Australia beat South Africa by 7 wkts
Stuart Clark took nine wickets on test debut to wrap up Proteas for 197. Australia notched up the required 95 runs losing 3 wickets in the process.Updated: Mar 18, 2006 20:59 IST
Debutant bowler Stuart Clark enabled Australia to complete a seven-wicket win on the third day of the first Test against South Africa at Newlands on Saturday.
Clark took four for 34 as South Africa were bowled out for 197 in their second innings. Australian opening batsmen Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden put on 71 but fast bowler Makhaya Ntini took three wickets in five balls before Australia reached the victory target of 95.
Australia's win in the first Test of a three-match series follows a 2-0 series win in Australia earlier in the season.
Australia won five out of six Tests between the two countries in the 2001/02 season, with South Africa winning a 'dead rubber' game in Durban at the end of the home series.
Bowling accurately at fast-medium pace, Clark finished with match figures of nine for 89. He took five for 55 in the first innings.
Clark struck two key blows Saturday morning by dismissing overnight batsmen Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince after South Africa resumed at a shaky 70 for three.
He came back in mid-afternoon to take two more wickets and stand on the brink of becoming only the third Australian, after Clarrie Grimmett in 1924/25 and Bob Massie in 1972, to take ten wickets in a match on his debut.
Leg-spinner Shane Warne took the final wicket, however, when last man Ntini holed out to long-off.
For South Africa, it was a disappointing batting display, albeit on a pitch which helped seam bowlers throughout.
Jacques Rudolph made South Africa's top score of the match when he made 41 before he was bowled by Warne. The left-hander padded up to a sharply-turning delivery far outside his off stump but the ball deflected off his withdrawn bat into the stumps.
Rudolph and Andrew Hall put on 50 for the seventh wicket, the only half-century stand of the match by South Africa. Hall was unbeaten on 34 when the innings ended.
By contrast, Australia had a partnership of 154 - exactly half their total of 308 - for the second wicket between Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting which provided the foundation for what proved a crucial first innings lead of 103.
South Africa's hopes rested largely on Kallis at the start of play. He clipped Brett Lee's third ball of the day confidently to square leg for four.
Clark struck with the third ball of the day's second over when Kallis, on 36, attempted a forcing shot off the back foot and wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist leapt high and to his right to take an excellent catch.
Clark bowled impeccably, conceding just one run off his first five overs. In his sixth over, bowling around the wicket, the left-handed Prince edged a sharp chance which went for four through the fingertips of Shane Warne at first slip.
Prince did not take advantage of the let-off, however, and was out for 27 off the next ball when he glanced a catch down the legside to Gilchrist.
Boucher made only two before he clipped Kasprowicz to midwicket, where Justin Langer took a smart low catch.
Rudolph's dismissal half an hour after lunch signalled a rapid end to South Africa's resistance. Nicky Boje batted aggressively to make 14 off 15 balls with three fours but he was out to the first ball of Clark's second spell of the day, pushing back a return catch.
Clark's final wicket came off the final ball of the same over when he bowled Andre Nel.
Langer and Hayden took their side to within 24 runs of victory before Hayden was caught off a mistimed pull against Ntini. Three balls later Ntini bowled Langer off an inside edge and with the first ball of his next over he trapped Ponting leg before wicket.
First Published: Mar 18, 2006 20:37 IST