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Johnson bowls Australia to dominant victory against South Africa

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South Africa suffered far and away their worst defeat since becoming the ICC’s No. 1 ranked Test team when Australia gave them a comprehensive 281-run beating in the first Sunfoil Test match at SuperSport Park on Saturday with a day to spare.

With the exception of AB de Villiers who scored 91 in the first innings and 48 in the second the Proteas had not answer to the pace, bounce and venom of Man-of-the-Match Mitchell Johnson. He took seven wickets in the first innings and five in the second for a match haul of 12/127.

This is the second best figures for Australia in a Test match against South Africa while Australia’s margin of victory was the second biggest against South Africa when measured by runs.

Apart from the first session on the first day Australia bossed the entire match with three of their batsmen – Shaun Marsh, Steve Smith and debutant Alex Doolan – scoring centuries to back up the bowling of Johnson.

While they had little answer to the bowling of Johnson who struck both Hashim Amla and Ryan McLaren on the helmet in the Proteas second innings, it could not explain their below-standard effort with the ball and in the field.

Australia’s intensity in these two disciplines was at a different level.

Dale Steyn was the only other South African to come out of the match with much credit. His six wickets took his career total to 356 and put him in 18th place on the all-time list, having gone past Aussie great, Dennis Lillee, as well as Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka. Remarkably he has bowled more than 3 000 deliveries fewer than Lillee to match his number of wickets.

Steyn’s strike rate of 42 balls per wicket remains the lowest of those who have taken more than 300 wickets. Waqar Younis of Pakistan, Malcolm Marshall of the West Indies, fellow Protea Allan Donald and Freddie Trueman are the only other bowlers on this list with strike rates below 50.

Nevertheless, neither Steyn nor De Villiers will rate these achievements while on a losing side.

Amla went past 6000 career runs to put him second quickest South African to this mark behind Graeme Smith.

Australia’s bowlers will have been delighted with the extra day’s rest they have earned before the second Sunfoil Test starts at Axxess St. George’s on Thursday.