Besides the verbal volleys which hogged the limelight for the most part of the last two days of the Test match, Australia's domination in the Durban Test was another important factor in the Test match. This is just the very first Test of the four-match series, but Australia are setting their sights on yet another series win after the Ashes.
"Really satisfying to win this Test match," Steve Smith, the Australian captain, told reporters after the Test on Monday (March 5). "The first Test is always really important especially against a quality opponent like South Africa. Really pleased with the performance and it was clinical."
Smith said Australia's batting had work to do but commended the tail after the lower-order added invaluable runs with Marsh.
"Obviously, no one went on to make a hundred which was a bit disappointing even though Mitch Marsh deserved a century," he said. "Our tail played really well which was probably the difference. I think we did a lot of good things in this Test."
After the commanding win, Australia looks the better team on paper. With Smith and Warner in form and Mitchell Marsh with his all-round potential, Australia seems to have the edge over South Africa going forward in the series. Mitchell Starc also seems to be back in full flow with Nathan Lyon supporting him well from the other end. Australia thus have their various aspects of the game covered.
Unfortunately, Australia's stunning start to the series will be overshadowed by the Warner and de Kock incident. Quite clearly, Australia were intent on delivering an early psychological blow on South Africa to ensure their stranglehold on these shores continued.
Smith admitted Australia relished exuding aggression but said it was a delicate balancing act to not cross the line. "That's the way we play our best cricket, when we're aggressive and hunting in a pack together," he said. "That's part of being an Australian, in my opinion. We are men playing a competitive sport. At times, the emotions can get the better of players."
"But at times we need to pull things back and ensure we are playing in the spirit of the game," Smith concluded.