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Dec 22, 2008

AB de Villiers guides SA to record victory

AB de Villiers inspired South Africa to record breaking win in the first Test against Australia at Perth. Chasing a daunting 414 for victory, the visitors got home with six wickets to spare to complete the second highest successful chase in the history of Test cricket.

The chase was set up by a magnificent innings by captain Graeme Smith, who compiled a superb century despite a lingering elbow injury. Hashim Amla chipped in with a mature innings of 53 as well.

AB de Villiers then added 124 runs with Jacques Kallis for the fourth wicket before an unbeaten 111-run stand for the fifth wicket with debutant JP Duminy as South Africa completed an emphatic victory.

The enormity of the task was underlined by the fact that the highest run chase at Perth was 342/8 in 1977. South Africa had only won one Test in Australia since their reintroduction into world cricket.

Kallis and de Villiers were watchful during the early part of the day as they kept Australia's strike bowlers, Lee and Johnson at bay. Once set, the two pounced on the part-time tweakers of Michael Clarke to help themselves to some easy runs.

For Australia, Johnson was the only bowler who impressed, taking his match tally to 11 wickets but received little support from Lee and the two rookies, Siddle and Krejza.

South Africa seemed to be running away with the game but Johnson struck a crucial blow half an hour before lunch as Kallis flashed at a wide delivery to be caught at gully with the Proteas still needing 111 runs to victory.

JP Duminy was greeted with a barrage of short deliveries but showed good resilience and focus to get through the initial period. The off spin of Krejza proved to be easy pickings for the debutant as he grew in confidence.

South Africa put to rest their reputation to choke in big games when Duminy drove Johnson into the covers, sprinting three to complete his maiden fifty and a historic victory before hugging de Villiers.

AB de Villiers received the Man of the Match for his all round efforts. He scored 63 in the first innings and held onto 4 catches, 3 of them spectacular, followed by a match-winning century.

Australia have much to do before the second Test starts in Melbourne on Boxing Day.

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