CAPE TOWN – A terrific, menacing bowling effort by the Proteas saw them run through the Australian batting line-up on Sunday to win the third Test by 322 runs at Newlands.
After all the controversy surrounding Australian captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft after the ball-tampering saga, attention finally turned to the actual cricket on the field.
Chasing a massive 430 for victory, the Australians made a strong start before tea, with openers Cameron Bancroft and David Warner looking comfortable on a seemingly flat deck.
But after the resumption of play, it was Proteas captain Faf du Plessis who made the crucial breakthrough with a superb run out of Bancroft.
Coming in from cover as Warner set off, Du Plessis threw the ball in with one motion to catch Bancroft (26) just short of his ground to leave Australia 57/1.
Then it was time for Kagiso Rabada to get in on the act Warner guided the ball to third slip, where AB de Villiers took a wonderful catch to dismiss the left-hander for 32.
That sparked the procession, as spinner Keshav Maharaj got rid of Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh in the same over, although Mitchell Marsh blocked out the hat trick ball.
The big wicket came in the 30th over, though, as Morné Morkel found the thick edge of Steve Smith’s bat, and the Australian captain was well caught by Dean Elgar at gully for just seven.
That ended Australia’s resistance as they had slumped to 75/5, and the spirit had gone out of their fight by that stage.
With a boisterous Newlands crowd urging them on, the Proteas wrapped things up just after 5.30pm as Morkel ended with figures of 5/23 in 9.4 overs to claim a 2-1 lead ahead of the final Test at the Wanderers next weekend as the visitors were bowled out for only 107.