Australia 369 & 307-4 dec South Africa 267 & 297: Boucher's resistance fails to save South Africa from Warne
Wednesday 29 March 2006
Magnificent bowling from Shane Warne and a typically unyielding innings from Mark Boucher were the highlights of a gripping fifth day of this second Test played in deteriorating light and before a small crowd. In the end the spinner was the winner, but it took a dubious leg before decision as Makhaya Ntini padded up to a googly with 43 balls left to bring victory to a deserving and hard-working visiting side.
Boucher was his usual gritty self, defying pace, spin and his foes to do their worst. For 223 minutes he presented the broadest of bats and the stoutest of hearts, and the Australians could not get past him.
Nicky Boje kept him company for 83 lively minutes and Andre Nel valiantly sustained the resistance. By then Warne had bowled umpteen overs and his mind and fingers had lost their sting. But then he switched ends and produced a ripping leg-break that the paceman could only edge to slip. Then came the fall of Ntini.
Warne deserved to finish on the winning side. Belatedly given the ball after the hosts had advanced to 91 without loss and operating with a high arm and putting plenty of energy on the ball, the leg-spinner was at his mesmeric best.
None of the senior batsmen could cope with the veteran's challenge. A B De Villiers was beaten by a cleverly flighted, dipping delivery. Graeme Smith swept and perished at leg slip, and Jacques Kallis ineptly swept at a full delivery. Wickets continued to tumble and the end seemed nigh. Then came Boucher and company. It was not to be. To the bold went the spoils.
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