Harris six for 127 steers SA clinch innings victory
A maiden career century from Mitchell Johnson was little consolation for Australia as Paul Harris grabbed six wickets to help South Africa wrap up the third Test by an innings and 20 runs in Cape Town.
The tourists, who won the opening two matches of the three-Test series, were all out for 422 on the fourth afternoon at Newlands to lose by an innings for the first time in exactly 11 years.
Harris, the slow left-armer, was the Proteas’ star man in notching his best-Test haul of six for 127, but the day undoubtedly belonged to Johnson after he slammed an unbeaten 123 in just 103 balls to help his side go down fighting.
He was given superb support from Andrew McDonald, who made 68 to share a 163-run partnership for the seventh wicket, as the visitors tried their best to make the home side bat again.
But the dismissal of the Victorian all-rounder spelt the beginning of the end, which came when Harris sent Ben Hilfenhaus on his way to hand the Australians a first innings defeat since they lost to India at Calcutta in 1998.
The day began with Ricky Ponting’s men playing a game of patience, which saw them score a mere 40 runs in the morning session.
They had to wait until the sixth over of the day for their first run, which came courtesy of a fine cover drive by Michael Hussey off Makhaya Ntini for four.
Simon Katich had a real let-off in claiming his first run - Dale Steyn sent in a full delivery outside off stump that was chased after by the left-hander with the ball flying straight to Harris, who failed to hold on to a simple chance at gully.
The New South Wales batsman then brought up his half-century by walking across his stumps and swatting Albie Morkel down to the fine leg boundary for four.
But he was out for 54 not long after, playing a wide and tossed up delivery off Harris straight to JP Duminy at mid-off to end a 159-ball stay.
There was still time for another scare for the tourists, which came in the final over before lunch when Michael Clarke was given out caught behind by umpire Steve Bucknor - who was standing in his last-ever Test match.
Mark Boucher took a simple catch, but the batsman referred the decision on the grounds that he failed to get an edge on the Jacques Kallis delivery and replays revealed he was correct.
Australia headed into lunch at 142 for three.
Resuming after the break, Hussey’s determined innings of 39 soon came to an end when he was surprised by a Steyn ball that kicked up off the pitch and succeeded only in finding Duminy at gully.
Brad Haddin came in with a little more intent and was handed a lifeline when he was put down in a Harris over by close fielder AB de Villiers in what was a tough chance that took the bat and pad along the way.
However, the bowler had his revenge in his next over when he tempted the Australian wicketkeeper to come down the track and attempt to lift him for four.
The ball only ended up being chipped into the air and Duminy ran back from mid-on to take a fine diving catch with Haddin gone for 18.
And Steyn then removed the last of the recognised batsmen, when he sent in a full length ball that Clarke tried to play through the covers, but the ball was played on to his stumps for 47 as the visitors reached tea at 231 for six.
But any hopes by the home side had of immediately wrapping up the Australia tail were thrown out the window by McDonald and Johnson’s free-flowing stand.
The pair scored 116 runs in the first hour after tea, including raising the 50 partnership in just over nine overs.
McDonald brought up his first half-century off 56 balls when he drove Kallis for a single, which was followed by Johnson bludgeoning Morkel square of the wicket for four to raise his fourth Test fifty and third against South Africa that came from 51 balls.
The hundred partnership came from 91 balls, before Harris finally managed to put the brakes on when he claimed two wickets in two balls.
The first was that of McDonald, who was caught by the close in fielder De Villiers.
However, he was not convinced and went upstairs, with TV umpire Billy Bowden confirming his fate.
The very next ball, Harris forced Peter Siddle to try and defend and he too succumbed to the same man at silly point as the hosts sensed victory.
But Johnson, who made 96 not out in the first Test at the Wanderers, kept them waiting and brought up his maiden first-class hundred by pulling Steyn for a massive six over mid-wicket reaching his ton in just 86 balls.
In the next over though, he ran out new man Bryce McGain for a duck while attempting to retain the strike - substitute Sybrand Engelbrecht the fielder.
And with the light quickly fading, Hilfenhaus was last man out when he edged Harris to Ashwell Prince at first slip for 12 leaving South Africa to cherish a consolation victory.
Harris was the pick of the bowlers with his six wickets, while Steyn claimed three for 96.
Australia 1st innings (all out) 209
South Africa 1st innings (all out) 651
Australia 2nd innings
P. Hughes c Kallis b Harris 32
S. Katich c Duminy b Harris 54
R. Ponting c Boucher b Steyn 12
M. Hussey c Duminy b Steyn 39
M. Clarke b Steyn 47
B. Haddin c Duminy b Harris 18
A. McDonald c de Villiers b Harris 68
M. Johnson not out 123
P. Siddle c de Villiers b Harris 0
B. McGain run out 0
B. Hilfenhaus c Prince b Harris 12
Extras: (b 8, lb 2, w 2, nb 5) 17
Total: (all out) 422
Fall of wickets: 1-57, 2-76, 3-138, 4-146, 5-191, 6-218, 7-381, 8-381, 9-388, 10-422.
Bowling: Steyn 27-5-96-3 (1nb, 1w), Ntini 19-6-66-0 (1w), Morkel 20-1-88-0 (2nb),
Harris 42.5-9-127-6 (1nb), Kallis 10-4-21-0 (1nb), Duminy 3-1-14-0.
Toss: Australia, who chose to bat
Series: Australia won the 3-match series 2-1
Man of the match: P. Harris (SA)
Man of the series: M. Johnson (Aus)
Umpires: A. Rauf (Pak) and S. Bucknor (WI)
Third umpire: B. Bowden (NZ)
Match referee: J. Crowe (NZ)