After winning the T20 series and confidently surging to a 1-0 lead in the ODI series, Australia was given a dose of limited-overs reality as the Morne Morkel-inspired South African tourists cruised a three-wicket win in Perth.
The hosts, who went into the clash without injured skipper Michael Clarke, were skittled for 154, all out in the 42nd over after choosing to bat first. The Australian top order all failed, leaving the side in deep trouble at 4-34. Stand-in skipper George Bailey (25) and Mitchell Marsh (67) put on 58 for the fifth wicket – the only stand of note in Australia’s dismal innings.
Marsh’s knock was virtually the only positive for Australia, cracking three boundaries and a pair of sixes in his 88 balls. He was the only Australian batsman to score more than 25, before being the last man out, undone by a Dale Styen slower ball.
Morkel carved Australia up, taking a career-best 5-21 off eight overs.
The Proteas made short work of the meagre target, although they did lose wickets at regular intervals before stitching up the win in the 28th over for the loss of seven wickets.
Skipper AB de Villiers’ superb form continued, top-scoring with 48 from just 41 balls, while Rilee Rossouw (30) and David Miller (22no) made handy contributions.
Josh Hazelwood, playing in just his fourth ODI, enjoyed a fine day with the ball, however, taking 5-31 off 9.4 overs – after claiming just two scalps in his previous three appearances. He was twice on a hat-trick during the best performance of his fledgling international career, but it was not enough to prevent South Africa from levelling the series.
Stud of the day
Morne Morkel’s second ODI five-wicket bag totally decimated Australia, while the beanpole also gloved two good catches off Dale Steyn’s bowling to get rid of Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh. Quite a day out for the 30-year-old paceman.
Morkel had opener David Warner caught behind – with Quinton de Kock taking a superb leg-side catch – for a six-ball duck, and Australia never really recovered.
Australia doesn’t have too long to lick their wounds and get back on track, with the third ODI encounter taking place on Wednesday in Canberra. Their top-order batting will come under the microscope again after worrying signs emerged in the opening two encounters.
Around the world
India continued their dominance of Sri Lanka in the final ODI at Ranchi, winning by three wickets with eight balls remaining to seal a 5-0 cleansweep. Indian captain Virat Kohli’s sparkling 139no off 126 balls – featuring 12 fours and three sixes – steered the hosts to victory, after opposing skipper Angelo Matthews, who also posted an unbeaten 139 (off only 116 balls), spearheaded Sri Lanka’s 8-286.