Match Report:


Head suffers fracture on rotten night for Aussies

Heinrich Klaasen's six-laden onslaught sees Australia trounced in fourth ODI, levelling series at 2-2 with an injury added to insult

All 13 sixes from Klaasen's extraordinary 174

Heinrich Klaasen shattered records but it was the shattering of Travis Head's hand that may prove even more consequential to Australia's World Cup tilt.

On the way to the highest ever ODI score by a No.5, Klaasen (174 off 83 balls) took a flamethrower to the visiting bowlers and his South Africa side to a Centurion venue record tally of 5-416.

It sealed a 164-run victory that squared the five-match series at 2-2.

But a nasty blow to Head's left hand off a Gerald Coetzee lifter that forced the opener to retire hurt is of even more immediate concern than their bowlers melting in the face of an extraordinary barrage from the Proteas' middle order.

Injury blow as Head retires hurt with hand knock

Scans had already confirmed a fracture by Saturday morning (AEST) with Australia still determining whether he will be able to play a part in the upcoming World Cup, which is three weeks away.

"He's going to go in for some more scans tomorrow to work out the detail of (the injury) and then we'll work out the management from there," coach Andrew McDonald said. "How long that (recovery) timeframe is, we're yet to determine that."

The visitors' rotten day was summed up as Alex Carey, the only Australian batter to face more than 25 balls, was caught behind one run short of his second ODI century. He was the final wicket to fall as the Aussies folded for 252.  

Klaasen and David Miller (82no off 45) blazed the fastest double-century stand in ODIs (222 from only 94) to see Australia concede more than 400 for just the third time in 50-over cricket.

The hosts had cantered to 2-120 at the halfway mark of their innings before Klaasen arrived, racing to a 57-ball century (the second quickest ever against Australia in ODIs) as he pummelled 13 sixes and as many fours.

South Africa piled on a remarkable 297 from the final 25 overs of their innings.

Australia's attack was not at full strength – captain Pat Cummins watched from the dugout, while Mitchell Starc is absent – yet key World Cup squad bowlers Adam Zampa (0-113) and Josh Hazlewood (2-79) returned their worst ever ODI figures.

'Absolute peach': Ellis magic gets Aussies going

In fact, Zampa walked away with the ignominy of now sharing the worst figures in the format's history, equalling Mick Lewis' analysis from the 2006 one-dayer in Johannesburg.

Carey (99 from 77) played a lone hand to snap a run of lean form but found found few allies.

Marnus Labuschagne (20 off 22) and Marcus Stoinis (18 off 13) were caught behind fending bouncers on a SuperSport Park pitch that quickened up under lights as Australia were effectively 6-185 shortly before the halfway point of their chase.

Lungi Ngidi (4-51) and Kagiso Rabada (3-41) did the bulk of the damage, with the latter even chipping in with a tremendous one-handed catch to dismiss Nathan Ellis.

Australia's disintegration with the ball was typified by the fortunes of Ellis and Stoinis.

Ellis got the game's first wicket with an unplayable delivery that bowled Reeza Hendricks, while Stoinis continued his solid new-ball bowling in the absence of Starc and Cummins.  

Yet Stoinis then coughed up 59 runs from his final three overs, and Elllis 42 from his final three, as a steady acceleration helped along by Rassie van der Dussen (62 off 65) was flipped into overdrive by Klaasen and Miller, who hit five sixes of his own.

Klaasen's second fifty came off just 19 deliveries, half as many as he needed for his first fifty, celebrating his third ODI ton with gusto before pushing on to the eighth highest score by a South African.

The right-hander, a Pretoria local whose family was in attendance for his record-breaking innings, was lbw for a second-ball duck to Head in the third match of the series in Potchefstroom but the part-time off-spinner was not thrown the ball at all in the ensuing game.

"I had a shocker of a day the other day in Potch so it's lucky to bounce back immediately and play an innings like that," Klaasen told the host broadcaster.

"It's definitely up there as one of my better ones. There's no better place than this … this venue has looked after me so nicely.

"To do it for my country at this venue, it's an unbelievable feeling. With my family and everyone here, it means even more."

Only Michael Neser, who returned figures of 1-59 playing his first ODI in five years, escaped the carnage.

2023 Qantas ODIs v South Africa

September 7: Australia won by three wickets

September 9: Australia won by 123 runs

September 12: South Africa won by 111 runs

September 15: South Africa won by 164 runs

September 17: Fifth ODI, Johannesburg, 6pm AEST

Australia ODI squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Tanveer Sangha, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

South Africa ODI squad: Temba Bavuma (c), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Brjor Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Sisanda Magala, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen