Mitchell Johnson was again South Africa’s destroyer as Australia completed victory over their hosts inside four days in Centurion.
Johnson ended with career-best match figures of 12 for 127 as he took five for 59 to follow up his first innings seven for 68 to help dismiss the Proteas for just 200 after they had been set 482 to win by Australia’s second innings declaration, which came early on when Shaun Marsh was dismissed by Dale Steyn (2-61) for 44.
Johnson, as in the first innings, soon had South Africa in trouble. His 250th Test wicket and the first of the innings came in his first over when he had Alviro Petersen edging through to Brad Haddin having scored just one. His next over saw him pick up wicket number 251 when Graeme Smith was well caught by debutant Alex Doolan at short-leg.
At 12 for two, South Africa’s hopes of batting five sessions against this ferocious attack were probably already scuppered. However, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla saw off the remainder of Johnson’s opening burst and added 37 for the third-wicket. Peter Siddle had du Plessis trapped plumb LBW for 18, but AB de Villiers joined Amla and the pair took their side to lunch on 65 for three.
They batted on for some time after the resumption as it looked like they might at least make Australia work hard for their wickets. Amla, though, was caught behind the wicket by Shaun Marsh with the score on 97.
After a brief stand between JP Duminy and de Villiers it was then again over to Johnson. Either side of tea he virtually wrapped up the Test for his side. Doolan took his second catch of the innings at short-leg to end Duminy’s obdurate innings at 10 as South Africa reached tea on 132 for five.
After the break, Johnson had Ryan McLaren fending another hostile short delivery through to Haddin and de Villiers, again top-scoring, this time with 48, chipping a slower ball to Steve Smith.
With that, the hosts were 151 for seven and only a couple of cameos delayed the inevitable. Robin Peterson was bowled for 21 by Peter Siddle (2-55), with Dale Steyn then following, caught by captain Michael Clarke off Ryan Harris (2-35) for just three. The innings ended when Morne Morkel was run-out as South Africa were all out for 200 in fewer than 60 overs with Vernon Philander unbeaten on 26 off 18 balls.
Australia will look to move even closer to taking South Africa’s number one ranking when the two sides meet in the second Test at Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
© Cricket World 2014