Senior batsman George Bailey has admitted Australia's batsmen have let their inexperienced bowling counterparts down so far in South Africa, a sentiment echoed by the former vice-captain Brad Haddin.

Much focus has centred on the expensive figures returned by a youthful bowling attack in the two matches that have Australia 0-2 down to South Africa in the five-match ODI series, but Bailey and Haddin have both reframed the debate by pointing the finger squarely at the top order.

"We've certainly got a young bowling attack but I think the thing that's been the most disappointing is our batting the last two games," Bailey said ahead of the third match in Durban. "We were under par in game one and 360 is a big total, but you saw it on that ground it was great value for money, the ball flew everywhere and our run rate was going pretty well.

"All the batters are hitting the ball pretty well, it's just that nobody's getting a hundred and the South Africans have had a guy score a hundred in each of those games. As much as the focus could be on our young bowling attack, I think it's the batters who have got to step up."

Haddin, speaking on Sky Sports Radio, said that the batsmen had none of the handicaps the pacemen Daniel Worrall, Scott Boland, Joe Mennie and Chris Tremain were saddled with, trying to get comfortable in a new team environment while learning how to cope with the pressures of international cricket.

"At the end of game I heard Davey (Warner) and Steven Smith talking about how our bowlers need to step up a little bit. But we had a couple of guys on debut, we had all our senior batters there," Haddin said. "I think the batters were a little bit disappointing to be honest.

"It sort of happened a little bit in the Sri Lanka series with Nathan Lyon as well. I think the batters need to have a bit of a look at themselves. We've got all our senior bats there, we're not missing anyone from that end. Fifties aren't going to cut it. We need guys like Davey to get a start and go on and get some big scores. Yeah it was a tough day for the bowlers but those guys are on debut, they'll be better for the run."

Bailey mused over the circumstances of the batsmen's dismissals in the first two matches, and reasoned it was more a matter of focus on the task than anything else. "I don't think there's been any really audacious dismissals, we've just been getting out," he said. "I know the first couple of training sessions we spoke about the fact we could hit the ball again. It was a bit of a shock to get into the rhythm of getting that value and being able to play with some freedom, but I don't think that's been an issue.

"It's just a matter of guys, once they get that start, turning it into a really big score. And maybe credit needs to go to South Africa, they might be bowling more consistently and putting us under more pressure. I think we've got a really strong batting line-up, it's time for us to stand up."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig