MORNE MORKEL came agonisingly close to his first ever 10-wicket haul as he spearheaded the Standard Bank Proteas to their second successive four-day victory over Australia at PPC Newlands on Sunday.
He took 5/23, including two wickets off successive balls, to go with his 4/87 in the first innings to give him a career-best 9/110 in the match. It was the first time he had taken 9 wickets in a Test match. He was named Sunfoil Man of the Match.
He was instrumental in Australia’s second innings collapse that saw them lose all 10 wickets for 50 runs after an opening stand of 57 between David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
The Australians had been set an improbable world record of 430 for victory following second innings half-centuries by Quinton de Kock (65 off 97 balls, 8 fours and a six) and Vernon Philander 952 not out off 79 balls, 6 fours and a six). It meant that the Proteas followed their 199 for the last four wickets in the previous Test in Port Elizabeth with 173 for the last 5 wickets this time out.
The Proteas margin of victory of 322 runs was their second largest in terms of runs margin being beaten only by the 323-runs margin in the last pre-unity series in 1970.
The Australia collapse was started by a direct hit run out by Faf du Plessis which saw the bowlers receive excellent back-up in the field. AB de Villiers and Aiden Markram both took superb catches close to the wicket while Temba Bavuma was also responsible for a run out.
While Morkel deserved the bowling plaudits there was also a fine contribution from Keshav Maharaj who, like Morkel, stood on the brink of a hat trick at one stage.
The Proteas now head to the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium for the final Sunfoil Test of the series with a 2-1 lead and the chance to score their first home series victory over Australia since unity.
The Sunfoil Education Trust (SET) has benefited to the tune of 254 000 from the number of fours and sixes hit and wickets taken by the two sides in this Test match, bringing the cumulative series total to date to R733 000.