3rd ODI: South Africa eye first series win in Australia in nine years
South Africa are on the brink of a rare series win in Australia. (AFP Image)

48 hours removed from the euphoria of their first ODI win in nine months, Australia would like to build on it and aim to seal the series when they face South Africa in Hobart on Sunday. Australia’s performance in the second ODI at Adelaide wasn’t their most clinical by a long shot, but it was just about enough to defend a moderate total of 231. The fast bowlers, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, ensured South Africa never found the going easy and Marcus Stoinis provided the finishing touches with 3 for 35.

The win does a world of good for Australia, who have been affected by the turmoil at Cricket Australia’s end, but then again, not all their boxes are ticked. Their batting showed improvement with Aaron Finch, Alex Carey and Chris Lynn getting starts, but concerns remain considering no batsman could muster up a half-century. Take out the pacers and Australia still look weak, but victory at the face of adversity can go a long way in changing the fortunes. Perhaps a series win is just what is needed to get them back on track for good.

Which brings us to South Africa. David Miller, the only half-centurion in Adelaide underlined how a couple of bad overs were crucial in South Africa squandering the second ODI. And while they too would want to add a third successive series win under their belt, they will know that it’s easier said than done with the pace attack that the home team possess. Not that theirs is any less threatening. That Australia were at one stage reduced to 180 odd runs for eight wickets was due to Kagiso Rabada and Dwaine Pretorius, who shared seven wickets.

The only piece of the puzzle that needs to be solved is consistency in batting. Miller would want to take the confidence of an important half-century forward, while the platform can’t get better for Faf du Plessis to lead from the front and clinch a series win in Australia. The first game was an oddly one-sided contest, but in the second game it was evident that perhaps South Africa still aren’t totally adept to handling pressure. Will that be a factor?

Date: November 11, Sunday

Venue: Bellerive Oval, Hobart

Time: 8:20 am IST

Weather: Mostly cloudy with a high temperature of 17 degrees Celsius

Team News

Australia

A team that ended Australia’s seven-match losing streak is highly to be changed. That said, if Australia are to rest one of Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter Nile is a replacement. The other move is unlikely, but in the previous six matches, Glenn Maxwell has just one half-century to boast. Hence, Darcy Short taking his place is a risk Australia might be willing to take, considering Maxwell hasn’t bowled much of late either.

Probable XI: 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

Dwaine Pretorius impressed with three wickets in the previous game and is expected to retain his place, which means Andile Phehlukwayo may be made to sit out again.

Probable XI: 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

Stats and Trivia

- The last time these two teams played in Hobart, Australia beat South Africa by five runs.
- If South Africa win on Sunday, this will be their first ODI series win in Australia in nine years.

Quotes

“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.” – Australia fast bowler 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.” – South Africa batsman David Miller