South Africa v Australia, 2nd ODI, Port Elizabeth October 23, 2011

Impressive South Africa level series


South Africa 303 for 6 (Kallis 76, Miller 59, Smith 57, Duminy 56) beat Australia 223 (Warner 74, Morkel 4-22) by 80 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa regained parity in the ODI series against Australia - and valuable equilibrium after an extended break from international cricket - with a resounding 80-run victory in the second match at St George's Park.

Where the hosts had looked out of sorts with the bat and rusty in the field at Centurion, they now clambered all over a touring side that was both inconvenienced and worried by a back complaint for the vice-captain Shane Watson, on his return to the team from a hip injury. Watson staggered off the field after wincing in pain upon the delivery of the fifth ball of his fourth over and must now be in doubt for the deciding third match in Durban despite batting later.

His absence in the field was keenly felt as South Africa ran up an imposing 303 for 6 via sizeable contributions from Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, David Miller and JP Duminy. All the Australian pacemen were taken for runs, Pat Cummins delivering one maiden but otherwise finding the going harder than at any stage so far in his infant international career.

The tourists' chase lacked the required authority from the moment Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke were dismissed cheaply, as Morne Morkel collected a richly-deserved 4 for 22 on a pitch that slowed across the course of the match.

Ponting opened in Watson's place, and struck two boundaries in six balls before he presented a low catch to the covers from the bowling of Lonwabo Tsotsobe. Clarke snicked a nicely pitched Morkel delivery to slip and at 37 for 2 the innings was set on an unsteady path towards 223 all out.

Hashim Amla was earlier out to the first ball of a match South Africa must win to keep the series open, but Kallis and Smith wrested the initiative with a stand of 142, and Miller played with plenty of energy and power in the company of the more taciturn Duminy to ensure a mid-innings wobble did not compound.

Australia's greatest problems had appeared the search for wickets on a slow and placid pitch, but Watson added significantly them when he grimaced and clutched at his back.

He immediately departed for the dressing room and the attention of the team physio Alex Kountouris, leaving Clarke to finish the over. Watson, recovered from a hip complaint, had been named to replace the promising allrounder Mitchell Marsh, whose brother Shaun Marsh remained on the sidelines with a shoulder problem.

The early wickets of Ponting and Clarke placed Australia in perilous territory, forcing David Warner to rein in some of his more aggressive tendencies while Michael Hussey played with typical modulation. Both were reprieved, Warner dropped badly at mid on by Amla when 26, while Hussey survived lookalike stumping chances on 14 and 36, Mark Boucher failing to gather deliveries that slid between bat and pad.

They added 71, the only substantial union of the innings, but Hussey was run out as the required run-rate climbed and Warner miscued an attempted pull shot to grant Boucher a swirling catch. Watson managed one rasping six when he belatedly came in to bat, but was caught in the deep off Tsotsobe as the equation slipped out of reach and the crowd was allowed a period of prolonged celebration.

Steve Smith offered a minor rearguard but his lack of boundaries was a neat encapsulation of the Australian struggle for momentum on a sluggish surface.

Kallis and Smith had earlier showed plenty of vigour to stall an Australian bowling attack that was laughing when Amla, the hosts' stand-in captain, had played too early at the first ball of the day and popped a return catch to Doug Bollinger.

The wicket showed that the pitch was far easier-paced than Centurion's and, in the absence of much new ball swing for Bollinger or Mitchell Johnson, Kallis and Smith made progress that was initially measured before accelerating visibly.

Smith, not in the best of touch before this innings, unleashed a string of strokes through the offside that contradicted his reputation as a bottom-hand dragger to leg. With each drive, Smith regathered a little more confidence, helped along by Kallis' instant show of confidence upon replacing Amla. In the second over Kallis hooked fearlessly at Johnson and cleared the fence, and he continued in that vein.

Smith departed via a video referral when he attempted to reverse sweep Steve Smith and could only glove a catch to Haddin, while Kallis took on Clarke's sharp left arm and was nearly a metre short when the stumps went down.

Faf du Plessis wandered down the wicket to be stumped in the midst of a fine spell by Xavier Doherty, but Miller showed his intent second ball by plonking Smith beyond long off for six, and he kept it up while Duminy played himself back towards form after an indifferent start to the series.

Miller's departure was the signal for Duminy to take up the role of aggressor, and he did so with a pair of towering sixes from the bowling of Cummins, who had dismissed him in each of their previous three encounters on this tour.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Matt on October 26, 2011, 22:21 GMT

    yeh @RandyOZ i don't know how haddin gets away with it either. he must be the nicest guy in the world or something, no one wants to hurt his feelings

  • John on October 26, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    @HatsforBats: All those players have provided support time and again they have never been completely useless like Smith. Just looking at a scorecard and seeing a 3rd highest score and an average bowling performance in just 1 match after failing in all others matches is enough to convince you then I must say Australians set a very low standard for themselves these days. I have watched Smith pretty much since the beginning and he looks dreadful.

  • John on October 26, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    @landl47: Well that's the difference between just looking at a scorecard and actually watching the match. If you had actually watched it you would have seen that Smith actually contributed to the losing cause. He has gotten too many chances if anything. If Australia keep players like him around for any longer it won't be long before they become a NZ or WI level team.

  • Ajay on October 26, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    Why people want to even think of dropping Ponting. Well i don't think anyone in Australia want to see him in the team, Spectators wants young player, Team management did't even fixed his batting position just wasting his talent, he has lot to offer yet. Wish he was born in India.He never got the respect what he deserve.Hats off to Ricky Ponting for his performance without any support. Best sports person of my life.

  • Randolph on October 26, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Seriously how on Earth is Haddin still in the team? Is Paine still injured? We need to cut this dead weight ASAP. He is PATHETIC. Those calling for punter and huss's head but ignore Haddin have NO IDEA OF CRICKET.

  • John on October 25, 2011, 21:46 GMT

    @jonesy2 - Pretty much everyone on this subject has posted something constructive and then we get this nonsense from you. SA seem to have so much strenth in depth. Van Der Merwe was superb in the CL20 and I'm pleased that Somerset have resigned him , and he doesn't seem to get a look in. These 2 teams are very evenly matched which makes for a decent series.

  • Hector on October 24, 2011, 23:35 GMT

    For years now, our Australian cricket team has been plagued with dodgy selections (and omissions). Many of us have fired cynical comments (including me) at the inclusion of Steve isn't personal at Smith...he is a great fielder and if O'Keefe could field like him he would be a dead set champion one day. The problem is he is bowled infrequently which suggests there is NO real confidence in his ability. His batting is where the real problem is. He is not up to the standard required and we can all see the lack of skill AND technique. IT ISN"T THERE so the potential isn't...We can see this...unfortunately, our daft selectors can't. White was dropped (correctly) for lack of form. Indications are he is back in form??? But Smith is retained. We (many bloggers) have listed better options. There are major holes in our team...We have inconsistent opening batsman, no penetrating spinner, only a pretend wicketkeeper who has lost all form with the bat, a bowler who bowls well 1 in 8 games

  • Andrew on October 24, 2011, 23:18 GMT

    Whilst I believe Steve Smith is worth a spot in the Oz ODI side, (I'd drop Doherty for him), if he doesn't bowl at least 6 or 7 overs a game - he shouldn't be in the side. I think it would be demorilizing for a talented young player to bat @#7 & not bowl. Its sort of like what happenns in junior cricket where you get a weak player in to make up the numbers. Smith IMO has unlimited potential, he should be playing Shield cricket during the Oz summer & tour with the national side out of season. I rate him highly, but it appears that Pup & White don't. Its funny that Pup is a selector, but doesn't use him, (albeit more than White). Once smith develops some more variation to his game, I think he will be a frontline spinner. He is less likely to drop short than other spinners, by virtue of the fact he is more likely to toss the ball up, I think he will be very dangerous assuming he develops some more variation. I think he is currently being wasted in Sth Africa.

  • Jim on October 24, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    Steve Smith has played enough to demonstrate that he can neither bat nor bowl. Lovely fielder. Why on earth is he in the side?

  • Marcio on October 24, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    It never ceases to amaze me how absolutely daft most people writing on this site are. One game and that is the way it will be forever more. You'd think it was SA who were the 1st ranked ODI side in the world, judging by some of these comments. SA got thrashed in the 1st game, and only a fool would think that the last game is already decided. Australia will do well in the last game. Why? Because they have consistently played well over many years, ND merely played one poor game. As for Steve Smith, why is it that while he was bowling the best spell of any Australian bowler on a very friendly batting strip, that we being inundated with nasty and petty comments about him? And why were they being published here, while others who point out that ridicule and hatred should play no role in the game, its audience or media, are being silenced?

  • No featured comments at the moment.