Zeenews Sports Bureau
AUSTRALIA Over: 82.5 II Score: 322/10 ( Starc 68*, Steyn 3/72)
FINAL SCORES: SOUTH AFRICA: 225/10 & 569/10 II AUSTRALIA: 163/10 and 322/10
Read our tribute to Punter: A MAN WHO FIDDLED WITH PRESSURE, WITH PLEASURE
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And finally the wait has ended. Nathan Lyon has been dismissed. South Africa win this match by 309 runs.
Nathan Lyon pokes at a length delivery and ends up edging it to Graeme Smith at first slips. The Proteas’ skipper gleefully accepts his fifth catch of the innings as South Africa beat Australia to win the Perth Test and the series 1-0. With this win, they have also successfully defended their no. 1 Test ranking that was on stake. The winner of the series would have gone on to become the best Test side. Led by Smith, SA came in the series as the top Test team and the visitors played like champions. They came from a certain defeat situation to draw the second Test and then after an average performance in the first innings of the third, called the shots from then on to claim a massive win over the hosts.
Spare a thought for Ricky Ponting who today appeared in his final Test outing to bow out of the international arena. It wasn’t the ending he would have wanted but that doesn’t overshadow what he has achieved both as a captain and as a batsman in his 17-year long career.
Some superb performances we witnessed in the three-match series from both the sides. Michael Clarke scored his fourth double ton in a calendar year to become the leading run getter in the series with 576 in 3 Tests. Hashim Amla continued to bat with the calmness of a monk scoring two centuries and ending with 377 runs. South African pace attack, the best in the world at the moment, was led by Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander. Morkel ended with 14 wickets – the highest in the series -- while Steyn and Lyon took 12 wickets apiece. Faf du Plessis had a dream debut after playing a match saving innings. Indeed a fitting finale to a closely fought series (not so closely in the final four days though!).
AUSTRALIA Over: 80 II Score: 302/9 ( Starc 60*, Lyon 19*)
Starc brings up Australia’s triple century with a boundary off du Plessis. He is now the highest scorer in Australia’s second dig. This pair is now beginning to frustrate the Proteas.
AUSTRALIA Over: 78 II Score: 287/9 ( Starc 50*, Lyon 14*)
Mitchell Starc has completed his first Test fifty. It took him just 32 balls to reach the milestone. It’s the second fifty in Australia’s second innings and 14th fastest ever. The first one came from Ed Cowan. Can Australia last 90 overs?
AUSTRALIA Over: 76 II Score: 275/9 ( Starc 40*, Lyon 12*)
Mitchell Starc has decided that he is going to enjoy to the fullest before going down.
This last pair is giving some lessons in batsmanship to the Australian team. Lyon and Starc have added 40 runs for the 10th wicket and are providing something to cheer for the crowd hitting fours and sixes in plenty. Starc has played just 26 deliveries and his score is 40* (4X4, 6X2)
AUSTRALIA Over: 71 II Score: 235/9 ( Starc 12*, Lyon 0*)
Morne Morkel makes up for his late reaction in the previous delivery that resulted in a simple catch (from Starc) being dropped off his own bowling by removing Hastings off the next one. He bowled it full and outside off that took an edge off Hastings bat and Smith took a good low catch to his left at first slips. He scored 20 (30b, 4X1, 6X2). He though entertained the crowd before leaving the field hitting Petersen for two sixes in an over.
AUSTRALIA Over: 66 II Score: 204/8 ( Hasting 2*, Starc 0*)
Mitchell Johnson was out caught behind after edging one from Philander pitched outside off. He scored 3 (13b). If everything goes well, we won’t need a fifth day at all. Bummer!
On a pitch where Amla, De Villiers carved bowlers with impunity, Australians batting is an altogether different picture. They look light years away from their ‘not giving up till the last drop of sweat’ attitude that had made them a formidable force in the cricketing world.
AUSTRALIA (TEA) Over: 64 II Score: 204/7 ( Johnson 3*, Hasting 2*)
So at Tea, Australia are staring at a certain defeat after losing their seven wickets within the first two session of the fourth day. Their highest partnership for the second innings so far has been 58 runs between Clarke and Hussey.
AUSTRALIA Over: 62 II Score: 200/7 ( Johnson 2*, Hasting 0*)
Matthew Wade goes down! A flighted delivery from Robin Peterson and Wade charges. He manages to hit it only to short midwicket where SA skipper Graeme Smith completes a good low catch. Just three more of them and South Africa will win this Test. Wade scored 10(12b, 2X4). In walks left-hander Mitchell Johnson amid loud cheer from his home crowd. Peterson has now three wickets to his name.
AUSTRALIA Over: 61 II Score: 198/6 ( Wade 10*, Hasting 0*)
And here goes Australia’s last flickering hope in Michael Hussey. Dale Steyn comes round the wicket, pitching one up. Hussey is game for the drive but the ball takes an edge and AB de Villiers takes an easy catch behind the wickets. Hussey scored 26 (52b, 4X1). Australia are six down. In comes debutant John Hastings.
AUSTRALIA Over: 58 II Score: 188/5 ( Hussey 26*, Wade 0*,)
And Robin Peterson has removed Australian captain Michael Clarke. Tossed up and Clarke charges out of his crease. The ball spins away after hitting the rough and Clarke misses it completely as De Villiers takes the bails off. He scored 44 (52b, 8X4). In walks Mathew Wade.
AUSTRALIA Over: 55 II Score: 175/4 (Clarke 39*, Hussey 18*)
Last two overs have been quite productive for Australia. Clarke scored two boundaries from Peterson’s over in addition to a triple by Hussey from the first delivery. In the next over bowled by Morkel, three triples were scored– two from Clarke and one from Hussey -- besides two singles. Now if Australia are looking at achieving the target, they'll need these two to stay in the middle by the time the umpire draws stump signalling the end of the fourth day's play.
AUSTRALIA Over: 50 II Score: 151/4 (Clarke 26*, Hussey 7*)
Michael Clarke hits Markel for two consecutive boundaries – towards fine leg and long on. Hussey brought the 150 for Australia with a triple after playing one towards deep midwicket. Spin (Peterson) and pace (Morkel) in operation from South Africa.
AUSTRALIA Over: 43 II Score: 130/4 (Clarke 12*, Hussey 0*)
Three deliveries after he ran four runs to reach his fifty, Ed Cowan played one from Steyn straight into the hands of deep square leg. He scored 53 (149b, 5X4). Well Dean Elgar will take something from this Test after completing this catch. In walks Mr. Cricket or Michael Hussey as he is popularly known.
AUSTRALIA (LUNCH) Over: 38 II Score: 110/3 (Ed Cowan 37*, Michael Clarke 8*)
And it's not going to be a fairytale end to Ponting’s 17-year long Test career as he is caught by Jacques Kallis at slips off Robin Peterson at the score of 8 (23b, 4X2). Ponting was attempting to cut Peterson but the ball takes a sharp edge and flies to the right of Kallis at slips. He grabs it with both hands. Peterson is ecstatic. Ponting is not and so is the crowd.
The giant screen in the stadium flashes ‘THANKS RICKY’ as Ponting begins his final walk towards the Australian dressing room. South African players eagerly charge towards him to shake his hand. He lifts his bat to acknowledge the crowd. The deafening noise is proof enough to show how much the crowd loves this man!
RICKY PONTING’S TEST CAREER: 168 Tests, 13,378 runs, Average: 51.85 (100s: 41 & 50s: 62)
Meanwhile, returning to the match, the home team is in a spot of bother here after losing three wickets in the first session of the penultimate day's play. The focus is on now Michael Clarke to guide his team out of the ensuing storm.
AUSTRALIA Over: 30 II Score: 88/2 (Ed Cowan 31*, Ricky Ponting 0*)
Well one last time one of the greatest batsmen of all times, Ricky Ponting walks to the middle. A poignant moment this! The crowd at the WACA is on its feet. A banner reads “Thanks Punter”. Indeed. However, the best moment is enfolding in the middle where the South African team has lined up to give ‘Guard of Honour’ to Ricky Ponting. He acknowledges the gesture and shakes Graeme Smith’s hand. AB de Villiers pats him on the back as he advance towards the non-strikers end.
Morne Morkel followed up his bouncer with an excellent delivery that was just short of length and outside off. Watson stayed rooted to his crease and the ball flew to Smith at first slip after taking an edge. He takes it comfortably and Watson looks gutted. Too slow to walk off the field. He scored 25 (46b, 4X4).
AUSTRALIA Over: 25 II Score: 68/1 (Ed Cowan 22*, Shane Watson 14*)
Ed Cowan finally is relieved after hitting a low full toss from Dale Steyn for a boundary past mid off. Morne Morkel has now been introduced into the attack and his second delivery is short and wide outside off which Watson cuts smartly over gully region for a boundary.
AUSTRALIA Over: 20 II Score: 55/1 (Ed Cowan 18*, Shane Watson 5*)
The first hour of the morning at WACA is tricky. That’s when a bowler can use the ball to play some tricks with the batsman. Understandably, the pair of Cowan and Watson has been watchful after Australia lost the wicket of Warner as early as second ball of the day. Expect an increase in the run rate as the day progresses provided they don’t lose many wickets.
AUSTRALIA Over: 15 II Score: 45/1 (Ed Cowan 13*, Shane Watson 1*)
South Africa began the defence of their mammoth second innings lead with the wicket of opener David Warner off the second ball of the penultimate day. Vernon Philander began the proceedings and his second ball flew to skipper Graeme Smith at slips after taking an edge off Warner’s bat. He scored 29 (34b, 4x5). Shane Watson comes in to bat at no. 3. Nine more of these and the Proteas will be sitting comfortably at the top of ICC Test rankings.