Michael Clarke celebrates the Third Test win with Shane Warne. Photo: Getty Images
CAPE TOWN, South Africa The angst of Adelaide Oval was not in the back of Michael Clarke’s mind on Wednesday, but the timing of his declaration the day prior in Cape Town certainly was.
Clarke declared 15 overs after lunch on day four of the Test series decider with a 510-run lead.
It was three overs later than when he pulled the pin in the 2012 Test between the two teams in Adelaide, famous for Faf du Plessis’ marathon unbeaten century on debut that secured a draw for his side.
The symmetry between the two games continued – Australia again needed six wickets when play started on day five.
AB de Villiers was valiant as he was in Adelaide, but once more bowed out after lunch out having faced more than 215 balls.
But Steve Smith rewrote the script when he trapped du Plessis lbw late in the second session.
The Proteas threatened to finish with two wickets in hand, the same feat they managed at Adelaive Oval, before Ryan Harris’ heroics at the death finally killed off the resistance.
“It was a long day, that’s for sure,” Clarke said.
“I don’t think I thought too much about Adelaide, but I was certainly questioning ‘did I bat for too long’.
“You obviously question everything. You’re there to win the game … I would have been extremely disappointed if we didn’t got over the line.
“South Africa deserve a lot of credit for the way they fought. As a batting unit, we can certainly learn a lot from that performance, the way they found a way to hang in there and put value on their wicket.”