The highly-anticipated Gabba Test between Australia and South Africa only lasted two days, and the hosts managed to register a victory by six wickets. It was just the second time in history that a Test match in Australia was finished in the space of two days.
The green top surface wreaked havoc on both batting line-ups, as 34 wickets fell in six sessions of the game. After packing South Africa for 99 on Sunday afternoon, Australia had a mere 34-run target to win the contest.
The run-chase, which could have been a cakewalk, was nothing but pure chaos as the hosts ended up losing four wickets before eventually reaching the target.
Earlier on the day, Australia resumed their first innings at 5/145, with Travis Head cruising towards another Test century. However, the left-handed batter fell eight runs short of a triple-figure score after being dismissed by Proteas seamer Marco Jansen. The rest of Australia’s lower order couldn’t do much, and the home team only managed to get a first-innings lead of 66, which ultimately proved to be more than enough.
Australian skipper Pat Cummins was the chief destroyer in the second innings, bagging his eighth five-wicket haul in the red-ball format and finishing with figures of 5/42 from 12.4 overs as the tourists were bundled out for 99 – their lowest team total on Australian soil in 90 years.
Brief Scores: Australia 218 (Travis Head 92, Kagiso Rabada 4/76) and 35/4 (Marnus Labuschagne 5*, Rabada 4/13) beat South Africa 152 (Kyle Verreynne 64, Nathan Lyon 3/14) and 99 (Temba Bavuma 29, Pat Cummins 5/42) by six wickets.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
Australia get the job done. But not without a few scares! #AUSvSA
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 18, 2022
It’s been fun but it’s all happened too quickly.
Pitch too grassy and green especially when you have two outstanding bowling units who don’t need generous conditions to have an impact. #AUSvSA
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) December 18, 2022
Strike rate of less than 50 for 300 Test wickets… the guy has caught a lot of flak for a bloke that has been an absolute weapon. Congratulations, Mitchell Starc 👏 #AUSvSA
— Corbin Middlemas (@CorbinMiddlemas) December 18, 2022
Cameron Green is a three-metre high, three-metre wide wingspan of death in the gully #AUSvSA
— Louis Cameron (@LouisDBCameron) December 18, 2022
Pat Cummins as Australian captain
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) December 18, 2022
I'll be pleased not to be up at 2am tomorrow but this is comfortably the worst Test I've covered. There's going to be a lot said about the pitch – and yes, it's unfortunate that SA have to bat on surfaces like this a lot – but more should be said about the batting.#AUSvSA
— Firdose Moonda (@FirdoseM) December 18, 2022
Dean Elgar in Tests in Aus:
0, 0, 12, 127, 17, 5, 0, 3, 2
166 runs @ 18.44#AUSvSA
— Adam Burnett (@AdamBurnett09) December 18, 2022
Lowest target chase in Tests when a bowler took four-wicket haul:
34 – Kagiso Rabada🇿🇦 v AUS, today
65 – Nick Cook🏴 v PAK, 1984
73 – Manny Martindale🏝️ v ENG, 1935
74 – Sanath Jayasuriya🇱🇰 v ENG, 2001
78 – Muttiah Muralitharan🇱🇰 v ENG, 2006#AUSvSA
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) December 18, 2022
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) December 18, 2022
Australia vs South Africa first Test match finished in 144.2 overs.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 18, 2022
Maybe it’s because he’s a current player that he’s not spoken of in more reverential tones, but I don’t think Australian fans appreciate enough how good a Test bowler Mitchell Starc has been. 7th Australian to 300, and the best strike rate of them all. #AUSvSA
— Andrew Wu (@wutube) December 18, 2022
Rabada claimed 4-13 (maybe he was just a little p***ed off at yet another failed batting effort)
Australia won by 6 wickets and go 1-0 up after just 2 days#AUSvSA
— ThePoppingCrease (@PoppingCreaseSA) December 18, 2022