Pretoria: Mitchell Johnson bowled Australia to a comprehensive 281-run victory over South Africa after taking his match haul to 12 wickets on the fourth day of the first Test at SuperSport Park, here, on Saturday.
The fiery paceman added five wickets to the seven he snapped up in the first innings as Australia went 1-0 up in the three-Test series by bowling out the hosts for 200.
Johnson’s figures of 12 for 127 beat his previous best return of 11 for 159 against South Africa in Perth in 2008.
The visitors, continuing the form they showed in last month’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash of England, completely outplayed the world’s top-ranked Test team.
Earlier, Australia declared on 290 for four after resuming on 288 for three.
Left-arm pacer Johnson then took over with the ball, looking almost unplayable at times with his raw pace and disconcerting bounce.
He had Alviro Petersen caught behind for one with his fifth ball before adding the prized wicket of captain Graeme Smith (four) as South Africa slumped to 12 for two. Petersen’s dismissal marked the 250th Test wicket for the 32-year-old.
Johnson’s third victim came just before tea when JP Duminy was brilliantly caught at short leg by Alex Doolan for 10.
He then dismissed Ryan McLaren, caught behind for six off a vicious rising delivery, and AB de Villiers.
De Villiers top-scored in both innings for South Africa, making 91 in the first and 48 in the second before Steven Smith snaffled a reflex catch.
Last man Morne Morkel’s ignominious run out for one ended the game, a reflection of the cricket produced by the home side throughout the match.
After the win, an ecstatic captain Michael Clarke said that Aussies would now look to be consistent overseas. “The greatest test for us right now is being able to consistently win away from home,” he told reporters.
“I see in my teammates’ eyes at the moment that they are so hungry for success. Our attitude now is unbelievable,” said the proud captain. (Reuters)