AUS 351, 227
RSA 162, 298-all out (92.4 Ovs)
Australia won by 118 runs
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Smith, Australia captain: Nice way to start, particularly against a quality opposition like SA. Really pleased with the way the boys played. Marsh deserved a hundred in the first innings. Tail contributed really well. They contributed a 130-odd which was the difference in the end. Really good game of cricket. Both are tough. Winning the toss and batting was ideal, probably the best of the conditions. Reverse-swing played a part throughout the game. It probably started reversing as early as the 25th over which is rare. It was a hard-fought Test match. Aiden Markram played exceptionally well, Quinton de Kock played well. It was getting a bit nervous there. Those guys were batting really well. With Mitch Marsh breaking the partnership, it made things easier. The new ball was probably the best time to bat. We just thought if we got one wicket, the way Starc bowls to the tail, it will happen very quickly. If we hadn’t come off last night, it would have been over last night itself. But it was pretty dark to be fair. Really well prepared. Our practice and our practice game before this Test match was spot on. Got our plans in place for a quality opposition. No doubt, SA are a terrific side. They play well at home. No doubt they’re going to come hard against us in PE. Hopefully our boys are up for the fight again.
Mitchell Starc, MoM: Nice to put a few in the right spot. To finish off the Test match like that in four and a bit days was very pleasing. Reversing the ball is going all right. Little bit of work to do with the new ball. As a bowling unit we’ve been doing well. The batsmen did well in the first innings to get to 350. Could have put a bit more on in the second innings. It’s a more natural wrist position for me. When it is reversing, it’s natural for me. With the new ball, I’ve got work to do to keep the seam upright. Our group probably got stuck in two minds for the home summer. Had a couple of weeks to work on a few things. Contributing with the bat is always encouraging for the tail, that’s what we showed in the first innings – to add runs with Mitch Marsh who was batting fantastically. Great contribution from the whole side. Didn’t mind who took the final wicket. There was a bit of a joke among the boys that I would be taken off the attack while on a hat-trick.
Faf du Plessis, SA captain: We gave probably 50 runs too many in the first innings. Credit to their tail how they batted along with Mitch Marsh. His was a very good knock. If you look throughout the Test, both teams were around 150-160/5 in both innings. There were real opportunities for us to close it out. Mitchell Starc bowled beautifully to make sure the tail didn’t get many runs. Batters need to cash in and take responsibility once they get in. There wasn’t enough partnerships for us. We just didn’t get enough runs in the first innings. Massive positive for us, how we came back in the second innings. When you’re in a position of strength like Australia were on day 4, they generally blow you away quickly. Kesh was brilliant in this match. The character of the batters who got runs. De Bruyn and Markram were fantastic. And then Quinny there at the end. Really proud of our fight. Just not good enough to beat Australia who were good in this game. In a big series like this, you want to step up against teams like Australia. Hopefully we can all chip in now. The biggest character of this team is that we’ll never go down without a fight. Looking forward to the next Test.