Toss: South Africa.
A memorable all-round performance by Steve Waugh brought Australia a nine-wicket win with more than a session to spare. For most of the first four days, the match seemed to be drifting to a draw on a slow, low pitch. But Australia gradually gained the advantage as Waugh shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 108 with Healy, steering his side towards 435 and a lead of 74. Then, when South Africa were 69 for one that evening, he changed the course of the match. First he took a return catch off Cronje; next, after Border ran out Wessels, he trapped Hudson lbw. There were two wickets for Warne before the close and Waugh returned to dismiss McMillan next morning on the way to Test-best figures of 22.3-9-28-5. The collapse of six wickets for 34 runs proved near-terminal.
Had Australia not fallen foul of the rule for recalculating the daily quota of overs, they might have created further damage on that fourth evening. But South Africa's slow over-rate in the first half of the day robbed the tourists - and the public - of five overs. The argument that a side bowling second in a split day should not have to make up overs lost by the other team is not valid. Particularly on the penultimate day, a fielding side should not be encouraged to slow their over-rate to improve their chance of saving the match.
On the first day, Wessels elected to bat and South Africa raced away, with Hudson and Gary Kirsten scoring 71 in the first 14 overs against a pace attack in which only McGrath was impressive. Kirsten was run out by a diving Slater, but Hudson completed a lovely hundred - his second in Test cricket - on his birthday, before he, too, was brilliantly run out by Steve Waugh. With Cronje and Wessels dismissed cheaply, the innings was in the balance at 198 for five, but 70 from Peter Kirsten and 74 from McMillan ensured a respectable 361.
That total occupied nine and a half hours and Australia were no more able to score quickly, taking eleven and a half hours over 435. Taylor made a successful return with 70 and Boon scored an obdurate 96. Despite the herculean efforts of De Villiers and Matthews, South Africa's all-seam attack could only settle for disciplined containment on the first Newlands Test pitch prepared by former Essex and Warwickshire groundsman Andy Atkinson. Its lack of pace and bounce made the pitch equally unsuitable for wrist spin, but Warne still returned magnificent match figure of 77-31-116-6. It was a fine effort all round from Australia after the defeat at Johannesburg.
Man of the Match: S. R. Waugh.
Close of play: First day, South Africa 237-5 (P. N. Kirsten 62*, B. M. McMillan 16*); Second day, Australia 112-1 (M. A. Taylor 57*, D. C. Boon 26*); Third day, Australia 336-5 (S. R. Waugh 50*, I. A. Healy 15*); Fourth day, South Africa 100-6 (J. N. Rhodes 1*, B. M. McMillan 1*).