South Africa beat Australia in remarkable turnaround

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 11, 2011 13:11 hrs

South Africa captain Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla led their country to a remarkable comeback victory against Australia when the hosts won the first test by eight wickets on Friday.


Chasing 236 for the win after a bizarre second day in which 23 wickets fell and parts of all four innings took place, Smith (101 not out) and Amla (112) put on 195 for the second wicket to stun Australia.

Smith hit the winning run just moments after completing his century to spark jubilant scenes at Newlands.

Australia's lowest scores

The tourists had established a 188-run lead after the first innings but were then promptly bowled out for 47, and only narrowly avoided the lowest test score of 26 when they were reduced to 21-9.

Australia captain Michael Clarke, who scored 151 in their first innings, was extremely critical of his team's performance.

"We played disgraceful shots and our execution with the ball today wasn't great," he said during the presentation ceremony.

"We've got a lot of work to do before the next test on Thursday.

"(My century) was useless, it was a waste of time. You want to help your team win. I'll certainly forget about it very quickly. I guarantee you this is one tough time for that team up there."

A great Test for us, but a disaster for the ICC

Australia's attack bowled well in the first hour as South Africa resumed on 81 for one, and were unfortunate not to separate Smith and Amla. But they lacked precision thereafter as South Africa's second-wicket pair seized control.

Smith and Amla grew increasingly aggressive, hammering 36 boundaries between them as South Africa won in 50.2 overs, four minutes after the scheduled lunch break, which was pushed back due to the closeness of victory.

Australia could have gained a foothold in the game, but Amla was dropped by Mike Hussey at backward point on 29 off the last ball of Thursday's play, and again on Friday at first slip by Shane Watson on 30. Seamer Ryan Harris was the bowler on both occasions.

The two teams will now travel to Johannesburg where the second and last test of the series begins on Thursday.

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