South Africa v Australia, 4th ODI, Port Elizabeth

Australia aim to force series decider

Cricinfo staff

April 12, 2009

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Match facts


Nathan Bracken looks skywards as the ball goes into orbit, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Twenty20, Centurion, March 29, 2009
It has been a tough series for Nathan Bracken but one good spell could turn things around for Australia © AFP
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April 13, 2009
Start time 10.00am (08.00GMT)

Big Picture

Two more matches and a long and fascinating summer that has been played out between South Africa and Australia will be at an end. One more victory and South Africa will finish on a high. They took a 2-1 lead in Cape Town and can wrap up the ODI series with a win in Port Elizabeth. However, after such an evenly-fought few months it might be fitting to be locked at 2-2 heading to the final match at the Wanderers, where the two sides rewrote the limited-overs record books with the 438 match three years ago.

But first things first: Australia must win the day game in Port Elizabeth to keep alive their hopes of a series win and of regaining the No. 1 ODI ranking that began a couple of weeks ago in South African hands and has alternated through the series. After Australia's batsmen failed in Centurion and their bowlers struggled to do a containing job at Newlands, they need to find a satisfying balance in Port Elizabeth. Specifically, they need to find a fast bowler who can adequately support Mitchell Johnson and their top order must not again leave all the work up to the young No. 6 Callum Ferguson.

Form guide (last five ODIs, most recent first)

South Africa WWLWW
Australia LLWNW

Watch out for

AB de Villiers has been a thorn in Australia's side right through the summer, since the first Test in Perth, and nothing has changed in the shorter format. South Africa's leading scorer so far this series, de Villiers made a composed 80 in the victory in Cape Town. In the one-day arena he has been aiming for a consolidation period of about 20 balls before cutting loose and he is keen to make the most of his strong form while it lasts.

It is rare that Nathan Bracken has two poor one-day internationals in a row but three in succession is almost unheard of. And yet that is the case for the man who has slipped down to fifth on the ICC ODI bowling rankings. His series consists of two wickets at 58.50 with an economy rate of 5.85. Bracken's experience and craftiness make it hard to believe his lean run will continue and with Johnson already in form, one dangerous spell from Bracken could be enough for Australia to turn their series around.

Team news

Most teams prefer not to change a winning side and South Africa's strong victories in the previous two games could mean the same XI is used in Port Elizabeth. Roelof van der Merwe certainly justified his position with three wickets in Cape Town and the pace attack looks strong despite spin doing all the damage at Newlands. Makhaya Ntini, Hashim Amla, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Morne Morkel missed out in Cape Town and they should again prepare for a day of spectating on Monday.

South Africa squad Graeme Smith (capt), Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Mark Boucher (wk), Roelof van der Merwe, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Johan Botha, Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Makhaya Ntini.

Australia have added the Victorian Shane Harwood to their squad for this match, calling him over from the Rajasthan Royals' camp and he may edge out Ben Laughlin in the starting line-up. Harwood, 35, played Australia's two Twenty20 internationals late last month in South Africa before being sent home. Brett Lee and Stuart Clark will both be in South Africa when the match is played but neither will come into contention. Lee is training there with his IPL side and doesn't officially join the ODI squad until the series in the UAE, while Clark will have only just arrived. Clark will meet the squad in Johannesburg ahead of Friday's fifth and final one-day international.

Australia squad Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin (wk), Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Callum Ferguson, Marcus North, James Hopes, Cameron White, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken, Shane Harwood, Ben Laughlin.

Stats and Trivia

  • South Africa have been Bracken's most difficult major opponent and in 16 ODIs against them he has managed 17 wickets at 38.88
  • Five South African bowlers have an economy rate of less than 4.50 this series; for Australia only Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Hauritz are under that mark
  • Australia have played eight one-day internationals at Port Elizabeth and have won seven of them

Quotes

"We have the home crowd behind us and we have a bit of momentum going for us, so we would like to finish the series off here in Port Elizabeth."
AB de Villiers doesn't want the Johannesburg ODI to become a series decider

"We need other guys to have an impact through the innings. We need to be able to bowl a lot of dot balls and keep the batsman on strike for long periods of time."
Ricky Ponting believes Australia cannot rely solely on Mitchell Johnson as their impact bowler

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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