Australia demolished by South Africa, suffer historic Test series loss

By @saihoops on
Australia cricket, Australia's tour of South Africa
Cricket - South Africa v Australia - Fourth Test - Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - April 3, 2018 Australia’s Tim Paine reacts at the end of the series Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko

Australia crashed to a humiliating 492-run defeat on Tuesday to South Africa in the fourth and final Test match at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. The loss meant that Australia suffered its first Test series defeat to South Africa in over 50 years, specifically since the latter was re-admitted to international cricket in 1992.

In pursuit of a massive 612-run fourth-innings target, the Aussies were bowled out for just 119, with only opener Joe Burns (42) lasting 100 minutes at the crease. Veteran South African speedster Vernon Philander finished with a haul of 6/21 to go along with his first-innings figures of 3/30. He was declared the Man of the Match.

The quick result brings to a head the controversial Australia's tour of South Africa, which was marred by on-field spats and a ball-tampering scandal that could potentially derail the foundation of Australian cricket. During the third Test match at Cape Town, captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft were caught red-handed for ball-tampering and subsequently suffered harsh suspensions from Cricket Australia (CA). Smith and Warner won't be allowed to wear the Baggy Green for more than a year.

Tim Paine, who stood in as captain for the Johannesburg Test, acknowledged that the lessons learned from Cape Town could bode well for the long-term health of Australian cricket.

"Has been a really challenging week, can't doubt our effort. When you're slightly off against a world-class opposition, you're going to be found wanting, and we were. That's something we've got to address, we've lost two of the best players in the world. Bancroft has been our leading run-scorer for Australia. They completely outplayed us, we can't hide behind the fact they've been too skilled for us. Hopefully, we can rebuild a new culture," Paine said during the presentation ceremony after Australia lost the series by a margin of 3-1, via ESPNCricinfo.

South African quick bowler Kagiso Rabada was declared Man of the Series for his tally of 23 wickets from 8 innings, at an average of 19.26 runs per scalp.

"It's been a long summer, a lot of games. At the end there, it reflected. Not much of a rest coming up, hopefully can regenerate some energy. Australia is a great cricketing nation, we know it's not going to be easy. Very proud of how we played. You can never stop learning, the game finds a way to humble you. Nice to always improve. Outstanding career for Morne, fitting finale for him. Today is all about him," Rabada said.