Friday, November 11, 2011

Australia vs south africa 1st test highlights:SA beat Aus by 8 wickets inside three days

Cape Town: Captain Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla blasted centuries to send South Africa racing to a crazy eight-wicket win over an embarrassed Australia in the first Test on Friday.

South Africa won inside two-and-a-half days at Newlands after trailing by a hefty 188 runs on the first innings, completing a staggering turnaround in an amazing match to lead the two-Test series.

Smith made 101 not out - the fourth time he's made a century in a successful fourth-innings run chase - and Amla 112 as South Africa hurried to their victory target of 236 for just two wickets before lunch on Day Three.

The pair shared a dominating 195-run partnership and Australia's bowlers took just one wicket on the third day in Cape Town.

This, after Australia were skittled for 47 in a game-changing collapse in their second innings on Thursday, their lowest score since the 19th century.

After that chaotic second day when 23 wickets fell and the game swung wildly in the space of four frantic hours in the afternoon, Smith and Amla restored sanity. The Proteas' pair played fluently to take South Africa to an absurd victory after they trailed by a big margin in the first innings just a day ago.

"It's quite incredible. Yesterday was a bit of a mind boggle for all of us," Smith said. "I think it's probably a win I have to give to the bowlers, the way they fought back after a bad batting display and got us back in the game and being able to close it off was terrific."

"Hopefully the next match is less stressful than this one."

Led by 151 from captain Michael Clarke, Australia made 284 batting first and blasted out South Africa for 96 for their 188-run lead, seizing complete control of the match.

But Australia suddenly slumped to their worst batting score in Tests since 1896 - and their fourth lowest total ever - to see their dominant position disintegrate in a heap of wickets on the second afternoon.

"We were in a good position but we let that slide very quickly," Clarke said. "We have no excuses for that, we played disgraceful shots. Our shot selection was horrendous, our execution with the ball today wasn't great and we let the Test match slide. Like I say, we have no excuses. We have a lot of work to do before the second Test match."

Australia also missed two crucial chances off Amla in the final stages of a traumatic Test for the Baggy Greens, dropping the right-hander off the last ball of the second day and again early on Friday when he was on 30, when Shane Watson spilled a regulation catch at first slip.

Amla sent flashing drives through the covers for his 13th Test century and first against the Aussies, powering the Proteas to victory with 21 fours in a 134-ball innings.

Amla made the most of his two lives to go on the attack. He carved three straight boundaries off Ryan Harris - the bowler who produced the two missed chances from Amla - to cruise to three figures before edging a catch to Clarke in the gully off Mitchell Johnson with South Africa 14 short of victory.

But Smith saw South Africa home with his unbeaten hundred, and first Test ton in a year, nudging a single through midwicket to complete a dramatic turnaround in a hectic Test that lasted barely two days but is set to be remembered for years.

The 195-run partnership between Amla and Smith set a record for the second wicket for South Africa in games against Australia, beating another mark that had stood for over 100 years - another milestone in a match that produced a string of records amid the madness, mainly down to the inexplicable failure of the batters, on Thursday.

All four innings featured on Day Two, 17 consecutive batsmen were dismissed without reaching double figures, and the most wickets fell on a day of a Test in more than 100 years.

Australia's dramatic second-innings slump, where they were bowled out in just 18 overs and were in danger of recording the lowest Test score ever, sent the tourists crashing to defeat in stunning and unexpected fashion.

"We got rolled for 47 and the sun was shining," Clarke said. "It's cricket, there's plenty of tough times throughout your career and I guarantee this is one tough time for our team."

"Our goal is to fight hard in the second Test and get a win and try to level the series before we get on a plane back home."

Organizers announced they allowed spectators who had tickets for Days Four and Five to use those passes instead on Friday, because of what they called "the freakish course of this exciting Test match."

The second Test starts next Thursday in Johannesburg.

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