Australia vs South Africa, 2nd ODI, 2018
A late fight and a Rabada four-fer – Australia 231
That’s that for Australia. They’ve been bowled out for 231… but not before the final wicket stand between Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood frustrated the visitors. Eventually, a Kagiso Rabada bouncer broke the partnership… in a comical fashion. Zampa moved away to make room but ended up swatting the short ball to David Miller at mid-wicket.
200 breached, but Carey goes – AUS 204/9
Alex Carey is gone, three short of a half-century. He’s nicked off Rabada to give QdK his fourth catch of the game.
Eight down – Australia 187/8
Australia at the risk of another sub-200 total here. Another scrambled seam ball from Steyn, climbing on Mitchell Starc who doesn’t seem keen on putting a short ball away. He opted to duck awkwardly instead, giving Steyn a regulation return catch.
Bowled ’em – Australia 179/7
Dale Steyn, you beauty! A cross-seamed ripper is too good for Pat Cummins. The ball probably pitched on the seam, and sneaked through below Cummins’s bat to hit the off-stump. Australia are seven down.
Taken, Reeza! – Australia 170/6
Australia are hurtling towards another sub-par total here. And that’s down to another Dwaine Pretorius that didn’t quite warrant a wicket – An innocuous length ball that Stoinis tried to hoick away on mid-on and ended up flicking toward mid-wicket. The quality of shot selection was inversely proportional to the effort from Reeza Hendricks at mid-wicket. He jumped up and clung onto the ball with one hand. Australia are in trouble all over again.
Maxwell gifts his wicket – Australia 166/5 in 33.1 overs
Poor from the opinions-dividing middle-order batter. Pretorius strikes again with a very unsuspecting delivery. It was outside the off-stump but wasn’t short enough to be cut away. The width though lured Maxwell into attempting the cut anyway, and the result was an outside edge to QdK. Another partnership capable of forcing a flurry at the end has been cut short prematurely.
Aussies hover around 5 an over – 153/4
Australia go into the final 20 overs with another new batting pair. The absence of partnerships hurt them in Perth, but here they’ve managed to maintain a run rate around five and have lost fewer wickets comparatively. Over to Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell to give Australia a defendable total.
Lynn vs Rabada – 6, 4, 4, 4 W
Kaigso Rabada has a few words to say to the departing Chris Lynn. The Aussie showed absolute disdain for the South African quick – thwacking him for a six over extra cover first ball and then following up with a four over the bowler’s head, one through point and a pull shot through mid-wicket. A pumped up Rabada fired a cross-seamed bouncer and got one back over the Australian batsman. Lynn went for another attacking stroke, trying to hook the ball away, but could only glove it to Quinton de Kock. What.an.over!
Halfway stage – Australia 110/3
I’d be lying if I said Australia look comfortable at the halfway stage. Sure, they’ve fared better than they did in Perth, but that’s quite a low benchmark considering they had a batting implosion there. The partnership between Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh had the promise of turning into something that’d define the innings, but Kagiso Rabada cut that short. Alex Carey has taken his time and the start and Chris Lynn has had to play out of his usual explosive skin to keep Australia afloat here.
Played on – Australia 96/3
Aaron Finch’s fight has been brought to an end. A cheeky attempt to run a ball down to third man for a single has brought about the Aussie captain’s downfall. Nothing extraordinary in the delivery – Dwaine Pretorius bowled a back-of-a-length ball on the off-stump and got Finch to inside edge it onto his stumps. Finch falls for a 63-ball 41.
Rabada strikes – Australia 66/2
Shaun Marsh done in by the extra bounce on that Rabada delivery. An effort ball from KG. Gets this to rise from a length and his round-the-wicket angle forces Marsh to have a nibble. QdK gobbles up a straightforward catch. Important breakthrough for the visitors. They’ve clipped a promising stand (54) before it got dangerous.
Boundaries starting to flow – Australia 58/1
Positive start for Australia despite an early wicket. Finch has had to deal with a tough first spell for Steyn but he’s reaping the rewards now as Kagiso Rabada – at first change – is erring in line. Marsh too has been offered a couple of freebies that he’s put away.
Finch, Marsh nudge scoring rate – Australia 36/1
Ngidi bowls a ripper that Marsh just about escapes. Fabulous seam position to get the vall to move in to the left hander after pitching. Marsh had no clue and shouldered his arms, surviving a straightforward LBW call only because of height. Marsh overcame that with a classical square cut when Ngidi erred with width outside the offstump. Steyn put some more width on a platter, giving Finch a move on from a cautious start. The left-hand-right-hand pair pinch 12 off the over to push the scoring rate past 5 an over.
EARLY WICKET – Australia 12/1
Travis Head is gone! Lungi Ngidi strikes from round the stumps with a ball that was full and angled in. Head played inside the line while trying to drive and ended up getting struck flush on the front pad. For some unknown reason, he reviewed one that was going on to hit the middle of middle stump.
South Africa XI: Quinton de Kock(w), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis(c), Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir
Australia XI: Travis Head, Aaron Finch(c), Shaun Marsh, Chris Lynn, Alex Carey(w), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Prelude – Australia’s Elite Mess
It’s true, shambles doesn’t begin to describe Australian cricket at the moment. The goings on at the board room level particularly are abysmal – to put it mildly. On the pitch too, Australia have had a grim 2018, winning just one in 11 ODIs.
But there’s a silver lining – even for this current version of a downtrodden Australia. Their only win this year has come in Adelaide – also today’s venue – and there can be a genuine belief within the team that the only way to go from where they currently find themselves is UP. Aaron Finch echoed such thoughts when he said the wheel would turn. Soon may that happen!
The moment you switch over to the South African side of things, you’ll see the gloom is replaced by bright sunshine. Dale Steyn’s return to full fitness and to general zippyness brings so much more delight to a setup that’s enjoyed watching his successor Kagiso Rabada take center stage recently. Soon there might be calls for Steyn to play in next year’s World Cup, but that’d be counting your chickens before they hatch.
The pacer’s fans (which could be half the cricketing world) have just overcome a frustrating period when he’s had to cool his heels [no pun intended] due to injury. The 35-year-old has somehow returned to the pitch like he never was away and would love to take another stab at his beloved opposition today.
South Africa win toss, opt to bowl first. Australia make two changes – Shaun Marsh returns for D’Arcy Short, Nathan Coulter-Nile makes away for Adam Zampa. SA bring in Dwaine Pretorius for Andile Phehlukwayo.