Aussies crash despite Johnson ton

Published: Monday, March 23, 2009, 10:09 [IST]
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South Africa beats Aussies in third test

Capetown: South Africa left-arm spinner Paul Harris took six wickets as the Proteas beat Australia by an innings and 20 runs to win the third Test but lose the series 2-1.

Harris claimed 6-127 off 42.5 overs as Australia was dismissed for 422 after tea on the fourth day at Newlands despite Mitchell Johnson hitting 11 fours and five sixes to score 123 not out off 103 balls and add 163 with Andrew McDonald (68).

Harris won the man-of-the-match award after becoming the first South African spinner in 44 years to claim five or more wickets in an innings in a home Test.

"I've dreamed about a day like this at Newlands. It's my favourite ground in the world, and to play in front of my folks and wife made it a great day," Harris said.

"The last three months I feel I've been bowling the best in my career. (Titans and former Pakistan coach) Richard Pybus must take a lot of credit for that. He's helped me a lot, as have (Proteas coaching staff) Vinnie Barnes and Jeremy Snape."

Johnson, who was selected as the player of the series after taking 16 wickets and scoring 255 runs, scored his maiden Test ton with a six off Dale Steyn. He had missed out on a century in the first Test when Australia's first innings ended with him on 96 not out.

Johnson admitted he had been a little nervous when wickets started to fall when he was in the 90s.

"I was thinking I would try to hit Harris for six straight over his head, but I had to have some faith in the guys. We've got a good tail," he said.

The series matched the 2-1 score that South Africa won by in Australia earlier this year.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting said the fact that his team were probably not mentally tuned in at the start of the Newlands Test, having already clinched the series, had been part of their downfall.

"If you are not quite there mentally, results will start to go against you very quickly," he said. "The other thing is that once their batsmen got starts, they went on to make big scores.

"It always hurts when you lose. This was a really poor game by us, and the way South Africa bounced back says a lot about the character in their team."

South Africa had amassed 651 in reply to Australia's 209 to lead by 442 runs after the completion of the first innings.

Australia was hoping to take the Test into the fifth day, but Harris dismissed McDonald and then had Peter Siddle caught by A.B. de Villiers at silly mid-off in successive balls in the 116th over to make the key breakthroughs. McDonald hit eight fours in 99 balls.

Bryce McGain was then run out for a duck seven runs later to make it 388-9, and only a last-wicket stand of 34 between Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus (12) delayed South Africa's victory. Harris got Hilfenhaus out to finish with match figures of 9-161.

Australia had resumed the day on 102-2, and Simon Katich and Michael Hussey progressed at a snail's pace in the first session with Katich adding only one run to his overnight score of 44 in the first hour of play.

It took 26 balls for Katich to get that run, which came off a dropped catch in the gully by Harris, and then it was 18 more balls before he scored again.

Twenty minutes before lunch, Katich drove a ball from Harris to J.P. Duminy at mid-off to be out after scoring 54 in more than four hours and bring an end to his 62-run stand with Hussey. Katich hit four fours and a six.

In the final over before the break, Michael Clarke on 3 was given out caught behind off Jacques Kallis by umpire Steve Bucknor, but the decision was reversed after being referred and Australia went to lunch on 142-3.

After lunch, Steyn removed Hussey for 39 and Clarke for 47, while Brad Haddin fell on 18 to Harris for a second time in the Test.

Hussey was out on his lunchtime score when he got one high on the bat which looped to Duminy in the gully. The gritty Australian left-hander hit five fours in 197 minutes at the crease.

Duminy then took his third catch of the innings, backpedalling at deep mid-on to hold onto a drive from Haddin off Harris and leave Australia on 191-5.

Steyn bowled Clarke shortly before tea after the Australian vice-captain played a ball onto his leg and it trickled back to hit the stumps. Clarke batted for two hours and hit seven fours.


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