© Getty Images
Mitchell Starc took 4 for 34 © Getty Images

Nov 19, 2014

Australia defeated South Africa by 73 runs in the third One-Day International at the Manuka Oval on Wednesday. They now lead the five-match series two to one. The hosts had set the Proteas a huge target of 330 runs.  For South Africa Hashim Amla led their reply with a brilliant 102 but after his dismissal the Proteas crumbled.

It was in the middle stages that the Australians snatched the game from South Africa with getting rid of AB de Villiers for 52 and centurion Hashim Amla in quick succession. From  here on they lost wickets at regular intervals. It was Kane Richardson who after copping some tap early on fought back claiming the crucial wicket of AB de Villiers who was looking good on 52. Shortly after Josh Hazlewood further strengthened his team’s position by bowling Amla.

Mitchell Starc was the most successful Australian bowler with four wickets. The Australian bowlers did not panic when De Villiers and  Amla looked as if they would win with some aggressive batting and instead stuck to their task. After their dismissals the South African batsmen fell like ninepins. Earlier Amla had played a terrific knock but it was not enough to get his team over the line.

South Africa got off to a quick start in their pursuit of a mammoth 330. It was Hashim Amla who led the way by going the after the bowlers. He began by attacking Josh Hazlewood, who took a fiver in the last game at Perth, in the second over. First he dispatched a short and wide delivery to the fence. Hazlewood did not learn from his mistake and pitched another one in the same area. The result was the same.

It was then de Kock’s turn to attack. He pulled a short delivery by left-arm pacer Mirchell Starc to the boundary. In the third over Starc bowled a no-ball and as a result a free hit followed, the batsman was de Kock. As luck would have Starc bowled a perfect yorker and hit the stumps but it did not matter. Amla pressed on as he continued to attack.

Kane Richardson came in for some special treatment from both batsmen especially from de Kock. In the 12th over the aggressive left-handed batsmen first came down the track and smacked him for a four in the deep. Three balls later he hit dispatched a short delivery into the stands. In no time Richardson had conceded 28 in three overs.

Xavier Doherty, the left-arm spinner was soon introduced, but Amla continued in an aggressive manner as he did not even spare the spinner even. At this point Australia needed the stellar batsman’s scalp badly as he was looking in good form. He was stroking the ball well. To add to this at the other de Kock was beginning to open his shoulders.

The hundred-run partnership soon came up in the 17th over. South Africa needed 228 runs from 33 overs at this point. The Proteas were scoring at a quicker rate before this but the introduction of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh slowed things down a wee bit. This may have also contributed to de Kock’s dismissal.

Hazlewood induced a top-edge from when the left-hander tried to pull him but the balloned up into the air and he was well-caught by Mitchell Marsh.  This brought the dangerous Faf du Plessis in. Marsh continued keeping things tight as he was bowling consistently around the off-stump.

He would not, however, repeat his heroics in Zimbabwe when the Proteas chased down 328. Trying to clear the deep he was caught by David Warner off Mitchell Marsh. This brought Rilee Rossouw to the crease. The left-hander failed to last long as Mitchell Starc had him caught behind for a measly two, leaving South Africa at 145 for 3 requiring 185 runs from 23 overs at more than eight runs per over.

Australia, however, could not afford to relax as the dangerous AB de Villiers came to the crease. Furthermore Amla was still at the crease and batting well. He, however, had a close shave when a drive in the air of his fell just short of a diving Starc at mid-off.

George Bailey was constantly ringing in the changes but de Villiers soon began to open up. He first hit a a four and a six in the 34th over of Watson. The six, particularly memorable, was a sweep which went cleared the fine leg boundary. Soon Mitchell Marsh was hammered for three fours by the South African captain. However de Villiers was not to last long.

Earlier Aaron Finch’s 109 propelled Australia to a huge score of 329 in the third One-Day International against South Africa at the Manuka Oval on Wednesday. The highlight of his innings was the manner in which he paced himself, he always was in control. The 28 year-old took his time early but came into his own afterwards as his innings was studded with nine fours and three sixes.  He was content to play second fiddle to David Warner in the opening stages of the Australian innings but soon he took the attack to the bowlers. A pull shot off Vernon Philander in the sixth over was one stroke that stood out.

Steve Smith too contributed with a fantastic 73 not out off only 55 balls. He took the South African bowlers to the cleaners toward the end of the innings. Earlier Australia’s openers Aaron Finch and David Warner gave them a solid start as they put on 118 in 19 overs. Vernon Philander broke the opening stand when he had Warner caught by AB de Villiers for 53. Finch too made a half-century. The South African bowling attack lacked discipline as they constantly bowled loose balls and conceded quite a few extras especially free hits. In the end a score of 329 was a little too much for the tourists.

Brief scores:

Australia 329 for 5 in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 109, Steve Smith 73*; Farhan Behardien 1 for 39, Morne Morkel 2 for 84) beat South Africa 256 all out ( Hashim Amla 102, AB de Villiers 52; Mitchell Starc 4 for 34) by 73 runs

Man of the Match: Steve Smith

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