A third middle-order meltdown in as many games has overshadowed a masterful century to Aaron Finch.
The entire series has been highlighted by one stirring knock per game, rather than a collective effort from the batting unit.
In game one, Shaun Marsh’s 136* was offset by a collapse that saw the visitors lose 6-39.
Glenn Maxwell’s heroics in game two (145*) came after his side had lost 6-32 in the middle overs.
And overnight, Finch was the last man out on 119 after having watched six wickets fall for just 23 runs.
Tim Paine must be starting to feel the pressure, having scored just four runs so far this series.
The bowlers had done well to restrict South Africa A to 252, with Gurinder Sandhu starring with four wickets.
The hosts were rescued in part by Rusty Theron, whose 39 ball cameo at the end added a vital 53 to the total.
It hasn’t been an easy twelve months for the South African all-rounder, who has had to endure several injury setbacks.
“It’s been a long while out for me. I had a stress fracture and a couple of minor niggles.”
“It’s good to be back and I’m thankful for the opportunity to play some games for South Africa and try to stage a comeback.”
Theron was also the pick of the bowlers for South Africa A, with 4-51 from his eight overs.
“It’s the close games you want to win and a good team effort got us there” Theron said after the 19 run victory.
Justin Ontong was delighted with the final result, but bemoaned some sloppy periods of play from his side.
“A few cheap wickets fell at the start of our innings which is something we need to avoid. Rusty took the responsibility upon himself and batted beautifully, getting us to a competitive total.”
The Australians will be kicking themselves for letting this one slip. Useful contributions from Shaun Marsh (33) and Nic Maddinson (41) saw the tourists reach 3-160 in the 26th over, before the wickets started to tumble.
Finch will be relieved to have finally found some form, with the skipper hitting 10 boundaries and four maximums in his 129 ball knock.
The loss does halt Australia A’s momentum, but a win against India tonight will ensure they progress to the final.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 11 August, 2013 8:27AM AEST