, drafted in since Wessels's departure, had an animated conversation with umpire Darrell Hair after three of his team-mates were given out lbw, and was fined 25 per cent of his match fee for his pains. Another outburst when he was leg-before himself in the second innings cost Kirsten a further 40 per cent of his match fee, as he became the first player to be found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct twice in the same match. A Johannesburg radio station launched an appeal to cover his fine. Meanwhile, Waugh followed his earlier century with four for 26, accounting for the middle order. Cronje, who became South Africa's second-youngest Test captain, aged 24 (Murray Bisset was 22 when he first took the job in 1898-99), had earlier fallen to Reiffel for a duck.

After South Africa narrowly avoided the follow-on, Australia embarked on an unimpressive search for quick runs, losing six wickets in scoring 124 from 40 overs. Border, in what was apparently his last innings in a home Test, was run out by the predatory Rhodes for four. South Africa's notional target of 321 in seven and half hours soon became academic: during the 22 overs remaining on the fourth day, they slumped to 18 for three. But Australia's march to victory was held up by a heroic innings from De Villiers, as the night-watchman. He was on pain-killers after McDermott broke his thumb early on, but survived for three and a quarter hours before he drove distractedly to mid-off. "He couldn't take any more tablets because he would have begun to feel drowsy," said coach Mike Procter. With Peter Kirsten batting four and a half hours for 42, South Africa had hopes of forcing a draw, but the later batsmen collapsed, the last seven wickets going down for 29. Warne took his 100th wicket in his 23rd Test, despite tendinitis in his shoulder, while off-spinner May took his first of the series, in his 108th over. Wicket-keeper Healy made his 200th Test dismissal when a ball from McDermott flicked the upraised bat of the ducking Cullinan.

Man of the Match: S. R. Waugh.

Man of the Series: S. R. Waugh. Attendance: 79,637.

Close of play: First day, Australia 240-4 (A. R. Border 28*, S. R. Waugh 32*); Second day, South Africa 39-0 (A. C. Hudson 17*, G. Kirsten 16*); Third day, South Africa 235-7 (P. N. Kirsten 52*, R. P. Snell 7*); Fourth day, South Africa 18-3 (P. N. Kirsten 1*, P. S. De Villiers 0*).

© John Wisden & Co