(REUTERS) – South Africa captain Faf du Plessis lauded his “relentless” bowlers for their match-winning performance against Australia in Hobart yesterday and dedicated the series win to absent Proteas Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers.Kyle Abbott completes his five-for with the wicket of Mitchell Starc.Kyle Abbott, who replaced pace spearhead Steyn, was Man-of-the-Match after taking 6-77 in the second innings to complete a nine-wicket haul as the home side crumbled to an innings and 80-run defeat before lunch on day four at Bellerive Oval.Kagiso Rabada took 4-34 in Australia’s second innings while Vernon Philander laid the platform for victory with five wickets in the first when Australia were bundled out for 85.“When you play three seamers in attack they all have to stand up at different times,” du Plessis, standing in for regular captain de Villiers, said at the trophy presentation after South Africa took a 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.“I thought yesterday we were exceptional, we didn’t get the rewards we wanted but to come back this morning, just make sure we were relentless in our areas … we knew if we could do those things the wickets will come and they did.“We’re just relentless, we don’t let the pressure go as a bowling unit, we’re there all the time and in the field we back it up.”Although grey skies hung over Hobart, it was a golden morning for 29-year-old Abbott, who has had the misfortune of bowling in the era of Steyn and Philander, managing only seven further Tests since his 2013 debut at home to Pakistan.He knocked over four of Australia’s top six batsmen in the second innings and broke a stubborn partnership between Usman Khawaja and Australia captain Steven Smith with a masterclass of swing, pace and bounce.“It’s been a case of that, over the last few years, waiting for an opportunity. It’s nice to get one and make the most of it,” Abbott said.“That’s always a challenge when you don’t play so much, to stay match-fit and keep that form in games, but when I get that opportunity, I try my heart out and make the most of it.”South Africa have now won their last three series in Australia, following victories under Graeme Smith in 2008 and 2012.du Plessis, who scored an unbeaten century on debut to save South Africa in the Adelaide Test four years ago, said yesterday’s triumph also belonged to Steyn and de Villiers.“Enjoy it, celebrate it with us,” he said in a greeting to the players.“They’re experienced guys. They know coming to Australia is one of the hardest places to come and win.“So to come here and do it 2-0 is special for us as a team but we share that specialness with great players in our side like Dale and AB, who have been here lots of times and worked really hard to try to win games of cricket.”
A native of Houston, Burnett spent 11 years in a number of roles with the Sun Belt Conference in New Orleans, and previously worked at the American South Conference and Louisiana Tech University, where he also graduated from in 1988. He and his wife Tracy have a son, Cole, and daughter, Jesse, both students at the University of Oklahoma. With nearly 30 years in conference administration, Burnett has helped to enhance the Southland’s membership with the additions of multiple universities in recent years that give the Southland 13 members in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, including members in or near major metropolitan areas such as Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans and Little Rock. Burnett also led a successful community-wide effort to bring the NCAA Division I Football Championship Games to the Southland’s home base of Frisco, Texas, as the league has served as the host conference for the national title contests at Toyota Stadium since 2011. The NCAA has subsequently renewed the agreement twice to keep the national championship game in Frisco through the 2020 event. He also initiated the Southland’s football officiating consortium with the Big 12 Conference in 2007, a first of its kind dual program that combined singular training, observation, video review and development, a model followed by many other Division I conferences today. In 2014, the Southland became the first FCS conference to implement full-time instant replay for all football games, regardless of television coverage. “It’s been a tremendous privilege to serve the Southland Conference’s membership over this period of time,” said Burnett, the Southland’s seventh commissioner since its founding in 1963. “I am honored by the Board’s continued confidence in the terrific work of our staff that strives to assist and better our institutional athletic programs, and enhance the academic and athletic opportunities of our 4,200 student-athletes on a daily basis.” FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference’s presidential Board of Directors has extended its employment agreement with Commissioner Tom Burnett through June 30, 2022, the league office announced Tuesday. Burnett, who was named to the post in late 2002, recently became the longest-tenured commissioner in the Southland’s 55-year history, surpassing the term of former league leader Dick Oliver, who served in the position from 1971-1987. “The Southland Board of Directors is very pleased to provide a contract extension for Tom Burnett, now the longest-serving commissioner in league history,” said Dr. Dana G. Hoyt, President of Sam Houston State University and Chair of the Southland Board of Directors. “The presidents continue to recognize the Southland’s steady growth under his watch, including an unprecedented expansion of television coverage, the recent development of a conference-wide strategic plan, the increased quality of championship events, and improvement in the collective academic standing and well-being of Southland student-athletes.” He is also a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee that manages the administrative and selection processes for the national championship event, including oversight of the Men’s Final Four. Burnett has served on 10 various NCAA committees and councils during his Southland tenure, including the Division I Committee on Academic Performance and Football Academic Working Group. He is a member of the Board of Managers for College Football Officiating (CFO), LLC, an entity created by the NCAA and the Collegiate Commissioners Association to enhance and address college football’s officiating matters. Burnett is also a member of the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame’s Awards Committee, the NFF’s Divisional Honors Court, and the organization’s Football Matters Board of Directors. He formerly served on the Board of Directors for NCAA Football, and was the FCS Vice President for the Collegiate Commissioners Association in 2007-08.