Gillette ODIs v South Africa
Proteas sink Aussies to seal ODI series
Twin centuries from Faf du Plessis and David Miller set up an insurmountable total in the series decider in Hobart
Martin Smith at Blundstone Arena, Hobart
11 November 2018, 11:59 PM AEST
Australia’s long wait for a breakthrough one-day series win will be extended by at least another two months after they lost the deciding Gillette ODI at Blundstone Arena despite a fighting century from Shaun Marsh that briefly gave rise to hopes of an unlikely win.
After a record stand of 252 between South Africa’s David Miller (139 from 108 balls) and Faf du Plessis (125 from 114), the highest partnership ever in an ODI against Australia, lit up an already sparkling afternoon in Hobart, the much-maligned Marsh silenced his critics with his third ODI century in his past six innings.
Having come together with the score on 3-55 after being sent in to bat, Miller and du Plessis helped the Proteas add a staggering 174 runs in the final 15 overs of their innings, more than doubling their score as they finished with 5-320.
It was a total that proved to be more than enough, Australia falling 40 runs short despite a fighting 106 from Marsh, an enterprising 63 from Marcus Stoinis and late contributions from Alex Carey (42 from 41 balls) and Glenn Maxwell (35 from 27).
Since beating Pakistan 4-1 at home almost two years ago, Australia have now lost five consecutive bilateral ODI series – a record low, surpassing the four they lost on the bounce in 1982-84 - and completed a winless ICC Champions Trophy campaign last year. And they have just 13 one-day matches, including 10 on Asian soil, to turn their fortunes around before their World Cup defence gets underway next June.
On Sunday, the Australians were left to rue a costly missed chance by wicketkeeper Carey when du Plessis was on just 29 as well as a contentious umpiring review that preceded South Africa’s stunning late assault with the bat.
The pivotal moment came in the 33rd over when Maxwell, who had earlier found the edge of du Plessis, trapped Miller in front on 41 and appeared to have ended the partnership at just 78. Miller seemed willing to accept the umpire’s decision before a lengthy discussion with du Plessis led to a review being called for, which found in the South African’s favour.
The consternation came for two reasons. One, the Fox Cricket coverage indicated the length of time it had taken Miller to ask for a review was 19 seconds, four seconds more than the limit allowed under the ICC’s Playing Conditions. And two, it was du Plessis who initially made the review signal to umpire Aleem Dar; under ICC rules, only the dismissed batter is permitted to ask for a review.
The incident acted as a trigger for Miller and du Plessis to shift into fifth gear as the Proteas added 130 in their last 10 overs, 88 of them coming in boundaries, including a total of 57 runs in overs 47, 48 and 49 alone.
Stoinis (10 runs an over) and Pat Cummins (economy rate of 6.7, including 43 from his last three overs) both copped heavy punishment having starred with the ball in Australia’s stirring win in Adelaide 48 hours earlier.
The way du Plessis casually creamed Stoinis over the cover boundary with only his left hand on the bat – and the skipper’s astonished smile as he watched the ball sail over the rope – summed up the audacious freedom with which the Proteas played in the late overs.
Chasing 321, a total they’ve achieved just once in their past 16 completed ODI innings, Australia lost Chris Lynn from the first legal delivery of the run chase, his first stint as an opener ending on 0 when he edged behind off the brilliant Dale Steyn (3-45).
And when skipper Aaron Finch (11) and Travis Head (6) also departed cheaply, an already difficult victory target was rapidly slipping out of reach.
But Marsh and Stoinis showed plenty of fight in an exciting rearguard partnership of 107 that ensured the Proteas were on edge for most of the run chase.
Having come together at 3-39, the pair started slowly before Stoinis targeted leg-spinner Imran Tahir and Marsh also accelerated, clubbing four crisp pull shots over the fence to give the crowd – including the local constabulary – some catching practice and ensure the Proteas were under fire until the late stages of the match.
But after an 18th defeat from their past 21 matches, it’s the Australians who will be feeling the heat the most less than seven months out from their World Cup opener.
Australia v Proteas, Gillette ODI series, November 2018
First ODI: South Africa won by six wickets
Second ODI: Australia won by seven runs
Third ODI: South Africa won by 40 runs
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn.