iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Agence France-Presse
Cape Town, March 06, 2014
Australia won the third and final Test against South Africa by 245 runs at Newlands on Wednesday in a nailbiting finish with just 27 balls to spare after a day of epic home resistance.

Ryan Harris bowled Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel with the first and third balls of his 25th over as Australia won the match as well as the series by two Tests to one.

Steyn and Vernon Philander (51 not out) came together with 19.5 overs remaining and survived until Harris returned to the attack for a final burst.

Michael Clarke's side became the first team to win a series against South Africa since Ricky Ponting's Australians won by the same margin in South Africa in 2008/09.

South Africa will retain their number one position in the official Test rankings, but the defeat could signal the imminent end of an era, with captain Graeme Smith stepping down from international cricket.

Smith's retirement, announced after the third day's play, follows the retirement earlier in the season of star all-rounder Jacques Kallis, while long-serving wicketkeeper Mark Boucher was forced to quit through injury in 2012.

Australia, on the other hand, continued a resurgence under the leadership of Clarke and coach Darren Lehmann, following their 5-0 Ashes triumph against England earlier in the season.

"It has been tough away from home for us for a long time. The way the boys have played is tremendous. The series in India and England were not good. To turn it around is great," said Clarke.

"Playing South Africa, and in South Africa, has been the greatest challenge."

Smith admitted he had endured a tough few days both professionally and personally with his daughter Cadence reportedly unwell.

"The courage the guys showed was immense. We have been outplayed in this Test throughout so it was important to show the fight today," said Smith.

"I am really proud of that, but it is important to congratulate Michael Clarke and his team. We have had great battles over the past years, and this one will go down too."

Australia No 2
With the win, Australia replaced India at No 2 position in the Test team rankings. Australia finish the year on 115 points, three points ahead of India, at the April 1 cut-off date. It also means that Australia have won a cash award of $370,000 while India will have to settle with $265,000.