Johnson's 12-fer secures huge win for Oz

Australia

Total annihilation – a term that best describes what Australia did to South Africa in their series opening Test in Centurion, where they ran out 281-run victors with 25 overs to spare on the fourth day's play.

Total annihilation – a term that best describes what Australia did to South Africa in their series opening Test in Centurion, where they ran out 281-run victors with 25 overs to spare on the fourth day's play.

In a Man-of-the-Match performance, Mitchell Johnson crippled the South African batting line-up in both innings as he continued in the same vein that helped his side to their recent 5-0 Ashes whitewash against England.

Johnson bagged a career-best 12 of the 20 wickets Australia needed for the win, while his knock of 33 in the first innings turned out to be more than 90% of what the Proteas top order batsmen managed in the contest.

In his post match interview Proteas skipper Graeme Smith described it as the most disappointing four days his team had experienced in a while and, ironically, it started with Smith deciding to send the tourist in to bat after winning the toss.

Although his pace bowlers struck early in the first session, it would be the last time that his team had any say in the match that was dominated by Australia from start to finish.

What made his decision to bowl first even more mind boggling was the fact that he knew his premier bowler, Dale Steyn, suffered from a runny tummy the night before play got underway.

Taking nothing away from the Australian batsmen, who did exceptionally well against the best attack in world cricket, the general standard of fielding by the South Africans left much to be desired.

No less than six catches were put down during the match while overthrows and misfields occurred in almost every session the team spent in the field.

The star of the Australian batting line-up was Shaun Marsh who pilled on 148 runs at a time when his team needed him most, in the first innings.

He did so while recovering from jetlag as he was a late replacement for the injured Shane Watson, who now faced an up-hill battle to get back into the side.

The fourth wicket stand of 222 runs Marsh shared with Steve Smith, who also made a ton, set the platform for the walkover.

In the second innings David Warner came good and his second-wicket stand of 205 with Alex Doolan erased any hopes the home side had of clawing their way back into the match.

Doolan would take two sublime catches at shortleg in what turned out to be another particularly poor batting display by the Proteas.

Clarke highlighted afterwards that he was most impressed with the attitude and hunger his players had and should they continue to live up to his expectations, a series win would be well within their reach.

The only player in the Proteas squad who showed some form of resilience was local lad AB de Villiers, who entertained his fans with outstanding stroke play in both innings, scoring 91 and 48.

<b>Michael Mentz in Centurion</b>

Latest