Australia sneak home

2011-11-22 10:49

The Wanderers continued to be home away from home for Australia as they snuck a two-wicket win against South Africa on day five of the second Sunfoil Test match.

It was white-knuckle stuff as Australia contrived to lose two wickets with the victory line in sight, but Mitchell Johnson and Pat Cummins showed nerves of steel in guiding their team home.

The latter hit the winning boundary after surviving a close leg before appeal, also earning man of the match for his 7/117 match figures.

They have lost once to the hosts at the Wanderers. South Africa will once again rue their inability to wrap up a home series.

The visitors, who again had to overhaul a record fourth-innings at the ground, surpassing the 294 they posted in 2006, resumed on 142/3 after the first session was washed out.

After two probing opening overs, Australia lost their captain Michael Clarke when he was beaten by a Philander in-ducker.

Philander continued his stranglehold over the Australian batsmen when he claimed 5/70 and earned man of the series for his 14 wickets in the series.

South Africa’s bowlers strangled the Australian batsmen in the session to the point where they only conceded five boundaries.

When Ricky Ponting fell for 62 after cutting Morne Morkel to Jacques Rudolph, it seemed Australia was giving up on the run chase. Enter Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin, who cajoled a spirited 50-run partnership sprinkled with aggressive running between the wickets.

They seemed to have the game set up nicely before tea but Philander popped up to take the key wicket of Hussey, who was trapped in front.

Haddin showed some attacking intent when he hit Philander for two fours in the opening over after tea.

Johnson joined in the fun when he drove Morkel down the ground for four and added two consecutive boundaries off an Imran Tahir over.

The boundaries continued to flow when Haddin raised the 50-run partnership with an imperious cover drive and later on reach his ninth test 50, an important one in the context of the game and it could a go a long way in staving off the vultures.

The keeper was eventually out for 55 when he was caught behind after flashing at a wide one from Philander.

Peter Siddle came and went, with his airy waft to Tahir at midwicket reminiscent of Damien Martyn’s dismissal in the famous 1994 Sydney test.

At 292/8 the small Wanderers crowd found its voice, the Johnson and Cummins kept their cool to steer their team home.

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