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Sorry Australia thrashed by South Africa in ball-tampering aftermath

The ball-tampering scandal of the third day continued to overshadow the third Test in Cape Town as South Africa thrashed crisis-hit Australia by 322 runs to go 2-1 up in the four-match series.

cricket Updated: Mar 25, 2018 23:11 IST
By Ben Spratt
By Ben Spratt
Omnisport, Cape Town
South Africa vs Australia,Ball-Tampering,Morne Morkel
South Africa seamer Morne Morkel ripped through the Australian batting line-up to inflict a comprehensive 322-run defeat in the controversial third Test in Cape Town on Sunday.(REUTERS)

Australia crumbled to a 322-run defeat in the third Test with South Africa as the tourists struggled to move on from their ball-tampering shame in Cape Town. (SA vs AUS 3rd TEST, DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS)

Cameron Bancroft and captain Steve Smith had admitted to the tampering charge on Saturday, seeking to gain an unfair advantage over the impressive Proteas batsmen as the Australia opener rubbed a piece of tape covered in dirt against the ball.

(Read | Harbhajan Singh slams ICC’s decision in Steve Smith ball tampering row)

And the controversy surrounding the day-three incident roared on into Sunday morning as pressure continued to grow on Cricket Australia to act, with Tim Paine eventually being handed the captaincy for the remainder of the Test shortly before the first over, with a one-match ICC suspension later arriving for Smith.

There was no quick fix for Australia and a miserable weekend continued as fifties from Quinton de Kock (65) and Vernon Philander (52 not out) carried South Africa to a second-innings total of 373 and a daunting target of 430.

(Read | IPL 2018: Ajinkya Rahane could replace Steve Smith as Rajasthan Royals captain - Reports)

A rare highlight for the tourists saw Nathan Lyon (3-102) collect his 300th Test wicket, but a shambolic response was set in motion by Bancroft’s run out as Australia - including the jeered Smith - collapsed from 57-0 to 107 all out as Morne Morkel enjoyed a five-for in his final Newlands Test.

With Australia reeling on the back of widespread criticism from the likes of former players and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, the home side hit four boundaries in the opening three overs before their momentum was checked as AB de Villers (63) edged Josh Hazlewood (3-69) to slip.

(Read | Australian fans in Cape Town dismayed at actions of scandal-hit team)

But De Kock soon reached his half-century with a four and South Africa passed their first-innings total of 311 as the big-hitting Philander picked up the baton.

Although Pat Cummins (3-67) removed De Kock, the tourists had to wait until after lunch to make further progress, stand-in captain Paine stumping Kagiso Rabada (20) for Lyon’s milestone wicket before another arrived as Keshav Maharaj thrashed to long-on.

(Read | From ‘brain fade’ to ball-tampering: Five incidents that tarnished Australia captain Steve Smith)

Hazlewood ousted Morkel to end the innings and bring Bancroft and deposed Australia vice-captain David Warner to the crease amid a cacophony of boos.

That partnership showed promise but ended in farce soon after tea, Warner risking a single that left Bancroft short of his crease as Faf du Plessis’ superb direct hit set the tone for the rest of the session.

Warner (32) soon followed as Rabada (1-31) again took his wicket and Maharaj (2-32) got in on the act, accounting for Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh in successive balls.

And then came the wicket South Africa really wanted, Smith echoing his dismissal in the first innings as he steered Morkel (5-23) to gully to the delight of the home crowd, who made their feelings towards the batsman abundantly clear.

Morkel’s farewell series continued at a great pace as he removed Mitchell Marsh and Cummins in consecutive deliveries, then added the wicket of Mitchell Starc before the Proteas closed to within one of victory as Lyon was run out without facing.

It was Morkel who completed the rout, finishing with career-best match figures of 9-110 as Hazlewood holed out to third man to conclude a desperate outing for the tourists, who must somehow bounce back from 2-1 down in the final Test at the Wanderers on Friday.

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 21:59 IST