Proteas victory more than a hiding – it was a snotklap

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Australia: 85 (Philander 5/21, Abbott 3/41), 161 (Abbott 6/77, Rabada 4/34)

South Africa 326: (De Kock 104, Bavuma 74, Hazlewood 6-89, Starc 3-79)

SA won by an innings and 80 runs and the series 2-0

Without two of the biggest box-office names in world cricket available to them, South Africa still produced a showstopper at the Bellerive Oval to complete a historic third successive series victory in Australia.

Even though AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn were ruled out of this series through injury, it mattered not a jolt to Faf du Plessis and his team who finished the Aussies off in clinical fashion by an innings and 80 runs.

“To come here and do it two-nil is special to us as a team. We share that with Dale and AB. It’s special for us. They know coming to Australia is one of the hardest places to win,” Du Plessis said post-match.

“We've had a good few months as a team. I am proud of the way the team is moving forward. We are challenging each other. We want to go places. It’s important that we enjoy this moment. It's really special for us.”

This victory was not a hiding or a thrashing. It was a snotklap for the home side lost their last eight wickets for just 32 runs in 114 balls – that’s less than even a single T20 innings – on a morning of absolute mayhem.

It was the hosts’ third batting capitulation in as many innings after the 10-85 on the first day here in Hobart and 10-86 last week in Perth.

The drama of it all made for compelling viewing, and not only for the demise of the Australian empire, but also for the pure quality of the South African attack. Every Proteas bowler raised his personal game by at least 10% yesterday to deliver arguably the most sustained spell of pressure seen in these parts for many a year.

The home side had arrived at the Bellerive Oval this morning with a glimmer of hope of salvaging something from the contest. They were met by a bowling group who were simply not going to let that happen on their watch.

From Kyle Abbott’s very first over all the way through to last-man Nathan Lyon’s dismissal the Proteas were right on the “10-cent piece”.

It was Abbott, so often the nearly-man of South African cricket that set the mayhem in motion when overnight batsman Usman Khawaja edged behind. Khawaja’s dismissal was almost like a dam wall that was holding and holding and that simply could not hold any longer and which just had to burst.

And when it did, it simply overflowed with the remaining Australian batsmen having no answer to the irresistible concoction of seam, swing and bounce from Abbott, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander.

The latter may have not added any wickets to his first-day demolition job of 5/15, but it was his 30 successive dot balls at the start which built up the pressure that allowed Abbott and Rabada to finish off a team that abandoned any sense of fight and resilience.

“To get eight wickets for 40 runs, plus minus, is one of those sessions we will always remember as a team. That won us the series and it was unbelievable. That ranks right at the top. All our bowlers were exceptional. When you play a three-seam attack, different bowlers have to stand up. I am so happy for Kyle. Most of the time he sits on the side. Vern on a wicket like that is going to be very tough. He doesn’t give you much. He set the tone,” Du Plessis explained.

Australia’s beleaguered captain Steve Smith, who was part of the chaos that unfolded, struggled for no answers to explain his team’s sudden demise – just like he had with bat in hand out in the middle earlier.

“At the moment, whether its seaming, swinging or spinning we are in trouble. We've got to find a way to be successful because at the moment it isn’t working,” Smith said.

“Guys have to got to find way to get themselves in. When you get in, it gets easier. Credit to South Africa. Abbott, Philander and Rabada hit that 10 cent piece.”

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Even without AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, Faf du Plessis and his team finished the Aussies off in clinical fashion.

Original source: Proteas victory more than a hiding - it was a snotklap

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