Proteas cruise to remarkable win against Australia
Australia 284 & 47
South Africa 96 & 236-2
South Africa win by 8 wickets)
Friday 11 November 2011
Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith both scored centuries as South Africa cruised to a comprehensive eight-wicket win in the opening Test against Australia in Cape Town.
In stark contrast to yesterday when 23 wickets fell in an astonishing second day's play, it was the batsmen who dominated today as Amla and captain Smith helped guide the Proteas to their victory target of 236 with over eight sessions to spare.
Amla made 112, his 13th Test century, before falling with the finishing line in sight having put on 195 for the second wicket with Smith (101 not out), who completed his 23rd Test ton soon after and then knocked off the winning run as South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Amla and Smith had guided their side into a strong position at the end of the second day, South Africa reaching stumps on 81 for one, but the home side could not feel overly confident about their chances following yesterday's events.
However, the two overnight batsmen flourished under the Cape Town sun this morning as South Africa claimed victory in their first Test since January.
Amla, having been dropped off the final ball last night, survived another let-off in the third over today when he edged a Ryan Harris delivery to Shane Watson could not hold on to the chance in the slips.
A wicket then would have given Australia a huge boost but Amla survived and he and Smith quickly set about making inroads into their target.
Smith was the first to reach his 50, off 75 balls, but he had a stroke of luck in bringing up his half-century when, on 48, he edged the ball between the slips and gully for his ninth boundary of the innings.
Amla's 50 came up soon after as he collected two fours in the same Mitchell Johnson over.
Amla then stepped on the accelerator and, having faced 81 balls for his 50, he needed just 45 more deliveries to bring up his hundred, which included 19 fours.
The 28-year-old was not able to see South Africa to victory, though, as, with 14 runs needed, he slashed Johnson to gully where Michael Clarke took the catch.
That was Australia's only success of the morning however, as Smith and Jacques Kallis (two not out) saw their side home.
Smith was also able to complete his century, which came off 138 balls with 15 fours, to add gloss to what was a remarkable Test win for the Proteas skipper and his side.
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