Australia v South Africa, Tri-series, Harare September 2, 2014

Australia seal place in final with bonus-point win

115

Australia 282 for 7 (Marsh 86*, Hughes 85) beat South Africa 220 (Du Plessis 126, Marsh 2-23) by 62 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Play 02:21
'Australia get ideal dress-rehearsal for final'

Mitchell Marsh almost single-handedly took Australia into the tri-series final, first by plundering 86 off 51 balls, including 21 off a single Dale Steyn over, and then with two wickets to dent South Africa's chase. The bonus-point victory has guaranteed Australia spot in Saturday's showdown but put South Africa's in some danger. If they lose to Zimbabwe by a massive margin, so much so that the hosts gain a bonus point and improve the net run-rate, South Africa could be on an early flight home.

Marsh's blitz injected life into an Australian innings that was solid at the start but became stuck through the middle periods against a stranglehold of spin. He shared in a 71-run stand with Brad Haddin for the sixth wicket, which included taking 60 runs off five overs from the 44th over, as South Africa struggled for a death-bowling option. Those runs ultimately proved the difference between the two sides on a scruffy, sluggish surface on which run-scoring was laboured.

Less than a week after they gunned down a target of 328 against Australia, South Africa stumbled in search of a significantly smaller target. Only Faf du Plessis had some measure of what was required and only he managed a score more than 24. Du Plessis' second ODI century came six days after his first, but in much more trying circumstances because he lacked support.

South Africa's middle-order was untested thus far but in their first stern examination were exposed against pace and pressure, as they have been in the past. JP Duminy, David Miller and to a lesser extend Ryan McLaren left South Africa's long tail with too much to do and threw the spotlight on whether they were a batsman light or whether their bowling was what them down.

For nine-tenths of their time in the field, South Africa operated with discipline, from the opening passages where JP Duminy shared the new ball with Steyn, during the Phillip Hughes-Steven Smith stand of 85 for the second wicket and through the batting Powerplay in which they conceded only 20 runs and took two wickets.

South Africa's specialist spinners, Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso, gave away just 81 runs in 20 overs and contributed to a boundary drought that had the rope being breached just once in 10 overs. They limited Hughes and Smith to collecting runs judiciously rather than freely and only Hughes' sprightly start ensured his half-century was achieved at almost a run a ball, off 51 deliveries. They also snaffled three wickets to leave Australia in danger of a posting a total below 250.

Mitchell Marsh's blitz injected life into an Australian innings that was solid at the start but became stuck through the middle periods © AFP

But Marsh changed that when he switched from spectator to instigator as the innings neared its end. He tested the water when he drove Steyn through the covers for four and charged Tahir for six. What followed had not been done in ODI cricket before today. Marsh hit Steyn back over his head for six three times off three deliveries.

In a single over, Marsh's took his own score went from 29 to 50, off just 37 balls, which forced de Villiers to look elsewhere for a death bowler. McLaren offered little better. He missed the yorker on too many occasions and then relied on a short ball. Marsh punished all of it to give Australia a score they would have thought defendable, especially after they removed both South African openers inside ten overs of the reply.

Despite that, du Plessis stirred memories of last Wednesday's effort when he flat-batted Marsh over his head twice but those would have dimmed somewhat when de Villiers swept Nathan Lyon to backward square leg. With Duminy and du Plessis at the crease, South Africa had their best chance at recovery but Australia squeezed, allowing them to score at only four runs to the over. Duminy soon pulled one straight to fine leg and David Miller's defenses were shattered by a fiery Johnson short ball and his own lack of footwork to leave South Africa 101 for 5.

Du Plessis found some assistance from McLaren, who stayed with him for 12.2 overs and contributed 24 runs in a stand of 73. Du Plessis was the senior partner, slamming Mitchell Starc for six twice and lofting Lyon inside-out over cover to reach touching distance of his century. McLaren holed out before du Plessis could get to the milestone, which he reached off 94 balls in the next over.

By then South Africa's challenge was all but over, barring any fireworks from Steyn. He was run out, du Plessis trod on his own stumps and Johnson and Maxwell shared last rites to bowl South Africa out in 44 overs and pick Australia up after their defeat to Zimbabwe in the best way possible.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    After watching Hadden more closely I have got to say that he looks to me to be streets ahead of any keeper around. He may not be quite as quick as some of the younger keepers, but his anticipation of the batsman's intent is sublime. He moved to his left (led side) as Amla moved to off, & as Amla tickled the ball too fine Haddin was already on his way. Haddin did not make a reflex catch, but rather an anticipated catch. That is nous!

    Amla played a loose shot, but he was truly DISMISSED by Haddin. That would have gone past most keepers, but Haddin hunted him down. Really classy player. That move may have changed the outcome of this game. If Amla had stayed with Faf, the result could have very different. Play of the match in my opinion.

  • Biggus on September 4, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    @Jono Makim:- Same general figuring as myself mate.

  • on September 4, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    I think that just highlights how important it is to have a tidy bowler like McKay in the side, with him there I think you play both Mitches with no worries at all. I think that gives the right balance between defense and attack, particularly when Watto is bowling too, you definitely need a mix of wicket takers and guys who are hard to hit.

  • Biggus on September 4, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx:- It would depend on who the right armers were. Johnson and Starc in the same team just says leaking runs to me.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 4, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    Ryno started bowling again last week. @Biggus: My guess is that you wouldn't have a problem with three right armers player, so why have a problem with two left armers. Bowlers are bowlers, you pick your best and Starc is one of them in ODI's.

    I would be very surprised if M. Marsh gets a game at the WC, too early for mine but i wouldn't put it past Lehmann..

  • Biggus on September 4, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    @rickyvoncanterbury:- No idea what's going on with Jackson Bird I'm afraid, but if Lehmann's serious about this pace thing he'd fall into the same category as McKay I would have thought. Harris? Well, I haven't given up on the Rhino yet, if anyone can make it back he can. Still plenty of cricket to go before the Cup, so perhaps things will have made themselves clearer by then.

  • RVC-38 on September 4, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    @Biggus Geeze a fit Harris only dreaming.... I have not seen enough of Richardson but I thought Mckay was as unlucky as Doherty to miss out, IMO they will pick Starc as Johnson will not play every game, do you know what has happened to Bird ?,

  • Biggus on September 3, 2014, 21:53 GMT

    @rickyvoncanterbury:- I'm not set on Haddin moving up the order, I only mentioned it should the middle order be an issue. I see you have Marsh at 4? I can't help but think that might be a bit high come WC time but I'd be just as happy to be proven wrong, all in a good cause. I figure we have plenty of batting for Australian conditions but it's the bowling which worries me a bit. If Harris plays in the tests V India it would have to be some sort of miracle if he also fronted up for the Cup. Johnson looks OK but we can only afford one quick lefty in the team IMHO, so no Starc. Faulkner's struggling atm and I'm not totally convinced with Marsh or Richardson's ability to keep it tight, neither am I sure Lyon's an ODI bowler, despite my support for him in the test side. Additionally the selectors seem to have gone cold on Doherty and McKay, both useful ODI bowlers. I've been a critic of Watson's test results but he's a must have in ODIs if available.

  • BeautifulBD on September 3, 2014, 21:32 GMT

    I'm a big frnd of Australin cricket and my best 15 for world cup.. 1)D.Warner. 2)P.Huge. 3)S.Watson. 4)M.Clarck. 5)G.Maxwell. 6)S.Smith. 7)B.Haddin. 8)M.Jonson. 9)M.Stuck. 10)Shon Tait. 11)R.Harris. 12)M.Marsh. 13)A.Fince. 14)J.Fulknar. 15)J.Murrid.

  • Chris_P on September 3, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    @Greatest_Game & @dunger.bob. Have to agree with your points re: Haddin. Further to the discussion, Haddin admitted that since his return home mid tour from the WIndies (leaving Wade to take up the gloves) to focus on his 2 yo's daughter's cancer problems, he thought about the game & felt he now doesn't feel the same pressure after having gone through the rehabilitation period & that he is far more relaxed when playing. His glovework appears to found another level recently & adds to positives of selecting glovework vs. batting views.

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    After watching Hadden more closely I have got to say that he looks to me to be streets ahead of any keeper around. He may not be quite as quick as some of the younger keepers, but his anticipation of the batsman's intent is sublime. He moved to his left (led side) as Amla moved to off, & as Amla tickled the ball too fine Haddin was already on his way. Haddin did not make a reflex catch, but rather an anticipated catch. That is nous!

    Amla played a loose shot, but he was truly DISMISSED by Haddin. That would have gone past most keepers, but Haddin hunted him down. Really classy player. That move may have changed the outcome of this game. If Amla had stayed with Faf, the result could have very different. Play of the match in my opinion.

  • Biggus on September 4, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    @Jono Makim:- Same general figuring as myself mate.

  • on September 4, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    I think that just highlights how important it is to have a tidy bowler like McKay in the side, with him there I think you play both Mitches with no worries at all. I think that gives the right balance between defense and attack, particularly when Watto is bowling too, you definitely need a mix of wicket takers and guys who are hard to hit.

  • Biggus on September 4, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx:- It would depend on who the right armers were. Johnson and Starc in the same team just says leaking runs to me.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 4, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    Ryno started bowling again last week. @Biggus: My guess is that you wouldn't have a problem with three right armers player, so why have a problem with two left armers. Bowlers are bowlers, you pick your best and Starc is one of them in ODI's.

    I would be very surprised if M. Marsh gets a game at the WC, too early for mine but i wouldn't put it past Lehmann..

  • Biggus on September 4, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    @rickyvoncanterbury:- No idea what's going on with Jackson Bird I'm afraid, but if Lehmann's serious about this pace thing he'd fall into the same category as McKay I would have thought. Harris? Well, I haven't given up on the Rhino yet, if anyone can make it back he can. Still plenty of cricket to go before the Cup, so perhaps things will have made themselves clearer by then.

  • RVC-38 on September 4, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    @Biggus Geeze a fit Harris only dreaming.... I have not seen enough of Richardson but I thought Mckay was as unlucky as Doherty to miss out, IMO they will pick Starc as Johnson will not play every game, do you know what has happened to Bird ?,

  • Biggus on September 3, 2014, 21:53 GMT

    @rickyvoncanterbury:- I'm not set on Haddin moving up the order, I only mentioned it should the middle order be an issue. I see you have Marsh at 4? I can't help but think that might be a bit high come WC time but I'd be just as happy to be proven wrong, all in a good cause. I figure we have plenty of batting for Australian conditions but it's the bowling which worries me a bit. If Harris plays in the tests V India it would have to be some sort of miracle if he also fronted up for the Cup. Johnson looks OK but we can only afford one quick lefty in the team IMHO, so no Starc. Faulkner's struggling atm and I'm not totally convinced with Marsh or Richardson's ability to keep it tight, neither am I sure Lyon's an ODI bowler, despite my support for him in the test side. Additionally the selectors seem to have gone cold on Doherty and McKay, both useful ODI bowlers. I've been a critic of Watson's test results but he's a must have in ODIs if available.

  • BeautifulBD on September 3, 2014, 21:32 GMT

    I'm a big frnd of Australin cricket and my best 15 for world cup.. 1)D.Warner. 2)P.Huge. 3)S.Watson. 4)M.Clarck. 5)G.Maxwell. 6)S.Smith. 7)B.Haddin. 8)M.Jonson. 9)M.Stuck. 10)Shon Tait. 11)R.Harris. 12)M.Marsh. 13)A.Fince. 14)J.Fulknar. 15)J.Murrid.

  • Chris_P on September 3, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    @Greatest_Game & @dunger.bob. Have to agree with your points re: Haddin. Further to the discussion, Haddin admitted that since his return home mid tour from the WIndies (leaving Wade to take up the gloves) to focus on his 2 yo's daughter's cancer problems, he thought about the game & felt he now doesn't feel the same pressure after having gone through the rehabilitation period & that he is far more relaxed when playing. His glovework appears to found another level recently & adds to positives of selecting glovework vs. batting views.

  • AltafPatel on September 3, 2014, 16:51 GMT

    SA was over-confident in the match. Shots from deKock, Amla, AB proved so. The target and conditions were supportive for chasing the target. Hope they stay on ground, atleast till WC 15.

  • on September 3, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    @Biggus, nor mine. I don't think anyone has performed in a way other than you'd expect them too, good or bad. Probably the one really good thing is to see MJ bowling exactly as he did last summer, hoping like hell he has sorted himself out for good and last season wasn't a mere aberration, at this point it's looking good!

    @Dunger.bob, I actually think the selectors have done a pretty good job since Arthur was let go and Clarke stepped down. This latest bout of experimentation has left me scratching my head a little though as I'd thought the squad and even the reserves would have been pretty settled by now. I hope with Inverarity going their good form doesn't go with him.

  • Barnesy4444 on September 3, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    That's what a proper 'keeper can do, turn a match in a second. Most other 'keepers would have missed that. All of this stuff about keeper/batsman is nonsense. Always pick the best gloveman, always.

  • RVC-38 on September 3, 2014, 12:58 GMT

    @ Biggus mate you had me, them you lost me, I thought yeah Maxwell lower but not Haddin higher, Finch, Warner, Hughes, Marsh, Bailey, Maxwell, Haddin, but I still think Smith Watson (if fit) Faulkner are fighting for Maxwell's spot, I am also assuming the captain will be more concerned with taking the Indians apart than the OD'IS world cup, and it should only be a tight hamstring injury that should be no problems come ashes time.

  • aahahaa on September 3, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    AB very average as captain. I just dont believe I used AB and average in the same sentence. get De Lange in the side. the guy can bowl bone crushers at 150. I dont understand how you could keep him out of the side. but yes you got a great coach. sad. sad.

  • Biggus on September 3, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    Useful win, if a touch patchy. I'm far more comfortable with Marsh lower in the order, and I'm inclined to think Maxwell could drop down a little, even if it means batting Haddin higher. Haddin is better at pacing an innings without going totally silly. Batting Maxwell up near the top just seems to be a case of giving him too much rope. Obviously the guys want to win but in the context of what will be a very long season this is a chance to warm up and experiment in conditions quite alien to those which will prevail for the rest of the season, the UAE excepted. Nothing that has happened in this series nor the current one between Indian and England has forced me to revise my reckonings vis-a-vis world cup chances.

  • Shaggy076 on September 3, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    Yousufahmed: pretty sure Clarke remembers those bouncers he averaged 500 in the last couple of games. Think that would be hard to forget.

  • Shaggy076 on September 3, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    Roughfan: I remember our last trip to Sri Lanka we won and our last trip to India was 2-2 before Mitch Johnson went home for the decider what is pathetic about those last trips to the sub continent.

  • on September 3, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    Good clinical win, though Bailey lets the game drift a fair bit.As for Aus's record in subcontinent, I think they are doing fine,and when was the last time India won a series in Sri Lanka anyways

  • dunger.bob on September 3, 2014, 8:59 GMT

    @ Greatest_Game: It's interesting that you should notice Haddins keeping because he did an interview recently where he said that whoever takes his place in the Test side should be first and foremost the best keeper in the land. .. Many people see Haddin as a dashing batsman and think that's why he keeps getting picked, even at 37. They'd be wrong though. He keeps getting picked because he's still a damn good keeper, probably still the 'best in the land' and our selectors have shown a willingness over the years to not let age be a barrier. Mate, they're just not age-ist! Good on them, that's something they have got right imo.

  • shetto on September 3, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    With Mitchell Marsh performing well and other all rounders also winning matches for Australia - I think the writing is on the wall for the injury prone Shane Watson to retire from ODI and perhaps test cricket. I can't remember when was the last time he put in a match winning performance in a ODI match against a top team like Mitchell Marsh just did with bat and ball.

  • dunger.bob on September 3, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    @ Yousufahmed11: Fair call, but Clarke mightn't actually get a bat. By the time Warner, Rogers and whoever bats at 3 get through with your 'attack' all that'll be needed from Clarke is to close the innings down. Then roll out the artillery and let them have some fun.

  • 2nd_Slip on September 3, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    Must say I was gutted by the way we bowled in the latter part of the innings. Have to say I haven't been impressed by Morne at all (how about giving De Lange a look in for heavens sake). JP and Miller were handed a platform to prove their worth but failed to, which basically leaves me worried in that if our top 4 fails, all hell breaks lose in our batting line up. Where is Ablie Morkel when you need him!!!

  • on September 3, 2014, 8:14 GMT

    @Yousufahmed11: I sure remember Ishant's bouncers last time he was in aus... didn't Michael 'Clerk' hit a triple ton and a double ton consecutively against them?? it's not 2008 any more, mate...

  • RVC-38 on September 3, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    @ Rough_Fan Australia has a pretty good record against Pakistan Sri Lanka AND Bangladesh on their home soil, but as every one knows they are fair and honest people without doctored pitches, I don't know why we cannot win in India amazing isin't it

  • dunger.bob on September 3, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    @ Yousufahmed11: Yes, we're all praying that India do win back to back world cups. I, for one, can't wait for the avalanche of intelligent and well informed comments such a thing would propagate.

    I'd also like to take this early opportunity to welcome you to our friendly shores soon. I hope you have a great stay. .. The only thing is make sure you bring along some extra helmets. It's MJ you see. We haven't been feeding him properly and he's starting to get a bit mean. By the time you get here, he should be in a right old state.

  • Rough_Fan on September 3, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    @PrasPunter: Why do you guys forget yourbeloved team's pathtic performances in subcontinent??

  • on September 3, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    Funny how we keep hearing from a certain overrated country how rubbish SA and AUS are and how thier players are world class. Had to laugh at that especially considering Virat ( edge to slip for a duck ) Kohli is,in the team! Where were you all when you were being Humilated and embarrassed 3-1 in the Test series as you could barely last two days even with rain ha ha? That's right we didn't hear a single peep not a single peep.

  • on September 3, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    @Greatest_Game. Absolutely! As wait till they play each other in Melbourne in Nov as will be over 60,000 there at the MCG which will spur both teams on. SA fans you will have a proper idea of how your team is going then as you will be playing on proper World Cup pitches. Can't wait myself as I will be there!

  • Marktc on September 3, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    Yousufahmed11 "Steyn is very mediocre and overrated bowler. He get hammered everywhere these days. His economy is the worst in this match from the bowlers from both the countries. Our domestic players too hammered him in IPL. Our Zaheer and even Bhuvi are better bowlers than Steyn. He should learn how to ball from them. May be SAs can get Zaheer as their fast bowling coach in future."

    I am still chuckling. Not even worth commenting more. Well played by the Oz team, well deserved win. Faf is really raising the finger to those who said he did not deserve his place in the SA team. SA' s loss to the Oz team probably means they will come out and beat Zim in their last clash. Oz v SA final will be a good match.

  • Shaggy076 on September 3, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    TaHa Khan; So wouldn't that suit us because there are no help for other countries spinners? We all know that without help from the pitch the plethora of spinners around the world are quite poor and Lyon is a decent craftsman considering. If you look at all the spinners averages on Australian soil (where the world cup is) and you will find in recent series he has outbowled Ashwin and Swann. I think you have made a great case and you are right Australia should be world cup favourites. Our batsman are fine with spin assistance as long as its just turn our batsman struggle when the ball holds up in the pitch or variable bounce none of these conditions will occur in the world cup on Australian soil.

  • on September 3, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    @yousuf Ahmed..fast bouncy pitches of Eng...lol they are playing on slow low wickets where part timers like Raina are proving a handful..and India's trashing of Eng has got to do with Eng awfulness more than India's skills...and we Indians should not forget that the same team got trashed 4-0by 6th or 7th placed NZ on good batting wickets...and you calling Steyn overrated is a joke ..he may not be bowling well at the death but he has a better record than Zak in tests(100 more wickets in 20less tests)and has better numbers than our Zak in ODI crickets (zak 290 in 200matches and Steyn 130 in 80matches)

  • Scazza95 on September 3, 2014, 4:30 GMT

    @Yousufahmed11 Calling Steyn overrated then claiming Zaheer and Bhuvi to be better bowlers them him really shows your ignorance, I mean sure he didn't have the best game but all players have their off days.

    Steyn has a better economy rate, strike rate and average then Zaheer across all international formats, and maintains a better strike rate and avearge then Bhuvi across all formats, though admittedly has a worse economy than him.

  • on September 3, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Whenever there is help for spinners the Australian batsmen seems to struggle and there is no world class spinner in their line up who can give them wickets the way they loss wickets to their opponent spinners. Lyon is good but he needs a lot of work to do. I dont think there will be any help for spinners in the world cup matches held in Australia.

  • caldruid on September 3, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    @albert_cambell

    Here we go again with the trash talk. I think you must be smoking some serious stuff to talk rubbish about Sachin. Yes, he did become selfish in the last couple of years of his career but to label him selfish for his entire career is a very uninformed comment. I think you should watch the 2 innings against Australia in Sharjah from the 90s.

  • Shaggy076 on September 3, 2014, 3:38 GMT

    Marsh showed some serious talent here and I would think Watto is very much in danger of not getting back in. I was critical of the selection of Marsh in the first match as a #3 bat and 6th bowler because as far as batting alone his record isn't good enough to get selected. However, as a fifth bowling batting option there really isn't anyone around domestically better. He got a go today and was outstanding, I'm not sure we need Watto back. As for people critical of Australias slow batting at the start, I think the batsman made the perfect judgement on the score of this pitch, also as we saw later only batsman that gave themselves enough time to get in excelled because it was a slow deck. New age cricket is keep wickets in hand for 30 overs at around 5 per over. Then with 8-9 wickets in the shed you can score 180-200 in the last 20. Giving you scores over 330 If the top order sets up like this there are no better batsman around than Bailey, Marsh and Maxwell to get those runs.

  • Albert_cambell on September 3, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    Today Faf showed us a perfect example for a selfless knock. When he was on his 90s he hits a six to bring the RR down. Truly a selfless cricketer who thinks about the teams win. I can imagine what would players like Tendulkar do under these circumstances. He would probably take 10 singles to get to his 100( may be play in a few dot balls as well). Any team would love to have players like Faf, Misbah, Maxwell, Mathews in their team as they are selfless cricketers.

  • Shaggy076 on September 3, 2014, 3:10 GMT

    Rajesh_india_1990 : I'm not sure anyone labelled DeKock the future we all knew that his 3 one day international tons in a row was only against an Indian attack and that judgement would be determined later when he faced people that could bowl.

  • Aussasinator on September 3, 2014, 2:54 GMT

    Steyn is getting smashed around quite frequently of late. And why isn't De Lange playing. It is well known that the Aussies cannot play genuine pacers.

  • SLSup on September 3, 2014, 2:11 GMT

    @ Suicide-Note: First of all, lovely user-name. You've picked the WC'15 Semi Finalists RIGHT. Just leave NZ out - they have too many odds to beat, even in the games they play in NZ!

  • on September 3, 2014, 2:10 GMT

    So, Rajesh_India_1990, how do you think that PNG side will do against India?

  • Flemo_Gilly on September 3, 2014, 1:28 GMT

    Marsh was great and boof once again shows why he is the best coach in the world, what a quick turnaround and response from the great coach

  • Albert_cambell on September 3, 2014, 1:01 GMT

    Well played Faf. A great and a selfless knock. Unfortunately he dint get enough support from the other batsman. He is becoming a good No.3 for us.

  • JoshFromJamRock on September 3, 2014, 0:49 GMT

    This SA team is nothing once the top 4 is gone cheaply. At 100/4 don't expect SA to make 250, much less chase 250 with an out of form Duminy, Miller and tailenders (McLaren included) to follow. The last 4 can't even put together 50 runs in an inning.

    But make no mistake, SA has the best top 4 in the world by a wide margin. The exciting De Kock, the elegant Alma, the anchoring Faf, and Mr. Cricket AB DeVilliers.

    Its hard to drop one of the five bowlers (Either Morkel or Tahir if it was me choosing) but until JP and Miller hit form, another batsman at 7 is needed. McLaren, or Philander (if he plays) won't score big fifties, much less hundreds, in crunch situations. And if your depending a Steyn and Phangiso to score crucial 30s you're dreaming.

  • Ozcricketwriter on September 3, 2014, 0:46 GMT

    For all of this excitement, this was a practice match.

  • dunger.bob on September 3, 2014, 0:15 GMT

    We might have to negotiate some sort of rent/lease agreement with Faf. The bloke spends so much time facing our bowling surely the land tax people must be raising eyebrows by now. It's like he's a permanent fixture out there.

  • OneEyedAussie on September 2, 2014, 23:52 GMT

    This was a very good performance by Australia, marred only by the sluggish overs in the middle section of their innings - otherwise it would have been 300+ which would have taken some chasing on this surface. Overall the team balance was superior to the previous game with four specialist bowlers and the two all-rounders. A good innings by du Plessis but ultimately SA's long tail and over-reliance on the their top order were exposed.

  • TheBigBoodha on September 2, 2014, 23:24 GMT

    gsingh7, nice wishful thinking. It amazes me how people like you - all hailing from the same general location - make such irrational comments which are purely emotional, and lack any understanding of the game. What is happening in this tournament will have minimal bearing on SA and especially Australia during the WC. Australia have basically put together a hodge-podge team, half of whom are mere "possibles". The conditions are so different that the bowlers in particular cannot be judged based on performances here, neither pace nor spin. Certainly those players who perform well will take confidence, but other than that they will take didley-squat back home.

  • PrasPunter on September 2, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    @gsingh7, tough swinging conditions ?? i thought the indians got hammered with those conditions in the just concluded test series. No big deal winning ODIs with all those field restrictions and what not. Dont think eng will lose sleep out of losing a series that hardly serves a purpose. They have won what matters most - the test series. And now your media will cry out loud about how the indian team has turned a corner and all that stuff !! pathetic !!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on September 2, 2014, 22:26 GMT

    Great to see that there's not such one-sided cricket going on somewhere else in the world at least. Congrats Australia; good effort by Faf though - he just needed somebody else to stay in there as well and SA might have made a successful chase out of it. Australia's bowling and fielding just to good though.

  • on September 2, 2014, 22:00 GMT

    Ah, a wonderful result. I couldn't bear another week of comments from SA supporters about how Australia isn't even in the running :P

    Seriously, though, looking forward to the World Cup. The sides are looking fairly evenly matched with talent. I have to say Starc isn't winning me over here, even though he's a fine long-form player. Maybe McKay or even Bollinger should be considered for that spot..

  • SurlyCynic on September 2, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    Well done Australia, far better that us today.

    Even when we chased down 320+ against Aus many of us posted here that we were concerned about the lower-middle order and today it came back to haunt us. Even one more decent batsman could have got us there, we can't have 4 bowlers who can't really bat, 3 of whom are walking wickets. Yes, it is the job of the top 6 to score the runs but what happens in the one game in 10 when they don't? Our tail is longer than other teams.

    McLaren should be at 8. Maybe Philander could be a #7 in place of Phangiso in Aus where we will only play 1 spinner, but I would also look at someone like Wiese or another allrounder who can clear the boundary and also share the 5th bowler overs with JP. As soon as we're 3 or 4 down with the current team it feels like we're in massive trouble which shouldn't be the case.

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    @ Chris_P. Agreed about the current "effort level" of both teams. I expect to see it ramp up a bit if they meet in the final, and to really heat up during the tour games in Aus.

    There will not be quite as much is on the line as during the last test series, but I expect there will be a little more needle to the tour matches. Neutral venue matches are less emotionally charged & lack the intensity of a good old bi-lateral home/away series.

  • on September 2, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Once upon a time, we used to have at least some hopes that Morkel would hold a bat for some good reasons. He is getting worse with every passing outing the crease. Not trying to blame Morkel for this defeat but it just did not pass by without noticing. Even Tahir shows some skills with the bat.

  • Chris_P on September 2, 2014, 18:51 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa. Cheers. I will repeat that I don't believe either side is putting in the type of effort they will when the WC comes around. Both sides are clearly trialling players & doing things a little differently trying options. Of course they are both flat out trying to win, but I wouldn't put too much emphasis on how either side performed. Good effort by the Faf.

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    @ Tommy_Tanker believes "And no, we do not need to bolster our batting by picking Parnell."

    Picking Parnell will NOT bolster the batting. His batting is as haphazard as his bowling. But, without question picking him WILL compromise/affect/completely cock-up the bowling. A sweet little pony tail/bun on top of the head doth not a cricketer make. Quite honestly I am so sick to death of "Parnell Comebacks" I'd rather see Julius Malema as coach than see Parnell in the team.

    Now THAT thought alone could cause instant "chronic cricket phobia morbidity" amongst previously fanatical Proteas fans, but that is how tired I am of again and again seeing a freshly retreaded Parnell - the wheels fly off every time.

    I DID like the look of Shezi. The one performance of his I have seen suggested he has/could soon have the control & finesse to be avery effective run choker & death bowler. On the other hand, I once had high hopes for Parnell! My judgement shall forever be questioned after that!

  • on September 2, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    south Africa has a great line up but too a long tail.need an extra specialist betsman. can drop miller! then can ajust bowling line up. jp not doing much with bat or ball. pangiso is doing fantastic and with an extra batsman there will be alot of flexibility in the team

  • on September 2, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    The World Cup will be played in Aust. Conditions that will suit the Aussies and the Proteas. One of those sides will win - no one else stands a cfance

  • gsingh7 on September 2, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    both sa and australia showed in this series they are fallible and we have seen in recent champions trophy that when faced with tougher opposition, both these teams have crumbled in past.losing to lowest ranked team in the world(zimb) is hardly ideal preparation for aus before world cup. where as india have been all over england in tough swinging english conditions. dont be surprised if either of these 2 teams dont even reach sf of upcoming world cup.

  • Proteas1992 on September 2, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    @tommy tanker: I think there is little doubt that the team you have put down with Rilee and Philander included is our BEST side to fare in Australia in February. Add Miller, Phangiso, De Lange and Albie Morkel/Kleinveldt to make up the squad of 15.

    Phangiso is playing really well, De Lange is a very fast strike bowler, Morkel is a solid all-rounder and finisher especially in Australia. We need to give Rilee as much time as possible to show his class.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on September 2, 2014, 17:26 GMT

    Congrats to Ozzie for fighting back, well deserved victory. Myself and a few armchair pundits called before. Our middle/lower order lacks substance. Our soft underbelly was exposed for all to see today. Duminy once again folds under pressure and Miller is clearly an IPL flat tracker. 43 matches for Miller, is he improving or going backwards. It's the latter for me.

    @Alan Gaskin, feel free to go back to the first oz vs sa games comments to read my admittance to Faff proving me wrong.

  • B.C.G on September 2, 2014, 16:54 GMT

    I guess this will become another Miller bashing thread,but one man alone can't lose you an ODI match.Death bowling was rubbish & JP the SO CALLED "Senior" player flops again under pressure.

  • Tommy_Tanker on September 2, 2014, 16:42 GMT

    Cont.... Duminys spin and ability is too good to drop, but because of his weak mind when under pressure, he needs to dropped down to 6 and bowl more overs. Miller needs to go, just check out his dire FC average and should be replaced by Roussow. When Pielander comes back (they will pick him in oz) he will dramatically strenghen the no. 7 spot.

    And no, we do not need to bolster our batting by picking Parnell. We need to make sure our top 7 can in fact bat and are not IPL flat trackers.

    WC team: 1 Amla 2 de Kock 3 Faff 4 AB 5 Rilee 6 JP 7 Pielander 8. McLaren 9 Steyn 10 Morkel 11 Tahir.

  • on September 2, 2014, 16:34 GMT

    Nice work boys. Good to bounce back from the glitch against Zimbabwe, particularly against quality opposition.

  • on September 2, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    This is why Aus v SA series are so exciting as be it in Test or ODI it doesn't matter if one team has momentum in one game as the next game can change so quickly and momentum switches back in a instant. Series later in the year going to be far better as conditions perfect for both teams in both departments.

  • Suicide-Note on September 2, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    @SLslider : dude Steyns ODI Strike rate is 32.2 and Malinga's 31.2. Styens economy 4.86 vs Malinga's 5.22. may be Malinga should learn how to be more economical from Steyn. And yes Steyn's legendary test stats. Enough said

  • sweet2hrme on September 2, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    SAF ! is having a worst bunch of TAILENDORS! If their top orders fires than they have always a chance otherwise they have a big problem. Also adding to my comments SAF! DEATH BOWLING is worst as compared to AUSSIES. Their fast bowlers have not done anything gr888 in this series. Styen, Morkel both struggling on the other hand Jonshon is Still bowling with great pace on these deadly pitches. So SAF Need to learn more than these AUSSIES.

  • on September 2, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    South Africans must have just about the best top 4 getting about, but it looks pretty slim after that you'd have to say.

    Great knock by Marsh, amazing what talented players can do when they play in the right role. No shortage of allrounders who can contribute in the Aussie camp.

  • Suicide-Note on September 2, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    So many talented batters in Aussie team but not enough space. With Watson,Warner and Clarke coming back Marsh,Smith and Hughes are set to lose their spots.

  • creebo777 on September 2, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    parnell so underrated as a batsman,try him in that number 7 slot..we dont have 5,6 type of batters in first class,just top order batters like rossouw and elgar maybe bevuma?

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 15:48 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha asked "Well, with all due respect, how many times has he missed and nearly been bowled?"

    I did not count, but it seemed to me to be less than the number of times he did not miss, and smacked the ball out the park.

    On the other hand, one might ask, with all due respect, how many times could he miss and the bowlers could not even manage to hit the stumps?

    Either way, there are questions for both sides.

  • SLslider on September 2, 2014, 15:45 GMT

    How mediocre is Steyn in ODIs. Plz learn yorkers from Malinga. In my opinion he is not even close to the no. 1 bowler in the world. Malinga and Johnson are way ahead of him. All he can do is smile when getting hammered.

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    It has to be said. Can Riley Rossouw do any worse than David Miller has in his last 2 innings? Sadly, he could do only 3 runs worse. But, he certainly can do better, and Miller is looking more and more like an occasional IPL flat track bully, and nothing else. Miller did well in Sri Lanka a year ago, but since then he has been poor, averaging 24.83. Even worse, he was not out in a third of those innings, and when excluding those not out innings his ave gets down to a miserable 15.16! That is not a batsman's average. Period. McLaren at 7 is shaky enough, and today he did well. If we have doubts about McLaren, about Miller there is no question: FAIL!

    Miller time looks like it is over. He has had a 4 year run, and done almost nothing with it. He is all promise and no delivery, like Parnell. If we are going to have someone who fails, at least make it a new face - someone who MIGHT succeed!

  • lian_14 on September 2, 2014, 15:33 GMT

    It's nice to see Bailey being able to captain properly today. Sure he's been the on-field captain for two of the games before this, but Clarke was just always lurking in the change rooms and it just didn't feel that Bailey had any control over the team. Not to mention that awkward moment when Clarke came back onto the field and dismantled all the field placements made by Bailey.

  • on September 2, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    Glenn Maxwell has become a hit and miss player..not good when your side is in trouble...I would pick Had din and Marsh for no 6 and 7..Watson must return to his customary no 3..Faulkner out and Cutting in would be my other change...Aus would have 4 pace bowlers and a medium bowler in their XI then..and on turning wickets they must pick another spinner to support Lyon..

  • Suicide-Note on September 2, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    Both team will be happy as Marsh and Du Plessis is among runs. This tournament is pretty important looking at wc 15. Personally I see both these teams in final four along with two of Sri Lanka , India and New Zeland. So good that they are getting high quality opponents

  • on September 2, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    @Rajesh 1990 de kock has a very good ODI record and has started well in tests...he is definitely the future of SA...all they need now is David Miller to fire and Steyn to improve his death bowling...they are not overrated outside SA..they recently won a series in SL..you are being too premature to judge them based on one failure

  • lillee4PM on September 2, 2014, 15:15 GMT

    Marsh hits Steyn for three consecutive sixes...Holy sheet Batman! Good win for the Aussies; well done boys.

  • on September 2, 2014, 15:08 GMT

    Faf = odi material. hopefully tommy will shutup about him.

  • on September 2, 2014, 15:03 GMT

    Well batted Faf but well done Australia as much better performance with the ball atleast. It's fair to say both these teams have problems with their backup bowlers.

  • on September 2, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    our nr 5,6,7 are really not what we are looking for before a worldcup....any 1st class batters out there raising hands? we must try russow for nr5 maybe that is his spot coz duminy is a serial choker(cant handle any hint of pressure) so he goes to 6....and 7 we need someone else but miller......he has really dissappointed

  • xtrafalgarx on September 2, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    Funny how all the talk was that if Australia lose, they might not make it into the finals if Zimbabwe win as SA would rest players. Now the shoe is completely on the other foot as Australia have sailed into the finals and it's SA who has to front up against Zimbabwe. Whom they nearly stumbled against. Champion sides front up after disappointments and Australia have done that emphatically - good on them.

  • No.444 on September 2, 2014, 14:43 GMT

    Heartbreaking for Faf. The only way he was going to go out today was by getting himself out. Again proving all his detractors wrong. How well is this guy doing at first drop? He was batting against muppets on a flat track whereas the rest of SA were batting against men on a snake pit.

    Oh well, I cannot see us pulling this one out the fire. It's all ash now. Go our two spinners :).

  • TheBigBoodha on September 2, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    Well, with all due respect, how many times has he missed and nearly been bowled?

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx. Yeah - he sure does. If it is Adelaide that left him with fond memories, he must REALLY enjoy a challenge!

  • on September 2, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    can't george bailey count past 6...what does smith have to do to get a bowl! surely he could have given him an over or two somewhere.. he's the sort of player that can change a game..like that run out beautiful!!

  • xtrafalgarx on September 2, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    @Greatest_Game: Well, he is proving me wrong two games in a row now. He does seem to like Australia!

  • on September 2, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    Love The Australians Bat

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on September 2, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    Good knock from young Marsh.Apart from talent he has shown a sensible cricket brain too.Augurs well for a young man.Hope Maxwell imbibed some of it from his younger mate.How much more dangerous he will be?Hugher needs to convert to 100s to stay in team.

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    Sadly to say, hardly had I predicted it and Miller obliged by standing stock still & wafting weakly at a great quick ball and his stumps were gone. SA's chance of a jailbreak here are remote. I reckon Aus have this one in the bag. McLaren has made a few good scores, but I don't see him lasting. Too many runs and the Aus bowling is looking well on top today.

    SA were looking great near the end of the Aus innings, but then seemed to lose the plot & started to give it away. Feeding Marsh a steady diet of slot balls to gave back to Aus everything the spinners had strangled, & now they seem to be finishing by meekly offering up wickets to good bowling. Not impressive at all!

    Hadden is keeping brilliantly. Amla's dismissal was no fluke - Hadden saw Amla move to off and anticipated the shot, moving to his left before Amla played the shot!. He nearly nabbed du Plessis with similar anticipation. He really is impressive!

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    Aus bowling looking a lot tighter today, and the results are beginning to show. Duminy dismissed twice, and SA's brittle middle order is exposed. Miller is dodgey - he can play a decent innings,but the odds are he won't.

    @xtrafalgerx. I do rate du Plessis. He was in & out, and kept down the order where he is really unsuited. At #3 in tests & ODIs he has looked really good. He thrives at #3 it seems, with an ODI ave closing in on 50 or so at that position... If SA are to survive today, he will be the backbone of the innings. If he goes before SA are within 40 or less of the target, SA are done for. He will be key.

  • Rajesh_india_1990 on September 2, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    This Southafrica is such an overrated ODI team outside SA period...De kock-The future? lol...........then the future looks bleak for SA

  • on September 2, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    I notice that Starc has not been so loquacious today. Perhaps he has learnt something from the Zimbabweans after all.

  • Greatest_Game on September 2, 2014, 12:49 GMT

    Dumb dismissals day at the office here for SA. Amla, de Kock & de Villiers have all managed to gift away their wickets with plainly stupid shot6s. Aus in with a very good chance here with SA at 65/3. SA will have to get smart very quickly to wrest back any control here. Cant afford to let Aus get into the batting this quickly and not expect them to tighten the noose. Blood in the water?

  • on September 2, 2014, 12:49 GMT

    On numerous forums I have written that the easiest way to dismiss Amla is to ball straight, set short mid wicket & short covers along with straightish field to dry the runs, batsman is automatically forced to slog to get runs & he automatically gets out.

    Also I have said numerous occasions that never keep 45 for spinner, instead keep short mid wicket always in place for spinners in operation, bcz a sweep is much riskier shot than a simple nudge towards mid wicket. As opposing captain u want batsman to get runs by playing riskier shots than safer shots.

    Aus have done exactly that and reaping the rewards

  • TheBigBoodha on September 2, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    Watson needs to get fit. He's been living on past (ODI) glories. I reckon he's close to ten KGs overweight. I note, too, that he barely made double figures in his last IPL season. To me it appears very much like he is past it - or at least soon will be if he doesn't pull his gut in, pun fully intended.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 2, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    I actually don't rate SA's batting that much. I think it was our bad bowling and fielding that hepled them get to 327. Besides De Kock and De Villers, they don't really have that many constistent power hitters. Miller hasn't fired at all in itl. cricket, I don't rate Du Plessis in this form of the game and his record suggests im in the ball park on that one. Duminy is the X factor but you always feel as if you can get on top of him.

  • Shaggy076 on September 2, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    N0.444: Think that something Australia/South Africa have in common we dont bowl well at the death either. As for the "Big SHow" - yeah he will have bad games but on Australian soil in the world cup on surfaces he will like he will probably take us to victory. Unfortunately we have to cop it when he doesnt fire. THat being said the top 4 need to do the first 35 overs then let Maxwell loose. But on slow surfaces such as this game where you need to take time to get the pace of the pitch the big show will come undone.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 2, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    @VivGilchrist: Fair enough. But Watson even in ODI's these days i always feel like he can get out any second, his average has dropped significantly. He got 2 golden ducks in the England series and then a couple more i think in the WT20. But i guess we could stick with him a bit longer.

  • No.444 on September 2, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    Hmmmm, odds probably even at the halfway stage. Marsh certainly caned our quicks to get Aus back in the game. SA don't have classic death bowlers and Steyn is the best of bad bunch. That's probably our biggest weakness at the moment. How long can you wait for Maxwell to be the big show? Selectors must be getting impatient by now, but hey the Aussie selectors don't seem to know which end is up. I think the media chose this team for them.

    I have to confess that I'm a little nervous. 260 would have been far more comfortable to chase.

  • onlinegamer55 on September 2, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    Of course, no-one can criticise Hughes after this, once again fantastic, knock. Hughes continues to prove everyone wrong time and time again, this time playing spin extremely well to prove the doubters wrong. He would have got a big hundred too were it not for his selfless attempt to up the scoring given the fact that the other batters were totally unable to strike at anything roundabout 50, and Hughes was striking at 100. Credit also to Mitchell Marsh, good to see him using his talent and if he can significantly improve his consistently, then he will be world class. But consistency is an issue for him.

  • TheBigBoodha on September 2, 2014, 11:26 GMT

    Under the new rules wickets in hand in the last five are of great value. So for those criticising players like Smith and Finch, they set the platform for Marsh's big hitting at the end.

    Can't believe how negative some of the comments have been. One and a half bad games in rather extreme conditions abroad and with a makeshift team have little bearing on the upcoming World Cup. And SA are not suddenly invincible after half a good game - because for one and half parts of the previous two games they have been bad. Remember, they scored 230 vs ZB. I hardly think they are like Masters of the Cricket Universe.

  • VivGilchrist on September 2, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx, Sorry mate but that's rubbish. Watto has a brilliant record in ODI's from batting up the order. He often takes the game away from the opposition early. With Clarke and Bailey at 4 and 5 why would you shift Watto down to 6 when Maxwell, Marsh, or Smith can do it. Leave him in the top 3 I say.

  • RVC-38 on September 2, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    If the world cup team was picked tonight the top 6 would have to be Finch,Warner, Hughes, Marsh, Bailey Maxwell.

  • lian_14 on September 2, 2014, 10:59 GMT

    Smith scoring 36 off 62 was a little too slow on this wicket and really placed pressure on the batsmen to follow to lift the run rate. That's why Maxwell was brought in ahead of Bailey. Yeah Smith may be a good player of spin, but he hardly scored off them in the game. Got tied down a lot. And Maxwell, I don't know what to say about him. It's just so frustrating with him, because you know he's got all the shots, but his choice of shot is horrible at times.

  • Aussie_Nate on September 2, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    If Maxwell really is a match winner, then I'm expecting him to contribute with the ball. Wickets, catches, runout(s).

  • RVC-38 on September 2, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx Totally agree on Maxwell I have never seen consistency and not a huge fan of his bowling either, A fit Clarke and Watson would walk straight in getting them to stay fit is a lot harder, we need to prepare a team with what is currently available.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 2, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    If Maxwell doesn't smarten up quickly, I think Watson will take his place instead of Hughes. Watson, I think from now on should be used as a genuine all rounder, he batted at no.6 in the last test he played in SA and I liked the look of it. Finally his hitting power could be a bonus rather than us relying on him completely. Despite his good record in ODI's, maybe moving him down the order could be a masterstroke too. I'm now edging towards:

    Finch, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Bailey, Watson, Haddin, bowlers. There is less risk there, and you know what you will get more often than not.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 2, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    @Rickyvoncanterbury: He is a good player Smith, but like I have said before, he isn't as good at ODI's as he should be. He doesn't go on with starts in this form of the game, and even his List A record shows that.

  • Aussie_Nate on September 2, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    Gee, Maxwell is hot and cold. He might be a match winner when he's on, but how inconsistent can he be to hold his spot?

    To me it seems that 310 would be a good score on this wicket

  • RVC-38 on September 2, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Being an unabashed Hughes and Smith fan I have copped plenty, so I have really enjoyed this partnership :) being only the forth best ODI team behind some pretty ordinary ones, maybe this young blood should be taken more seriously, Looking at their averages of 38 and 21 should not be taken into account, as their present form is really good and averages come from the past. .

  • Rajesh_india_1990 on September 2, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    this will be a one sided match in favour of SA against this average Australian team..may be Australia vs papua new guinea can be a better contest....

  • on September 2, 2014, 8:42 GMT

    Im a die hard protea supporter! beware the aussie fightback tho! should be good

  • Sexysteven on September 2, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Yea prob agood move to put smith at number 3 there's prob no better options for them on this tour plus it gives smith achance to improve his odi stats and a opportunity to have agood long bat the ballance on this tour seems wrong there are a lot of good finishers and not a lot of players who can bat at three n four and play the substantial innings to set it up for the finishers to put the icing on the top

  • Mindmeld on September 2, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    Australia doesn't have a lot to lose here. They could still lose this game and win the competition, as long as they beat SA in the final. ZB are a very slim chance against SA next game.

  • Mindmeld on September 2, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    Australia doesn't have a lot to lose here. They could still lose this game and win the competition, as long as they beat SA in the final. ZB are a very slim chance against SA next game.

  • Sexysteven on September 2, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Yea prob agood move to put smith at number 3 there's prob no better options for them on this tour plus it gives smith achance to improve his odi stats and a opportunity to have agood long bat the ballance on this tour seems wrong there are a lot of good finishers and not a lot of players who can bat at three n four and play the substantial innings to set it up for the finishers to put the icing on the top

  • on September 2, 2014, 8:42 GMT

    Im a die hard protea supporter! beware the aussie fightback tho! should be good

  • Rajesh_india_1990 on September 2, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    this will be a one sided match in favour of SA against this average Australian team..may be Australia vs papua new guinea can be a better contest....

  • RVC-38 on September 2, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Being an unabashed Hughes and Smith fan I have copped plenty, so I have really enjoyed this partnership :) being only the forth best ODI team behind some pretty ordinary ones, maybe this young blood should be taken more seriously, Looking at their averages of 38 and 21 should not be taken into account, as their present form is really good and averages come from the past. .

  • Aussie_Nate on September 2, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    Gee, Maxwell is hot and cold. He might be a match winner when he's on, but how inconsistent can he be to hold his spot?

    To me it seems that 310 would be a good score on this wicket

  • xtrafalgarx on September 2, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    @Rickyvoncanterbury: He is a good player Smith, but like I have said before, he isn't as good at ODI's as he should be. He doesn't go on with starts in this form of the game, and even his List A record shows that.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 2, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    If Maxwell doesn't smarten up quickly, I think Watson will take his place instead of Hughes. Watson, I think from now on should be used as a genuine all rounder, he batted at no.6 in the last test he played in SA and I liked the look of it. Finally his hitting power could be a bonus rather than us relying on him completely. Despite his good record in ODI's, maybe moving him down the order could be a masterstroke too. I'm now edging towards:

    Finch, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Bailey, Watson, Haddin, bowlers. There is less risk there, and you know what you will get more often than not.

  • RVC-38 on September 2, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx Totally agree on Maxwell I have never seen consistency and not a huge fan of his bowling either, A fit Clarke and Watson would walk straight in getting them to stay fit is a lot harder, we need to prepare a team with what is currently available.

  • Aussie_Nate on September 2, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    If Maxwell really is a match winner, then I'm expecting him to contribute with the ball. Wickets, catches, runout(s).