Australia have maintained their unbeaten Test status at home this summer and closed in on booking a spot at next year’s World Test Championship final with a decisive six-wicket victory over a disappointing South Africa in the first Test in Brisbane on Sunday.
The win sees Australia move further ahead at the top of the World Test Championship standings, while South Africa are overtaken by India and drop to third as a result of the loss.
Australia now hold a 76.92 win percentage, with India (55.77) now ahead of South Africa (54.55) following their 188-run triumph over Bangladesh in Chattogram earlier in the day.
The Test match was over in less than two days as Australia’s strong bowling attack – with some assistance from a bowler-friendly surface at the Gabba – made light work of South Africa’s batters with an impressive team performance.
Put in to bat by Australia, South Africa was bundled out for 152 in their first innings. Except a 98-run stand between Kyle Verreynne (64) and Temba Bavuma (38), the Proteas struggled in bowling-friendly conditions. Spinner Nathan Lyon (3/14) and pacer Mitchell Starc (3/41) were extremely impressive for the Aussies. Pat Cummins and Scott Boland took two wickets each.
Aussies gained a 56-run lead in the match after being bundled out for 218 in the second innings. Travis Head (92 off 96 balls) batted exceptionally on surface that offered assistance to bowlers. After the hosts were reduced to 27/3 in the second innings, he stitched a 117-run partnership with Steve Smith (36) to help Aussies get a sizeable lead. Pacer Kagiso Rabada (4/76) and Marco Jansen (3/32) were the standout bowlers for Proteas.
Skipper Pat Cummins (5/42) and the consistent Scott Boland (2/14) did the majority of the damage on Sunday, while Mitchell Starc (2/26) picked up his 300th Test wicket early in the day as South Africa were skittled for just 99 in their second innings. Khaya Zondo was the top scorer, with 36*. Bavuma also scored 29 runs.
South Africa caused some concern in the Australia camp when they claimed four wickets. The hosts chased down the 34 required for victory, with Marnus Labuschagne (5*) and Cameron Green (0*) guiding the side home as the Aussies clinched the opening match of the three-game series.
The battle to reach next year’s World Test Championship decider at The Oval is still wide open, with South Africa a chance to reclaim second place with positive results during the remaining two Tests in Australia.
The Proteas travel to Melbourne for the second Test that commences on Boxing Day, before the third and final Test of the series in Sydney early in the New Year.
Australia will be keen to add to the three Test matches they have won against the West Indies and South Africa at home this summer, with a difficult trip to India for four Tests in February and March to likely to decide who claims the two spots in the World Test Championship final.
Brief Scores: Australia: 218 and 35/4 (Steven Smith 6, Marnus Labuschagne 5*, Kagiso Rabada 4/13) defeated South Africa 152 and 99 (Khaya Zondo 36*, Temba Bavuma 29, Pat Cummins 5/42) by six wickets. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.