Australia secures Test win over South Africa within two days at Gabba

Pat Cummins took 5-42 to help Australia to victory in the first Test against South Africa.

Pat Cummins took 5-42 to help Australia to victory in the first Test against South Africa. Photo: AAP

Australia has pulled off a Test victory inside two days for the first time in 20 years after defeating South Africa by six wickets in their series opener on a bowler’s paradise at the Gabba.

Needing just 34 to win, Australia stumbled as South Africa tearaway Kagiso Rabada (4-13) removed Usman Khawaja, out-of-form opener David Warner, Steve Smith and Travis Head before Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green pushed Australia to victory.

Rabada was bowling brilliantly, but South Africa sent down 19 extras out of Australia’s total of 4-35.

It comes after South Africa was rolled for 152 when sent in by Australia captain Pat Cummins, while the struggling visitors were all out for 99 in their second innings.

Australia made a modest 218 in its first innings, led by a superb 92 from Travis Head, but it proved to be enough facing the inexperienced Proteas batting line-up.

After 15 wickets tumbled on Saturday, the game continued to move at a rapid rate on day two as another 19 fell.

Cummins’ team will have an unexpected extended break before the Boxing Day Test, where it will aim to wrap up a first series win against South Africa on home soil since 2005-06.

The last time Australia won a Test in less than two days was in 2002 when Steve Waugh’s team dismissed Pakistan for 59 and 53 in Sharjah.

The only previous two-day Test played in Australia was in 1931 when the hosts beat the West Indies by an innings in Melbourne.

Cummins finished with 5-42 in South Africa’s second innings on Sunday for his eighth five-wicket haul, after he claimed openers Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee, then cleaned up the tail including Rabada and Anrich Nortje in consecutive balls.

Scott Boland (2-14) produced another double-wicket over by removing wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne and Marco Jansen.

Star quick Mitchell Starc (2-26) became just the seventh Australian to take 300 Test wickets when he bowled Proteas No.3 Rassie van der Dussen with a classic in-swinger.

Temba Bavuma (29) showed some resistance before he was out lbw to spinner Nathan Lyon, while Khaya Zondo finished unbeaten on 36 for his best Test score.

Australia lost 5-73 before lunch to be all out for 218, giving them a 66-run first-innings lead.

Head started the first session on 78 after an impressive counter-attacking knock late on day one, guiding Australia to 5-145 by stumps and within seven runs of South Africa’s first-innings total.

But he fell just short of a century in consecutive years at the Gabba when dismissed by giant left-arm paceman Marco Jansen for 92 on Sunday morning.

Jansen made up for an ordinary innings with the bat to be the pick of the Proteas’ bowlers with figures of 3-32.

Rabada finished with eight wickets for the match to take his Test tally in 2022 to 45 in a rare bright spot for South Africa.

The Proteas’ firebrand set the tone for South Africa’s fightback, removing the under-pressure Warner for a golden duck with the first ball of Australia’s first innings.

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