Graeme Smith leads South Africa to a historic series win
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Event:South Africa in Australia 2008/09

DateLine: 30th December 2008


Led by a blistering innings from captain Graeme Smith, South Africa won their first ever series against Australia to further enhance their claim as the best test side in the world. As an icing on the cake if the South Africans win the Sydney test thus whitewashing Australia they will climb up the ranking ladder and sit on top of the rest of the pack. Having not lost a test series since 2006, the Proteas overcame the 183 run target set by Australia for a win at the Melbourne test by nine wickets to go up 2-0 in the three test series with the final test coming up at Sydney later this week. Smith and fellow opener Neil McKenzie kept up the pressure this morning with some quick runs and once the South African opener fell to Nathan Hauritz, it was left to Hashim Amla to partner McKenzie to take the visitors past the milestone.


Brutal cuts and drives were employed by Smith as he picked up ten boundaries in his 94-ball 75 in the opening stand of 121. Ponting at the start of fifth morning ignored Mitchell Johnson, Australia's best bowler in favour of the injured Brett Lee and amateur Peter Siddle. Lee is heading for foot surgery and in his third over the pain of his injury showed as he hobbled and winced. Johnson was also fielding while Australia bowled six overs late on the fourth day and he was eventually called to replace Lee, who then came on for Siddle. Lee bowled his heart out and it was touching to see him hobbling back to his run-up, turning around to his target, then attempting to forget his pain and then charging in manfully towards the popping crease with renewed vigour and fire. He had McKenzie in all sorts of trouble finally succumbed to the pain and left the field.


Rain was present in the air and there was slight drizzle and the Australian players must have hoped for some miracle but the rain drizzle was too weak to stop the play. Hauritz provided a little bit of cheer in the Australian camp when he dismissed Smith leg before with a quicker one. Spirits might have just raised with that dismissal which was quickly snuffed out by an unbeaten 62 run partnership between the elegant Amla and dour McKenzie. Australia had not lost a series at home since 1992-93 and Ponting becomes the first captain since Alan Border to concede a home series. The Australian injury epidemic - Andrew Symonds has a knee problem and Shane Watson will be out for up to six months with back stress fractures - will ensure a new-look team will walk out in Sydney.




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