March 25, 2018 / 4:12 PM / 4 months ago

Cricket: Sorry Australians ripped apart by Morkel as South Africa win third test

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Stand-in Australia captain Tim Paine apologised for the ball-tampering controversy that has overshadowed the third test after South Africa seamer Morne Morkel ripped through the visitors’ batting lineup to inflict a 322-run defeat on Sunday.

Cricket - South Africa vs Australia - Third Test - Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa - March 25, 2018 South Africa's Morne Morkel celebrates with team mates after taking the wicket of Australia's Steve Smith REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The scandal-hit Australian team, who have been caught up in a storm since deposed captain Steve Smith confessed on Saturday that senior players in the side hatched a plan to tamper with the ball, were booed and whistled throughout the day as they were skittled out for 107 in their second innings.

Morkel picked up five wickets for 23 runs, and career-best match figures of 9-110, as the hosts took a 2-1 lead in the tempestuous four-match series, taking the 10 Australia wickets for 50 runs in a shambolic end to the game for the tourists.

Paine, drafted in to lead the side after Smith and vice captain David Warner stood down before the start of play on Sunday, apologised for the incident that has been condemned around the world.

“It’s been horrible 24 hours, difficult for all of us. I want to take this opportunity to apologise to our fans for what has happened,” he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

“We are disappointed, too, with the way we folded in the last two hours of what was a really horrible test match,” added Paine.

Cricket - South Africa vs Australia - Third Test - Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa - March 25, 2018 South Africa's Morne Morkel celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Mitchell Starc REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The result has piled more humiliation on an Australia side that has become embroiled in one of the biggest scandals in the country’s sporting history after Smith admitted an orchestrated plan from the team to tamper with the ball on the third day.

He will be missing for the final match at The Wanderers as he serves a one-match ICC suspension, and it could be a much-changed side that takes to the field with the places of a number of players under threat, some due to poor form.

After AB de Villiers (63), De Kock (65) and Vernon Philander (52 not out) led South Africa to 373 all out in their second innings, Australia faced a world-record run chase for victory.

Openers Cameron Bancroft, who was handed three demerit points and fined 75 percent of his match fee for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, and Warner started brightly enough.

They took the score to 57 when Warner called a tight single and a direct hit from South Africa’s Faf du Plessis saw Bancroft (26) run out well short of his ground.

Kagiso Rabada (1-31) then removed Warner (32) before two wickets in as many balls for Keshav Maharaj (2-32) as Usman Khawaja (1) was caught in the slips before Shaun Marsh (0) was taken at forward short leg by Aiden Markram.

Smith (7) was roundly booed when he came to the wicket and left having steered the ball to Dean Elgar in the gully off Morkel, an unhappy end to a series in which he has averaged 24.

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Morkel then made light work of the tail, picking up a further four wickets as the end came in a rush for the hapless Australians.

Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris

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