Australia captain Michael Clarke admitted his side could have no excuses as South Africa claimed an eight-wicket win in a remarkable opening Test in Cape Town.
Graeme Smith (101 not out) and Hashim Amla (112) both scored centuries and shared in a second-wicket stand worth 195 as the Proteas reached their victory target of 236 with over eight sessions left to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.
However, while it was Smith and Amla who took the plaudits on the final day after South Africa had been skittled for 96 yesterday to concede a first-innings deficit of 188, the pace trio of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel were the heroes after dismissing the tourists for just 47.
Clarke said: “It was an interesting three days, I guess. Without doubt we let ourselves down in the second innings with the bat. Full credit has to go to South Africa, not only with the ball but the way they played today. We probably would have needed 600 or 700 on the board anyway. They outplayed us.”
Clarke, who scored 151 in Australia’s first-innings total of 284, added: “We were in a good position but we let that slide very quickly. We have no excuses for that. We played disgraceful shots. Our shot selection was horrendous, and our execution with the ball today again wasn’t great and we let the Test match slide.
“Like I said, we have no excuses. We have a lot of work to do before the second Test.
“There’s plenty of tough times throughout your career and I guarantee this is one tough time for that team out there, but our goal is to fight hard in the second Test and get the win and try to level the series before we get on that plane back home.”
Smith said: “I think that’s probably a win that I need to give to the bowlers.”