Australia complete dominant victory over South Africa to clinch series triumph

By Sports Desk December 29, 2022

Australia 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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