Wednesday 21 February 2018

Sad farewell for Smith as Proteas slump

Graeme Smith of South Africa comes out to bat as the Australian team welcomes him with a guard of honour
Graeme Smith of South Africa comes out to bat as the Australian team welcomes him with a guard of honour

Graeme Smith's final Test innings ended in failure as South Africa headed for a series defeat against Australia in Cape Town.

Smith made just three runs before falling to Mitchell Johnson for the fourth time in the three-Test series.

His side were chasing 511, after David Warner followed his first-innings 135 with 145 in the second as Australia piled up 303-5 in 58 overs before declaring.

The Proteas ended the day 70-4, which actually represented a recovery after a terrible start.

Smith got off the mark with three from his second ball, but saw opening partner Alviro Petersen fall lbw to Ryan Harris for nine.

That meant South Africa's opening partnerships in the series were 11, six, 10, 20, seven and 12 – and worse was to follow as Smith edged Johnson off his hip to short leg.

He was warmly saluted by the crowd and kissed the badge on his helmet before raising his bat in acknowledgement, but it was a sad farewell.

Johnson then splattered Dean Elgar's stumps before he had scored to leave the hosts 15-3 at tea.

After the interval, defence was very much the order of the day for Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, with just 21 runs coming from the first 10 overs. The 50 partnership came up in 163 balls, De Villiers contributing an uncharacteristically slow 14 from 74, but Amla was dismissed lbw by James Pattinson for 41 after an unsuccessful review.

Nightwatchman Kyle Abbott saw the day out alongside De Villiers, who had faced 100 balls and hit just one boundary in his 16 not out.

Earlier, Chris Rogers hit the first three boundaries of the day before being run out for 39. Warner was on 75 from 57 balls at that stage, but Alex Doolan's appearance at No 3 saw the rate slow. The new man took 35 balls to reach double figures.

Their partnership ended at 65 when Doolan miscued a hook at Morne Morkel and was caught for 37.

Warner, on 99, survived a run-out chance and was beaten all ends up by Morkel next ball but punched two behind point to reach three figures, from 124 balls.

It was his eighth Test century and his fourth against South Africa; he finally edged Abbott to De Villiers to finish the series with 536 runs at 90.50. Michael Clarke and Matthew Hayden are the only Aussies to score more runs in a three-Test series.



Irish Independent

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