George Bailey leads PM’s XI to one-day win over full-strength South Africa
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison greets captain George Bailey of the PM's XI. @Getty

Former Australia limited-overs captain George Bailey put the finishing touches on a Prime Minister’s XI victory over the touring South Africa in Canberra on Wednesday, scoring an unbeaten 51 as the hosts chasing a target of 174 inside 37 overs.

Just five days before the first ODI in Perth, South Africa became the first touring team lose the customary pre-series fixture since 2013.

Displaying an audacious new batting stance, Bailey steered the PM’s XI chase after it lost two wickets in successive overs and found support from teenage batting sensation Jason Sangha who made 38 off 64 balls in a stabilising partnership of 77. The wicketkeeper Josh Phillipe, with 57 off 53 balls at No 3, was the PM’s XI’s top-scorer. The home side had three players with International experience – Bailey, Jason Behrendorff and one-ODI cap Sam Heazlett.

The win was set up in the field with South Africa bowled out for 173 in 42 overs, a discomfiting sign for Faf du Plessis’ side given that the XI they fielded will in all likelihood resemble the one to face Australia on Sunday. Behrendorff started the slide with two wickets in the opening over of the game, bowling Quinton de Qock for 0 and then having Reeza Hendricks edging to Phillipe without scoring, and had a third when du Plessis fell for 13.

From 30/3, Aiden Markram (47) and David Miller (45) got South Africa out of a jam only for the team to lose Markram and Farhaan Behardien to Blake Edwards. Usman Qadir, the legspinning son of Pakistan great Abdul Qadir, claimed 3/28. An unbeaten 28 from Kagiso Rabada helped put some shine on the South African total.

“It’s a good gauge for guys to see how much work needs to be done going into the first ODI,” said Markram. ”A lot of positives we can take from tonight and a lot of question marks that need answering as well.

Brief scores: Prime Minister’s XI 174/6 in 36.3 overs (Phillipe 57, Bailey 51*) beat South Africa 173 in 42 overs (Markram 47, Miller 45, Qadir 3/28, Behrendorff 3/53) by four wickets