Vernon Philander grabbed six wickets in a devastating spell of swing bowling as South Africa crushed Australia by a record 492 runs to clinch the four-match series 3-1 at the Wanderers on Tuesday. The scandal-hit tourists had promised to fight for a draw on the final day to end a controversial tour on a positive note but their resistance lasted just 83 minutes as Philander ripped through their middle and lower order to finish with career-best figures of 6-21 and move to 204 test wickets.
Australia were bowled out for a paltry 119 in their second innings to succumb to their heaviest ever loss to South Africa in terms of runs, their second biggest defeat against any opponent and the fourth biggest loss in test cricket. South Africa completed their biggest victory over the Australians in tests in terms of runs, and also completed their first home series win over the demoralised visitors since 1970.
The Australian side have been rocked by a ball-tampering scandal in which former captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft were sent home after the third test in Cape Town before being slapped with hefty bans. Captain Tim Paine said during the final test that the side wanted to put in a performance that would make the Australian public proud, but the home side dominated the contest right from the moment they won the toss.
Philander took six wickets for three runs in 32 balls on the fifth day to carve through the tourists and keep fellow seamer Morne Morkel (2-28) wicketless on his final morning of international cricket before his retirement. Australia resumed the third morning on 88 for three, but lost the Marsh brothers in the opening over as Shaun (seven) got an inside edge onto his pad and was caught by Temba Bavuma, and Mitchell was snatched by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, both off Philander.
Peter Handscomb (24) was bowled after chopping onto his stumps for the second time in the test, while Paine (seven) edged to De Kock as the tourists battled with Philander’s seam movement off the wicket. Pat Cummins (one) left a delivery that cannoned into his off-stump and Chadd Sayers (zero) edged to Dean Elgar in the gulley as the Australian innings ended in a rush of failures.
The match was brought to a conclusion when Nathan Lyon (nine) was run out, a chaotic end to what has been a shambolic series for the tourists.