South Africa downs Australia to secure historic series victory

Published: Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 9:52 [IST]
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End of Australian era in cricket

Melbourne: South Africa beat Australia by nine wickets to seal its first series win in Australia and inflict the top-ranked team"s first home loss in elite contests for 16 years.

Captain Graeme Smith hit 75 and Neil McKenzie finished 59 not out as South Africa reached the target of 183 after lunch on the final day in Melbourne, securing its first series victory over Australia since 1970. The Proteas had failed to win in eight previous contests on Australian soil.

Smith continued his sparkling form, building on the positive platform he laid in the six overs before stumps yesterday to ease any early nerves for the tourists.

He hit 10 boundaries before he was trapped in front by Nathan Hauritz for 75 - the first lbw decision of the match.

South Africa, which won the opener in Perth by six wickets, is the first team to win a Test series in Australia since the West Indies in the 1992-1993 season. The tourists can replace the Australians atop the International Cricket Council"s Test rankings by completing a 3-0 sweep.

Australia"s first back-to-back Test defeats since March 2001 leaves Ricky Ponting"s squad facing the prospect of becoming the first Australian team in 27 years to suffer a series cleansweep.

Australia, which won eight straight Test series between November 2005 and June 2008, has now lost two of its past three contests after also losing 2-0 in India.


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