Another poor batting display saw South Africa succumb to a defeat by an innings and 182 runs on Day 4 of the Boxing Day Test at MCG here on Thursday.
This series win sets Australia perfectly for the India challenge that starts in Nagpur next year.
South Africa began the fourth day 371 runs away from making Australia bat again. The overnight batsmen Theunis de Bruyn (28) and Sarel Erwee made a steady start against Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, though there were few opportunities on offer to score.
Starc almost had Bruyn caught at slips by Steven Smith in the sixth over of the day’s play. But Cummins gave the hosts their first breakthrough of the morning by trapping Erwee LBW by DRS option. Scott Boland had Bruyn caught at second slip off a peach of a delivery that climbed onto the batsman.
Smith brought up his 150th catch after he took a splendid catch even though he was off-sighted by Marnus Labuschagne who dived across him. South Africa lost one more when Temba Bavuma called Khaya Zondo (1) over for a non-existent single only for the latter to be run-out by an under-armed direct-hit by Travis Head.
At 65 for 4, Bavuma and Kyle Vereyyne offered some resistance through a counter-attack that saw them complete a half-century stand in just 70 balls. The two played their shots, sweeping Nathan Lyon and lofting quick bowlers.
After Boland broke the 63-run partnership soon after lunch by trapping Verreynne (33) in front, South Africa’s second innings folded quickly.
Marco Jansen (5) succumbed LBW to Lyon before Keshav Maharaj (13) was run out runout after another mix-up. Bavuma (65) then followed suit by skying a mistimed slog sweep for a well-made 65.
Lyon and Smith polished off Australia’s win with only Lungi Ngidi’s (19) slogs helping South Africa avoid the ignominy of eight straight innings with a sub-200 score.
This is their fourth successive defeat for the Proteas, and their chances for WTC final qualification has further diminished. As far as Australia is concerned, they are sure to qualify even before they take on India in a 4-Test series next year in the sub-continent. India needs just a series draw to qualify.
As of now, Australia’s win over South Africa is a big occasion for celebrations as they won a home series against South Africa after 17 years.
Brief scores: Australia 575/8 decl. (David Warner 200, Alex Carey 111; Anrich Nortje 3-92) beat South Africa 189 & 204 (Temba Bavuma 65; Nathan Lyon 3-58) by an innings and 182 runs.