Cricket: Australians are scythed down by De Villiers: South Africa fashion extraordinary win

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South Africa 169 and 239

Australia 292 and 111

South Africa win by 5 runs

SOUTH AFRICA snatched a sensational victory, perhaps the most famous in the country's history, when they bowled Australia out for 111 to win the second Test match by five runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.

Within three minutes remaining before the lunch interval, Fanie de Villiers grabbed a return catch from the last man, Glenn McGrath, to put the seal on an amazing match for both himself and his team.

De Villiers bowled unchanged for close on two hours in sweltering heat yesterday, taking two more wickets to add to the four he picked up on Wednesday as he blasted away the Australian top order.

He finished with 6 for 43 for the innings and 10 for 123 for the match to steal the man-of-the-match award away from Australia's 12-wicket hero Shane Warne.

It was an amazing and emotional turnaround for the South Africans, who had spent the greater part of the match coming from behind.

Australia had begun their second innings needing 117 to win, but their quest for victory was jolted off course in the last session on Wednesday evening as De Villiers reduced them to 63 for 4.

They started yesterday needing another 54 with six wickets in hand, but Allan Donald, who had bowled indifferently on Wednesday afternoon, rocked the home team with the wicket of Allan Border in the first over of the morning before Australia had increased their score.

Donald struck again eight overs later when he removed Mark Waugh with a devastating yorker.

De Villiers joined in to bowl Ian Healy in the next over and suddenly Australia had slipped to 73 for 7. 'He probably would have bowled until three o'clock,' the South African coach, Mike Procter, said of De Villiers.

He induced McDermott to pop one up agonisingly close to Gary Kirsten at short leg, but then the batsman took two fours off an over from him and suddenly Australia had reached 110, just seven short of victory with two wickets left.

Donald had been rested for three overs before returning at the Randwick end. He had seen McDermott scoop a drive over the fingertips of Andrew Hudson at cover, but finally, with the first ball of his 17th over, he persuaded Damien Martyn to venture his first attacking stroke for an hour.

The ball flew to Hudson at cover and Australia were nine down. McGrath came in, took a single and De Villiers finished it off at the other end.

It was the most amazing of victories, achieved with the narrowest winning margin in the history of Test cricket between the two countries and the fourth closest in the history of Test cricket.

The SCG opened its doors to the public yesterday so no official attendance figures were available. At least 15,000 were present, however, to witness South Africa re-establish themselves as a major force in world cricket.

The side will bid farewell to their captain, Kepler Wessels, now, but they will go into the final Test in Adelaide knowing they cannot be beaten in this series. With another three Tests to be played in South Africa in March, the scene has been set for a memorable few months.

(Final day: South Africa won toss)

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 169 (G Kirsten 67; S K Warne 7-56).

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 292 (M J Slater 92, D R Martyn 59; A A Donald 4-83, P S de Villiers 4-80).

SOUTH AFRICA - Second Innings 239 (J N Rhodes 76no; Warne 5-72).

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

(Overnight: 63 for 4)

M A Taylor c Richardson b De Villiers 27

M J Slater b De Villiers 1

D C Boon c Kirsten b De Villiers 24

T A May lbw b De Villiers 0

M E Waugh lbw b Donald 11

* A R Border b Donald 7

D R Martyn c Hudson b Donald 6

I A Healy b De Villiers 1

S K Warne run out 1

C J McDermott not out 29

G D McGrath c and b De Villiers 1

Extras (lb3) 3

Total (56.3 overs) 111

Fall: 1-4 2-51 3-51 4-56 5-63 6-72 7-73 8-75 9-110.

Bowling: Donald 17-5-34-3; De Villiers 23.3-8-43-6; Matthews 6-5-9-0; Symcox 10-3-22-0.

Peter Robinson is cricket correspondent of the Johannesburg Star.