Cricket: Australia Sweep Clean and Retain Test Championship; THIRD AND FINAL TEST MATCH

The Birmingham Post (England), January 7, 2002 | Go to article overview

Cricket: Australia Sweep Clean and Retain Test Championship; THIRD AND FINAL TEST MATCH


A ustralia thrashed South Africa by ten wickets on Saturday to win the third and final Test match and complete their first series clean sweep over the tourists in 70 years.

Gary Kirsten scored a magnificent 153 to help South Africa amass 452 in their second innings and avoid an innings defeat but it was not enough to prevent Australia from completing another massive win.

Set 53 to win, Australia coasted to victory 23 minutes before the scheduled end of play, reaching their target off only 10.1 overs with Justin Langer scoring 30 and Matthew Hayden 21 to follow up their centuries from the first innings.

They were named as joint winners of the man of the match award while Hayden also received the player of the series award after scoring centuries in all three Tests.

Australia received a cheque for $A51,000 for winning the series but captain Steve Waugh announced the team had decided to donate their winnings to the bushfire appeal to help familes affected by the blazes that have devastated parts of New South Wales state.

Australia's win, which followed their 246-run triumph in Adelaide and a nine-wicketsuccess in Melbourne, gave them their first series cleansweep over South Africa since Bill Woodfull's side won 5-0 in 1931-32.

It also cemented their place as the world's official Test champions although they did have to work a little harder than expectedafter the South Africans prodced their finest batting performance of the series to stall Australia's march to victory.

Waugh said: 'It's been a great couple of weeks for the Australian team.'

South Africa started the day at 209 for two, needing another 191 to make Australia bat again after their first-innings total of 154, and added another 243 runs before they were dismissed after tea.

Kirsten's superb contribution saw him join Darryl Cullinan as South Africa's most prolific century-maker in Tests as well as breaking Jim Zulch's record for the highest score by a South African in Sydney.

The 34-year-old resumed on 82 and took less than an hour to score the required 18 runs to equal Cullinan's South African record of 14 Test hundreds, reaching the mark with a boundary off legspinner Stuart MacGill.

The left-handed opener had received a let-off on 12 the previous day when he was dropped by Mark Waugh at second slip off Brett Lee but hardly played another false stroke as he went on to register his second century against Australia off 246 balls in five hours.

He went on to pass Zulch's previous record of 150 for the highest score by a South African in Sydney, set in 1910-11, beforedragging a wide delivery from MacGill back on to his stumps, ending an innings that spanned 359 balls over seven and a quarter hours and featured 19 fours. …

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