Australia rounds off 118-run win over South Africa

Home hopes were then handed another hammer blow when captain Faf du Plessis was clean bowled by Cummins, adding just four runs, and leaving South Africa reeling at 49/4.

The fortitude displayed by Markram, Theunis de Bruyn (36) and De Kock (81*) in many ways more than made up for SA's top order capitulating to Australia's pace attack.

MITCHELL Starc is out to ensure a farcical pause to Australia's inevitable romp towards victory in Durban is worth the wait tonight, as the devastating quick primes himself for a crack at a hat-trick. To lose by 100-odd runs, we know we didn't have enough in the first innings. During the course of the day, Markram went about dismantling one belief after another with utmost confidence and superior quality.

Lyon was dominant in the first innings and his extraordinary rise over the past 12 months has featured numerous examples of him putting opposition teams to the sword when the match goes on the line.

"It was just getting darker and darker". He pushed the score further and also ensured that Australia crosses the 350 mark. In addition to his contribution with the bat, Starc was all pumped up with the ball.

Resuming their innings at 5-225, the visitors found it hard to rotate the strike initially, with Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj keeping things tight.

"[Batting?] Probably got stuck in two minds during the home innings, but nice to get some runs, always encouraging for the tail to add to the total". Australia then scored 227 runs giving a target of 416 to the host.

The stage is once again set for the man they call the GOAT. The world record winning fourth innings chase is 418. The players are exhausted both physically and mentally and it is too much for an asking.

The next domestic first-class cricket in South Africa takes place from 15 March with Steyn's side, the Titans, taking on the Cape Cobras in Paarl. They showed some extraordinary grit to drive South Africa closer to the target. "I have to put them first and this decision will only benefit us going forward", Morkel had said.

Markram had made centuries against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, two of cricket's lesser powers, but said performing against Australia in tough conditions was a personal highlight. While the beauty and aura of a blockathon was missed, Markram's positivity at the crease and the manner in which he took the bull by the horns was a sight to behold.

STAT OF THE DAY: It was the sixth time de Villiers had been run out in Tests and his first duck in 39 Test innings against Australia.

The result is, however, likely to be overshadowed by an unseemly row between Australia's tempestuous David Warner and South Africa's Quinton de Kock as the players returned to the clubhouse for tea. On the fifth day, the Aussies quickly finished off the proceedings after they dismissed de Kock on 83.

With only one wicket to fall and a deadly Starc waiting, only a miracle can save South Africa from going down 1-0 in the four-match series on the last day.

  • Julie Sanders