Australia crush top-ranked South Africa

Mitchell Johnson’s five wickets help Australia beat South Africa by 281 runs after bowling out the hosts for 200.

Bowler Mitchell Johnson had too much pace for South Africa and took twelve wickets over both innings [AFP]
Bowler Mitchell Johnson had too much pace for South Africa and took twelve wickets over both innings [AFP]

Australia crushed cricket’s top-ranked team as unstoppable fast bowler Mitchell Johnson took 12 of 20 wickets to send South Africa to a humbling 281-run defeat at home in the first Test.

Already with 7-68 from the first innings, Johnson ripped out 5-59 in the second to bowl South Africa out for 200, way off the huge target of 482 at SuperSport Park.

Johnson finished with match figures of 12-127 off 33 brutally hostile overs.

Fourth day scorecard

Australia first innings 397
South Africa first innings 206
Australia second innings 290
South Africa second innings
A Petersen c Haddin b Johnson 1
G Smith c Doolan b Johnson 4
H Amla c Marsh b Harris 35
F du Plessis lbw b Siddle 18
A de Villiers c Smith b Johnson 48
J Duminy c Doolan b Johnson 10
R McLaren c Haddin b Johnson 6
R Peterson b Siddle 21
V Philander not out 26
D Steyn c Clarke b Harris 3
M Morkel run out (Lyon/Haddin) 1
Extras: 27
Total: (all out; 59.4 overs) 200
Fall of wickets: 1-6 2-12 3-49 4-97 5-128 6-140 7-151 8-165 9-178

Bowling fast and often short, and too fast for the South Africans to handle, the left-arm Johnson sent back openers Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith inside four overs.

For good measure, Johnson struck Ryan McLaren a crunching blow on the helmet with a bouncer, then blasted him out too as a ruthless Australia took the lead in the three-match contest.

The red-hot quick eventually finished with a second five-wicket haul of the match and his third career 10-for in Tests.

Fellow fast bowlers Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris had two each as Australia rattled through South Africa’s top order for the second time in the match and then bruised its lower order.

Johnson’s destructive start to the series opener already had the Proteas all out for 206 in their first knock.

Dominating with bat as well as ball, Australia had earlier declared its second innings on 290-4 in the third over of play for a lead of 481 after a power-packed 115 by David Warner and 89 by debutant Doolan.

Warner’s rapid hundred was the third Australian century of the game, and his double-century partnership in tandem with Doolan the tourists’ second stand of over 200.

In comparison, AB de Villiers was the only South African to pass 50 and deal with the threat of Johnson with his 91 in the first innings.

De Villiers made 48 in the second innings as all around him the home team crumbled through four days.

Johnson’s blistering spell

Johnson reduced South Africa to 12-2 at one point after another blistering spell by the ferocious Australia fast bowler, and if his wickets weren’t enough to underline his threat, he hit McLaren with a vicious bouncer.

McLaren came up smiling after some on-field attention to a cut near his ear and walked off at the tea break.

Johnson had forced Petersen (1) out to an edge behind to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin in the second over and removed South Africa captain Smith for 4 to a superb sharp catch by Doolan at short leg in the fourth over.

Du Plessis was hit low on the pads after a ball came off a crack and Amla also didn’t stay long enough to worry Australia.

Duminy fell for 10 just before the end of the session when he clipped a ball from Johnson away and Doolan managed to react quickly enough to take a brilliant catch.

McLaren survived the bouncer but not Johnson’s aggression for much longer as he edged behind soon after tea for 140-6. De Villiers drove a Johnson ball straight to Michael Clarke to fall just short of a half-century.

Coming off a 5-0 Ashes whitewash of England, Australia became the first team to beat South Africa in a test at Centurion in 14 years, and only the second ever.

South Africa had lost just once, to England in 2000, over 18 Tests at SuperSport Park.

At the start of the day, Australia skipper Michael Clarke, who was batting at the time, called a halt to the second innings as soon as Shaun Marsh fell to Dale Steyn for 44 in the third over, setting South Africa an improbable victory target of 482 that was made much more unlikely by Johnson’s unplayable form.

Source: AP

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