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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Australia concede Test, series so South Africa keep #1 Test ranking: T3D4

South Africa 225 & 569 def Australia 163 & 322 (82.5 ov,, Starc 68*, Cowan 53, Clarke 44, Steyn 3/72, Petertson 3/127) by 309 runs: T3/3 D4/5 at WACA Ground Perth. South Africa win series 1-0 and retain #1 Test ranking.

Not a good day for the home team.There were some periods of resistance as several players  got a start but none was able to stay or combine long enough in a partnership to loosen the South African grip on the match. Had Mitchell Starc 68*/43b (2x6, 9x4) and Nathan Lyon 31/43b (6x4) not added 87 - the largest Australian partnership of the match.- for the last wicket the margin would have been even greater.

 It was Ricky Ponting's last Test innings: 8/23b (2x4). Far from his best, though I and many others will recall his great years and his great strokeplay - especially his signature pull shot.

Replacing Ponting will be only one of the problems facing the selectors before the looming  Sri Lanka Tests, which will be followed in quick succession by series away against India and England. Just over a week ago (before T2D5 to be precise) the outlook, even without Ponting, didn't look too bad but after the Proteas's fighting draw in Adelaide and their overwhelming (and well deserved) victory in this Test, Australia's weaknesses in both batting and bowling (which had been concealed by some excellent individual performances) have been exposed like a rabbit caught in a spotlight.

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