Aussies bag consolation win


South Africa: 259/9 dec and 250 (Cook 104, Starc 4/80, Lyon 3/60)

Australia win the Test by 7 wickets, South Africa win the series 2-1

Australia have a definitive history with dead-rubber Tests. Whereas their great teams of the past led my Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh struggled to lift themselves for the inconsequential matches after the series had been won already, the new generation of Baggy Greens have found ways to salvage consolation victories.

Michael Clarke led his team to victory in his last Ashes Test at the Oval last year after surrendering the coveted urn in the “Nightmare of Nottingham” and now Steve Smith’s side has done the same here after losing this series to the Proteas the previous week in the “Hobart Horror” show.

After being set a paltry 127 runs for the victory, Australia’s fourth opening partnership of the series breezed through to 67 without loss before David Warner ran himself out for 47 off 51 balls. There was a slight flutter when Tabraiz Shamsi removed first innings centurion Usman Khawaja for a duck only a couple of balls later, but it was no more than a speedbump in Australia’s charge for victory.

Debutant Matt Renshaw scored a painstaking 34 not out off 137 balls, but the tall left-hander ultimately did his job to be there at the end when fellow debutant Peter Handscomb struck the winnings runs. He put together another 60-run partnership with Steve Smith before the Australian skipper was caught behind with just two runs needed for victory.

South Africa simply had nothing left to give and meekly surrendered here on the fourth day of this pink ball Test.

Overnight batsman Quinton de Kock could not produce yet another game-changing innings down in the lower order and succumbed lbw to Jackson Bird. Although umpire Nigel Llong initially declined the appeal, the television replays showed to ball to be hitting halfway up middle-stump after Australian captain Steve Smith reviewed the original decision.

Vernon Philander put on 34 for the eighth wicket to help Stephen Cook move closer to his second Test century before Mitchell Starc also trapped Philander lbw for 17. Again the review went in favour of the Aussies after Philander sent the decision upstairs.

Cook finally though reached his much-deserved milestone with a pull through square-leg, but that was the only joy for the South African dressing room on a rather dire day for the visitors.

Kagiso Rabada followed shortly afterwards before Cook was last man out when he was clean bowled by Starc, with the big left-armer finishing with 4/80.

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Australia won the the pink-ball Test at the Adelaide Oval, chasing down the modest 127 set for victory with seven wickets in hand.

Original source: Aussies bag consolation win