Port Elizabeth – All roads lead to Newlands now after a day of high drama at St George’s Park yesterday.
The Proteas brilliantly levelled the three-match Test series in Port Elizabeth, walloping Australia by a mammoth 231 runs with a day to spare, to set up a potentially epic series finale at the grand old ground, starting on Saturday.
The Western Cape faithful may have lost out on a New Year Test match, but they certainly now have the plum cricket fixture of the season after fast bowler Dale Steyn’s brilliance helped rout the Aussies.
The South African claimed four wickets for 55 runs in a classy exhibition of reverse-swing bowling.
Hashim Amla had also scored a century (121 not out) earlier in the day to help set Australia a target of 448 that was never in danger of being overhauled.
“For the series it is a terrific set-up,” Proteas captain Graeme Smith said after the comprehensive victory.
“Newlands is a fantastic ground, one of the most picturesque grounds in the world. It’s all set up fantastically well because we know how to win there and I know all of us want to be a part of it.”
South Africa certainly have fond memories of playing at “Fortress Newlands”, having smashed the Aussies in their last game in Cape Town back in 2011.
The Proteas ripped through in that Test, sending the visitors crashing for just 47 in their second innings.
Australian captain Michael Clarke dismissed suggestions that his team carried mental scars from that defeat, and was excited to be coming to Cape Town to showcase his team’s skills.
“I think we’ll get over this defeat, like South Africa did last week’s at Centurion.
“Last time I wished there was a third Test, and now we have it.
“Cape Town is a beautiful place to play cricket.
“When the sun is out, it really is a nice place to bat,” said Clarke, who scored a magnificent 151 in the first innings of the 2011 Test.
“It will be a challenge, but it is also exciting for us.
“You have two teams pushing extremely hard to have success.
“It was only seven days ago we were playing fantastic cricket.” - Cape Times