South Africa v Australia, 3rd ODI, Durban October 28, 2011

Nerveless Hussey makes series Australia's


Australia 227 for 7 (Watson 49, Hussey 45*, Kallis 2-17, Duminy 2-29) beat South Africa 222 for 6 (Kallis 54, Amla 53, Doherty 2-34, Johnson 2-37) by 3 wickets
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Australia's batsmen held their nerve to secure a 2-1 ODI series victory over South Africa in a slogging contest in Durban, taking valuable momentum into next month's Test matches in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The predicted rain never arrived as Michael Hussey guided his side home in the company of a wide-eyed Pat Cummins with 15 balls to spare, after the captain Michael Clarke, the recalled Shaun Marsh and the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin had all contributed cameos. Hussey rounded it off with a crisply pulled six, immediately embracing Cummins in what was a valuable early experience for the 18-year-old.

Shane Watson had made a crucially belligerent contribution at the top of the order for the tourists on a slow pitch, crashing one six in his 49, a useful tally to add to his tidy bowling after recovering from the back spasms that dogged him in the second match.

Spin bowlers Johan Botha and JP Duminy posed the greatest threat among South Africa's bowlers, gaining some turn, but Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe were expensive with few runs to defend, and Jacques Kallis was used sparingly ahead of the Tests.

Kallis and Hashim Amla earlier posted half-centuries for the hosts but the acceleration expected from the halfway point of 114 for 1 never quite eventuated as Australia's bowlers showed tremendous discipline once the shine was gone from the ball to hold the total to 222 for 6. Xavier Doherty's spin was particularly difficult to dig out, and Watson resumed bowling after back spasms in the second match at St George's Park to concede just one run from the 46th over.

Cummins regained his control impressively once his first over went for 16 runs, while Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Johnson also bowled with considerable diligence.

When the tourists chased, David Warner finished his series with an unsatisfying stroke, caught behind while trying to leave a delivery from Morkel, who was expensive despite the wicket. Watson was responsible for most of the damage, helping to take Morkel for 20 from the ninth over of the innings, including one mighty blow over long off.

However he was the next man to go, dragging Kallis onto the stumps while trying to glide the ball to third man. Ricky Ponting had made only 10 when he pushed a catch back to the tidy Botha next over, before Clarke and Marsh steadied the innings.

Both played neatly but both would be dismissed with the game still in doubt, Clarke bowled between bat and pad as he advanced to Duminy's first delivery, while Marsh also had his stumps disturbed by Duminy as he made room to push through the offside. Haddin joined Hussey with 67 still to get yet, thanks to Watson's earlier hitting, plenty of deliveries in which to collect them. They took their time against some searching stuff from the hosts, before Haddin unfurled a series of regal strikes to rapidly close in on the target.

A slice to deep point ended Haddin's stay, and Johnson edged behind with 10 still required, but Hussey was on hand to complete the task in the company of Cummins, who struck the boundary off Kallis that relieved the last of the tension.

Amla had chosen to bat first after the hosts named an unchanged team for the third consecutive match, leaving the legspinner Imran Tahir on the sidelines under heavily overcast skies that appeared heavy with potential rain.

Australian retained the allrounder and vice-captain Watson following his back trouble, but dropped another allrounder in Steve Smith to make room for the return of Marsh. Marsh batted in the middle order, allowing Warner to continue his good form at the top of the order in partnership with Watson.

Amla took a liking to Cummins in his first over, punching two boundaries through cover then cutting when the teenager tried to counter with shorter stuff and finally flicking through midwicket when a further over-correction delivered a ball on leg stump.

This early flurry was not indicative of much that followed however, as Bollinger and Johnson in particular delivered handy spells, Johnson striking Amla on the helmet in an echo of his hostile 2009 efforts. Despite the overhead conditions, it was the spin of Doherty that broke through, Graeme Smith sweeping uppishly for Hussey to take an agile catch, diving forward.

Amla and Kallis batted in plenty of comfort and it came as a surprise when the captain was run out, too slow to reach the striker's end after chancing a single to the strong arm of Cummins at short third man. Like Smith, Kallis also miscalculated on the sweep against Doherty to make only one more run than Amla, while Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy perished in vain attempts to lift the scoring rate against parsimonious bowling and an alert fielding unit.

Watson's ninth over, the 46th of the innings, was on course to be a maiden until a single from scampered from the final ball, a becalmed David Miller unable to repeat the free-scoring he had managed in Port Elizabeth.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on October 31, 2011, 18:37 GMT

    @hyclass - "The tour ended with 4 international matches all." - apart from our T20 side being an offshoot of the main squad, the ODI series was won 3-1, as the last match was a dead rubber, & in the tests we ended up being in the dominate position in all 3 matches. I wouldn't say we "should" of won the other 2 test matches as even chasing small totals can be difficult, but we showed we were stronger. I don't think there was much point in scoring it 4all! I know most SL fans wouldn't be calling it a draw!

  • Christopher on October 31, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    Interesting to see the difference in Warner & Marsh when the ball is bouncing & the attack above club standard as it was in SL-a fact Pakistan are continuing to drive home in their current series.Warner has 104 runs from 5 innings at 20 in SA.Marsh crawled to 30 & has continued his run of injuries.I made a point some time ago,that both these players have had all their limited success on flat tracks against modest attacks.Players records exist to demonstrate their abilities under ALL conditions-not just one set.Thats why 1st class records & results volumes over time are so valuable in forming judgements.As for Australias Test standing,they won only one of the 3 Tests in SL on a diabolical pitch.The tour ended with 4 international matches all.The SA squad was selected by the outgoing Hilditch whose credibility ironically,lies in ashes.Until the new coach & support teams are in place,principles will continue to reflect those repudiated by Argus.Ultimately Clarke deserves utmost admiration

  • Naresh on October 31, 2011, 9:03 GMT

    Making Amla captain is a mistake that needs redressing. Amla does not make a good captain - he is soft spoken. However it is best that he is given a longer reign. Kalis would make a better captain.

  • Paul on October 31, 2011, 1:12 GMT

    Aussies staying on top of one-day cricket...not bad given all the lost personnel...

  • Dummy4 on October 29, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    Awesome hitting by Watson and Husey for being man of the match!! Xcited to see the test Serise...

  • Peter on October 29, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Now for the real thing, but only TWO Tests between two traditionally strong sides is just plain silly. As a Pom, I haven't caught much of the pyjama stuff on TV but will try to watch some of the Tests when I can. On paper - and being at home - SA really should be too strong. On the other hand, the lengthy break SA have had is quite long these days for international cricket, & they won't want to be rusty in such a short series. If their big guns - Kallis, Smith, Amla & Steyn, etc - fire, they should win. It only take one disastrous session against Steyn to lose a Test. Again, there are signs of AUS just beginning to climb out of their deep abyss - albeit mostly via the old hands, which doesn't augur well. Still, their ODI form has held up generally this year anyway, and perhaps there is a freshness in the squad under Clarke. In conditions not too foreign to them, they may just catch SA cold. Even so, the gulf between AUS & ENG in Tests will be apparent for some years to come.

  • Jay on October 29, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    Australia have an awesome record in SA. This series only adds one more up for them against the Proteas. The conditions are very much like back in Australia and with a youngish team, Clarke could only take the team up. In the one day arena, Australia are still very strong. It's no fluke to stay no.1 in ODIs for almost a decade. It takes a lot of hard work, training and perseverance. I for one would like to see a strong Australia back in all formats of the game. It's a shame this series is short. Everyone keeps talking about the Ashes, but this series too has a lot of potential to become an iconic clash. India vs Pakistan, Australia v India, SA vs Australia are all iconic series. I hope the ICC does something with regards to this. Enough with all the meaningless ODIs and T20s.

  • Dummy4 on October 29, 2011, 17:22 GMT

    Awesome hitting by Watson and Husey for being man of the match!!

  • Rajaram on October 29, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    What a classic! Michael Clarke and his young Team showed how not to get fazed by losing the Toss on a good batting wicket - where the STANDARD FARE would be a HUGE TOTAL, Teams batting first won 70% of the time. Clarke was tactically brilliant,Aussie Bowlers showed how to strangulate the batsmen, assisted by brilliant fielded placements and fielding.And how in a run chase, the initial explosive hitting by Shane Watson, kept Australia ALWAYS ahead of the eight ball,and finally the Finisher - cool,calm, collected Michel Hussey, who assessed the situation so well,and took Australia home.Oh,and even a low total seemed tough in the middle.Who says ODI Cricket is boring in the middle overs? Congratulations, Australia. Michael Clarke has won EVERY Series he has led - starting with the ODI Series against England early this year,then Bangla Desh,Sri Lanka - ODIs and Tests,and now the ODI Series against South Africa. I can see we're getting back to ur supremacy - Number One in Tests AND ODIs.

  • Dummy4 on October 29, 2011, 15:36 GMT

    Hussey is a boon to the Australian cricket side. One can't count the no.of times he has taken Australia past the finish line with him at the crease. He is an absolute legend and genius.

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