South Africa A v Australia A, A Team tri-series, Pretoria August 10, 2013

Theron outshines Finch as South Africa A win

ESPNcricinfo staff

South Africa A 252 (Vilas 55, Theron 53, Sandhu 4-51) beat Australia A 233 (Finch 119, Theron 4-51) by 19 runs

Rusty Theron first hit a belligerent half-century before his 4 for 51 instigated an Australia A batting collapse - six wickets for 23 runs - to hand South Africa A their first win of the tri-series in Pretoria. His all-round effort outshone a century by opener Aaron Finch, who was the last man dismissed as Australia finished 19 short.

Invited to bat, South Africa were pushed back early, Josh Hazlewood removing the openers inside nine overs. Dean Elgar came to the rescue again, his half-century adding much needed stability. Wicketkeeper Dane Vilas scored a 74-ball 55 as well, but he and Hardus Viljoen fell to Gurinder Sandhu in the 39th over. Theron looted 47 runs off 25 balls with No. 11 Beuran Hendricks, and reached his half-century and the team's 250, off his second six. His 39-ball innings ended when he was caught off Sandhu, who also claimed 4 for 51.

Set a target of 253, the visitors were cruising for the bulk of the chase, with captain Finch taking charge of two big partnerships - 84 for the first wicket with Shaun Marsh and 74 for the third with Nic Maddinson - and reached his half-century off 56 balls.

Halfway through, Australia were faced with a simple asking-rate under four an over, when they suffered a wobble, as Theron dismissed Maddinson. It tipped in South Africa's favour when Viljoen accounted for Mitchell Marsh and Tim Paine in the next over. Glenn Maxwell and Chadd Sayers fell in successive Theron overs and Australia A slumped to 172 for 7 from 160 for 2.

Finch played within himself, recording his fifth List A century. But Sandhu was run out at the other end, which brought Fawad Ahmed, the last batsman, to the crease with Australia 42 runs adrift. Finch opened up slamming two of his four sixes off Viljoen in the 41st over and struck Hendricks for a four in the next to reduce the equation as 24 to win. But Finch holed out to his counterpart Justin Ontong for 119 soon after to signal South Africa's victory.

"I'm very happy with the result but I felt like there are still a few areas that we need to work on. The first 10 overs of our bowling nearly cost us the match," Ontong said. "A few cheap wickets fell at the start of our innings which is something we need to avoid but Rusty took the responsibility upon himself and batted beautifully, getting us to a competitive total."

Theron was pleased with his returns as well. "It has been a long while out for me - had a stress fracture and a couple of minor niggles that put me out of the game for about a year, but it's good to be back and I'm thankful for the opportunity to be able to play a few games for South Africa and have a stage to try and make some sort of comeback."

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  • Dummy4 on August 11, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Think its high time Rilee Roussow got his chance in the t20i. Hes a prodigious talent and has perhaps finally matured. As for the bowlers - they were all too expensive and none of them deserve a chance at a higher level. Roelof was perhaps the best performer and he didnt manage to take his opportunity at international level so I dont see him making a comeback. Elgar should definitely take the number 3 spot in the ODI though. He seems to have blossomed since given his chance at test level, which is pleasing.

  • Altaf on August 11, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    Theron should have been included in SL tour for al-least back of out-of-form Morkel.

  • Sandip on August 11, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    20 wickets failed in 90 overs on a same batting paradise pitch!!!!

    What was that?????????/

  • Dummy4 on August 11, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    Maddinson second top scored yet again! He is a very exciting prospect who just oozes talent. A certainty to be in the Test team one day.

  • ESPN on August 11, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    Don't know why Butterworth is not rated. He has taken wickets and made runs for Tassie for past 6 seasons and still doesn't get a look in.

  • Blessing on August 10, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    Elgar continues to show good form, guess he is not willing to give up Mr JP Duminy's test spot without a fight, good luck to him.

  • ZCF on August 10, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    Maybe Rusty can replace the toothless McLaren. Elgar WILL fail again for the Proteas, but deserves a chance ahead of Faf,Kock&Alviro in ODIs.

    Not sure about Doolan&Henriques, but Maddinson can cut it as Aus' next Test batsman. Along with Silk&Burns they're definite options, plus the strangely ignored Callum Ferguson. However, Finch&Shaun Marsh(contrary to my previous stance on him) are clearly LOI players. Guys like Cosgrove should never have been overlooked for them in the FC part of this tour.

    Of the young bowlers there's McDermott, Hazlewood, Coulter-Nile, Cummins, Sayers, Sandhu, Mennie, Gannon etc! Having depth is not a guarantee in itself considering the frequent breakdowns. With Harris on his way out, CA really need to identify 2 or 3 from this list, who will partner Pattinson&Siddle in years to come, and manage them properly. I'm not quite convinced by Bird&Starc. Sayers seems to be a prospect. I strongly doubt Copeland and George will make a return. Butterworth is not rated.

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