Australia completes dominant victory over South Africa to clinch series triumph

By Sports Desk December 29, 2022

Australia have skittled South Africa within two sessions on day four to clinch the three-game Test series with victory by an innings and 182 runs at the MCG on Thursday.

The Proteas had resumed 15-1 on the fourth day chasing the improbable target of 387 to make the hosts bat again, but were all out for 204 with the tea break delayed with play extended before the 10th wicket fell.

Spinner Nathan Lyon led the way with 3-58 while Mitchell Starc bravely bowled through pain with an injured finger, taking the opening wicket of the fourth day to finish with 1-62.

Temba Bavuma offered the Proteas' toughest resistance with 65 across more than three hours, but had little support, with Kyle Verreynne the next best with 33.

The tourists were not helped by two run outs on the fourth day, but they appeared a side deflated by the task at hand and the gulf in quality.

South Africa had got through to lunch at 120-4 with Bavuma and Verreynne combining for a 63-run stand, but when the latter was trapped LBW by Scott Boland, the side quickly fell apart in the second session.

Lyon trapped Marco Jansen LBW before Keshav Maharaj was run out by Marnus Labuschagne, with Australia's off-spinner dismissing Bavuma and Kagiso Rabada in quick succession shortly after, before Steve Smith bowled the wild-swinging Lungi Ngidi to seal victory.

Warner crowned for double hundred

Opening batsman David Warner was named Player of the Match after his second-day double century, which reinforced his worth in the side, having come into the game under pressure to hold his spot. Warner's century, coming in his 100th Test match, was the 25th of his Test career.

Walked wounded for Aussies

Australia's victory means they have an unassailable lead in the series but they have a list of headaches ahead of the third Test in Sydney next week. Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green both have finger injuries, with both set to miss the game at the SCG, while Lyon required treatment on day four for a shoulder concern. Australia's next Test series after this is in India in February.

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    Brandon King led the way as West Indies enjoyed a 28-run victory in the opening match of their T20I series with South Africa. 

    In his first T20I as captain, King top-scored with 79 from 45 balls during the first international at Sabina Park in nearly two years.

    The 29-year-old set the forthcoming T20 World Cup co-hosts on their way with a 79-run partnership with Kyle Mayers helping them to 109/1 after 10 overs.

    However, they struggled to build on that momentum and were 66/7 thereon to finish on 175/8 with Ottneil Baartman and Andile Phehlukwayo both taking three wickets apiece.

    South Africa were slow out of the blocks with Quinton de Kock failing to reach double figures as they were reduced to 35/3 in the fifth over, and required 99 runs to win at the halfway point in their innings.

    Reeza Hendricks - the only visiting player to score more than 20 - put on an impressive late surge of 87 off 51 balls, but it proved academic with the Proteas bowled out for 147.

    Data debrief

    Becoming the 14th different player to captain West Indies in men's T20Is, King will have been pleased to start his reign against South Africa - the nation against whom he boasted his best T20I batting strike in the format (171.4).

    He certainly continued in that vein, reaching 50 off just 26 balls for his fastest T20I half-century. It proved crucial as the hosts went on to record their biggest margin of victory over the Proteas when batting first.

  • Hail King: Stand-in captain's 79 guides Windies to 28-run win over SA on successful return to Sabina Park Hail King: Stand-in captain's 79 guides Windies to 28-run win over SA on successful return to Sabina Park

    It was a welcome return of international cricket to Sabina Park, even moreso for stand-in captain Brandon King, who led from the front as West Indies downed South Africa by 28 runs in the first of their three Twenty20 (T20) warm-up encounters on Thursday.

    King, who is leading the team for the first time on his home soil, gave the decent size crowd much to cheer about with a well-played 79 off 45 balls, which assisted the Caribbean side to 175-8 from their allotment, before Matthew Forde (3-27), Gudakesh Motie (3-25) and Obed McCoy (2-15), restricted South Africa to 147 in 19.5 overs.

    Despite the absence of the main scoreboard –which has been out for almost four years now –as well as an underprepared tabled press area, King and company ensured that the first international game at the venue since 2022, was a successful one.

    The 29-year-old, who is deputizing for compatriot Rovman Powell, attributed his Player-of-the-Match knock, which included six fours and six maximums, to the familiar conditions.

    “Obviously it is leading up to the World Cup so we want to be playing good cricket and we got the win today, so we are happy with that and I think we played well all around,” King said in a post-game interview.

    “I had the advantage of knowing the conditions well and I know that it is easiest to bat when it’s the new ball so I had to try and get a good start and I executed well. At the mid-way point I think we had 200-220 in mind as we had wickets in hand but it is a difficult wicket to bat on when the ball gets older, but we still managed to get a competitive total on this wicket,” he added.

    After being asked to take first strike, King started positively, but lost opening partner Johnson Charles (one) in the fourth over with the score at 36.

    However, he found another useful ally in Kyle Mayers, and the added a further 79 runs for the second wicket, with King, the aggressor raising his 10th international half-century off 27 balls in the sixth over when he drove a length delivery from Lungi Ngidi to the midwicket boundary.

    The skipper continued to take the South African bowlers to task, before he eventually went, reaching for one of Andile Phehlukwayo that came off the toe of the bat and was caught by his opposite number Rassie van der Dussen.

    Still, at 115-2 after 11 overs, West Indies remained on course for a massive total, but then came the familiar collapse as they lost three wickets in quick succession. Mayers was first to go for a 25-ball 34, including three sixes and a solitary four, with Andre Fletcher (one) and Fabian Allen (one) following.

    In fact, apart from vice-captain Roston Chase, who made a measured unbeaten 32 off 30 balls, which had two fours and a six, none of the batsmen got into double figures.

    Phehlukwayo (3-28) and Ottneil Baartman (3-26) did the damage for South Africa.

    In reply, South Africa started with Quinton De Cock driving Matthew Forde’s first ball, a full length delivery, straight down the ground. However, the 22-year-old Barbadian responded immediately as he served up another full length delivery, just around off stump, which forced de Kock into another drive, but the left-hander got a slight edge and Andre Fletcher made no mistakes behind the stumps.

    Debutant Ryan Rickelton (six) also had a brief stay in the middle, and from there, the visitors laboured, despite Reeza Hendricks making his 15th T20 international half-century. Hendricks, who was ninth man out with just two balls left of the innings, made a career-best 87 off 51 balls with six sixes and six fours.

    Captain Rassie van der Dussen (17) and Matthew Breetzke (19) were the only other South African batsmen to reach double figures.

    The second and third games of the series are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, at the same venue, ahead of the much-anticipated June-1-29 T20 World Cup hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

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    RCB batted first but failed to capitalise on strong starts from Virat Kohli (33), Rajat Patidar (34) and Mahipal Lomror (32) as they finished on 172-8.

    The Royals won with an over remaining, despite slipping to 160-6 in the 18th, as Rovman Powell got them over the line with an unbeaten 16.

    "I think with the dew coming in the second innings, we thought we were a little bit short with the bat," Du Plessis said after the match on the official broadcast.

    "It felt like we needed a push, a few more runs to make it even more competitive. So, I did think we were 20 runs shy of a good score on that pitch. But credit to our boys who fought really well, hanging in there right till the end. That's all you can ask for, a great fight.

    "Batting first, it can be tough because the ball is sticking into the surface. You're thinking 190. But if you lose a couple of wickets, then the problem starts.

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    "A lot of teams would have probably fallen off after one [win] from nine [eight]," he added.

    "We have got great characters in that dressing room, all of us really put our hands up with a lot of pride and a lot of fight in us to make sure we give our best and give absolutely everything we have. And to come back like that, winning six games in a row takes a lot of heart, takes a lot of character.

    "So, it's a sad ending when it goes your way like that, you feel like is it possibly written in the stars that you could do something special here, but we weren't special tonight in terms of just pushing that extra 20 runs with the bat."

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