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Proteas fall agonisingly short

05 March 2014, 21:02

Cape Town - Australia have beaten the Proteas by 245 runs under dramatic circumstances in the third and final Test at Newlands to win the three-match series 2-1 and inflict a first series defeat on Graeme Smith's men since 2009.

As it happened: SA v Oz Day 5

Morne Morkel was the last man to fall for the Proteas, as he was bowled by Ryan Harris for a duck to send the Australian team into a state of delirium.

The draw looked the most likely result with only five overs remaining in the day, with the hosts still guarding two of its second innings wickets at 265/8, with Vernon Philander, who top scored with 51 not out and Dale Steyn still at the crease.

However, Harris quickly swung the match, and series, in favour of the tourists as he removed Steyn with his first delivery of the over, before knocking over Morkel two balls later.

Not even a controversial third umpire decision could derail Australia's victory charge, though they left it late in the day to force the win with Harris (four for 32) the hero.

Australia were left seething when third umpire Richard Illingworth overturned a decision which may have swung the match in Australia's favour 11 overs sooner.

Mitchell Johnson produced a fierce bouncer that clearly caught the right thumb of Philander, who was given out by on-field umpire Aleem Dar.

Philander reviewed the decision and it was overturned based on the view that the batsman's hand was not on the bat handle.

Replays looked inconclusive and the Australians were seething, leading to an ugly verbal confrontation between touring captain Michael Clarke and Steyn.

The victory gave Australia the series 2-1 and came in the wake of their 5-0 thrashing of England in the home Ashes series played earlier this year.

South Africa started the day on 71 for four and batted for 94 overs but could not find an anchor all day, despite a number of candidates emerging.

Philander, Faf du Plessis (47), JP Duminy (43) and AB de Villiers (43) all spent time at the crease, but not long enough to save the Proteas from a first series defeat since Australia won by the same scoreline in the 2008/09 season.

The match is the last for South Africa's Smith who announced his retirement from international cricket after day three of the Test having played in 117 five-day games, 109 as skipper.

- Sport24


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