On the final day of the third test match, which took place in Sydney on Sunday, South Africa batted out for a draw, preventing Australia from winning the series 3-0.
Australia started the fifth day of the rain-affected Test needing to take 14 wickets for win, but the Proteas easily fought off the threat to clinch a draw, which would be their first draw in their past 47 Tests dating back to 2017.
Sarel Erwee was unbeaten on 42 and Temba Bavuma was 17 when the teams broke hands with five overs remaining in South Africa’s second innings. The score was 106 for two at that point.
After Josh Hazlewood led the way with four wickets to dismiss the Proteas for 255, which was 21 runs short of their target but their highest innings total of a disappointing series, Australia insisted that the Proteas bat another innings after they were dismissed.
During the second innings of South Africa’s game, Australia only managed to take two wickets. Australia’s skipper, Dean Elgar, as well as Heinrich Klaasen, both had unsuccessful outings.
Alex Carey, the wicketkeeper, took a leg-side catch to dismiss Elgar for the fourth time in the series. Elgar’s score was 10.
Rival skipper Pat Cummins blasted him with a rising delivery and targeted Elgar’s mechanical batting weakness off his hips for yet another cheap dismissal.
Elgar ended a disappointing series with 56 runs from six innings at an average of 9.33, which raises even more questions about his future as South Africa’s Test leader.
Nathan Lyon, a leading spinner, was left in disbelief after two controversial reviews involving Klaasen went against him.
On 27, Klaasen avoided being bowled despite a vigorous leg before wicket appeal and subsequent review.
After another run had been scored, a low catch by Steve Smith was reviewed, and the third umpire, Richard Kettleborough, ruled that part of the ball was touching the grass when it went into Smith’s fingers, hence the catch should not have been ruled an out.
However, Klaasen did not stay for very long and was bowled out by Hazlewood for 35 runs.
Hazlewood had earlier made a key double-wicket breakthrough to help wrap up South Africa’s first innings.
He got Keshav Maharaj leg before wicket for 53 runs off 81 balls, which brought an end to his partnership with Simon Harmer, which had scored 85 runs together.
Again, it was Hazlewood who struck, this time getting rid of the unflappable Harmer by bowling him off an inside edge after he had scored 47 runs off 165 balls.
The Proteas’ first innings was finished off by Lyon with a spectacular diving catch and bowled off the bat of Kagiso Rabada for three runs.
At the end of the race, Hazlewood had a score of four for 48, while his pace companion Pat Cummins had a score of three for 60. With a total of 12 wickets taken over the course of the series, Cummins emerged victorious.
Before lunch, occasional off-spinner Travis Head made the first breakthrough by getting Marco Jansen caught behind by Carey for 11.
After thrashing the Proteas by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne, Australia came close to completing a series clean sweep, but they were unable to do so. Australia won the first Test by a six-wicket rout in Brisbane within two days, and then they won the second Test by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne.
Due to the fact that the final test was drawn, it is still technically possible for Australia to compete in the World Test Championship final in London in the month of June.
There is still a chance that Australia will not make it to the final, and that chance increases if India wins their upcoming series against Australia 4-0 and Sri Lanka wins their series in New Zealand 2-0.