Proteas bats­men drop the ball

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - FRONT PAGE -

Ade­laide – Aus­tralian skip­per Aaron Finch praised his “out­stand­ing” bowlers yes­ter­day af­ter they ended a seven-game los­ing streak by beat­ing South Africa to keep the one-day se­ries alive.

Set 232 to win, the Proteas could only man­age 224/9 in their 50 overs, leav­ing the se­ries tied at 1-1 with the de­cider in Ho­bart to­mor­row.

The hosts, who were thrashed by six wick­ets with more than 20 overs to spare in the open­ing match, dug deep with their bowlers get­ting them over the line.

Mar­cus Stoi­nis was the pick with 3/35 off his 10 overs, in­clud­ing the cru­cial scalp of David Miller who hit a stub­born 51.

“The way we de­fended was out­stand­ing, The bowlers were re­lent­less,” said Finch.

“I’m not sure if it’s re­lief, but jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for some hard work.

“We held our chances and it went our way. We knew we had to bowl them out, or go close to it.”

Ade­laide has been a happy hunt­ing ground in the past for Aus­tralia.

In fact, their last one-day win came at the oval nine months ago against Eng­land, be­fore the reign­ing world cham­pi­ons were knocked for six by the ball-tam­per­ing scan­dal in South Africa in March and dis­ar­ray within Cricket Aus­tralia.

Their form slump had been char­ac­terised by bat­ting col­lapses and they again strug­gled to com­pile a big to­tal with some tight South African bowl­ing putting them back in the pavil­ion for 231.

Proteas cap­tain Faf du Plessis (above) said “good teams should be able to close that score down”.

“I felt we let our­selves down with the bat, I’m very dis­ap­pointed,” he added. “I don’t be­lieve that was a win­ning score, we let our­selves down.”

With Mitchell Starc re­turn­ing to new-ball du­ties af­ter a short-lived ex­per­i­ment with Nathan Coul­ter-Nile in Perth back­fired, the Aus­tralian at­tack did its job. –

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