Captain Botha hopes team regains lost momentum
Johan Botha, the South Africa captain, has said his team will have to fight to regain lost momentum after they were defeated by Australia in both Twenty20 contests over the past three days. The hosts followed up their 52-run win in Melbourne with a six-wicket success in Brisbane to start the limited-overs component of the home season on a high.
South Africa appeared to be in the match until Michael Hussey started to fire on the way to an unbeaten 53 off 41 balls and his 69-run partnership with Cameron White, who blasted 40 off 18, turned the match. "In the last four overs, with the pressure really on, we couldn't finish the game off," Botha said.
Despite back-to-back setbacks, Botha said he had learned a lot from the matches. "It's nice to know we can compete with Australia and we'll have to keep on with it because we've lost all the momentum," he said. "We're going to be under pressure in the one-day series."
South Africa will be boosted by the return of AB de Villiers in the first match of the five-game CB Series on Friday. He missed the Brisbane Twenty20 due to a hip injury sustained during the opening contest. "He was 75% before the game," Botha said. "Now that Graeme Smith is out, AB is probably our best one-day player, so we'll definitely need him."
Hussey was happy to have some luck at the end of a difficult Test campaign. He was reprieved on 2 when Mark Boucher missed a stumping and there was also a drop by Wayne Parnell late in the game. However, replays showed a green light being directed in Parnell's eyes from the stands at the time of the catch.
"Unfortunately so far in my summer it hasn't gone my way," Hussey said, "but I had a couple of things went my way tonight and I was able to go on and get a good score. I really enjoyed that. I really enjoyed winning a game for Australia."
The Australians, who lost the opening two Tests, recovered with a victory in Sydney last week before the Twenty20 successes. "It's definitely a good start," Hussey said. "It's given us a lot of belief that we can beat the South African team. We will go in with confidence on Friday, but then we start at 0-0 and start punching at each other again. I don't think it makes us favourites."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo