An all-round South African capitulation allowed the Aussies to strike the first blow of the five-match ODI series.
Given the Proteas’ ascendancy when the visitors were reeling at 115-4, one wonders how they managed to lose by a whopping 141 runs. Poor bowling towards the end allowed Mike Hussey and James Hopes to boost the Aussies’ score beyond the expected, and the South African batting effort was just as erratic.
Credit must go to the Aussie bowling attack as they overcame a steady 74-run partnership between Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs to decimate the middle order. With that fellowship broken, the slide began, South Africa losing their last eight wickets for just 54 runs.
Hopes was just as solid with the ball, his tight bowling forcing both Gibbs and JP Duminy into false strokes. But it was the spinner Nathan Hauritz who proved decisive, his constrictive effort squeezing the life out of the Proteas and earning him four wickets.
South Africa will lament poor bowling at the end of Australia’s innings and the poor concentration of their middle order. It’s truly a case of the Proteas losing rather than the Aussies winning.
However, with the momentum of a win, the Aussies will be that much better in Sunday’s match at Centurion. South Africa need to find their mojo, and they need to find it fast.
Australia – 286-7 in 50 overs
Mike Hussey 83*, Brad Haddin 53, James Hopes 38, Dale Steyn 2-45.
South Africa -145 in 33.1 overs
Graeme Smith 52, Herschelle Gibbs 33, Nathan Hauritz 4-29.
Australia won by 141 runs
For the full scorecard click here.