Cricket world fumes over 'dreadful' act as Aussies win Boxing Day Test

Australia's victory in the second Test at the MCG sealed their first series win over South Africa on home soil in 17 years.

South Africa, pictured here after their loss to Australia in the Boxing Day cricket Test.
South Africa have been shredded after their loss to Australia in the Boxing Day cricket Test. Image: Getty

South Africa have been shredded by cricket fans and commentators alike after an insipid display in the Boxing Day Test on Thursday. Australia bowled the tourists out for just 204 to claim victory by an innings and 182 runs, clinching their first series victory over South Africa on home soil in 17 years.

South Africa managed to pass 200 for the first time in eight innings, but only just. Their batters only managed totals of 189 and 204 as Australia amassed 8-575 in their first innings at the MCG.

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As well as some poor shot selection, the Proteas had an absolute nightmare with their running between the wickets on Thursday. Temba Bavuma was involved in two runouts and came under heavy fire after the dismissals of Khaya Zondo and Keshav Maharaj.

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Maharaj's dismissal summed up South Africa's woeful series so far, with Bavuma burning his teammate with a horrible late call while attempting to run three. Bavuma sent his batting partner back to the danger end, with Mitchell Starc throwing down the stumps to send him packing.

“This really is schoolboy stuff ... watch the way he turns here. His back’s to the play, then tries to pin it back the other way,” Ricky Ponting said on Channel 7. “It’s too late then - absolutely barbecued his mate. Lazy running has cost another wicket.”

Speaking on Fox Sports, Mark Waugh said it was 'under-10s stuff' to have two runouts in one innings in Test cricket. “That was a total disaster, two good runs and then one shocking run,” he said about Maharaj's dismissal.

Keshav Maharaj, pictured here after being run out in disastrous scenes in the Boxing Day Test.
Keshav Maharaj was run out in disastrous scenes in the Boxing Day Test. (Photo by Dave Hewison/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Complete confusion between Bavuma and Maharaj. Should have been an easy three. Absolute disaster for South Africa. That sums up the first two Test matches for them.”

Ian Smith declared it “a calamity” and “dreadful cricket”, before Waugh added: “Amateur hour from Bavuma unfortunately. That’s not good enough for Test level. That’s just not good enough. It’s alright to be out to a good ball or a good piece of fielding but not a mistake like that.

“It was an attitude too, that’s selfish. You’re thinking about yourself, you’re not thinking about your partner. You’re not in sync with your teammates.”

Even more embarrassing for South Africa was the fact that all-rounder Cameron Green couldn't bowl in the second innings due to a broken finger, while Mitchell Starc was bowling with a badly damaged finger of his own. Part-time leg-spinner Steve Smith claimed the final wicket to complete the Proteas' humiliation.

Pat Cummins declares Australia the best Test team

Australia hadn't won a Test series on home soil against South Africa since 2005-06 when Ricky Ponting was captain. Thursday's triumph marked their first series win over the Proteas anywhere in the world since 2014.

"Yeah, probably the best Test team I've played in," Cummins said of his Australians, who are now just one win away from securing their spot in the World Test Championship final. "Just in terms of how well settled everyone is, how well everyone knows our game plan.

"In terms of captaining, I don't have feel like I have to do much at all, everyone looks after themselves. Just in a really sweet spot at the moment, we know it's not going to stay like this forever, but I think we can just all sit back and appreciate the place that we are in at the moment."

Australia players, pictured here celebrating after winning the Boxing Day Test against South Africa.
Australia players celebrate after winning the Boxing Day Test against South Africa. (Photo by Dave Hewison/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

South Africa are well and truly in a transition period after the retirements of Test greats Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis. Captain Dean Elgar defended his inexperienced side after Thursday's loss.

"Keep reminding the guys they're not crap cricketers ... to be blunt," he said of his message for the last Test of the series. "That's what we're playing for, come the third Test - playing for the badge, playing for the pride of our team.

"2-1 sounds better than 3-0, so we have to believe we can still bounce back and put up a massive effort for the third Test."

with AAP

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