Showing a brilliant display of all-round cricket, South Africa thrashed Australia at Cape Town, responding to the ills concocted by Aussies by thumping them in a fateful but highly-followed third Test. The Third Test between South Africa and Australia showed us exactly why Karma gives birth to righteousness on the cricket pitch. If you act against the pure fabric of the game, you are more likely to be smashed onto the ground. Cricket’s contagious spirit seems one that rallies behind pure passion and is quick to slam doors on culprits. This, essentially, is the underlying truth about what transpired between Australia and South Africa at Cape Town as South Africa served a thumping win against arguably their finest cricketing rivals, producing dollops of heart-warming feats.
South Africa’s retribution
With an impressive 2-1 lead over Australia, it now seems it is South Africa’s series to lose
While on one end, the real dampener was served by Bancroft and his ball-tampering fiasco, an episode which became a saga and later on, a controversy, the finest takeaway was South Africa’s churning of their opponents, a side almost entirely being labeled ‘culprits’ world-over, perhaps to little surprise. The end result being a massive 322-run victory for the Proteas, a margin that often most teams struggle to put together in either inning of a Test. The Australian batting appeared fidgety, even flippant with Smith- a man clearly under the scanner for his presumable awareness of what Bancroft was upto- unable to score in both innings. It didn’t help either that Warner and Khwaja made little or precisely vapid contributions to the scoreboard. Moreover, the in-form Marsh brothers couldn’t do more than chipping in with lame two digit scores.
The Protean troika strikes
At all these times, South Africans kept coming hard at the Aussies. Tight, disciplined line nagging the tourists and pushing them to the backfoot; the ideal constructors of their triumph being the troika of Morkel, Rabada and Philander.
A series no stranger to controversy, being pinched already by the infamous shoulder-gate between Rabada and Smith in the previous Test, went an extra mile in serving controversy when Bancroft went ahead and tethered fairness by openly engaging in ball-tampering. South Africans, masters at replying through skill instead of shenanigans, answered with several match-winning performances.
Excellence in both departments of the game
Truth be told, it was hard to gauge which performance impacted the game’s outcome the most. De Villiers- batting like a god- fired fifties in both innings. Dean Elgar struck his eleventh ton; a brilliant unbeaten 141, an inning of immense skill and virtuosity, emboldened by his doggedness to bat session upon session. Next up, we had Aidan Markram, arguably South Africa’s finest find since de Kock who collected a vital half century in the second innings, top-scoring for the Proteas with his gutsy 84.
But inarguably, the finest honours of the win would be fittingly attributed to a man who’s often been the unsung hero of South African cricket: Morne Morkel. He is also a man who is sadly to take part in what will be his swansong Test at Johannesburg, starting March 30. Collecting 9 wickets from the game, including a feisty 5-for, Morne damaged Australia’s middle and lower order in the second inning. He just didn’t seem willing to allow Australian batsmen to settle in. He was in a hurry, you thought, basking in the enthusiasm of a youngster who cannot wait to set afoot on a wild African safari.
What lies ahead
It was a sight you love to see particularly if you cherish the game amplified by the triumph of seamers. It was quite simply, a sight to behold. With South Africa having pushed the Aussies to their back-foot in a Test that saw Australia faltering with abilities and character, it suffices to say that the deciding Test could be a fitting farewell to what has been an explosive series. The Proteas will be mighty aware of a possible backlash even though in absence of Smith, perhaps presumably from Warner. Yet, at the same time, Australia will be mindful of the fact that not one but five South Africans are in fine form- De Villiers, Morkel, Rabada, Markram and, Elgar. That said, there’s always a possibility of being struck by the sixth; a biggie- Hashim Amla.