Australia is once again the world’s best Test cricket nation – unofficially.
On paper, the team that was just 12 months ago a basket case has now eliminated all doubts it deserves to be back where it reigned for much of the past two decades.
Overnight, it completed a 2-1 series defeat of the world’s official No 1 team, South Africa, with a thrilling 245-run win in Cape Town.
It was South Africa’s first series loss in five years.
Hobbling hero Ryan Harris sealed the win, taking the final two wickets with South Africa needing to survive just 27 more deliveries to tie the match and series.
“My body is done … that was bloody hard,” Harris said after the match. He now faces some long overdue knee surgery.
In now typical style, the win didn’t come without controversy after the home side appealed Vernon Philander’s dismissal after he was judged caught by Alex Doolan at leg slip.
The ball came off Philander’s glove, but the third umpire ruled the glove was not touching his bat at the time and overturned field umpire Aleem Dar’s decision.
Umpires had to separate a furious Australian captain Michael Clarke from South African batsmen Dale Steyn as drinks were called following the decision.
The win pushed Australia ahead of India to No 2 in the ICC world rankings on 115 points, 12 points shy of South Africa on top.
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