Australia end five Test losing streak with win against South Africa

Australia cruised to a seven-wicket win in the day-night third Test after dismissing South Africa for 250 and knocking off the 127 runs for win on Day 4.

By: AP | Adelaide | Updated: November 27, 2016 6:45 pm
Cricket - Australia v South Africa - Third Test cricket match - Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, Australia Mitchell Starc took 4-80 as South Africa was bowled out for 250, the last four wickets falling for 56. (Source: Reuters)

Fittingly, it was two new batsmen at the crease when Australia completed a seven-wicket win over South Africa on Sunday to end its five-Test losing streak.

Peter Handscomb hit the winning single as Australia reached the target of 127 for the loss of three wickets and with more than a day to spare, and 20-year-old opener Matt Renshaw finished unbeaten on 34.

Handscomb and Renshaw were among the five changes to the Australian XI for the day-night match at the Adelaide Oval after South Africa clinched the series with back-to-back wins in Perth and Hobart.

South Africa finished with a 2-1 result, but the new-look Australia lineup had cause to celebrate after avoiding an unprecedented 3-0 sweep on home soil.

Skipper Steven Smith (40) shared a 61-run third-wicket stand with Renshaw but was caught behind two runs shy of victory, leaving it to the rookies to get the hosts home.

The Australians were coasting until losing two wickets with the total at 64. David Warner raced to 47 from 51 balls before he was run out by Temba Bavuma.

Usman Khawaja, who scored 145 as his first innings spanned three days, lasted only two balls in the second innings before he was out lbw to Tabraiz Shamsi.

The rest of the fourth day went entirely Australia’s way after South Africa resumed at 194-6.

Mitchell Starc took 4-80 as South Africa was bowled out for 250, the last four wickets falling for 56.

South Africa had already wrapped up the series with wins by 177 runs in Perth and an innings and 80 runs in Hobart, but entered its first day-night Test match confident of sweeping the series.

After a string of calamitous batting collapses in Perth and Hobart, the Australian team was overhauled with Renshaw, Handscomb and Nic Maddinson thrust into the international arena.

Faf du Plessis put a week of drama over the ball tampering case behind him when he won the toss, elected to bat and scored an unbeaten 118 before making a tactical declaration at 259-9 with 12 overs remaining in the first night.

The gamble for quick wickets backfired, though, when Khawaja navigated the tricky session with Renshaw then batted through the entire second day to post the first century by an Australian in the series. He was eventually out on the third day, helping Australia to 383 and a first-innings lead of 124.

Starc dismissed Dean Elgar in the first over to give the Australians the ideal start and, after an 81-run second-wicket stand between Stephen Cook (104) and Hashim Amla (45), it was all downhill for South Africa.

Amla, J.P Duminy and du Plessis all went before Australian spinner Nathan Lyon capped day three with the wickets of Temba Bavuma (21) and night watchman Kyle Abbott (0) in the last three overs.

The tourists were relying on Cook and Quinton de Kock to grind them to a significant lead, but those hopes faded when de Kock (5) was out lbw to an innocuous straight ball from Jackson Bird in the fifth over.

The one highlight for South Africa was the return to form of opener Cook, who was last out after facing 240 balls to post his highest score since a century on debut against England in January.

Australia will host New Zealand in a limited-overs series before kicking off a three-Test series against Pakistan on Dec. 15 with a day-night match in Brisbane.