South Africa batted out for a draw on the final day of the third Test in Sydney on Sunday, denying Australia a series clean sweep.
Australia entered the fifth day of the rain-ravaged Test requiring 14 wickets for victory, but the Proteas comfortably saw off the threat to earn a first draw in their last 47 Tests going back to 2017.
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Australia enforced the follow-on after Josh Hazlewood led the way with four wickets to dismiss the Proteas for 255 — 21 runs short of their target, but their highest innings total of a dismal series.
Australia could only muster two wickets in South Africa’s second innings with skipper Dean Elgar yet again failing along with Heinrich Klaasen.
Elgar fell for the fourth time in the series to a leg-side catch by wicketkeeper Alex Carey for 10.
Rival captain Pat Cummins peppered him with a rising delivery and targeted Elgar’s technical batting flaw off his hips for yet another cheap dismissal.
Elgar finished a miserable series with 56 runs from six innings at an average of 9.33, raising yet more questions about his future as South Africa’s Test skipper.
Leading spinner Nathan Lyon was left distraught when two contentious reviews involving Klaasen went against him.
Klaasen survived a strident leg before wicket appeal and subsequent review on 27.
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A run later a low catch by Steve Smith was given not out after a review with the third umpire Richard Kettleborough ruling that part of the ball was touching the grass when it went into Smith’s fingers.
But Klaasen didn’t last much longer and was bowled by Hazlewood for 35.
Hazlewood had earlier made a crucial double-wicket breakthrough to help wrap up South Africa’s first innings.
He removed the stubborn Keshav Maharaj leg before wicket for 53 off 81 balls, ending a 85-run partnership with Simon Harmer.
Hazlewood struck again removing the stoic Harmer, bowling him off an inside edge for 47 from 165 balls.
Lyon wrapped up the Proteas first innings with a superb diving caught and bowled off Kagiso Rabada for three.
Hazlewood finished with four for 48 while his pace partner Pat Cummins took three for 60. Cummins finished as the series leading wicket-taker with 12 wickets.
Part-time off-spinner Travis Head made the initial breakthrough before lunch having Marco Jansen caught behind by Carey for 11.
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Australia missed out on a series clean sweep after winning the opening Test by a six-wicket rout in Brisbane inside two days, then hammering the Proteas by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne.
The final Test draw means Australia have yet to mathematically seal a place in the World Test Championship final in London in June.
It is still possible Australia can miss the final if India sweep their series next month against Australia 4-0 and Sri Lanka win 2-0 in New Zealand.
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