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05-Mar-2014 16:14:00 GMT
South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town

Harris Win Thrilling Decider for Australia

Cape Town: Australia have defeated South Africa by 245 runs in the Test series decider in Cape Town, taking the series 2-1.

The Proteas were bowled out for 265 in the middle session of day five.

Australia won the first Test in Centurion by 281 runs, while South Africa levelled the series with a 231-run victory in Port Elizabeth.

It is South Africa's first Test series loss in five years, and Australia's first Test series win on foreign soil since April, 2012.

It was the hardest-earned win of the seven they've taken from their past eight Tests, but Australia's last-gasp 245-run victory over South Africa in Cape Town gives them a credible claim to being the world's best team.

While the result won't dislodge South Africa from atop the ICC rankings, the manner in which it was achieved – with less than five overs remaining on a final day that seemed destined to deliver South Africa another famous, series-saving draw – lends credence to Michael Clarke's team being top of the Test tree.

Fitttingly, it was battle-scarred warhorse Ryan Harris who delivered the win amid stretching shadows and some equally long Australian faces as the home side hung on grimly during a day that laboured for the first two sessions before sparking into life in the final hours.

Harris ripped an in-swinging yorker through the defence of Dale Steyn to break a dogged 75-minute stand between the hobbled fast bowler and all-rounder Vernon Philander, who himself had been beaten and bruised during his defiant, unbeaten top score of 51.

The Australian quick then pulled the same trick to balls later to topple last man Morne Morkel, sparking riotous celebrations among the Australians who feared their tilt at a long-sought away seies win might be stymied at the final hurdle.

Evoking repressed memories of Adelaide, 2012 – the previous occasion grim South African defiance stood firm between Australia and a deserved win – it was AB de Villiers (43 off 228 balls) and Faf du Plessis (47 from 109 balls) who had initially dropped anchor for the Proteas.

Brief scores
494 for 7 dec (Clarke 161*, Warner 135, Smith 84, Duminy 4-73) and 303 for 5 dec (Warner 145)
South Africa: 287 (du Plessis 67, Petersen 53, Johnson 4-42) and 265 (Philander 51*, Harris 4-32, Johnson 3-92)
Result: Australia won by 245 runs
MOM and Man of the series David Warner (Australia)

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