The Australian lineup crumbled under Kyle Abbott's incisive bowling on the fourth day of the second Test to suffer a humiliating series defeat to South Africa on home soil. With their fifth loss in as many Tests, Australia have also lost their third consecutive series to South Africa on home soil.
South Africa crushed Australia in a Test series for the third consecutive time in their backyard as they cantered to victory by an innings and 80 runs in the second Test match in Hobart. Needing 120 more runs to avoid an innings defeat on the fourth day, a woeful Australia couldn’t overcome the lethal display of Kyle Abbot as they lost their last 8 wickets adding only 40 runs.
A series of dismal performances continued for the Steve Smith-led team since Australia lost the Test series to Sri Lanka in the Emerald Isle last August. The ODI World champions then went down to South Africa in the One-day series in South Africa and followed that up with this humiliating 2-0 loss at home, with a game to go in the series.
The South African team has been without original captain AB de Villers and Dale Steyn, but has shown no weaknesses as the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kyle Abbot, Kagiso Rabada, and Temba Bavuma
On the other hand, Aussie skipper Steve Smith, who spoke about the high-level of mental strength of the Australian team just ahead of the game, seemed to be a totally different entity in the post-match interview.
He accepted the mental weakness of the team at this moment, by stating, “For us, it was about spending some time in the middle and bat for the day. Maybe scoring 280 or 300 and getting ourselves in front. But South Africa bowled well, gave no freebies - I didn't score for some eleven overs - and kept the pressure on. We have to be more resilient and spend some time out in the middle. Whether it's seaming or swinging or spinning, we seem to be in trouble. It isn't working at the moment. It's difficult when the confidence is low too.”
Smith gave credit to the South Africa team for their brilliant performances. While not denying the chances of some changes for the third Test at Adelaide, Smith said, “Credit to South Africa. Philander, Abbott, and Rabada were magnificent. We are doing our best to turn it around but we have a lot of work to do. Let's hope that the Adelaide crowd is an inspiration. We have lost the last five Tests but we are better than that. Up to the selectors to do any changes but we have to find ways to get this team over the line.”
In recent times, when winning a Test away from home has been considered as a big thing, South Africa’s third consecutive away series victory is bound to
Hailing it as an exceptional performance, du Plessis said, “It was a special performance. I thought that yesterday we were exceptional but weren't rewarded. That's what we wanted to do. Come back this morning and be relentless. All our bowlers were exceptional. When you play a three-seamer attack, all of them have to step up at different times. So happy for Abbott. He's had to sit on the sidelines because of some of the great bowlers we have but whenever he gets an opportunity, he puts his hand up.”
He added, “Australia is a tough team to beat on home soil and to come here and beat them 2-0 is special. We've had good 2-3 months as a team and I'm proud with how the team is moving. We're challenging each other. We want to go to places where it's unlikely to go. It's important that we enjoy this moment. When we get there it will be a challenge against the pink ball and there's an opportunity to beat Australia 3-0. I don't think many teams, if any, have achieved that. That'll certainly be our mission.”
The third Test of the series will be starting on 24th November at Adelaide Oval.
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