Australia have claimed a six-wicket victory in a chaotic first Test against South Africa, taking a 1-0 series lead inside two days in Brisbane.
After tearing through the Proteas’ top order early on the first day and rolling them for 152 on an extremely green deck at The Gabba, the hosts took a 66-run first innings lead off the back of a counter-attacking innings from Travis Head.
The left-hander departed for 92 and his absence allowed South Africa to bowl the Aussies out for just 218 early in the second day, but there was plenty more drama yet to unfold.
In a tough period for the visitors just before lunch on day two, Pat Cummins (5/42) and Mitchell Starc (2/26) both struck, before the skipper struck again after the break to leave them reeling at 3/5.
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Starc’s wicket just before lunch was his 300th in Test cricket, joining the likes of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath on a truly elite list of Aussie stars.
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 Australia (@sportingnewsau) December 18, 2022
Khaya Zondo (36) and Temba Bavuma (29) both dug in and attempted to get the Proteas out of trouble, but a classy short spell from Scott Boland (2/14) and some more tidy work from Cummins finished their innings off for 99 and gave the skipper another five-wicket haul.
With a lead of just 33 runs, South Africa were a very slim chance, but were given some hope following the early departures of openers Usman Khawaja (2) and David Warner (3).
The Proteas’ odds of pulling off an impossible comeback improved when Steve Smith fell for six runs and Travis Head was dismissed for a golden duck the next ball.
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada was the man responsible for the Australian batting collapse, racking up a stunning 4/13.
However, the hard work was undone by some sloppy bowling from Anrich Nortje, with Australia securing the win off a four-run wide.
The match was just the second-ever Test on Australian soil to finish in under two days.
This the 438th Test played in Australia in the 145 years since the first one in 1877.
Before today, only one of those 437 previous Tests have been over in two days. We’re about to have a second one. #AUSvSA
— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) December 18, 2022
South Africa is all out for 99, the nation’s lowest Test score in Australia since 1932.#AUSvSA
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) December 18, 2022
Most ducks in a Gabba Test:
10 Aus v WI, 2000-01
9* Aus v RSA, 2022-23
— Ric Finlay (@RicFinlay) December 18, 2022
South Africa’s performance concludes a bizarre weekend of cricket results in Australia, after a shocking collapse from the Thunder saw them bowled out for just 15 runs in Friday night’s BBL clash against the Strikers.
The second clash between the Aussies and Proteas will begin on Boxing Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.