South Africa skittled by Warne

Australia 439 & 309-7 dec South Africa 374 & 128 Australia win by 246 runs
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The Australia captain Steve Waugh singled out the master leg-spinner Shane Warne for special praise after his side's 246-run win over South Africa in the first Test here yesterday.

The man-of-the-match Warne followed up his five-wicket haul in the first innings with figures of 3 for 57 as the tourists, chasing a victory target of 375, were skittled out for 128 on the final day. Waugh said: "It was certainly a good team effort. We had to work hard today and I thought our bowling was outstanding.

"It's always hard to bat last on this wicket, it's a bit up and down, and Shane was always going to be hard to play on the last couple of days turning it out of the rough."

Australia had already dominated with the bat during this match and Waugh added: "They're not playing many loose shots at the moment. Matty Hayden's century in the second innings was an outstanding knock and set us up. It gave us plenty of time to bowl South Africa out."

The Australia coach, John Buchanan, was delighted with his team's performance throughout the match. He said: "We have a very good first innings score thanks to Damien Martyn and Justin Langer, supported by Shane Warne and Brett Lee, and from that point on we were in the driving seat.

"The first innings bowling was reasonably good and Matthew Hayden's innings was outstanding, backed up by Mark Waugh and today the bowling was superb.

"We can now go back and get recharged, because we now have back to back Tests which are always very hectic, especially around Boxing Day and over the New Year period."

The South Africa captain, Shaun Pollock, offered no excuses for the defeat. "I think we've got to look for as many positives as we can find but overall our performance was pretty average," he said. "On the first day we had some catches dropped, missed some opportunities, and you just can't do that against a top side like Australia.

"But all the guys tried as hard as they can and we were just outplayed by the better side. We'll have to regroup in the practice match we've got before the next Test [against New South Wales starting tomorrow in Sydney] and make sure we put in a better effort in that game."

Pollock was remaining upbeat about his team's chances in the series. "We still believe as a unit that we've got a side that's good enough to beat Australia on any given day," he said. "We've come here believing that we've got a good side and we want to show that."

* The New Zealand batsman Craig McMillan had X-rays on an injured finger after he was involved in a freak accident during the washed-out opening day of the first Test against Bangladesh yesterday. McMillan was about to climb out of a taxi outside the Hamilton ground when it was hit by another vehicle, hurting a finger on his right hand. McMillan went to Waikato Hospital for X-rays but the injury was not believed to be serious.

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