JOHANNESBURG, March 2 – Australia bounced straight back from a home series defeat when they beat South Africa by 162 runs on the fifth day of the first Test at the Wanderers Stadium on Monday.
South Africa survived until after tea on the final day before being bowled out for 291. Their resistance was worn down by accurate, disciplined Australian bowling.
Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson sealed the win when he bowled Dale Steyn eight balls after tea.
Man of the match Johnson finished with four for 112. He took four for 25 in the first innings and also made 96 not out with the bat.
While Johnson was the main strike bowler, he received excellent support from fellow seam bowlers Peter Siddle (three for 46), Ben Hilfenhaus (two for 68) and Andrew McDonald (one for 31), who all applied relentless pressure on the South African batsmen.
Australia were beaten 2-1 in a home series against the same opponents earlier in the season. They need to win or draw the return three-Test series to retain their International Cricket Council Test championship.
A young and inexperienced Australian team, which included three new caps, set up the win by dominating the first three days.
The tourists recovered from 38 for three and 182 for five to reach a first innings total of 466, then bowled out South Africa for 220.
Pre-match favourites South Africa fought back in the second innings but had an almost impossible mountain to climb.
South Africa started the day on 178, still with an outside chance of chasing down a target of 454.
For the first hour, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis batted solidly. But then Amla clipped a ball from Siddle to midwicket to be out for 57.
First innings century-maker AB de Villiers made only three before he was trapped leg before by the persistent medium-pacer McDonald.
The key breakthrough came in the third over with the second new ball when Kallis was bowled off an inside edge by Johnson for 45.
In Johnson’s previous over, Kallis was given out by umpire Billy Bowden but Kallis asked for a referral and was reprieved by television umpire Asad Rauf because the ball pitched marginally outside leg stump.
Kallis scored 40 off 85 balls before Amla’s dismissal but then went into survival mode. He faced another 54 deliveries in scoring five more runs before he drove at a wide ball from Johnson, which deflected into his stumps off an inside edge and a pad.
JP Duminy and Mark Boucher survived for more than 20 overs before Duminy was caught at second slip off Siddle for 29.
Morne Morkel was caught off a weak pull shot for the second time in the match, giving Johnson his third wicket of the innings, before Boucher was bowled off an inside edge by Hilfenhaus for 24.