Aussies still bosses of World Test cricket

Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 8:54 [IST]
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OZ  crush SA dreams, retain No 1 spot

Durban: Australia clinched the second Test, and a series victory, against South Africa as they completed a 175-run win on the final day in Durban.

Ricky Ponting's men showed they were still the bosses of world Test cricket with another emphatic victory at Kingsmead to lead 2-0 going into the final match of the series - and firmly seal their place at the top of the Test rankings.

After being turned over on their home patch in the last series, Australia's new-look side bounced back in some style to remain at the top of the tree.

South Africa always had a mountain to climb as they started the final day on 244-2, still needing another 302 runs for an historic win, but more likely batting to survive the day.

Four big wickets in the first session all-but ended the contest though, and it took the tourists until just before tea to wrap-up the win as South Africa finished on 370-9, but with skipper Graeme Smith unable to bat through injury.
Key wickets

Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers were the key, but after Kallis was dropped early on he soon walked for 93 after he fended-off a hostile Mitchell Johnson delivery and straight to Ricky Ponting at second slip.

De Villiers followed soon after as the new ball took effect on a deteriorating Kingsmead wicket, as he was on the wrong end of a beauty from Peter Siddle that he could only edge to Brad Haddin.

With a battling 187-run partnership ended, the rest of the Proteas batting could not find another big stand to fend off the rampant Aussies.

JP Duminy survived a drop on six, but he only made it to 17 before Haddin made amends for that spill be sending him back to the pavilion.

Simon Katich (3-45) proved to be the man to wrap-up the Proteas' innings, as he claimed three of the last four wickets.

He first tempted Paul Harris into a big shot, and the resulting thick edge was caught by Siddle and South Africa had slumped to 307-6 by lunch.

It was now just a matter if when, not if, the Australians would win, and although Mark Boucher and Morne Morkel added 38 together, the wicketkeeper departed when caught and bowled by Marcus North.

Morkel edged to Haddin, eventually after a review confirmed the decision, and Dale Steyn was stumped dancing down the track to end the match and the series.

South Africa, a man down with Smith injured, mustered 370-9 and Australia won by 165 runs to clinch the series 2-0 with a match to go.

The result puts a revamped Australian side right back at the top of the Test game after being threatened by South Africa, and their form bodes well for their upcoming Ashes challenge.

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