The players of South Africa team celebrate after taking the wicket of Australia’s Nathan Lyon (right) during the second Test match against Australia in Port Elizabeth, yesterday.
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa: Dale Steyn produced a ferocious spell of fast bowling to inspire South Africa to a crushing 231-run victory over Australia in fading light on day four of the second Test yesterday.
With rain predicted for today, Steyn charged in and took four wickets, including the key scalp of Australia captain Michael Clarke, as the tourists lost 10 wickets for 90 runs having looked comfortable at 126 without loss chasing a record 448 for victory.
Only opener Chris Rogers showed any real resistance with a fine 107, this third ton in four Tests, as he shared a century opening stand with David Warner (66), but for the remainder it was a procession as none of the other batsmen reached double figures.
The result left the three-match series level at 1-1 with the third Test starting in Cape Town on Saturday.
After JP Duminy had removed Warner and Morne Morkel grabbed the wicket of Alex Doolan (five), Shaun Marsh picked up a pair in the match and now has six ducks in his last 11 Test innings. He was lbw to Vernon Philander.
Then began the Steyn onslaught as Clarke (one) was brilliantly caught by Faf du Plessis at second slip and Steve Smith trapped lbw first ball.
That wicket showed evidence of reverse swing and Steyn produced more as he clattered into the middle stump of Brad Haddin (one) for the second time in the match.
Mitchell Johnson was the fourth lbw victim of the innings when he was struck on the pads by Philander.
Ryan Harris (six) was also trapped in front of his stumps but the key moment came when, with just seven minutes remaining in the day’s play, Rogers was run out trying to take a quick single to substitute fielder Alviro Peterson.
Nathan Lyon (zero) was the final wicket to fall, lbw to Dean Elgar and although replays showed he had hit the ball, Australia had used up their reviews.
South Africa earlier declared their second innings on 270 for five as Hashim Amla plundered an unbeaten 127, his 21st Test century to move joint third on South Africa’s all-time list with Gary Kirsten, still behind Graeme Smith (27) and Jacques Kallis (45).
Meanwhile, Clarke conceded his side were outplayed with bat and ball.
“South Africa deserve credit. We were outplayed and you have seen a class spell of reverse swing from all three of their bowlers but especially Steyn,” Clarke told reporters after the tourists were bowled out for 216.
“We didn’t get a ball to reverse swing all game.”
Australia made a fast start in pursuit of a daunting target of 448, reaching 126 before losing all 10 wickets for 90 runs.
“We knew the best time to bat would be when the ball was new and before it began to reserve. To face the ball swinging both ways is difficult at any time but especially when you walk out to bat with nought against your name,” said Clarke.
He added that his team would be ready to hit back in the third test that starts on Saturday.
“Cape Town is a magnificent place to play cricket,” said Clarke. “It will be a challenge but it is also exciting for us.
“You have two teams pushing extremely hard to have success. It was only seven days ago we were playing fantastic cricket.”
Clarke said if absent all-rounder Shane Watson could prove his fitness, he would return to the team.