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Australia End South Africa's Resistance

Australia celebrate the wicket of AB de Villiers
Australia celebrate the vital wicket of AB de Villiers on the final day in Cape Town
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia 494-7 dec. & 303-5 dec. beat
South Africa 287 & 265 by 245 runs
Third Test, Cape Town

Australia finally ended South Africa's brave resistance to win the decisive third and final Test in Cape Town by 245 runs, and with it claim a 2-1 series victory.

South Africa were bowled out for 265 with less than five overs remaining in the day's play, the final blows coming when Ryan Harris bowled Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in the space of three balls.

The hosts had looked like they might just succeed in their bid to bat through the day, as Vernon Philander (51), Faf du Plessis (47) and AB de Villiers (43) dug in.

However, Australia prevailed with Harris finishing with figures of four for 32, Mitchell Johnson three for 92 and James Pattinson two for 62.

It took them until after the drinks break in the opening session to break up the stubborn partnership between nightwatchman Kyle Abbott (7 in 89 balls) and de Villiers (43 in 228).

With spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith making little headway, James Pattinson struck with his first ball back to bowl Abbott, who left an inswinger that crashed into his off stump.

De Villiers and du Plessis then took the score on to 136 and batted for almost 20 overs together before de Villiers was caught by Brad Haddin off Harris.

Du Plessis stuck around until the 103rd over of the innings when his vigil of 47 in 109 balls was ended by Smith, who had him trapped in front.

The leg-spinner was the only slow bowler to reap any reward although Lyon's figures of 22-17-10-0 were indicative of just how keen South Africa were to avoid taking any risks as he aimed to get the ball turning and spitting out of the rough.

After du Plessis and de Villiers had blocked their way through the early part of the day, JP Duminy (43 in 99 balls with eight fours) and Philander (51 not out in 105 balls, six fours and a six) fairly raced along later on.

They added 73 in 17 overs but when Duminy was caught by Lyon off Johnson, Australia sensed they were close to victory.

Not as close as they thought perhaps, as more dogged resistance from Steyn, who made one in 44 balls, delayed their charge and tensions almost boiled over at one point with Steyn and Michael Clarke needing to be kept apart by their team-mates.

After Philander reached his half-century and South Africa inched closer to saving the game, Clarke turned to Harris, who duly delivered.

He took out Steyn's off stump and after Morkel was able to leave his first delivery alone, he could get nothing on his second, and Australia could celebrate.

Australia won the opening Test at Centurion by 281 runs before South Africa won the second Test in Port Elizabeth by 231 runs.

This victory has propelled Australia into second place in the ICC Test rankings, behind leaders South Africa.

© Cricket World 2014