Hussain Talat* 31(28); | Asif Ali 25(28);
Keemo Paul* 2.5-0-37-0; | Rayad Emrit 4-0-24-1
Ish Sodhi 56(168); | (168);
Joe Root* 12.4-5-28-1; | Dawid Malan 4-1-9-0
Josh Hazlewood 9(22); | (22);
Morne Morkel* 10.4-5-28-2; | Keshav Maharaj 13-2-47-1
The families come down, kids crawling on the pitch .. junior AB, junior Faf, junior Morne. The cricket's been just as good - well great until Bancroft decided to open up his jockey and shove that sandpaper. From Bangladesh to India to Australia, it's been a summer for the ages. Everyone's nursing an injury at the end of it .. add our fingers to that list. On behalf of Vineet Anantharaman, Pradeep Krishnamurthy, Abhinand Raghavendran and our scorer Sulthan, ta ta!!
There goes Faf, he gets the silverware and obviously it's going to go to Morne first. Oh this is perhaps the only time that he's been sitting down in a picture. Dale Steyn has his selfie stick too as he gets into a corner. He's had it all day, perhaps grabbing some footage for an exclusive behind the scenes documentary. But South Africa will celebrate, it's history after all. They're getting into school textbooks.
As the series and the summer winds up, here are a few stats from our very own, Deepu Narayanan:Biggest wins in Test cricket (by runs):675 Eng v Aus, Brisbane, 1928 - Bradman's debut Test562 Aus v Eng, Oval, 1934530 Aus v SA, MCG, 1911492 SA v Aus, Joburg, 2018491 Aus v Pak, Perth, 2004South Africa's series wins vs Australia at home:3-1 (5) in 1966/674-0 (4) in 1969/703-1 (4) in 2017/18Winning 3-1 after being 0-1 down in a seriesWI v Eng, 1950Eng v SA, 1951Eng v Aus, 1954/55Aus v WI, 1968/69Eng v Aus, 1981Eng v WI, 2000Eng v Ind, 2014SA v Aus, 2017/18 Faf du Plessis is the first SA captain to win a series against Australia both home & awayWon 2-1 in Aus, 2016/17Won 3-1 in SA, 2017/18Captains beating Australia both home & away in the post war eraL HuttonM BrearleyC LloydV RichardsJ ConeyA StraussF du Plessis
Faf contd.. (2/2): Australia is a quality team, they've got a very good record here in South Africa. But after the first loss our guys were hurting and I've never seen them this hungry. The senior players had a discussion at the start of the series and the common point was that we were all very hungry to perform. A much deserved break coming up for most, (smiles) sorry some of the guys and they should look to make the most of it. We're definitely looking forward to the next time we get together as a Test team. Australia's bowling was fantastic, especially Pat Cummins, he bowled fantastically well and challenged us the whole time. Obviously they had a lot of off-field stuff to handle and that is why even yesterday we tried pushing them behind mentally as much as we could. We knew it would take a toll on them when they came out to bat and that's what happened today. Very happy to wrap it up early this morning and get some extra time to put our leg up.
Faf du Plessis | South Africa skipper (1/2): Morne's been a special player. There have been a lot of tributes for him over the last few days and they've been richly deserved. He's been our funny guy and we look up to him when the chips are down and the going is tough. Also the nicest guy you'll meet off the field. We'll miss him as a human being and surely the next guy coming in has big boots to fill. This series has been remarkable, four Test matches and 80 wickets shows our bowling has been on top. Five hundreds, a few nineties and that shows how good our batting has been too. As a team we've performed really well. You don't get a chance to play Australia and beat them 3-1 in a series. The boys have been extremely motivated after the first Test in Durban to turn it around. It has been a long summer, a tough summer and at the end of it I am a very proud captain standing here.
Morne Morkel, retirement token: The injury wasn't nice. I told the doctor to do whatever he can to do to get me back on the field. But Vern was outstanding today, the way he came out and landed the ball was just superb. Thank you so much, the last couple of weeks have been exceptional. I have had twelve years of support and tears. I can only be the man I am because of this fantastic culture and environment. A huge thank you to all the sponsors and to Supersport for all that they've done for me.
Kagiso Rabada | MoS: Yeah it's been a long summer, a lot of games and in the end it is reflecting in my energies. Not a lot of rest coming up, but hopefully I'll look to make the most of it. Australia is a great cricketing nation, it is never easy against them. We came back hard in PE and is nice to have taken it over the line against them. It is nice to open your mind and listen to others (Ottis Gibson). You can never stop learning, the game always finds ways of humbling you. Morne's had an outstanding career, a fitting finale too. We are going to celebrate his career and today is going to be all about him.
Vernon Philander | MoM: Wow, what can I say; an awesome way to finish off this Test match. It is pretty emotional for all of us given that it was Morne's last match. I was a little rusty to the crease to start off, I made sure I had good momentum and stayed stable in the crease. I found my rhythm from this end, and eventually it all came right. [200 Test wickets] It is special and is just a matter of taking as many as I can. We are going to miss Morne, the way he's carried himself off the field, his jokes in the dressing room and I want to wish him the best for all his future endeavours.
Tim Paine | Australia skipper: It has been a really challenging week. I can't doubt our effort, but we were slightly off against the best in the world and were caught wanting. We aren't going to win too many series without a Test match hundred; we've obviously lost two of the best players in the world, Bancroft was the highest run-getter in this series too, but that's giving some of the other guys an opportunity to stand up and cement their spots in the side. South Africa have completely outplayed us, despite what's happened over the last week, we can't hide from the fact that we've been short on skills. The long break now gives the guys a chance to get back home, gather their thoughts and come back fresh against Pakistan in the UAE.
AB de Villiers: We worked really hard for this moment. We were fantastic in Cape Town, this has been a great send-off for Morne, the crowd was great as well. I am enjoying my cricket, it has been an excellent summer personally for me. That innings in PE was special, the chips were down, they were running through the batting order, the tail hung around and I rate that as one of my best innings. The body has been great, thankfully, I didn't need to bowl. Thought I might have to chip in if the innings went around the 70th over, but it didn't happen. My body is feeling great and I am enjoying this phase of cricket.
Amla: Very sad (Morkel's final appearance). Before the start of this game, all of us wanted something special. Getting injured and still bowling epitomizes him (Morne). I'll miss him. It's surreal. This series has been dramatic on and off the field. Vernon - the surgeon - you are right. He's been that all through his career. Lands the ball in that area and makes us dance in the nets.
Morne Morkel: It's tough to put in words; emotional. It's been a great journey. The mission was to beat the Aussies in the home turf. To accomplish that feels great. Thank you Vernon Philander. He was on the money today morning. We are going to celebrate hard today. Funny how things work out. The main thing is to keep working hard. Today, I'm saying goodbye to special players. There was no way I was sitting in the changing room. I am just happy I got through a couple of overs and got to enjoy the atmosphere for the last time. A special bunch of players - my brothers. I will miss them a lot. It's been an unbelievable journey.
Bavuma: I have enjoyed my part. To be part of this team making history, it's wonderful. As a team, we have a lot of characters. I try to take something from each one. Definitely, it's one of the best bowling attacks. They compliment each other. He's (du Plessis) the pillar of the team. We are happy for him that he got the century. He's the real pillar of the team.
Dean Elgar: Feels very good. I've been at the receiving end against them in South Africa and it is great to get one over the line at home. It was a beauty (his catch). It was something that just happened, but it's nice to always contribute whether with the bat or in the field. The bowling of Vernon is right up there .. he got some 6/9 he's just special and it is always nice to be on the winning side. AB strengthens our batting line up quite a lot, he's a world beater, for one he doesn't play the game for his personal gain and I haven't seen anyone else who wants to win as much as he does.
Until that fateful Saturday in Newlands, this Test series was peaking amidst all off-field controversies. That 'sandpaper gate' sapped the visitors of all their energies and it turned out to be pretty one-sided from there on. A new captain, a new set of openers and a debutant with the ball in Johannesburg, they lost the toss and at no stage looked competitive. Flat and uncertain at times, they were lifted by the sagacious Tim Paine and Pat Cummins, but there was only that much those two could do. There was a hundred for Markram, a near one for Temba Bavuma in the first innings, then the bowlers hunted as a pair, gaining a massive first innings lead of 267 runs. Deciding to bat once again, Faf du Plessis made the visitors toil hard and long, made a hundred for himself in the second essay, and when they finally came on to bat, the Australians needed 612. They thought they could draw, but in a span of 55 minutes on the fifth morning, Philander and his six-for demolished that tiny hope. At the outset 3-1 can be termed harsh on Australia, but after that manic Saturday in Cape Town, you couldn't envisage any better.
Morne Morkel got a guard of honour when the team went out to field. After around 104 minutes, he gets to lead his team off the park. Quite an emotional moment for Giraffe, playing in front of his family, his international career is done and he can be proud of the way it ended. South Africa grab the stumps and walk off, they are greeted by an emotional and spent looking Darren Lehmann.
Morne Morkel to Lyon, THAT'S OUT!! Run Out!!
Morne Morkel [10.0-5-25-2] is back into the attack
Morkel gets another chance, he has changed ends
A leg slip and a short mid-wicket has been added
A second slip is in now
Keshav Maharaj [12.0-1-47-1] is back into the attack
Morkel will not finish off the match, Maharaj is back.. A slip and a FSL in place
Philander, from round the wicket
Pair on debut for Australia:M Whitney v Eng, Manchester, 1981P mcIntyre v Eng, Adelaide, 1995C Sayers v SA, Joburg, 2018 *
Morne Morkel [8.0-4-18-2] is back into the attack
Morne Morkel comes into the attack, can he finish his career off with a wicket?
Six for 12 - Philander's figures so far - these are his career-best figures as well
Josh Hazlewood, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Hat-trick ball. Four slips and a gully, a catching mid-wicket, a catching extra-cover
Philander to Sayers, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Chadd Sayers, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Philander to Pat Cummins, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
Nathan Lyon, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Philander to Paine, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Keshav Maharaj [10.0-1-45-1] is back into the attack
KG is off. Time for spin. A slip and short leg positioned as the spinner starts from round the wicket.
Pat Cummins, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Philander to Handscomb, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
Tests to 200 wickets for SA:39 D Steyn42 A Donald49 S Pollock54 V PHILANDER55 M Ntini58 M Morkel102 J Kallis
Tests to 200 wickets for SA:39 D Steyn42 A Donald49 S Pollock54 V PHILANDER *55 M Ntini 58 M Morkel102 J Kallis
Stat this: Qunton de Kock has taken 40 catches this season so far from ten Tests - equaling Mark Boucher's record in 2000/01 in 11 Tests
Kagiso Rabada [5.0-2-9-0] is back into the attack
At 32 y & 283 d, Philander is the oldest of the seven SA bowlers to 200 Test wickets
Tim Paine, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Philander to Mitchell Marsh, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Mitchell Marsh, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Philander to Shaun Marsh, THAT'S OUT!!caught!!
Right then. It's time for action. Morne Morkel gets a guard of honour from his teammates. Should be an emotional one for the tall fellow. The Australians applaud from the dressing room. He has a bright smile on his face. Gets into the team huddle and there's the final words from the skipper. Off they disperse. Here's Vern.
Faf du Plessis: It's an amazing day. Quite a hectic season. We have worked really hard. We are really excited. Quite a dry series with the runs. Once again, those scenarios bring the best of me. Pleasing to get it through. Capped off with a nice hundred. That's why pushed on. Ideally 450 would have been enough. Try to take one result and amount of overs left. We had to factor in worst case scenario. KG is light with the pace. Morne - every over we get is bonus. Vern has a little bit of niggle. Just managing them is the important thing. Hopefully, we get through with short spells. If they don't fill up, I said AB to warm up. After that first Test, I have never seen a group of guys pull together like that, motivate like that and to turn the series around. To dominate Test a series against Australia is something unheard of.
Cummins: Good to come back here. Obviously, it's been a tough week. Personally, a good week though. We wanna fight. Wicket's pretty good. It feels like I am always in the game. We'll try to draw. It's going to be tough, Try and fight and take it really deep. Probably the spinner, Maharaj. there's a bit of rough and he's getting it to spin.
"There are footmarks outside off for a left-hander, some cracks and some flat marks. And if Maharaj tries pitching it out there, they'll have to play at it and it is incredibly difficult. You need to make Handscomb come wider, because he uses his feet, chase balls and ensure that he doesn't line himself up. You need to slow it up against him," goes Shane Warne as he analyses the pitch and looks ahead.
Well it isn't the right time to be David Warner, but realistically even seven of him wouldn't be able to make a contest out of this. To be fair, Handscomb's intent against spin has been uniquely effective, the Marshs can dig in long. Paine and Cummins have already had a first innings rearguard, so all they have to do is copy that here. It's only a matter of seven hours, yea never mind a dodgy track. Simple? But how does it matter - a draw ain't getting them the series. History has been conceded. Some famed Aussie respect is all that remains.
Day 5 -- 9.30 am: Seven wickets, 98 overs - take your bet. But keep in mind, there's a point in the day when the chances of rain touch 86 percent. But as forecasts have been this week, it's never what it predicts. South Africa are on the cusp of history, history most would feel has been conceded since that sandpaper was found, But history nevertheless. All that's worth betting is the margin. It's all leading up to today, five months of an extended summer .. and it feels like forever since Bangladesh came. Hello.
400+ runs scored on the scheduled final day's play by a team:415 SA v Eng, Oval, 1947 (Draw)404 Aus v Eng, Leeds, 1948 (Won)Australia need 524 on the final day!
Australia need a miracle here. Prolonged periods of rain would do too. And that's what the forecast tells us .. but it's also what it's been telling us for over the last two days too, wrongly. But we'll be there, up at 10.00 am and until then, on behalf of all of us out here, ta ta!!
Well nobody really expects to come back out. The groundsmen too have covered off the pitch and the square. The coaches are welcoming their boys back in. Yep. Stumps called. So South Africa have strangled further. If not for the seemingly aimless period between lunch and tea when they kept batting on and on, things could have been a lot more comprehensive. Despite all the bowlers nursing a varied kind of a niggle, they've rallied around with the new ball. Morkel in particular, bowling much slower than usual but being forced to bowl a length he ideally should have all his career, is putting up a perfect farewell for himself.
17:26 local: The umpires confer again. And the light's turned bad. We have three minutes to go for the regular close of play, but the bad light stoppages in the first session added in some extra time. But then, we can wait .. hoping for the big cloud covering to clear.
Another discussion. Not dark enough as yet to stop the spinners. It is an extended day mind you.
Aiden Markram, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
17:13 local: Another spinner brought in. So Faf doing everything to keep playing on. Innocuous offies.
A slip, a short-leg and a silly mid-on
Keshav Maharaj [7.0-1-31-1] is back into the attack
Shaun Marsh, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Morne Morkel to Burns, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
The light meter has been asked for. The reading's decent enough .. for now. Llong gives a thumbs up.
Two slips close in, with a gully.
Vernon Philander [4.0-2-5-0] is back into the attack
Three men are at the boundary .. with 550 runs in the tank.
The silly point now turns into some sort of a short silly mid-off
A slip and a silly point
Khawaja couldn't believe that he was given out. He probably thought that he was playing a shot. He looked back to see the stumps and then signaled 'T'
Peter Handscomb, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Maharaj to Khawaja, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Morkel has consistently bowled around the good and fullish length.
Over the wicket against the right-hander
Usman Khawaja, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Faf has a word with his bowler. Three slips, a gully and two catching men in the cover region. Morkel continues from round the wicket
Morne Morkel to Renshaw, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Burns pulls away just as Maharaj was about to deliver the ball. Some disturbance behind the bowler's arm.
Sightscreen issues sorted out for Burns. Tristan from the ground tells us they were two kids running around in front of the sightscreen
ICYMUM, Australia need less than 600 to win this match.
Morne Morkel, right-arm fast, comes into the attack
A loud roar! Yes, Morne Morkel is bowling. His final innings with the ball. Not sure if he's 100 percent fit. Here he is from round the wicket to the left-hander
Keshav Maharaj, left-arm orthodox, comes into the attack
Spin time. A slip and forward short leg in place. Starts from round the wicket.
Moves round the wicket
Highest score for Burns in last six innings:0, 2, 1, 0, 4 & 8*
Draws while chasing 600+ in 4th innings:836 WI v Eng, Kingston, 1930 696 Eng v SA, Durban, 1939617 Ind v NZ, Wellington, 2009- The first two were both timeless Tests
Australia chasing 600+ in 4th innings:Lost by 675 runs v Eng, Brisbane, 1928Lost by 309 runs v SA, Perth, 2012Lost by 356 runs v Pak, Abu Dhabi, 2014
Vernon Philander, right-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
Renshaw and Burns are at the crease. Renshaw is on strike. Rabada will open the attack