South Africa shock Australia with a record-chase in Perth

December 21st, 2008 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Perth, Dec 21 (IANS) A.B de Villiers and Jean-Paul Duminy stood like a rock as South Africa scripted one of its greatest cricketing triumphs, chasing the second biggest target of 414 against world champions Australia in the first Test here.South Africa, who were 94 runs behind Australia in the first innings, made the historic chase with six wickets in hand. They have now taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and are a step closer to dethrone Australia from the Test pedestal.

De Villiers (106) and debutant Duminy (50) with their unbroken 111-run stand kept the Australian attack at bay after Mitchell Johnson snared Jacques Kallis at 57. South Africa resumed their innings at 227 for three, needing 187 runs on the final day of the absorbing contest. It took them just 55.2 overs Sunday to cross the victory ropes.

The successful run chase by South Africa is a Test record between the two nations, and second only to West Indies’s 7-418 against Australia in Antigua in 2002-03.

Duminy scored the winning runs and leapt in air pumping his fist as skipper Graeme Smith, who set the chase with a haughty century Saturday, erupted with the entire team. South Africa, at last, had exorcised the ghost of past.

South Africa, known to be chokers in the big-stage, have lost many close matches, specially against Australia. But De Villiers and Duminy Sunday showed no frayed nerves and played with unflinching determination to stun Australia, who lost their second successive match in their once unconquered bastion after India showed the way in January.

Australia scored 375in the first innings and then restricted South Africa to 281. They added 319 in their second innings to set a victory target of 414.

Smith hit a defiant 108 with 13 boundaries Saturday in the company of a patient Hashim Amla (53), leaving the last day intriguingly poised. Overnight batsmen Kallis and De Villiers added 86 runs in the morning in a fast clip before Johnson, who claimed career-best figures of 11-159, took out Kallis. South Africa added 105 runs in the first session, most of it coming through Kallis and de Villiers’ bat.

Australian sensed kill after removing Kallis, having ended his 124-run stand with de Villiers. But that was it for Australia. Their toothless attack in absence of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne got exposed Sunday.

De Villiers and Duminy went about their task in business like manner. They paced their innings beautifully, taking risks in between to unsettle the Australian attack. De Villiers knock had nine fours while Duminy stroked four fours and a six.

De Villiers, who survived some tense moments in the morning, anchored the run-case with maturity after Kallis’ dismissal. It was De Villiers’ seventh century and was later named man of the match.

This is the first time that Australia have lost the first match of a home Test series since 1988-89 in Brisbane against the West Indies.

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