South Africa captain Graeme Smith’s international cricket career came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when he was dismissed for 3 as Australia moved ever closer to victory on day four of the third test at Newlands.
South Africa, set 511 to win, reached tea on 15-3 after Mitchell Johnson dismissed Smith and Dean Elgar to leave Australia needing seven wickets with four sessions remaining in the series decider.
Smith announced his retirement from international cricket late Monday, and received a guard of honour from the Australians when he made his way to the crease.
Only a small crowd turned out to witness the final day of Smith’s 12—year career, but they gave him a standing ovation as he left his home ground.
Earlier, David Warner recorded back—to—back centuries in the same match to set up Australia’s declaration on 303—5.
Kyle Abbott was the only South African to enjoy any real success as he dismissed Warner on the way to figures of 3—61.
Although Dale Steyn returned to the South Africa attack for the first time since incurring a hamstring strain on day one, he bowled just three overs that were hit for 24 runs.
Australia resumed on its overnight total of 27 without loss, and its attacking intent was clear as openers Warner and Chris Rogers added 93 at better than a run a ball until Rogers was run out for 39 by Steyn’s direct hit.
Warner became more subdued when Alex Doolan came to the crease, and Australia scored at less than three runs per over for the remainder of the session, but he opened up again after the lunch break to go to three figures in 124 balls.
After Morne Morkel dismissed Doolan for 37, Shane Watson scored a brisk 25 before falling to Abbott, who followed up by having Clarke caught for a first—ball duck.
Steve Smith smashed 36 not out from 20 deliveries before Clarke called his batsmen in to leave South Africa with a record target, and bring its long—serving captain to the crease for the final time.
Smith lost opening partner Alviro Petersen quickly as he was trapped lbw by Ryan Harris for 9, and in the next over Smith’s career was brought to a close by a Johnson lifter. Smith also started his test career with 3 against Australia on his same home ground.
Johnson went on to bowl Elgar for a 13—ball duck on the stroke of tea, and leave South Africa needing a miracle to avoid defeat in Smith’s final match.
He also captained South Africa in 27 Twenty20 Internationals, winning 18 and losing nine.
As a determined left-handed opening batsman, Smith has scored 9,262 runs in 117 Tests at an average of 48.49.
In 347 international matches across all formats he scored 17,228 runs.