Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has revealed he had to bat in a borrowed jumper stained with hamburger juices after his unexpected appearance at the crease in an attempt to halt Australia's late push for victory in the third Test. Smith, who broke his left hand in the first innings and was also nursing an injured right elbow, batted at No 11 as the Proteas came within 10 balls of pulling off an unlikely escape.
The captain, along with the tail-ender Makhaya Ntini (28 not out), held Australia at bay for 29 minutes before he was bowled by Mitchell Johnson in the penultimate over of a dramatic game.
Smith revealed he had not planned to bat at all but was caught up in the emotion of his team's courageous rearguard action. "I didn't really expect to go out. Deep inside I didn't really want to get out there," he admitted after Australia's 103-run win. "I probably decided 25 overs out, 26 overs out [that I was going to bat].
"I arrived here without any kit and had some pants I'd shoved into my cricket bag to protect my bats. I stole a shirt off Jacques [Kallis] and a pullover off Harry [Paul Harris] that still had his hamburger stain on the front left side of it. I had Morne [Morkel] dressing me and putting my shoes and pads on. Obviously there's a lot of pain. Once one ball hit the bat I thought, 'OK, that's one out of the way."
Chasing an unlikely 376 to win, the tourists seemed set for a heavy defeat until a battling, 50-run ninth-wicket stand between Dale Steyn and Ntini lifted the side.
South Africa, who had already won the series, had seen any hopes of a 3-0 whitewash disappear when they lost the opener Neil McKenzie (27), Jacques Kallis (four) and Hashim Amla (59) in the opening session.
A B de Villiers and J P Duminy fought hard to steady South Africa's innings after lunch before Mitchell Johnson trapped the latter lbw for 16 with a ball that kept low from just short of a length.
The dismissal brought Mark Boucher to the crease but the wicketkeeper, who scored 89 in the first innings, could add only four runs before he fell to Peter Siddle for the second time in the match.
De Villiers offered some resistance with a half-century but walked for 56 shortly before tea when he played a Siddle ball on to his stumps.
That left the Proteas on 190 for 7 and Paul Harris failed to ease their troubles when he was trapped lbw by Siddle for six. The home side appeared to be coasting to a comfortable victory, but Steyn and Ntini had other ideas.
Third Test, Sydney (Final day of five): Australia won by 103 runs.
Australia won toss
Australia – First Innings 445 (M J Clarke 138, M G Johnson 64).
South Africa – First Innings 327 (M V Boucher 89, H M Amla 51; P M Siddle 5-59).
Australia – Second Innings 257 for 4 dec (S M Katich 61, R T Ponting 53).
South Africa – Second Innings (Overnight: 62 for 1)
N D McKenzie c Hussey b Bollinger 27
M Morkel c Johnson b Bollinger 0
H M Amla c Katich b Hauritz 59
J H Kallis c and b McDonald 4
A B de Villiers b Siddle 56
J P Duminy lbw b Johnson 16
†M V Boucher lbw b Siddle 4
P L Harris lbw b Siddle 6
D W Steyn lbw b McDonald 28
M Ntini not out 28
*G C Smith b Johnson 3
Extras (b12 lb18 w4 nb2 pens 5) 41
Total (114.2 overs) 272
Fall: 1-2 2-68 3-91 4-110 5-166 6-172 7-190 8-202 9-257.
Bowling: Siddle 27-12-54-3; Bollinger 21-5-53-2; Johnson 23.2-7-49-2; McDonald 13-6-32-2; Hauritz 28-10-47-1; Clarke 2-1-2-0.
South Africa win three-match series 2-1.
Umpires: B F Bowden (NZ) and E A R de Silva (S Lanka).