4 Apr 2018

Australia thumped in final test

5:39 am on 4 April 2018

Australia's controversy-plagued cricket tour of South Africa has ended with a chaotic collapse and record-breaking defeat in Johannesburg, where the hosts have triumphed by 492 runs to complete a historic 3-1 Test series win.

The tourists resumed at 88 for 3 on day five of the fourth Test, hoping to bat all day and salvage a draw after being set an insurmountable target of 612.

They capitulated in 81 minutes, during which Vernon Philander took a stunning 6-3 in 5.2 overs, as the Proteas recorded their first home Test series win over Australia since the end of apartheid.

Australia were rolled for 119, suffering their second-heaviest defeat - in terms of runs - in Test history.

Kagiso Rabada collected man-of-the-series honours, having shifted momentum last month with a haul of 11-150 in Port Elizabeth that helped the Proteas level the series 1-1.

Philander was unstoppable on Tuesday, removing the Marsh brothers in his opening over, before accounting for Peter Handscomb, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins and Chadd Sayers.

Philander was named man of the match.

The visitors were eventually put out of their misery when Quinton de Kock whipped off the bails to complete a run-out, finding Nathan Lyon short of his ground.

"It's been a really challenging week but you can't doubt the effort," Paine said in the post-match ceremony.

"South Africa were outstanding ... they outplayed us."

The meek surrender, which came after Paine fought incredibly hard on day three despite batting with a broken thumb, capped one of Australia's most-incredible cricket tours.

Regrettably for coach Darren Lehmann - who tearfully announced last week this would be his final match in charge - plus Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, it was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

The ball-tampering scandal has changed plenty of lives and generated immense debate about the team's conduct, which new captain Paine has already changed.

But the saga also means Australia will be without their two best batsmen for a year - depending on the result of any potential hearings.

The absence of Smith and Warner was glaring at the Wanderers, although the tourists' batting woes were an issue on the trip long before the former captain and vice-captain were shamed and sacked.

No Australian batsman scored a century this series. That hasn't happened in a four-Test series since Bill Lawry's team lost 4-0 in 1970 in South Africa.

That contest was ironically South Africa's most-recent home Test series win over Australia.

South Africa had failed in seven home series against Australia since being welcomed back in 1991 to international cricket.