Stunning spell of bowling sees the quick give Australia a stunning last-gasp series win.
Ryan Harris was acclaimed as one of Australia’s finest bowlers after spearheading his country to a dramatic late series victory over South Africa in Cape Town.
The Australians won the third and final Test by 245 runs in a nail-biting finish with just 27 balls to spare after a day of epic home resistance.
Veteran paceman Harris bowled Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in the space of three balls as Australia won the match as well as the series by two Tests to one.
“Late-bloomer Ryan Harris entrenched his reputation as one of the finest bowlers seen in Australia since at least the turn of the century by delivering the two wickets Australia needed to win the deciding Test and claim the series,” Fairfax Media’s Jesse Hogan wrote.
The victory ensured that Australia’s record of never losing a series in the republic remained intact in the seven series since South Africa returned from sporting isolation more than two decades ago.
It was also the first time South Africa, the world’s top-ranked team, have lost a series anywhere since they were defeated by Australia five years ago.
“Harris was indeed the hero, coming back for a last bowling spell with 30 balls left. He defied his injury-ridden body to spear a yorker through Dale Steyn’s defence for one and then two balls later take Morne Morkel’s wicket,” The Australian’s Peter Lalor said.
“Harris, who finished with 4-32, will head home to have an operation on his knee that he delayed to play this series,” he added.
The victory gave captain Michael Clarke seven wins from eight Tests following a 5-0 whitewash of England, and moved Australia to second on the International Cricket Council rankings ahead of India.
Clarke later tweeted: “Not really sure how to describe the last 6 months!!! Thank you to the Aussie Team, Staff, Family, Friends and all of our supporters. @darren_lehmann we did it coach!!!!”
The Sydney Daily Telegraph’s Malcolm Conn said he was concerned that South Africa may repeat its Adelaide great escape of last (southern) summer, when they lasted more than nine hours and kept out 148 overs to finish on 8-248.
Hogan added: “Australia’s hopes of claiming victory surged after it removed the two stonewallers of Adelaide in 2012, A.B. de Villiers and (Faf) Du Plessis, at either end of the second session to ensure the Proteas’ tail was exposed for the entire last session.
“It took until the last half-hour of the last session, but Australia finally banished the demons of Adelaide with a stunning victory in Cape Town.”