South Africa v Australia Third ODI
Wednesday October 5, 10:30pm AEST
After dropping the opening two matches, Australia will be hoping to keep the series alive when they take on South Africa in the third ODI at Kingsmead on Wednesday.
The Proteas backed up their effort with the bat in Centurion with another dominant display in Johannesburg on Sunday where they posted an imposing 6/361. Stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis struck a brilliant 111 from 93 balls after opener Rilee Rossouw (75 off 81) kick-started the innings with his second consecutive half-century.
The talented JP Duminy provided the acceleration towards the back end with a breezy 82 off just 58 balls to leave the Aussies with a mammoth chase. That chase was made all the more difficult after early wickets to new ball pair Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada, before Wayne Parnell ran through the middle order, finishing with 3/40.
Although expensive, all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo continued his impressive series with another two wickets to put the home side on the verge of a series victory.
It’s likely that South Africa will go into the third match with another unchanged side despite Hashim Amla being available again after suffering an illness and Dale Steyn looking a tad undercooked following a recent shoulder complaint.
For the World Champions it was the same old story as their under-strength bowling attack struggled to deal with the power-packed South African batting unit in conditions that very much suited the batsmen. Brought in for Scott Boland and Daniel Worrall, fast-men Chris Tremain and Joe Mennie both experienced underwhelming debuts, conceding a combined 1-160 off 20 overs.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa also failed to adjust to the conditions, going wicketless for the first time in his last nine international matches. The only member of the bowling attack who managed to curb the Proteas’ assault was John Hastings who claimed 3-57 off his ten overs. Wickets at regular intervals restricted the visitors from mounting a serious challenge in reply, however twin fifties to David Warner (50 off 56) and Travis Head (51 off 45) at least added some respectability to the deficit.
If they are to mount a comeback in the series then Australia will need to get more out of captain Steve Smith who has failed to get going in the opening two encounters and has now gone 20 ODIs without a century.
The Kingsmead pitch may provide some respite for the struggling Australian bowlers as it’s been almost ten years since any side has reached 300 here, although four of the past six first innings totals have exceeded 275. Proteas spearhead Dale Steyn has an impressive record in Durban, averaging 16.50 whilst conceding less than four runs an over.
- South Africa have won eight of their past 11 ODIs.
- South Africa have also won their last three ODIs at Kingsmead.
- Australia haven’t lost three consecutive ODIs since 2010.
- However in six of their last nine ODIs when bowling first against South Africa, Australia have conceded over 275.
- In nine of their past ten ODIs the first Australian dismissal has been caught.
The hosts dominance has been acknowledged by the market with South Africa warmer favourites than they were in Johannesburg and punters starting to steer clear of Australia.
However I’m not quite sure whether the Proteas supremacy, particularly in the field, has been sufficiently recognised. It’s understandable that the market is reluctant to relinquish a strong position on Australia, given their strong record and consistency in this format over the past few years.
However with what is essentially a second-string bowling attack, they look completely unable to contain the South African batsmen on familiar surfaces, and there are no changes in personnel they can make to significantly alter this.
That heaps a great deal of pressure on their batting unit which, while world-class, is up against formidable opposition via the likes of Steyn, Rabada and Imran Tahir. The South Africans are also a highly accomplished side in this format, particularly at home and furthermore at this ground.
While many may be waiting for Australia to turn it around, I expect the home side to claim the series and inflict a rare third consecutive defeat, or at least trade at very low odds to do so at some stage, which is why I’m advocating a back-to-lay of South Africa.
Additionally if you’re looking for a side interest, it’s worth noting that the first Australian wicket has perished in the same fashion – caught – in the first two ODIs and in nine of Australia’s past ten ODIs.
With South Africa’s bowlers eliciting the first wicket with a caught dismissal in four of their last five ODIs I’m also willing to have a smaller investment on Australia’s first dismissal to be caught.
BACK-TO-LAY – South Africa at 1.70 or bigger for 2 units (trade out at 1.30 or better).
BACK – Australia First Dismissal Caught at 1.40 or bigger for 1 unit.