South Africa dismissed the hosts for the lowest total that the Australians have scored at home in ODIs. With Dale Stein leading a quality bowling attack, the Australians were all at sea losing their first three wickets with only 8 runs on the board. The South African bowlers exploited the pitch which afforded bounce and some seam to perfection while exposing the vulnerability of the Australian batsmen to some quality bowling.
Steyn, Ngidi and Radada regularly prompted the Australian batsmen with their pace to either snick the ball behind or to entice them into mistiming their shots. The Australians were soon down to 6 wickets for only 66 runs. A fourth of the quartet of South African fast bowlers, Phehlukwayo, who is slower than the other three, also grabbed three wickets when the Australian batsmen tried to stage a recovery by attacking him. The Australians never recovered after Steyn dismissed the first two batsmen in his third over.
The fact that after Carey was the highest scorer with 33 runs off 72 balls for the Australians before Coulter-Nile scored an aggressive 34 of 31 tells the story of the Australian innings. The highest partnership of the innings worth 33 runs was stitched together by Carey and Cummins. The Australian innings folded at 152 runs in 38.1 overs. The Australian coach had previously mentioned the fact that the Australian batsmen went too hard at the ball and that it was a cause for worry.
When replying, De Kock and Hendricks and put together a partnership of 94 runs on a markedly friendlier pitch before the former was dismissed for 47 runs by Coulter-Nile. South Africa lost another three wickets before they achieved their target in 29.2 overs to win by 6 wickets.
The Australians will sorely miss the absence of Shaun Marsh who needed surgery to remove an abscess on his buttock. The outcome of the first international match against the Reeboks after being by the ball-tampering scandal, and losing some of their key players to disciplinary sanctions are not particularly encouraging for the home team. The Indians who are playing the West Indians later today at Kolkata will have watched this match keenly. They are the next international team to visit Australia on what will be a challenging tour.