South Africa has won the second Test in Hobart to claim the series, trouncing an embarrassed Australian team by an innings and 80 runs.
On day one Australia, invited to bat, was annihilated by the Proteas’ bowling. The team managed to score just 85 runs off 32.5 overs. Openers David Warner and Joe Burns each fell for just one run in the first two overs, and were followed by a procession of batsmen who failed to reach double figures. At one stage Australia had lost 5 wickets for 17 runs. Only captain Steve Smith managed to master the attack, batting to the end for 48 not out.
In response South Africa reached 43 without loss but then a three-wicket spell by Mitchell Starc set Australian hopes flickering briefly before the middle order took charge and moved to 171 for 5 by the close.
Day two was washed out. When South Africa resumed its innings on day three Temba Bavuma (74) and Quinton de Kock (104) capitalised on ineffective and loose bowling. It took a fiery spell from Josh Hazlewood (6 for 89) to break the partnership then slice through the tail to limit the South African lead to 240 runs. Burns fell for a duck, then Warner went for 45, but by close of play Australia still had hope, with Usman Khawaja (56) and Smith (18) looking comfortable at 121 for 2.
Any delusion that Australia could save the match was swiftly dispelled on day four. Just eight runs had been added when Kyle Abbott (6 for 77) dismissed Khawaja, starting a calamitous collapse by Australia in which 8 wickets fell for just 40 runs. Warner, Khawaja (64) and Smith (31) were the only batsmen to reach double figures. By lunch the match was over.
Watching in South Africa, bowler Dale Steyn, who suffered a series-ending injury in the first Test, Tweeted:
Think I'm gana have a beer at 3am
— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) November 15, 2016
At the post-match press conference coach Darren Lehmann spoke candidly of his disappointment, saying tactics need to change. “You have to think of different ways to get the best out of our group of players. That’s for all our coaching staff and players – we have to get better.” He made it clear that only four members of the team can feel confident of retaining their positions: Smith, Warner, Hazlewood and Starc.
There’s just one match left in the series – a day-night match in Adelaide – and all Australia can play for now is pride. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of Kyle Abbott from the Cricket South Africa Twitter feed.