South Africa rewrites history at Perth

Published: Sunday, December 21, 2008, 13:53 [IST]
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Perth: South Africa created history by overpowering Australia by six wickets in the first test at the WACA after an unbeaten century from AB De Villiers.

South Africa finished at 4 for 414 to achieve the second most successful run chase in Test history, only narrowly shy of the 7 for 418 the West Indies compiled to defeat Australia in 2003. Fourth-innings total was also the highest recorded for a win in Australia, eclipsing the 7 for 369 achieved by Australia in Hobart to defeat Pakistan in 1999.

De Villiers finished unbeaten on 106 and was joined by cool-headed debutant JP Duminy (50 not out) as the Proteas reached a mammoth victory target with over a session to spare on the final day to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

Mitchell Johnson claimed career-best match figures of 11-159 but lacked support, with Brett Lee, Peter Siddle and off-spinner Jason Krejza taking only one wicket each.

Resuming on Sunday at 3-227, Jacques Kallis and De Villiers added 124.

Kallis fell for 57 in the sixth over of the second new ball, caught at gully off Johnson's bowling.

The tourists scored 95 in the morning session for the loss of one wicket, going to lunch well-placed at 4-322.

Sunday's successful run chase by South Africa is a record for Tests between the two nations, beaten only by the 7-418 by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2002-03.

South Africa have never won a Test series in Australia and haven't claimed a series victory over Australia since 1969-70.

In 12 previous Tests in Australia since the post-apartheid era began in 1991, South Africa had won only once -- in January 1994 in Sydney.

South Africa can overtake top-ranked Australia on the ICC rankings if the Proteas win the current series 3-0.

Australia have lost four of their 13 Tests this year, with five wins and four draws. Another defeat for Ricky Ponting's men in the second Test in Melbourne starting on Boxing Day would mean Australia had lost a home Test series for the first time since 1992-93 against the West Indies.

Australia hadn't lost the first match of a home Test series since 1988-89 in Brisbane against the Windies.

Battling an elbow complaint, South Africa's Graeme Smith laid the platform for the victory with an inspirational 108 on Saturday.

The skipper picked the perfect time to record his first century against Australia in his ninth match against Ponting's side. Smith will seek treatment and pain-killing injections in Melbourne on Monday ahead of the second Test.


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