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Australia snatch dramatic series triumph

Australia secured a 2-1 series victory over South Africa after a nail-biting 245-run win in the third and final Test at Newlands.

The tourists came into the final day needing just six wickets to claim victory, but the Proteas dug in and frustrated them with Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn putting on 19 runs in 15 overs for the ninth wicket to guide the hosts towards an unlikely draw.

But when Steyn was yorked by Ryan Harris with 29 balls left in the day, Morne Morkel followed two deliveries later to leave Philander stranded on 51 and see Australia home.

It was a sad exit for departing South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who announced during the game that he would end his international career after this Test.

Harris finished with superb figures of 4-32 from 24.3 overs.

AB de Villiers took 100 balls to reach his overnight 16 and, as expected, the pace did not pick up as South Africa began their attempt to save the match.

Eventually, Australia's persistence paid off as James Pattinson got Kyle Abbott with an absolute beauty. The ball pitched on a good length, nipping back to clip the top of off stump and remove the nightwatchman for seven from 89 deliveries.

Francois du Plessis came in to see the Proteas through to lunch with no further loss, but Harris was rewarded for a probing spell when he drew an edge behind from de Villiers four overs after the restart.

It was the first time in 13 Tests that the batsman had not recorded a fifty, but his 43 used up nearly five and a half hours and 228 valuable deliveries to help his team to 136 for six.

Du Plessis and JP Duminy put on 37 for the seventh wicket before leg-spinner Steven Smith removed the former lbw for 47 with the first ball of a new spell.

That brought Philander to the crease and he immediately set about upping the run-rate, hitting Mitchell Johnson for the first six of the innings.

Duminy began to find the boundary with more regularity and helped to add 73 before Michael Clarke stationed Nathan Lyon at a fine leg-slip to Johnson. Attempting to steer the ball around the corner, Duminy fell into the trap.

When Philander brought up his half-century from 95 balls with a four, he and Steyn needed to ride out 7.4 overs more, but the great escape proved elusive.