Australia 355 & 321-7 DEC South Africa 311 & 181: Australia show less appealing side with constant pleading

Ultimately, South Africa were beaten by 184 runs soon after lunch on a baking fifth day. Without ever looking his old self, Glenn McGrath took the last few wickets while Shane Warne had to be content with a single contentious scalp. After numerous sustained appeals, the leg-spinner finally managed to coax a favourable decision from Asad Rauf, an umpire with considerable experience as a first-class cricketer. Overall, the Pakistani had a fine match but towards the end he began to doubt himself. It was a tough game played on a spinning pitch with men huddled around the bat.

Previously stoic in his rejection of unduly long appeals, Rauf finally wilted and sent Ashwell Prince on his way, though the gritty left-hander had clearly missed the ball. All summer the Australians have been over-appealing but the match referees had refused to protect their umpires, and the Proteas coach, Mickey Arthur, was quick to point the finger at Warne.

"They do put pressure on the umpires. They're masters at it," Arthur said. "Especially Warney. I guess he has an aura about him."

In reply, Ricky Ponting, the home captain, encapsulated the spiky nature of this Test series. "It's just another niggly little thing that they are trying to have a go at us about," he said. "We are out there just appealing every time we think something is out.

"Shane [Warne] is bowling around the wicket and they aren't playing shots. Soon enough there will be a chance it will hit the stumps. I wouldn't say there has been over-appealing whatsoever from our team."

Not that the visitors deserved a draw. Dropped catches and dubious tactics let Australia off the hook in their first innings and thereafter the match followed a predictable path. South Africa's weak points were exposed, especially a shaky middle order and a lame spin attack. Injuries to Makhaya Ntini and Justin Kemp did not help. Ntini will return home with a dodgy knee. Johan Botha has been summoned to strengthen the spin department. He is nicknamed "Harbhajan", a tribute to his doosra, a delivery whose discovery persuaded him to switch to spin two years ago.

Australia outclassed their opponents. Hussey was the most influential player in the match. His ability to play exactly the right strokes at the right time has seldom been surpassed. On the rampage, he does not so much pin his ears back as widen his range of interests. Ponting's bowlers also served with distinction. By hook or by crook the selectors have brought together an attack that combines penetration and variety. Obviously, it helped that the ball swung more than has lately been the case. In recent years swing has featured about as much on cricket fields as in the discotheques frequented by hair-fringed youths and ageing leg-spinners.

Lee and Symonds curled the ball further than any opponent except Jacques Kallis, an engine in need of oil. Lee moved the leather in both directions at high pace whilst his colleague indicated his abilities by sending down outswingers with the red cherry and off-cutters with the old missile.

Not every local had a productive match. The time has come to give Adam Gilchrist a rest. Better still, he could be advised to concentrate on Test cricket.

Australia deserved to win. McGrath's batting confirmed that the hosts have a dimension beyond these visitors, an ability to raise their games when the battle is at its highest pitch. Langer returns for the new year Test in Sydney where the hosts will be hard to beat.

Scoreboard

Final day of five; Australia won toss

Australia - First Innings 355 (M E K Hussey 122, R T Ponting 117, M L Hayden 65; A Nel 4-84).

South Africa - First Innings 311 (H H Gibbs 94, A B de Villiers 61).

Australia - Second Innings 321 for 7 dec (M L Hayden 137, A Symonds 72).

South Africa - Second Innings

(Overnight: 99 for 6)

A G Prince c Hayden b Warne 26

S M Pollock not out 67

N Boje b McGrath 13

A Nel c Gilchrist b McGrath 2

M Ntini b MacGill 2

Extras (lb6 w1 nb4) 11

Total (74 overs) 181

Fall (cont): 7-130 8-166 9-178.

Bowling: McGrath 15-3-44-3; Lee 11-4-23-0; Warne 28-7-74-4; Symonds 4-2-6-2; MacGill 16-7-28-1.

Umpires: Asad Rauf (Pak) and S A Bucknor (WI).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month