Big picture

If there was relief at Australia's first ODI victory since January, at the end of a week in which further turmoil had preoccupied the game's governing body, there was also exhaustion. Summed up by allrounder Marcus Stoinis, who described numerous team-mates as "cooked", it underlined how this Australian team is a long way from developing the resilience as well as accomplishment that coach Justin Langer is seeking.

To that end, a series decider in Hobart fewer than 48 hours after Australia won in Adelaide provides a useful mental and physical test of the home side's resources. Chief among these will be the quick bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, all critical in the successful defence of a mediocre 231 in game two. There will be temptation among the selectors to rest one of this trio given the short turnaround, but equally the need to deliver a series win and also chart a fresh path for Cricket Australia's team performance division will also create pressure to play all three.

"I think the quicks were outstanding," Hazlewood said of the second ODI. "Up front we were really good and took those early wickets and put some pressure back on South Africa, as you need to do because it was a small target. We closed it out pretty well. It's a little bit of relief, I guess. But we have been doing the right things at training and are really focused on the process and put results a little bit out of our mind."

South Africa, so assured in Perth, now face some doubts about their capacity to withstand Australian pressure when chasing a target of even middling dimensions. Faf du Plessis will reckon that his team, lacking the mental fatigue and spotlight currently on the home side, should be able to regather and seal the series at Bellerive Oval. In Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada they still possess the weaponry to unbalance an unsteady Australian batting line-up.

Form guide

Australia WLLLL
South Africa LWWWW

In the spotlight

For a few moments in Adelaide, Chris Lynn looked to be entirely in control. A calculated decision to go after Rabada on his return to the attack featured a six and three hammered boundaries. But as has happened before to Australian batsmen - notably David Warner in Cape Town earlier this year - any attempts to take the "Alpha" approach to Rabada have invariably ended with dismissals. Lynn has enormous power, enough to make any bowling attack fear him, but better modulation of it will be critical to Australia's improvement.

In Perth, Quinton de Kock took immediate control of South Africa's chase. His inability to do so in Adelaide gave the Australians a chance. Hobart was the scene of one of de Kock's most memorable and dismissive international innings, hammering the hosts and Nathan Lyon in particular with impunity to ensure the 2016 Test and series would be won. A repeat performance on Sunday would go a long way towards sealing this encounter for South Africa, whether setting a target or chasing it.

Team news

Australia may be able to consider an unchanged side following their first win after seven consecutive ODI defeats. Nathan Coulter-Nile is in reserve should the selectors choose to rest one of Starc, Hazlewood or Cummins.

Australia (probable) 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Travis Head, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Chris Lynn, 5 Alex Carey (wk), 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Marcus Stoinis, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

South Africa have the option of Andile Phehlukwayo's seamers in reserve, having preferred Dwaine Pretorius in Adelaide.

South Africa (probable) 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Aiden Markram, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 David Miller, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Lungi Ngidi, 11 Imran Tahir

Pitch and conditions

Hobart's surface should offer a little for the new ball bowlers before flattening out. The forecast is for fine, slightly cloudy weather with temperatures in the high teens.

Stats and Trivia

  • South Africa are seeking their first ODI series win in Australia since 2009.

  • Australia defeated South Africa by five runs in 2009 in the only previous ODI meeting between the two sides in Hobart.


"It will probably relax the guys a little bit, if anything. We know one win doesn't make a summer, though. It's a good step moving forward to get one on the board. It makes tomorrow a pretty important game for us to try and win the series."
Josh Hazlewood

"We don't want to take anything for granted, so we're going to travel to the next destination and start fresh again - looking to finish off the series there strongly."
David Miller

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig