ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Australia v South Africa, World Cup 2011 warm-up match, Bangalore
Clinical South Africa surge to easy win
The Bulletin by Firdose Moonda
February 15, 2011
South Africa 218 for 3 (Smith 65, Amla 60) beat Australia 217 (Clarke 73, Steyn 3-21) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The Australia bowlers were dealt a heavy snotklap (slap in the face) as South Africa chalked up a seven-wicket win in their warm-up match in Bangalore. Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla both retired to give the middle order some time at the crease during their chase.
"It's lovely to win especially since Australia are a really good team. We'll take a lot of confidence from beating them," Amla said at the post-match press conference. The emphatic nature of the win will buoy South Africa, who have a painful history against Australia in the World Cup, especially as they dominated with both bat and ball.
Australia's attack started promisingly when Shaun Tait bowled quick up front and almost took Amla's head off in the first over. He ended up being his own worst enemy because of his inconsistency. Brett Lee also initially caused problems for the opening pair and had two loud appeals against Amla in his second over but was soon tamed. South Africa saw off the opening pair and that opened the floodgates as runs poured in.
The contest between Mitchell Johnson and Smith was their first since the hand-breaking incidents of 2008 and 2009 but Smith won the battle comfortably this time around. Johnson struggled with his line and length and proved no real threat. With John Hastings and the spinners bowling fairly economically, but not too dangerously, Smith and Amla both found their groove. The former was still struggling a bit for form in the earlier warm-up game against Zimbabwe, but looked as though he found it here.
The pair took South Africa to 131 before Smith went back to the dressing room to make way for Faf du Plessis, and three overs later Amla gave up his place for JP Duminy. The two middle-order men were cautious in their approach, and managed just 19 runs off 36 balls before frustration set in and du Plessis was run out.
Duminy's timing seemed to be eluding him, until the six he smacked on the up off Johnson, and he got better as he hung around to finish it with AB de Villiers. That meant there was no opportunity for Colin Ingram or Morne van Wyk to spend time at the crease. Amla said the team was not concerned about those who have not batted in a match situation because they are "working hard in the nets."
Despite Australia's bowlers not claiming a single wicket, vice-captain Michael Clarke was not disheartened. "We understand that these are practice games and an opportunity to give everyone a run. I thought Jason [Krejza] and Smithy [Steven Smith] bowled really well. We will go about training and practising hard for Zimbabwe in a week's time."
The South Africans have no such bowling concerns as the dynamism of their attack was evident when they restricted Australia to 217. The seamers did the damage up front and the end while the tweakers tore through the Australian middle order.
Dale Steyn was sharper and quicker and able to achieve more swing than in the first warm-up match in Chennai. He was magnificent from the start when he trapped Shane Watson lbw with his fourth ball. What was equally impressive was the impact Tsotsobe had from the other end, from where he got some decent movement. His first ball presented Kallis with the opportunity to take a catch and dismiss Brad Haddin, but the allrounder put it down. Tsotsobe went on to beat the bat for three consecutive balls and was able to exact revenge on Haddin when he ran him out off his own bowling in his next over.
Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting's 126-run partnership provided some resistance, but the spinners struck in the middle overs to scupper the attempted recovery from the early wickets. Imran Tahir was even more impressive than on Saturday and was asking questions of the batsman with almost every ball.