South Africa's retiring captain Graeme Smith walks off the field at the end of the fifth day of the third Test against Australia at Newlands in Capetown yesterday. Smith, international cricket's longest-serving captain, ended his international career with this match. PHOTO: AFP
Australia beat South Africa by 245 runs on Wednesday in a dramatic finish to the third and final Test match at Newlands to win the series 2-1.
The hosts batted through almost all of the fifth and final day in Cape Town in a bid to avoid defeat and draw the series. With just five overs remaining, the Proteas were 265 for eight, but Ryan Harris then removed Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in quick succession to seal victory for the tourists.
Earlier, part-time leg-spinner Steve Smith took the key wicket of Faf du Plessis as the hosts went for a nervy tea break at 201 for seven and Australia needed three more wickets in the remaining 33 overs to seal the first series win against the world's number one team since 2008-09.
It was a day of stubborn resistance by South Africa - who started on 71 for four - having abandoned any idea of chasing a target of 511.
AB de Villiers and nightwatchman Kyle Abbott defied Australia's bowlers for just over an hour and a half during an extended morning's play before Abbott, who batted for 116 minutes and faced 89 balls in scoring seven runs, did not play a shot to a ball from James Pattinson which cut back and clipped the top of his off stump.
The home side's hopes rested with De Villiers and Faf du Plessis, two of the key figures when South Africa fought out a draw from a similar position in Adelaide in November 2012.