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Aussies retain spot at the top

AUSTRALIA clinched a series win over South Africa and remained top of the world rankings after completing a crushing 175-run victory in the second test in Durban yesterday.

South Africa resumed on 244 for two, chasing an unlikely victory target of 546 to square the series 1-1, and quickly lost Jacques Kallis for 93 when paceman Mitchell Johnson found the edge with a rising ball and slip Ricky Ponting took the catch.

AB de Villiers, who had put on 187 for the third wicket with Kallis, then fell for 84 as he pushed forward at fast bowler Peter Siddle and was caught behind by Brad Haddin.

Wickets continued to come regularly for Australia and South Africa's second innings eventually came to an end on 370, 15 minutes before tea.

"I am extremely proud of our whole group," Australia captain Ponting told the post-match presentation. "Coming here we had our backs to the wall but we decided we would give ourselves a really good chance of being competitive in this series.

"We have played some amazing cricket and the debutants we have had in the two test matches have been unbelievable. Whenever you can bounce back from a loss against a very good side like South Africa, it is very satisfying."

Home skipper Graeme Smith, whose team won in Australia at the start of the year, praised the performance of the visitors.

"Australia kept us under pressure for long periods," he said. "We have got to be honest, take it on the chin and bounce back as soon as possible.

"They have been two very disappointing test matches here especially after what we have achieved in the last 12 to 16 months. We just haven't been able to maintain that intensity we have been used to.

"It is a huge disappointment but I still think there's a big future for this team."


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