Australia has won the third Test against South Africa by seven wickets after a disciplined bowling effort and brisk chase in Adelaide.
In an age of renewal for Australia’s Test side under captain Steve Smith, the result was the perfect tonic after two sorry losses in Perth and Hobart, with a team featuring three debutants showing improved spirit and application to pull one back in the series.
The Proteas, who have been exceptional on the field for most of the tour, took the three-Test series 2-1 to continue their winning run of series victories on Australian soil that stretches back to 2008.
More importantly for Australia, the win ends a run of five consecutive Test losses, following a 3-0 away whitewash against Sri Lanka and the two earlier losses to South Africa.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) November 27, 2016
The hosts dismissed the Proteas in Adelaide for 250, with opener Stephen Cook the last man out for a fighting 104.
Cook’s innings potentially extended the 33-year-old’s Test career after a series of struggle, but his partners had fallen cheaply on day three and the rot continued on Sunday when Quinton de Kock departed for 5.
De Kock’s wicket signalled the end of South Africa’s hopes when he missed a simple, straight delivery from Jackson Bird (1-54) that trapped him plumb in front.
Kagiso Rabada edged Josh Hazlewood (2-41) to the keeper for 7, before centurion Cook was bowled by Mitchell Starc (4-80) to wrap up the innings.
With David Warner returned to opening bat, he set about chasing down the runs in typically quick fashion, but he fell for 47 after a horrendous mix-up between the wickets with Matt Renshaw.
Australia’s tally of 1-64 quickly became 2-64 when first-innings centurion Usman Khawaja was dismissed LBW on review by Tabraiz Shamsi.
Steve Smith (40) and Matt Renshaw (34 not out) almost guided the hosts home – first conservatively, then briskly – only for Smith to edge Kyle Abbott to the keeper with two runs still to get.
Peter Handscomb joined Renshaw in the middle before Handscomb hit the winning run to secure a consolation win.
Khawaja was named man of the match for his first-innings 145, while South Africa’s Vernon Philander picked up the man-of-the-series gong for his 12 wickets, averaging 23.58.
But well done to the boys! Amazing series, touring Aus is always tough and to win 3 times there is incredible! Enjoy the celebrations!
— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) November 27, 2016