Australia edge out South Africa to tie series

November 21, 2011

michael clarke

Australia produced some nerveless cricket today to ensure they beat South Africa and in the process levelled the two match Test series one a piece.

It was a historic occasion as it was the highest ever successful run chase at the Wanderers to beat South Africa. The previous highest successful chase achieved at The Wanderers was 292, when Australia were also in town in 2006. Australia claimed victory in fading light with only two wickets in hand today.

Debutant and man of the match Pat Cummins was the hero, as he pulled Imran Tahir to the mid-wicket boundary sparking wild celebrations from the Australian camp.

Australia had resumed day five needing a further 168 for victory with 7 wickets in hand with the experienced Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke at the crease.

South Africa would have fancied their chances of victory on a wicket that was offering plenty of assistance to both quick bowlers and their leg-spinner Tahir.

The players took the field today just after lunch because rain had wiped out the whole of the morning session. However, there was still time for both sides to force a positive result with two long sessions planned.

South Africa furthered their expectations of winning the series 2-0 when they removed both Clarke and Ponting early on. The visitors were 165-5, still a long way off their victory target of 310.

Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin steadied the ship with a 50 run partnership before Huseey was trapped lbw by Vernon Philander for 39 with the score on 215.

Mitchell Johnson joined Haddin in what proved to be the telling partnership of the match. The pair added 72 at quicker than a run a ball, to bring Australia to within touching distance of the line, before Vernon Philander picked up his fifth wicket of the innings when he had Haddin caught behind for a well-made 55.

Peter Siddle came and went quickly as he was dismissed by Dale Steyn for just 4, leaving 18 runs still for victory when Cummins arrived at the crease. The debutant and Johnson finished the job for the visitors with Johnson 40 not out and Cummins 13 unbeaten.

Today was a positive day for Test match cricket with a climax that only Test cricket can produce.

Chris Murtagh 21/11/2011

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